Pickwick Lake runs 50 miles from Wilson Dam in Florence, AL to Pickwick Dam in Tennessee. When the lake is full during the summer, Pickwick provides 490 miles of winding shoreline and about 47,500 acres of water surface. Largemouth bass are one of the most sought after species by anglers; however, Pickwick Lake’s greatest reputation is its superb smallmouth bass fishing. A 14-inch minimum size restriction limits harvest of smallmouth bass. One of the most popular smallmouth fishing areas is the “Shoals” section directly downstream of Wilson Dam to the end of Seven-Mile Island. Swift-moving waters from the Dam create a strong current in this area that smallmouth’s love. The middle to lower reaches off Pickwick provide excellent habitat for both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Due to its stellar reputation, Pickwick Lake hosts a number of big name tournaments each year including FLW and B.A.S.S. events.
Crappie are another favorite fish species sought by anglers here. The majority of crappie angling in Alabama occurs during the spring on Bear Creek and Second Creek embankments. Anglers drift jigs and minnows along the creek channels to find large schools of crappie. Crappie must be longer than nine inches to be keepers from Pickwick Lake.
The tailwaters of Wilson Dam provide excellent opportunities to catch sauger during the winter months when they migrate upstream to spawn. Blue catfish and channel catfish are also found in high numbers during the summer. Bank access is available on the south side at Sheffield and Muscle Shoals. Florence (McFarland Park) and Waterloo provide fishing on the north side. Boat anglers can use Wilson Lock to travel back and forth from Pickwick Lake to Wilson Lake.