Alabama Lakes: Angler’s Greatest Attraction!

Alabama lakes are and have always been the main attraction for American anglers. There’s a simple reason behind this craze among fishers – Alabama’s diversity of lakes and overpopulation of various bass species. 

Here, we’ll dive into the lakes Alabama has to find out more about the different Alabama fish species and how, when, and where you can catch them. Plus, we’ve prepared some essential details and tips on fishing rigs, techniques, and equipment applicable to the lakes in Alabama.

Let’s cast our baits!

Lakes in Alabama: Overview

Some of the most common fish species in the lakes of Alabama are crappies, bluegills, sunfishes, and numerous bass species. For example, Alabama anglers often target and fish for largemouths, smallmouths, striped, whites, and yellow bass. 

Alabama’s diverse ecosystem shouldn’t come as a surprise – the state has more than 23 freshwater lakes distributed across 20 counties. It means you can target and fish for different species at almost any time of the year. Many professional anglers can assure you that these 23 freshwater lakes are overpopulated with bass species, such as largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass. 

These lake systems are interconnected with a huge number of rivers and streams that are also full of crappies, bluegills, and striped bass. Some of the more popular lakes in Alabama are Guntersville Lake, Lake Martin, Jordan Lake, Pickwick Lake, Weiss Lake, and Wheeler Lake.

Alabama lakes and rivers are an incredible angling, schooling, and trolling destination. Different native Alabama fish species are active and aggressive during various parts of the year or the day. For this purpose, you can use multiple rigs, such as Texas, Alabama, or drop shot, to catch your favorite fish. 



Aerojet Canal Angler - Florida Lakes

Alabama River



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Cahaba River


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Coosa River



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Tallapoosa River

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Tennessee River

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Lake Reedy Angler

The Most Popular Lakes in Alabama

Each of the 23 lakes in AL has its own magic! There are lakes where you can fish for bass and lakes where you can fish for crappie. Some lakes allow you to use all rig types, and some are perfect for various lures, such as poppers, crankbaits, plastic worms, etc. 

Guntersville Lake, Wheeler Lake, Lay Lake, Pickwick Lake, Lake Jordan, Lake Martin, and Weiss Lake are the lakes in Alabama that meet all these criteria. 

These lakes in Alabama allow you to fish in almost any seasonal, temperature, or water conditions:

Guntersville Lake 

Guntersville Lake is the largest lake in Alabama, and it stretches more than 69.000 acres and houses numerous fish species. It’s probably one of the most diverse lakes where you can target and catch largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, and striped bass, as well as bluegill, red-ear sunfish, catfish, and crappie.

The best time to fish in Guntersville Lake is spring because the numerous fish species, like largemouths and crappies, are most active between March and June. Guntersville Lake, Alabama, is also famous for its boat fishing opportunities!

Wheeler Lake

Wheeler Lake is known as the second-biggest lake in Alabama, popular for professional and amateur annual angling events. The tournaments are usually held to catch Wheeler Lake’s primary targets – smallmouth and largemouth bass.

Wheeler Lake will allow you to use different rig sets because of the various fishing conditions. More precisely, Wheeler Lake is abundant with wide-open reservoirs, rock bluffs, flats, and creek channels. The most popular fish in Wheeler Lake is the catfish, which you can target at any time of the year.

Lay Lake

Lay Lake is another popular tournament fishing spot. Lay Lake hosts multiple seasonal tournaments, and the main targets are the largemouth and spotted bass species. This comes naturally because the deep creeks, sloughs, and weeded shallows are ideal for breeding.

The best spot to throw your baits is the Logan Martin Dam tailwaters, where fishers from around the state gather annually to celebrate by catching 6-pounder smallmouths and 9-pounder largemouths. 

Pickwick Lake

When you mention Pickwick Lake, every professional Alabama angler will picture a 6-pound smallmouth. Pickwick Lake is famous for the abundance of smallmouth bass and covers 47.500 acres. Professional anglers are familiar with Pickwick as a lake where they can target and catch trophy-sized largemouths, smallmouths, and striped bass species.

It’s even more interesting because Pickwick Lake hosts some monster-sized catfish, including huge crappies and breams. Down the swift waters of Wilson Dam, you can enjoy a winter-angling experience like no other!

Lake Jordan

Lake Jordan is most popular for bank fishing. You can apply almost any bank fishing technique and rig to catch various species, such as crappie, catfish, largemouth, and smallmouth bass

Lake Jordan stretches for 7.000 acres and connects directly to another great fishing destination – Coosa River!

Lake Jordan is open for fishing panfish, bluegill, and hybrids at any time of the year. Nonetheless, the lake is most famous for the summer fishing opportunities, when the numerous species go upper in the water column. 

Lake Martin

Lake Martin is the second biggest lake in Alabama, spread over 39.000 acres of water surface. Even though it is rich in various species, spotted bass fishing is prohibited during particular months of the year. 

Lake Martin is most popular because of the tournament bass fishing when Alabama and US anglers compete to catch the biggest largemouth, which can sometimes span up to 10 feet. That’s why Wind Creek State Park offers professional anglers an on-site weigh-in station where they can determine the size and weight of their caught trophy bass.

