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dgquail

Pickwick vs. Kentucky Lake

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Which lake is better for smallmouth fishing, Kentucky Lake or Pickwick Lake? I know you can catch some good smallies on Pickwick. I am starting to hear really good things about Kentucky Lake, but I am wondering how it compares to Pickwick. Which lake produces more, big fish? or more good smallies? Thanks

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Welcome aboard!

I fish both lakes. Kentucky Lake and Pickwick are most productive in the upper part of both lakes below the upstream dams: Kentucky Lake just below the Pickwick Dam and Pickwick just below the Wilson Dam.  Prime time is October through mid March, the rest of the year, Kentucky Lake (proper) is probably more productive. If we are just talking about the "Tennessee River" portions below each dam, the water below Wilson Dam is fair year around; the water below Pickwick Dam is NOT productive during the summer. I fish for striper this time of year.

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Welcome aboard dgquail welcome.gif

Roadwarrior is the house expert on smallmouth bass.

Now that you've got him on the phone, I have a couple questions of my own ;)

> Would early February be prime time for trophy brown bass in the Pickwick Tailrace?

> In winter, what depth range do you mostly focus on?

> Is there a shiner you prefer (emerald - golden - spottail~)?

> Is there a data source that publishes the generation schedule of the Pickwick Dam?

Thanks in Advance,

Roger

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February is PRIMETIME! January and early February are pre-spawn. The spawn starts around the middle of the month.

The Tennessee is a commercial river. The channel is maintained at a minimum depth of 11', but the river and reservior system contains depths of more than onel hundred feet. Trophy smallmouth can be found this time of year anywhere from 0 to 50' or so, but the majority of the big brown bass are in 5-20' of water. On the river the water temperature during the winter is virtually constant at any depth. Structure and current are the key factors.

I don't know the scientific name of the common green shiner, but that's what these fish prefer. Big is better and they are sold locally in three sizes. The smaller minnows are used for crappie and sauger.

The three day generating schedule for each reservior's dam is updated hourly: http://www.tva.gov/

Important considerations:

Adequate and dependable water flow is almost assured Monday thru Friday, but not necessarily on weekends.

The weather is volatile (duh), but with a little luck you might have daytime highs in the 50's to low 60's.

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Thanks a bunch RW, that's extremely helpful information.

I keep musing about a trip to the Pickwick Tailrace (you've got two big reasons in your avatar).

Okay, so it sounds like the 3rd week in January should pretty much nail it.

> Do you pay much attention to moon phases?

> Out of curiosity, what is your favorite length shiner?

> Do you ever work suspended bass, or is it mostly on the bottom?

Roger

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January works, big time! (The fish in my avatar were caught 1/15).

I don't pay attention to anything but current on the river. At different times of the year and for other species (striper), the presence of specific bait fish species is important. Water temperature also comes into play in the fall and spring, but otherwise, it's all about water flow.

Length?  At least 3". The bait shops sell "bass" minnows which are the biggun's around here.

All smallmouth are suspending, in current and generally on structure. We maintain contact with the bottom, but that can mean a lot of things when drifting a big river.  The smallmouth are at various depths, I don't consider that part of the "pattern" in this type of fishing situation.

Of special note: Many writers claim smallmouth bass are NOT line shy. Many successful smallmouth fishermen, including several BassResource.com members, have recommended 8lb, 10lb test or even greater diameter lines. My partner and I have had SIGNIFICANTLY better results with .010" diameter or thinner.  

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