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Autumn Guidelines for the Tennessee River / Guntersville Lake

Autumn Guidelines for the Tennessee River / Guntersville Lake Autumn Guidelines for the Tennessee River / Guntersville Lake
By Reed Montgomery

This massive impoundment in the northern part of the state is Alabama's largest reservoir. With 69,000 surface acres of generally shallow water the lake is still noted as America's best BIG BASS Lake. Structure and grass-filled, this impoundment is an anglers paradise when it comes to a diverse amount of fishing situations. Noted for a variety of aquatic weeds such as millfoil, hydrilla and coontail moss, Guntersville Lake offers the largemouth bass a number of hiding spots to inhibit. Scattered grass throughout the lake also creates a problem for the angler new to Guntersville lake and poses the question, "where do I fish"?

During Falls cool down period the grass gets a lot of attention from trophy-seeking anglers looking to fool some of Guntersville's bass, some exceeding 10 lbs. Many huge bass are fooled in some very shallow water each Fall. However, Guntersville does have a lot of rock and wood cover, that gets little attention, compared to the grass that gets pounded most of the year. Rock bluffs and major feeder creeks always deserve some exploring, for these are virtually untapped areas, again due to fishing pressure in other parts of the lake.

The majority of Guntersville's largemouth bass do relate to the aquatic vegetation and there are many ways to entice strikes, from fish that bury up in some very thick weeds as waters begin to cool. During Summer most bass either bury up in some very thick weeds or some suspend offshore along weed edges and around bottom irregularities. Early morning or late evening bites are always good for the shallow water angler. Topwaters, spinnerbaits, worms, lizards and jigs can entice strikes, even from lure-conditioned bass. As cooler water draws bass shallow and out of thick cover (especially on cloudy days), catching unwary bass becomes easier. Rainy days or periods of clouds moving in can turn on these shallow water bass, like the flick on a light switch.

Drawdown on Guntersville Lake always pulls these shallow water bass away from the original shoreline. During Winter, water levels can fall as much as 4-5 feet. The shallow-growing moss and millfoil becomes thick and matted at this time and eventually dies until next year's Spring. Hydrilla, a generally deeper-growing aquatic weed, can grow all Winter, or become semi-dormant. Its all according to lake levels, water clarity or light penetration, and the severity of cold fronts.

Topwater lures are a must in the Fall on Guntersville Lake. Some exciting and explosive strikes occur as BIG bass blast lures in and around the weeds. Buzzbaits, frogs and rats, spinnerbaits, soft plastic jerkbaits, floating worms and jerkbaits can all be great when targeting these huge bass in shallow weeds. Weed edges, holes, lanes and irregularities within these weeds are also good when targeting areas with weedless lures.

Some lures are not intended to be cast right up in the weeds. Shallow-running crankbaits and rattletraps can be devastating when bass are hitting these fast moving lures. Best spots are often along the edges or on top of the weeds, as you run these lures shallow above the weeds. Catches of 50 bass a day are not uncommon during Fall with crankbaits. Deeper-diving crankbaits can reach depths of 10-15 feet and many of Guntersville's bass fall victim to these offshore deep-diving lures, that many anglers avoid.

Searching out old river and creek channels, ledges, bars and humps can be very rewarding, with spots that often produce on return trips. If a few bass are caught in one area with deep-diving crankbaits, always search out the spot with other slower-moving lures such as Texas-rigged plastics, Carolina-rigged lures, dropping heavy spinnerbaits, jigging spoons and fishing with small, finesse type lures. Line size is important. Remember, there are some huge bass in Guntersville Lake!

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