John's Journal...

Pickwick Dam, Tennessee Heaven for Fishermen with Roger Stegall, Todd Witt, Phil King, Roger Gant and Claggett Talley

Bet on Pickwick’s Largemouth Bass with Todd Witt

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: If you’re a multi-species fisherman, I’ve found a piece of fishermen’s heaven at Hardin County, Tennessee’s Pickwick Dam on the Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama border. Pickwick has some of the best populations of smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, stripers, catfish and crappie in the country. This week, the fishermen who live and guide there will tell you why they believe this area is a fisherman’s heaven. Todd Witt of Corinth, Mississippi, has fished above and below Pickwick Lake in Hardin County, Tennessee, since the late 1980s and has guided for bass there for 10 years.

Question: Todd, why is largemouth fishing so good on Pickwick Lake and below Pickwick Dam?
Witt: In Hardin County, you can fish Pickwick Lake, one of the premier largeClick to enlargemouth and smallmouth bass lakes in the nation, or you can fish below Pickwick Dam in the tailrace in a riverine environment all the way to Kentucky Lake. The Tennessee River has historically been a great river system for both largemouth and smallmouth bass. You’ll find plenty of different types of structure and cover from docks and rocks to creek channels, Indian mounds, grass, islands that break the current, stumps and logs. This area also homes plenty of threadfin shad, gizzard shad and bream. When you combine all these elements with a good current flow coming through the entire Tennessee River system, you’ve got ideal habitat that can support plenty of bass.

Question: In a day of fishing, how many largemouth bass can you catch?
Witt: On an average day, we’ll catch 15 to 20 bass. On a good day, we may catch and release 50 or 60.

Question: What lures do you primarily use?Click to enlarge
Witt: We fish with a number of different lures, but my favorites are the Strike King Red Eye Shad, the Strike King Series 3 and Series 5 crankbaits, the Strike King Spit-N-King top-water bait and the Strike King Anaconda, the Rage Tail Lizard and the Rage Tail Craw soft plastics.

Question: In a day of fishing, how big will the bass be that you catch?
Witt: We’re always trying to catch at least a 5 pounder and a number of fish in the 4-pound range. Two and 3-pounders are quite common. We’ll often have from two to 10 smallmouths in our catch for the day. At Pickwick, you’ve got the best of both worlds. You often can catch largemouth and smallmouth bass at the same place.

Question: What’s the biggest largemouth you’ve ever caught?Click to enlarge
Whitt: The biggest one I’ve ever caught weighed 8 pounds, but there have been 9- or 10-pound largemouth caught in the past few years at Pickwick. I’ve probably caught six largemouth that will weigh 8-pounds each.

Question: What makes the Pickwick Dam area and Hardin County, Tennessee, such a great largemouth bass lake?
Whitt: The wide diversity of habitat and water depths and an abundant amount of forage and current that runs almost all year help make Pickwick great. We have places for the bass to hold, feed, spawn and grow at all times of the year. Pickwick has a large lake above the dam if you prefer to lake fish, a productive river system below the dam and an outstanding tailrace. So, you can fish any type of water you want at Pickwick Dam. Too, the region has a large crawfish population, which is extremely important to the bass in the fall and the winter months. I’d advise anyone who wants to have a great day of bass fishing to visit Pickwick Lake.  

To fish with Todd Witt, call (662) 286-2723, or email, or check out

To learn more about fishing below the dam at Pickwick, contact the Hardin County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at, or call 731-925-8181 or 800-552-3866, or visit Pickwick Landing State Park offers fishing, boating, hiking, camping, swimming and golf. Lodging includes the Lakeside Inn with over 100 rooms, cabins that sleep eight and a campground that contains 48 sites with grill and electric/water hook-ups at each site. A restaurant at the park offers delicious southern cuisine. Call 731-689-3135 or 800-250-8615 to learn more.

Tomorrow: King of Cats

Check back each day this week for more about "Pickwick Dam, Tennessee Heaven for Fishermen with Roger Stegall, Todd Witt, Phil King, Roger Gant and Claggett Talley"

Day 1: Pickwick, the Land of Monster Smallmouth with Roger Stegall
Day 2: Bet on Pickwick’s Largemouth Bass with Todd Witt
Day 3: King of Cats
Day 4: Pickwick has Slabs Galore with Roger Gant
Day 5: Tons of Stripers with Claggett Talley


Entry 472, Day 2