Weiss Lake

Weiss Lake is one of the Alabama Lakes famous for the unprecedented population of crappies. That’s why Weiss Lake is often referred to as the “Crappie Capital of the World”! It’s located in Northeast Alabama and offers some incredible sightings, such as river systems, waterfalls, and open or semi-open waters full of bass, catfish, crappies, bluegill, and sunfish.

The Best Fishing Lakes in Alabama

There’s no best lake in Alabama – each quill guarantees an unmatched angling experience depending on the fish species, temperature, and water conditions. For instance, some fishing lakes in Alabama provide dense weed beds, while others have sloughs, deep creeks, and shallows. On the other hand, the bass is the most frequent fish species in some, while the catfish, sunfish, and bluegill populate others.

The most famous lakes in Alabama are Lake Guntersville, Lake Martin, Lake Eufaula, and Lake Smith. Each one is famous for the opportunity to use various rigs, lures, and rods to catch your favorite fish species:

Lake Guntersville

There’s a reason why Lake Guntersville Alabama is a top-angling destination! Firstly, Lake Guntersville is the biggest lake in Alabama and the biggest of the lakes in North Alabama, located between Bridgeport and Guntersville. The water’s temperature and seasonal conditions make it ideal for fish species, such as largemouth bass, crappie, and bream. The fish habitat of Guntersville includes the famous Milfoil and Hydrilla weed beds, where you can use topwater baits to initiate strikes by largemouths at any time of the year!

Lake Guntersville Alabama will allow you to use multiple fishing rigs, depending on the water and temperature conditions, including a Texas, drop shot, Alabama, and California rig. Lastly, as the biggest lake, Lake Guntersville is 69.000 acres and an incredible destination for boat fishing.

Lake Martin

The total water surface of Lake Martin Alabama covers more than 39.000 acres and connects to the Tallapoosa River, with more than 700 miles of shoreline. These characteristics make Lake Martin Alabama an incredible fishing destination because of the different cover types, including numerous creeks. Lake Martin is a great destination for targeting and catching native largemouth bass.

The most famous locations of Lake Martin, where you can catch largemouths, smallmouths, striped, and white bass, are Cooley Creek, Kowaliga Creek, and Elkahatchee Creek. However, bass isn’t the only fish species populating these areas. You can also target numerous strikes by species, such as bluegill, sunfish, and catfish. On top of that, at Lake Martin Alabama, you can always participate in the regular tournaments at Wind Creek State Park!

Lake Eufaula

Lake Eufaula Alabama is also one of the lakes in Alabama with an incredible bass fishing reputation. Lake Eufaula is sometimes referred to as the Bass Fishing Capital of the World because you can target almost any bass species! However, the most popular ones circling above the weed beds are the largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass. The lake is located between Alabama and Georgia and forms on the Chattahoochee River.

Lake Eufaula is also among Alabama’s top angling, schooling, and trolling destinations because of its width of approximately 45.000 acres. Furthermore, Lake Eufaula Alabama offers optimal fishing conditions during all seasons. During each season, you can decide whether to catch the bass species or to go for something more secure but less exciting, such as black crappie and catfish.

Lake Smith

Lake Smith Alabama is known as one of the cleanest lakes in Alabama. It covers 21.000 acres and is located on the Black Warrior River at the Sipsey Fork. Lake Smith offers an exceptional fishing experience because you’ll fish equally efficiently in shallow waters and water columns 200 feet deep. 

Lake Smith is full of bass species, including smallmouth, largemouth, spotted, striped, and white bass. Many anglers have reported that you can also target and catch the ever-attractive Guadalupe bass! Other abundant species are the black crappie, white crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, longear sunfish, redear sunfish, and flathead catfish. 

Seasonal Fishing: Best Time to Fish on an Alabama Lake

The lakes in Alabama will provide unparalleled fishing conditions at almost any time of the year. Even though the best time to fish for various bass species is during the spawning, pre-spawning, or post-spawning seasons, you can always target other species most active during the remaining parts of the year. 

For example, if you want to fish for the largemouth bass in the lakes in South Alabama, you can cast your baits between April and June. On the other hand, if you want to target the smallmouth, you can always head to the nearest Alabama lake during fall. However, you can catch other fish species, like bluegills, panfish, catfish, or sunfish, almost during any time of the year. 

Following is a brief analysis of the best times to fish various species in the most famous lakes in Alabama:

The Best Time to Fish At Guntersville Lake

Crappie is one of the most abundant fish species in Guntersville Lake. If you’ve been targeting and catching crappies, the best time to fish for them on Guntersville Lake is spring and fall. 

You can angle for crappie at almost any time of the day. However, professional anglers usually suggest that you target the crappie during the night hours, around bridges and pilings.

Nonetheless, Guntersville is one of the lakes in Alabama that has numerous bass species. You have the highest chance of catching some in March. During this month, the water temperature is ideal for spawning, and the largemouths, smallmouths, striped, and spotted bass species are most active and aggressive. 

