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Pickwick or Erie? Best smallie lake?

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I know Erie has been really hot with Smallies just wondering of the two which one is considered the best smallie lake, or is there another lake which is better than both?

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Lake Erie by a HUGE margin! The Great Lakes produce big numbers and good size. Reports of 30, 40...100 fish a day; five fish bags of 20+ lbs. You NEVER get those kind of numbers at Pickwick.

What Pickwick and the Tennessee River offers is an opportunity to catch a GIGANTIC fish, perhaps even the next World Record smallmouth! Until the Great Lakes produce their first 10 lb fish, talk of a World Record up north is premature.

8-)

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lake erie is definety better  but another great lake that is often overlooked is the great lake michagan  its close or even just as good as erie for the smallmouth   i give erie alittle edge just because it produces more bigones than michigan  

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Based on recent history- Erie.

I've talked to several folks including a guide at Pickwick, and the lake seems to be in a down-cycle for brown fish. From what I hear, the LM fishing is still good, but smallies are not playing much of a role in the tourney sacks down there anymore. There are still a lot of fish caught on both Wilson and PW beow the dams in the current when they're generating, but that's mostly  live bait deal.

Lakes do go in cycles, and based on everything you read and hear, Erie is way up and PW is way down.

If you want to come down South, you should really look at Dale Hollow. For numbers of 3-6 lb fish it's amazing. It's very clear and can be tough, but if you hit it right, it can be phenominal (scenery is awesome too). Best times to go are Feb for floating fly, April for Jerkbait and convential day fishing, and June, around the full moon for night fishing (when the alewife are spawning).

One huge advantage of Northern lakes IMHO is that not as many anglers target bass, and many of the fish are really unpressured.

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lake erie is definety better  but another great lake that is often overlooked is the great lake michagan  its close or even just as good as erie for the smallmouth   i give erie alittle edge just because it produces more bigones than michigan  

Yeah, I've heard Lake Michigan has done very well lately.  And to think I'm actually walking distance from it.  Unfortunately, I don't know any guides for Lake Michigan and don't have a boat yet to get the most out of that lake.  I wish I did.

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Erie my friend 60+ fish a day with so many over 4 lbs it's mind blowing. 5 pounders are common with 6s increasing. I have never never found concentrations of any type of bass like you do here. it's just something you have to experience!

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Erie is definately special.......

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I fished Erie out of Erie, Pa for years.  I've seen springtime tournaments there where a five fish stringer weighing 25 pounds would barely get you into the money!  I had a half dozen days where I hooked and boated 120+ fish myself.  They might come a little bigger down south, but I'd take Erie over any southern lake when it comes to smallie fishing.

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I've never fished Pickwick, but I think if you look at the tournament stats from most major trails that fish each lake you'll find that Lake Erie produces bigger winning weights

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Lake Michigan has some awsome smallie fish'n.Actually Green Bay off of Sturgeon Bay takes a back seat to no one.Then again I'm biased

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Welcome aboard!

8-)

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to thetr20one and everyone else; what would you guys recommend for a guy smallie Erie fishing without a larger boat?  I live 30 minutes away from the lake but river fish for smallies on the Maumee all the time just never seen any guides or headboats target smallies on Erie, its always walleye/perch/white bass.  Erie can be rough and all my pards have smaller river/bass boats surely not equipped to make long Erie runs.  I hear of all this great smallies lake fishing but don't even know where to start and who to ask?  Any help is appreciated, ive been fishing for them on the river for years, will be a bit weird trying to hire a lake guide   ;D

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In one of the shows I was watching, I believe it was hook-n-look they mentioned that Erie is the warmest of all the great lakes.  I was just reading an article by biologists out of Lake Michigan and they mentioned that Lake Michigan is too cold to produce 6lb smallies because the fish tend to die before they get that size. Just interesting information.  Illinois' record Smallmouth is still at 6lb 7oz.

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to thetr20one and everyone else; what would you guys recommend for a guy smallie Erie fishing without a larger boat? I live 30 minutes away from the lake but river fish for smallies on the Maumee all the time just never seen any guides or headboats target smallies on Erie, its always walleye/perch/white bass. Erie can be rough and all my pards have smaller river/bass boats surely not equipped to make long Erie runs. I hear of all this great smallies lake fishing but don't even know where to start and who to ask? Any help is appreciated, ive been fishing for them on the river for years, will be a bit weird trying to hire a lake guide ;D

One possible suggestion, closely watch the weather / marine forecast, if the lake is flat and forecasted to stay flat for the day (less than 1 or 2 footers) put in at a close ramp and just fish within sight of the ramp (assuming that you have a boat that's at least 16 feet). Not sure where you are on the lake but here in PA there are a few places where you could just go out from the ramp into the proper depth (whatever the fish would be holding at for that time of year) and catch all kinds of smallies.

If not, hire a guide, there are alot of bass guides around Lake Erie. They will be properly outfitted and give you a good day and education on what to expect should you have the opportunity to venture out on your own.

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I have fished both Pickwick and Erie.  Erie by 5 landslides.  There are more 4 to 5lb smallies in Erie than probably any lake in the country combined..  LOL.  Just full of them. There was one day where we had 3 guys in the boat and we caught over 200 smallies from sunup to sundown.  Too many 5lbers to count with a few 6's mixed in.  I agree with Road Warrior on catching a Gigantic smallmouth Pickwick might be a better choice...  I'd also have to add lake Pardee in California and Dale Hollow as other great smallmouth fisheries.  I hope to go to Dale Hollow and Center Hill to the list of places to go.  

Mike

Mike

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In late april early may, even sooner if you want you can go offshore out of the rivers. Find hard bottom or changes in the topography of the lake bottom, transition areas (rock2mud,mud2sand,sand2rock whatever!) wait till you have a day when a drift will take you from deep to shallow water. Drag tubes on the bottom from 40+ feet down to 8 feet or so when you find a concentration of fish focus on that depth, more than likely you will find many more fish in that depth. Then you can change your presentation to suit that depth or not change presentation at all (Expieriment!!!!) look for other bass boats or get good maps to get you started. DO NOT GET ON SOMEBODY ELSES DRIFT!!!!!  You can cover alot of water drifting and the lake can be deceiving so watch your GPS.

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It wasn't too long ago that St. Clair was better than Erie. I guess we can blame the Maltese Falcon for changing from walleye to smallmouths! He ran most of them down to Erie.. ;D  In the 1960's you didn't need a boat to fish Erie- tou could just walk to your favorite dropoff!!

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