Fishing in Gadsden Alabama

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Fishing in Gadsden, Alabama, is an adventure many anglers look forward to. Once the spring season begins, anglers occupy this region’s lakes, creeks, and rivers. With the city approving 7 tournaments suitable for junior and senior anglers in 2023, Gadsden seems to be a popular angler’s gathering place.

With the exciting tournaments motivating and promoting fishing in Gadsden, Alabama, we couldn’t help but get our reels and explore the area. The Gadsden area features some of the best fisheries in the US. If you’re visiting the city, learn about all the hidden gems and the best fishing lake in Gadsden, AL.

Gadsden Alabama Fishing Spots

Gadsden’s lakes, rivers, and streams offer some of the best fishing spots. You can access some of the most beautiful areas around the city in just an hour’s ride or less. Here are some of our favorite places you cannot miss.

Neely Henry Lake

The first stop for any angler is the Neely Henry Lake – built in 1966 on the impediment of the Coosa River. It is only a 20-minute ride south from Gadsden by AL–77 highway. If you are looking for a fishing experience similar to fishing on a creek or a river, try the area from the Weiss Dam to the Hwy 77 bridge. However, if you want a more lake-like fishing experience, then you can go from HWY 77 bridge to the Neely Henry Dam. This area is more reminiscent of a lake.

The lake is more than 11,000 acres big, meaning there’s room for plenty of fish. The predominant fish species you can find here are spotted bass, crappie, largemouth bass, striper, and catfish. Neely Henry Lake also boasts the exclusive Coosa Spot bass, a spotted bass breed with a temper of a largemouth. Anglers say that the challenge the Coosa Spot poses is only for the most skilled and patient angler. Therefore, if you want to test your skills, you have a great opportunity against this unique breed.

Coosa River

The Coosa River is considered Alabama’s most developed river. The starting point of Coosa is the confluence of the Etowah and Oostanaula Rivers in Georgia, ending in Alabama’s capital Montgomery where it meets the Tallapoosa River. 

The Coosa River offers a rich fish population, exciting opportunities, and beautiful landscapes to explore. Despite enjoying a fishing trip along the river, every angler has to see the breathtaking beauty of the nature surrounding the Coosa River. 

Fans of river fishing will surely enjoy the Coosa River, which has a lot to offer. Coosa is considered the place of Alabama’s most productive white bass spawning runs in spring. Anglers can’t get enough of the continuous fishing action and the fight this fish species provides.

Coosa River has an abundance of common fish types like:

  • Black crappie 
  • Grass Carp
  • Channel, blue, and flathead catfish 
  • Smallmouth Buffalo
  • Gar
  • Stripped, largemouth, spotted, white, and yellow bass
  • Redbreast, redear, and green sunfish
  • Bluegill
  • Freshwater drum

Black Creek 

Black Creek is one of the most beautiful fishing areas near Gadsden. The creek flows through Noccalula Falls Park and is only a few minutes away from Gadsded downtown. The place offers beautiful nature and the possibility to enjoy many fun outdoor activities nearby. If you’re looking for areas to spend some quality time with your family, you’ll have plenty of things to do in Black Creek. 

Fishing is also an option in Black Creek, where the most interesting, compelling, and thrilling trout challenge awaits. Rainbow trouts are the predominant fish population at Black Creek and are basically the rulers of this area. The Black Creek trout are known for their temperament and are always ready for some action. Fly-fishing is quite popular here, so if you want to improve your game – there is no better place than Black Creek. 

However, Black Creek’s strict fishing policy differs from other Gadsden, AL, fishing laws. A special trout fishing permit is required to fish within the Noccalula Falls Park and the regular Alabama fishing license. So before organizing a fishing trip to Black Creek, make sure you know all the laws and regulations to avoid paying high fines. 

Lake Guntersville

Lake Guntersville is a 45-minute drive northwest of Gadsden. Don’t let the timing discourage you because it’s worth all the trouble. The lake offers many outdoor activities, including fishing, hunting, camping, boating, golfing, and eagle-watching. That’s all due to the fertile flora and fauna around Lake Guntersville. 

The lake is just as fertile as the soil around it. The dense vegetation of Milfoil and Hydrilla Weed is usually the best habitat for largemouth bass. The bass thrives and governs the lake, but you’ll also find crappie, catfish, bream, bluegill, redear, sunfish, and saugers.

Fishing regulations differ here, so come informed and prepared. Anglers come here for the aggressive action-pack largemouth bass fishing; many offer tournaments. 

Big Wills Creek Campground & Tubing 

Big Wills Creek Campground and Tubing is only a 15-minute drive west of Gadsden. It’s the ideal weekend getaway for an adventurous fishing trip. The creek offers many access points –  you can wade into the river to fish or get a kayak or paddle boat. Every access point is well-marked, so you will easily find your way around. 

The creek currents are super fast and offer the perfect conditions for fly fishing. The predominant fish population in Big Wills is bass, catfish, and panfish. Many anglers come here for the bass fishing adventure and the area’s beautiful nature. Big Wills also offers camping options where anglers gather so they can fish together.

Top Targeted Fish Species

Spotted Bass
Spotted Bass
Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout

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Fish Species in Gadsden, Alabama

Gadsden is home to a variety of fish species. It offers convenient conditions for many predators that seem to flow in the Alabama waters. Below we’ll discuss the most popular fish species in Gadsden and what makes them an interesting catch.

Largemouth Bass

The largemouth bass is a predator fish that prefers densely vegetative areas to hide and wait on the prey. Nocturnal fish feed at night, so the best fishing hours would be either late in the evening or very early in the morning. 

