February, March on Lake Guntersville
by Mike Gerry
Early spring is just a brief time away and when we get there only your imagination holds you back.
When I hit the water in early spring, I start the day by slicing the lake up into different depths because Guntersville has many approaches to choose from in early spring. Guntersville can be completely different depending on where you are situated, stretching from one end of the lake to the other. In early spring, if you are upriver, above BB Comer Bridge, there is truly little deep water, so fish that might be deep are not any deeper than 10 to 12 feet because the upper river is so shallow. If you’re mid-river, or around the lower end, the lake widens, and the depth can be as deep as 45 feet, so the bass can stage in 20 to 25 feet of water. There are also some differences in water temperature, which are that shallow water warms more quickly than deeper water, so the fish movement can be completely different. The upper river warming earlier than the mid and lower end, generally allows the fish to go into pre-spawn and the spawn is sometimes one to two weeks early as water temperatures can get into the 60s much quicker, upriver.
One of the things I continually do is to divide the river up by choosing different baits for distinct locations on the lake. I will work deep crank baits off staging drops, first to either eliminate deep water or find feeding fish. I then get to the next drops at about 10 to 12 feet and I work several baits at this depth to include rattle baits, square bill crank baits, and jigs. Lastly, if that has not produced some good fish, I then get into the shallows. I always look for cover at this depth. Boat houses, lay downs, rock, or just odd objects sticking up out of the water and, of course, the grass. Fishing from the drops to the mid-range water or the second drop, if you will, to the red clay bank.
Shallow water is one of the best tips I can offer in early spring. My favorite bait in shallow water for gigantic fish is always a jig. It is a catching machine.