Ever since 1976, when BASS first visited Lake Guntersville for the Bassmaster Classic, this 69,100-acre Tennessee River reservoir in northern Alabama has been a favorite tour stop. During the 2006 Elite Series tournament here, Michael Iaconelli won with 71 pounds, 13 ounces.
What has made the lake so productive for so long is the combination of milfoil and shallow cover, primarily stumps, that extends from one end of the 30-mile-long lake to the other. Together, they attract and hold bass throughout the year.
Depending on the water conditions, the Elite pros will use soft plastic stickworms, spinnerbaits and possibly topwater lures during the Southern Challenge. That much will be easy. The difficult choices come when trying to decide where to fish, because the lake has so many time-proven areas.
On the lower end, near Guntersville, there's Brown's Creek, offering open water milfoil, bridge pilings, riprap and other shallow options. On the north end, closer to Scottsboro, choices include North and South Sauty Creeks, each with milfoil and stumpy flats; and Siebold Branch, a wide, shallow flat covered with milfoil and crisscrossed with smaller ditches.
The lake is best known for quality bass in the 4- to 7-pound range, and in late April, when the Elite pros are on the water, those fish should be moving shallow and become more accessible.
The Guntersville Museum will have relocated to its new home, the old Guntersville Armory, in time for the Southern Challenge. The armory was built in 1936 and is constructed of rough limestone, forming a castellated appearance. Today the museum focuses on not only Guntersville's rich local history, but also Native American artifacts and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) history. The museum hosts at least one or two nationally traveling exhibits a year, combined with special monthly exhibits. (www.lakeguntersville.org)