There’s a lot at stake on Lake Seminole this week for the finale Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. Southern Division. With Angler of the Year and Strike King Co-angler of the Year titles to be awarded, berths to the Toyota Series Championship this fall on Pickwick Lake and Seminole champions to be crowned, it should be a heck of a week of fishing on the Chattahoochee River impoundment. Recent heavy rains in the region will throw a curveball at the field this week, but Seminole is full of big fish and with multiple patterns in play there should be plenty of fireworks to kick off the month of May.
Lake Seminole was created after the completion of the Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam back in 1952. It backed up the Flint and Chattahoochee rivers and created more than 37,000 acres of prime bass habitat. The Flint River and Spring Creek sections of the lake are entirely in Georgia, but the Chattahoochee arm runs along the border between Florida and Georgia.
The lake offers some offshore structure, but it has historically fished pretty shallow. There’s good reason for that, as tons of standing timber is mixed with hydrilla and all sorts of other vegetation. Sandbars and shallow flats have also played big on Seminole in the past, especially for tournaments held around the spawn.
The last time the Toyota Series rolled down to Seminole in May was back in 2015 and summer patterns seemed to be in full effect. Then again, Clint Brown took home the title relying on late spawning fish and some postspawn bass.
This time around, loads of rain has made Seminole dirtier than usual and Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Joshua Weaver, who has basically grown up on the lake, says it has the lake a bit funky.
“I’ve been down here since last Tuesday, and whenever I got here it was going off,” says Weaver of the bite on Seminole. “The rain hadn’t gotten down the creeks and the rivers yet. Last Saturday they got like 8 or 9 inches of rain around the Spring Creek area and north of here and it really muddied up Spring Creek, which is abnormal. Spring is usually the cleanest one out of the Flint, Chattahoochee and Spring. But Monday was the second dirtiest I have ever seen Spring Creek.
“That kind of screwed things up, but it’s coming back around. Things are cleaning up enough to where the fish will start biting in it. It’s just going to make some things tough, like I really like to throw a swimbait this time of year and it’s going to make that nonexistent.”
With Spring Creek being as dirty as it is, Weaver feels like other portions of the lake may get more attention than usual, which isn’t a bad thing.
“Spring Creek is normally the cleanest water, but now the Chattahoochee is the cleanest, the Flint was second and Spring was third.
“Now, Lake Eufaula (which is upstream on the Chattahoochee) got a lot of rain Tuesday night and that will come down here, so it could change things up over the next few days.”
Adapting to changing conditions will certainly be a storyline this week, but the stage of the bass will be something to watch as well. Despite the calendar having turned to May, there’s more happening on Seminole at the moment than you’d think.
“Seminole sets up like a lot of Florida lakes and the fish start spawning early and really spawn almost year-round,” Weaver says. “There’s still a good many fish spawning, and some prespawn. The lake is actually behind from where it should be this time of year. The fish just aren’t out where I normally catch them this time. If they start showing up on these offshore spots, then it could get really good. But they’re just not out there yet.”
With fish in all stages of the spawn to some degree, the biggest factor this week, at least according to Weaver, is the shad spawn.
“There’s a lot of different places with shad spawns going on right now,” Weaver adds. “So that’s going to be a big player. Pretty much the shad spawn is going to be the deal.”
With so much happening on Seminole right now, you’d expect a wide range of baits to factor. Weaver thinks otherwise.
“Pretty much a [vibrating jig] and spinnerbait will be the ticket,” says Weaver. “I think an A-rig will play some just because of how keyed on shad a lot of these fish are. But the water is too stained to drag the timber with a worm or punch mats like a lot of guys would this time of year. This dirty water just narrows up the range of baits you can throw.”
· Pressure – Seminole can fish small in a normal year, but when a lot of the lake is dirtier than usual that changes things. More anglers may pack into smaller areas of cleaner water or where the shad spawn is really going off and that could make things tough.
· Incoming water – Alabama has been pummeled with rain and because of that, a fair portion of that water could be heading for Seminole in the coming days. Water color and water levels will keep the anglers on their toes over the next three days.
· Shad spawn – With enough inconsistency in the lake right now the steady shad spawn bite will be a primary focus. That being said, that bite can burn you as much as it can help you, so dialing in a Plan B to help carry all three days will be imperative.
With abnormal conditions, the fact of the matter is that Lake Seminole is loaded with big bass. So, expect to see plenty of them cross the weigh-in stage this week.
“Seminole is fishing better right now than I have seen it in a long time,” Weaver says. “It’s putting out some big bags. I fished a tournament last Friday and 26 ½ pounds won, 23 was second, 20 was third and I finished fourth with like 19. There was a ton of 14- to 15-pound bags. But, that was before it got muddy.
“These fish haven’t bit good like they normally do for four or five days, so if these fish turn on you could see even better than that. Overall, I don’t think it’ll be as good as it would if it was clear. I think it’s going to take 62 or 63 pounds win it. I think after Day 2 you’ll see the Top 10 weight around 32 pounds or so.”