Generally, the best time to fish for all species on Guntersville Lake is between dawn and early morning and during the night hours.

The Best Time to Fish at Lake Martin

Even though professional anglers consider Lake Martin the best winter fishing location, many throw their baits and pull out 10-pounder largemouths during spring and fall. During the summer, the largemouths and smallmouths are more aggressive, and you’d need heavier fishing lines with spinnerbaits and buzz baits.

Lake Martin is one of the Alabama Lakes where you can go for boat fishing during the hotter months. It’s essential to know the temperature characteristics of this lake because various species are active during different times of the year. Here’s a simple example: when the water temperature cools during the fall, the smallmouths are most active, while during the winter months, you can easily target crappies and catfish.

Most professional anglers tend to fish at Lake Martin during the night because the bass is clumsy, hungry, and ready to initiate an all-out strike!

The Best Time to Fish At Lake Eufaula

Angling for catfish is the most popular fishing venture at Lake Eufaula Alabama! The best time to target its famous giants is early spring and late winter. Usually, during this time of the year, the swollen females with roes migrate from the ledges to the spawning flats. However, Lake Eufaula is one of the fishing Lakes in Alabama where you can find bass all year.

For instance, if you want to catch some 10-pounder largemouths, you can target them between March and April. On the other hand, if you’d like to enrich your trophy-sized fish collection, you can target the smallmouths, largemouths, and striped bass in the shallower areas during the fall. The biodiversity also enables the bass species to populate the weed beds in May after the cold and exhausting winters.

The Best Time to Fish At Lake Smith

The best times to fish at Lake Smith Alabama are fall, winter, and spring during day time and at night during the hotter summer months. Nevertheless, the best time to catch spotted or smallmouth bass is during the night hours of the spawning season (from May through June).  

Additionally, the spring months will offer you an extraordinary opportunity to catch crappies, bluegills, panfish, sunfish, or catfish. All of these species are active and spawning during these months, and you can target and pull them out of the water around the large reservoirs by renting a fishing boat.

Tips for Fishing on Alabama Lakes

Before you go on an Alabama fishing journey, prepare your tackle box with all the necessary rods, rigs, baits, and lures. We’re telling you this because Alabama lakes and rivers can have specific characteristics which can render you unable to catch even a single fish if you don’t know what equipment to use and when to fish for the particular species.

Let’s look at some tips & tricks you can use to make any species strike upon your hook and bait:

General Alabama Fishing Tips

Here are some general fishing tips for the lakes in Alabama. Nonetheless, you can apply these tips to almost all fishing conditions, including different water, temperature, or seasonal circumstances:

  • Check the lake’s biodiversity and temperature characteristics – You can’t go fishing in some of the lakes in AL without knowing what fish species live there, how they feed, and when their spawning seasons are. Each lake hosts different species with diverse habits and feeding characteristics, and they’re most active and aggressive during various times of the day and the year.
  • Prepare your tackle box – After you’ve checked the characteristics of the lake’s biodiversity and temperature, prepare your tackle box with all the rigs, hooks, swivels, weights, bait, lures, and rods. It’s essential to know that you may need, for example, a Texas rig in certain conditions or a drop shot in others.
  • Find out more about the targeted fish species – Each species has its feeding and temperature preferences. Don’t baffle yourself too much with these! Just keep an open eye on the lure and rig settings applicable to various depths and species living therein.
  • Choose the type of fishing – Different fishing techniques and movements apply to different lakes. For example, somewhere is better to school or troll from a fishing boat, while other lakes are more suitable for shoreline and river angling.

Freshwater Alabama Fishing Tips

Because the Alabama lakes are freshwater areas, you should have a level of know-how regarding fishing in your targeted area. Following is a set of tips & tricks you can use to catch your favorite species in the freshwaters of the lakes in Alabama:

  • Get your freshwater fishing gear – Freshwater fishing rigs and lures are quite different from saltwater baits and rigs. Carry your freshwater fishing gear, such as lures, hooks, swivels, and leaders.
  • Follow the weather pattern – The movement of the sun and the month can be essential in efficiently targeting your favorite species. 
  • Sharp hooks & strong lines – Some Alabama catfish, largemouths, and smallmouths can put up a hell of a fight! You can also consider sharpening your hooks after each snag!
  • Clean your gear and hands – It might sound confusing, but freshwater fish are sensitive to aromas and smells.
  • Consider the temperature conditions – Freshwater temperature conditions can vary from area to area. Consider all the temperature factors before you cast your baits!

Final Words

You can embark on a fishing journey almost anywhere across Alabama! The main reason is the abundance of rivers, dams, and lakes. However, the best fishing lakes in Alabama sparked our interest because of the numerous species living there, such as bluegills, crappies, sunfish, panfish, catfish, and multiple bass species.

Guntersville, Eufaula, Lake Smith, and Lake Martin are only a chunk of the most attractive lakes where you can target and catch all these species. There are 20 more Alabama lakes full of diverse fish and creatures. Nonetheless, before you go on an Alabama angling venture, make sure you learn more about the various fishing conditions, the characteristics of the particular species, and the applicable fishing gear!