by Mike Gerry
If I have learned anything about North Alabama in the winter, I have learned that, in the winter, we get a lot of rain and the run-off causes the lake to get muddy. Also, the water over-runs many docks and puts the TVA in a position where they spill, most of the winter, from one dam to another creating mud lines all over the lake!
With high water the lake can be treacherous, not only causing mud but pulling debris and mud off the banks. This can be a real problem as windy days, with high water, cause big stumps and logs to float down the river which is a recipe for disaster for the average fisherman that is not focused on the problem. I have seen the lower unit of many bass boats destroyed – mine included – from this problem. So, fishermen should all be aware, be safe and understand this nice day of fishing can turn into a disaster.
One other thing that has always been true is that the lake may be muddy but somewhere there are mud lines. If you find the mud lines, and fish the change from muddy, to not so muddy areas, you will find the fish. Often, this is easy, the mud lines are prevalent, but sometimes they become difficult to find. When the muddy water is everywhere, there is always change as you go down the depth ranges. You can detect the mud lines below with a temperature gauge. Muddy water is warmer than clear water so you can detect the clearer area just by dropping a temperature gauge to some different depths to find the clearer water.
Work the mud lines, parallel them, cross them, fish the depth mud line change, and look for obvious change as this is where the fish will be. Check the banks as mud lines form ten feet off the bank, creating a great mud line.
Bass are more active in the current than not, but the current being pulled at high rates change what the fish do; bass move to the shallow water when it is high water and move to the non-current side of structure like stumps and other structure. Be safe, fish where the fish are, and do not let the elements deter you!