Fall Feeding – Coosa River Spotted Bass Schooling On Alabama’s Mitchell Lake

Mitchell Lake. Its one of those lower Coosa River lakes you just don’t hear very much about. Upper Coosa River reservoir’s Logan Martin Lake, Lay Lake and lower Coosa River impoundment Jordan Lake all get their recognition, mostly from avid bass anglers. These lakes became famous after several Bassmaster’s Classics and Bassmasters  Tournament trails featuring the world’s best contenders, visited them. Yes, Mitchell lake is a small lake.


By Reed Montgomery / Reeds Guide Service (205) 663-1504
Birmingham, Alabama

Website www.fishingalabama.com

Impounded 1923

Lake level: Full pool

Water Temperature 70 degrees

Air Temperatures: Mid week / Lows near 40 Highs mid-to-upper 60’s

But during the fall and early winter months, this small impoundment (less than 18 miles in length) can be big, with some great Coosa River spotted bass action!



On a rather bright, bluebird and very sunny day you do not expect to see much schooling action on the surface of the lake’s calm clear water. But recently I took a resident of Mitchell lake that got in on some great spotted bass action on what I would call a very unlikly day of bass fishing. It started out with a cool boat ride up the lake fishing near the lakes headwaters,situated right below upper reservoir, Lay lake dam.


With upper 60 degree water temps and cool air temps of the upper 50’s my client Tom, gave me a rather funny look when I handed him an open-faced rod already rigged with a big topwater lure, the Heddon Zara Super Spook. “Isn’t it to cold for topwater?” He exclaimend, as he slowly took off his hat, gloves and heavy coat. He was just thawing out from the boat ride and he had his doubts…before I could even answer.


I asked if he had fished this lure before. “Not much”, he said. Followed by, “You mind showing me how?” So I got out my spook rod and proceeded to show him how to, as they say, “walk the dog” with the swaying action of this very enticing topwater lure. With its side-by-side walk, imparted by a short jerking motion of a six foot medium-heavy, pistol grip rod. I felt right at home.


With a very l long cast, I settled the lure so far out in the patchy, morning fog that Tom had to wait a few seconds before he could even get the lure in sight! As I slowly walked the topwater lure back towards the boat I explained to him the slow, enticing walk as it came within sight. I told him, just think to yourself as you retrieve the lure and jerk, left, right, left, right, as you impart the slow, jerking action of the lure with each twitch of the rod tip.


I reeled in the lure and made another cast. Tom was starting to warm up and he then reached for the spook rod I had already rigged for him. But before I could reel the second cast in and prepare to pour myself a warm cup of coffee…I was interrupted!


A blow-up right beside the boat almost sent water splashing on both of us and I think it startled Tom so much he dropped his rod! It was a big, spotted bass looking to be about as surprised, as we were! I just swung the big bass in the boat. For I knew the freshly spooled Trilene Big Game 20 pound test line would hold. And it did.


“Well, I got mine! Get you one” I then told Tom as the big jumping spot went absolutely crazy flipping all around in the bottom of the boat. “Man that’s huge, how big is it?” (Tom as excited as I was), then said. I knew it really was not that big, but it was a good “four pounder” I then told him. What a way to start your day on Mitchell Lake! Or any lake! So I poured myself a cup of coffee and said, “you know Tom, I don’t think I can give you a better example than that!” He laughed, as he then agreed.


Suddenly, as the sun began to rise, several bass erupted on the water’s surface and a half dozen small, threadfin shad went fleeing for their lives. “Throw over there, fast! ”


He did and as he slowly walked the spook, it suddenly just disappeared with gentle slurp, as it dropped beneath water’s surface. A fish? Tom just looked stunned. Start reeling you’ve got one! I hollered. He did and the battle was on again, this time on his rod, as I just went for the net. The spot looked to be a twin of mine. Another 4 pounder!


What was really unusual, for the next 3 hours this schooling action continued! We caught and released dozens of bass, even a few largemouth bass too! All caught within sight of the dam! We stayed in the lakes headwaters until 3 p.m.


Around the bluffs, flats, creek mouths, the nearby bridge and islands! They were schooling everywhere on a sunny day, when they usually do not! So we had a great day and my new found friend Tom, learned some new lures, new places to fish and some new techniques while fishing with topwater lures, Texas rigged worms, crankbaits, rattle traps and jerk baits. Oh, and I’m sure he learned a little from a guy that showed him all about fishing that Heddon Zara Super Spook!


Always call on Reeds Guide Service…first! (205) 663-1504



For over 40 years Reed Montgomery, owner of Reeds Guide Service “Alabama’s oldest, professional freshwater — bass fishing only — guide service” has taken anglers from all over the globe to fish all throughout Alabama’s lakes for spotted bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and striped bass. No other guide service can offer a more enjoyable day on the water of learning how to fish for Alabama’s big bass.


Learning-type fishing trips for both the novice angler and the professional angler. Parent and child learning trips, corporate guided trips with several boats and guides available, year round. Call (205) 663-1504 or E-mail [email protected] today to reserve your fishing trip to any lake in Alabama! Now is the time to catch big smallmouth bass on the Tennessee River System Lakes, or go for big spotted bass, largemouth bass and striped bass on most Alabama lakes!


* GUIDED FISHING TRIPS GIFT CERTIFICATES NOW AVAILABLE FOR CHRISTMAS! Keep in mind Christmas is only a few weeks away! A guided fishing with with Reeds Guide Service makes a great gift for those loved ones that love to fish! Call or E-mail to find out about getting your guided fishing trip gift certificate today! These guided fishing trips make great gifts for Birthdays, anniversaries, graduation or any occasion!


* WBRC FOX 6 TELEVISION – See Reed Montgomery and call in with your fishing questions with his, “Ask the Angler” question and answer session on Birmingham’s WBRC Fox 6 TV morning show, “Good Day Alabama.” Reed’s next scheduled appearance (on now for over 6 years) will be on Tuesday, November 25 on a just after 8 a.m. Central time! Call in (205) 741-7474 with your fishing questions! Reed Montgomery is on Fox 6 TV every last Tuesday of each month, mark your calendar!


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* NEW AND USED BOATS – See www.airportmarine.com or go by Airport Marine in Clanton, Alabama for the souths best boat deals!


* BASS TOURNAMENTS AND TRAILS –  See www.airportmarinetrails.com for Alabama’s best paying bass tournaments!




Thanks and Good Fishin’ !


Reed Montgomery / Outdoor Writer

Owner / Reeds Guide Service
Alabaster, Alabama (205) 663-1504
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.fishingalabama.com
” Over 40 Years Guiding, Fishing and Exploring Every Lake in Alabama For Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Spotted Bass and Striped Bass ”

Always Call on Reeds Guide Service…first!

Alabama’s Oldest Professional, Freshwater Fishing Guide Service!