Anglers who prefer late-night fishing can go kayaking or paddling because largemouths are most likely to be found in the middle of the lake searching for food. Wading fishing is most suitable in the early hours because that’s when the bass return to their hiding places. The usual spots where you can find largemouth bass are near the bank or in bushes or rocks.

Spotted Bass

The spotted bass may be related to the largemouth bass, but some differences still single them as a separate breed. The main difference is the habitat. Unlike the largemouth bass that can dwell in murky waters, the spotted bass prefers exclusively clean and clear water conditions. Spotted bass cannot live in streams since they prefer still water. Similar to the largemouth bass, the spotted bass are also predatory fish, and they feed on smaller fish and are not as big as the largemouths.


Crappies are also predatory fish that enjoy murky waters and sandy bottoms. They are primarily found in natural lakes with a sandy bottom structure where they usually hide or in reservoirs with pond-like conditions.

Crappies do not enjoy high streams so you can find them in rivers or creeks only during spawning season. They will deliver the new crappies in a creek and may to calmer areas. The thing about crappies is that they are schooling fish, meaning if you find one crappie, chances are you’ve hit a crappie hotspot.


Catfish is one of the most appealing and exciting gamefish in US waters. Anglers have difficulties catching these species because they grow to a trophy or gigantic size, and each catfish breed requires special attention to trick them. Expect a lot of resistance and fighting back once they’re hooked.

Catfish have great adaptability features so that they can adjust to murky and clear water. Their behavior greatly depends on the place where they live. To catch a catfish, educate yourself and explore the habits of Gadsden Al fishing. The fun fact about catfish is they have outstanding smell and taste senses that help them when they hunt.

Rainbow Trout

Usually, many Gadsden, Alabama, fishing spots in the river are homes for the famous rainbow trout. This type of fish exists in the creeks and rivers, for which they are the most sought-after fish in the fly fishing technique. The rainbow trout feeds on aquatic fleas or smaller fish, and only mature rainbow trout feed on smaller fish.

 Gadsden, Alabama, Fishing Regulations

When embarking on a Gadsden, Alabama, fishing adventure, everyone must follow the general Gadsden, Alabama, fishing regulations. There are also further local fishing regulations that may be applied and followed.

Let’s start with fishing permits. Alabama residents don’t need to purchase a permit, and those over 64 years, with a valid ID, also don’t need a fishing license. Any person older than 16 must have a valid fishing license to fish in salty waters. The Gadsden, Alabama, fishing guides state that Alabama anglers fishing in freshwater using live bait do not need a fishing license. 

Some regulations may include not crossing the daily limit of the given fish, the methods of fishing like having one rod per person, or specific kinds of rods that are allowed.

Before going fishing, always check the Gadsden, Alabama, fishing season regulations, as they differ between states.

Tips for Fishing in Gadsden, Alabama

Gadsden, Alabama, bass fishing opens as of May 1st and continues till late fall. During this period, you have plenty of opportunities to catch your trophy fish. Pack your fly fishing and spin casting gear, trolling equipment, and baitcasting setup and find the best fishing spot.

Gadsden, Alabama, fishing lakes have an abundance of largemouth bass and other game fish that catch the attention of anglers. Below, we elaborate more on the best lures you can use for the most popular fish in Gadsden.

  • Largemouth bass: positive results are proking the fish with spinnerbaits, swimbaits, or jigs. Anglers must imitate the most realistic moves because bass fish are intelligent and rather intuitive. They can easily recognize if another predator is trying to lure them into a trap.
  • Catfish: Since catfish have heightened senses of smell and taste, the ideal fish bait should be stinky. We recommend live baits because they’re by far the most successful baits for catfish. If you want to use artificial lures, find smelly plastic worm lures with the scent of coffee. This usually surprises all anglers, but it’s said to work like a charm. 
  • Spotted Bass: You can use the jigs, crankbaits, or spinnerbaits you used on the largemouth bass. However, you need to go out on the lake because they are schooling fish and usually dwell deeper in the lake. Get a boat or kayak from one of the closest Gadsden, Alabama, fishing charters.
  • Crappie: You can never go wrong with a spinner bait. Crappies enjoy hiding behind a log or a bush or sitting at the bottom of the lake. If you are after them, look into these areas first.

Fishing in Gadsden, Alabama: Final Words

Largemouth bass dwell in many fishing spots, including reservoirs and creeks. Gadsden, Alabama, fishing is also known for the rainbow trout, catfish, and crappie. You can find rainbow trout in many beautiful locations where you can enjoy the intriguing challenge these trouts pose. Similarly, catfish are also a popular way to test your skills.

Consult Gadsden, Alabama, fishing guides to learn more about the fishing in the area. They have the scoop of what fish like and don’t like, where they like to hide, and more. And don’t forget to check the laws on fishing and the licenses you’ll need.

Local Fishing in Gadsden Alabama with Fishing Guides

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Gadsden Fishing Guides

Meet the team of Gadsden Fishing Guides, we know the best spots, baits, and techniques to give you the greatest fishing experience in the Ione area.

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Where can I fish in Gadsden, AL?

Coosa River and Henry Neely Lake are the top choices for fishing in Gadsden, Alabama, because of the rich aquatic flora and fauna.

What lake is near Gadsden, AL?

Henry Neely Lake is the closest to Gadsden, only a 20-minute drive.

What river runs through Gadsden, Alabama?

The 280-mile-long Coosa River runs through Gadsden, Alabama.

People Also Ask

How deep is the Coosa River in Gadsden?

The deepest point in the Coosa River is 17.69 feet deep.

Can you eat fish out of the Coosa River?

Generally, yes. However, some types of fish may not be the cleanest and most nutritious for children or pregnant women.

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