At 15,500 acres, Wilson Lake pales in comparison to the size of other Tennessee Valley Authority lakes along the Tennessee River.
Being a small lake does not mean Wilson Lake does not produce big fish. Largemouth bass weighing more than 7 pounds, smallmouth bass over 5 pounds and blue catfish that tip the scales at more than 50 pounds are frequently caught on Wilson Lake.
Wilson Lake features deep water on the lower reaches and swift water on the upper end, at the tailrace of Wheeler Dam. There are numerous shallow sloughs along the lake. With such a diversity of habitat in a lake that is only 15-miles long, many anglers love fishing on Wilson Lake because if a fishing technique is not working, they do not have to go far to change techniques and fish an entirely different type of structure.
In addition to huge bass and catfish, Wilson Lake is also a great place to fish for crappie, bream, sauger and striped bass. Boat ramps are plentiful around the lake, providing easy access to all portions of the reservoir.
Interesting Facts About Wilson Lake
- With 21 generators that can produce up to 663 megawatts of electricity daily, Wilson Dam is the largest conventional hydroelectric plant in the TVA system. Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Plant, near Chattanooga, is TVA’s only hydroelectric with a higher daily generating capacity.
- The main navigation lock at Wilson Dam is 110 feet wide and 600 feet long. With a maximum lift of 100 feet, it is the highest lift lock east of the Rocky Mountains. It takes 50 million gallons of water to fill the lock.
- The Alabama state record for smallmouth bass of 10 pounds, 8 ounces was caught Oct. 8, 1950 on Wilson Lake – in the tailrace of Wheeler Dam – by Owen W. Smith of Fairfield.
- The Alabama State record for freshwater drum of 41 pounds, 8 ounces was caught on Wilson Lake June 24, 1949 by Wilson Brock of Birmingham.
What the Pros Say About Wilson Lake
- “A lot of fishermen overlook Wilson because it is a small lake. For some reason, they think that it is too small to produce the quality of fish that the bigger lakes like Pickwick and Guntersville turn out. Anyone who overlooks Wilson Lake is making a huge mistake because it is full of great big smallmouth and largemouth bass. It’s one of my favorite lakes.”
-- Tim Horton, Bassmaster Elite Series angler and outdoors television personality, Muscle Shoals
- “Wilson Lake is awesome. Some of my biggest bass have come from Wilson Lake. A lot of people who fish Wilson try to keep it a secret about how good it is, but I don’t mind sharing that it an amazing lake, especially for big smallmouth.”
-- Cameron Gautney, Tennessee River fishing guide, Muscle Shoals
- “There’s several lakes I can go to when I am wanting to catch lots of catfish. When I want to catch some really big catfish, I go to Wilson Lake. I catch lots of catfish in the 20 to 30 pounds range. Thirty-to-40-pound blues (catfish) are pretty common too. There always that chance you are going to catch a 60 pounder or even on that weighs more than 70 pound when you go fishing on Wilson.”
-- Brian Barton, Tennessee River fishing guide, Muscle Shoals
Brian Barton Outdoors
Capt. Brian Barton
Specializing in trophy catfish trips and livebait fishing for smallmouth and striped bass
Shoals Bass Guides
Capt. Cameron Gautney
Specializing in electronics and trophy smallmouth bass
Crappie Connection Guide Service
Capt. Brad Whitehead
Specializing in crappie and livebait fishing for smallmouth and largemouth bass
Davis Whitten Fishing
Specializing in trophy smallmouth and largemouth bass
Capt. Davis Whitten
Bait & Tackle
Gray’s Tackle Shop
2813 Jackson Highway
Shoals Outdoor Sports
1605 U.S. Highway 72
1010 E. 2nd St.
517 Avalon Ave.
Muscle Shoals, AL