Smith Lake Alabama

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Smith Lake Alabama

When visiting Smith Lake, Alabama, going fishing is a must! Fishing on Smith Lake attracts anglers from all over the country, as this lake is populated with many species of fish, including largemouth and spotted bass, striped bass, crappie, and catfish. It is known for being one of the best spots for bass fishing in Alabama, and if you play it right, you can catch a trophy-sized game fish.

The lake’s clear water and varying depths provide a unique fishing adventure that both experienced and novice anglers can enjoy. That is why fishing on Smith Lake, Alabama, can provide a good action, regardless of whether you are an experienced angler or a novice fisherman. 

Are you ready to pack up your fishing gear and go for a fishing adventure? If you’re wondering where is Smith Lake in Alabama, bear with us, and we’ll give you all the scoop on fishing on Smith Lake

Smith Lake Bass Fishing

Smith Lake Bass Fishing

Fish Smith Lake

Overview of Smith Lake, Alabama

Smith Lake, Alabama, located in the northern-central part of the state, is a reservoir created by the damming of the Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River. It is one of the largest artificial lakes in Alabama, with a surface area of approximately 21,200 acres. The shoreline stretches over 500 miles, a 944-square-mile watershed area, and a retention time that is 435 days.

The lake lies in the counties of Cullman, Walker, and Winston. It was finished in 1961 by the Alabama Power Company, and it has several public access points, boat ramps, and marinas, making it easy for visitors to enjoy its waters.

The Bankhead National Forest stretches 180,000 acres and surrounds the west side of Smith Lake, Alabama. The lake’s depth varies, with the deepest point reaching up to 264 feet.

What is Lake Smith, Alabama, Known for?

The lake is known for its crystal clear water, with its visibility having an average of around 15 feet, while the lake’s temperature depends on the season. Smith Lake, Alabama, offers a variety of recreational outdoor activities, from fishing to boating, swimming, and camping.

Fishing on the lake is a leading practice and brings around anglers from all over the US. Smith Lake in Alabama is home to many types of fish and is a very nice and diverse lake offering a variety of outdoor possibilities. It’s considered one of the best spots for bass fishing in Alabama.

In addition, Smith Lake in AL has a unique topography that makes it an ideal destination for fishing enthusiasts and experienced anglers; at the same time, the expansive shoreline and recreational facilities cover and cater to a range of interests. 

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Fishing Smith Lake

Fishing on Smith Lake, Alabama, is a favorite amongst many anglers. Due to its clear waters, diverse fish species, and unique topography, the lake offers a challenging and exciting fishing adventure. Below, we will explore and give an insight into some of the most common fish species in Lake Smith.


Smith Lake, Alabama, is known for its excellent bass fishing, particularly largemouth and spotted bass. It’s estimated that the lake’s bass population is good, with Alabama’s daily limit of 10 fish of the black bass variant (largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted)

Bass fish are often found in shallow areas near structures like weed beds, docks, and drop-offs. In Lake Smith, Alabama, you can catch a trophy-size striped bass, with fish in the 40+ pound range, while the record caught in Smith Lake is a 50+ pound bass.


Catfish is another popular game fish found in Lake Smith, Alabama, with a few catfish varieties present in the lake, including channel, bullhead, and flathead catfish. These fish can be caught all year long but tend to be most active during the warmer months of the year. Their size averages from 20 to 30 inches in length, while their weight can exceed 100 pounds.

You can find them in the lake’s deeper areas, near structures like brush piles and submerged timber. There is no daily limit for catfish under 34 inches; however, there is a 1-fish limit for catfish over 34 inches. The last recorded catfish stocking of Smith Lake in AL is on 12 July 2022, with 150 Channel Catfish under 6 inches.


Rainbow Trout is stocked annually in Smith Lake, Alabama, to provide anglers with a fishing challenge. In April 2023, two stockings were recorded, each with a quantity of 450 fish greater than 6 inches. In 2022, there were large quantities of Rainbow Trout stockings and the Westslope Cutthroat Trout.

These fish are typically caught during the cooler months and can be found in deeper lake areas near the thermocline. There is a 5-fish limit for Rainbow Trout in this region.


Crappie is a common panfish found here, making Smith Lake, Alabama, an angler’s favorite hotspot. There is a healthy crappie population, a fish species often found near brush piles and submerged timber.

The average size of black crappie caught in Smith Lake in AL ranges from 12 to 18 inches, while the adult size of white crappie ranges from 12 to 20 inches. Both species are known to be popular targets, with large quantities of fish caught by fishermen each year. This is due to the high regional limit of 30 white and black crappies combined, which are larger than 9 inches.

Seasonal Fishing on Smith Lake

Fishing on Smith Lake, Alabama, is a year-round activity, but still, the best time to go fishing depends on the season alongside the type of fish you want to catch. When is the best time to fish on Smith Lake, and what kinds of fish to expect during each season? Let’s find out!

Spring Fishing

Spring is often called the best time for fishing on Smith Lake, Alabama. This is when the water temperature starts to warm up, and the fish become more active. In addition, many fish species have their spawning cycle starting in springtime.

Anglers can expect to catch largemouth and spotted bass, crappie, catfish, trout, and other fish. The best time to go fishing on Lake Smith during the spring is early morning, late afternoon, or early evening when the water is still relatively cool.

Summer Fishing

Summer is an exciting season for fishing on Smith Lake, Alabama. It may not be the preferred season for some anglers, but you can expect to catch largemouth and spotted bass, catfish, crappie, and other present fish year-round.

This is a season of good weather and a good mood, and the target times to fish during the summer months are early morning and late afternoon. Some anglers like night fishing during the summer, as the heat can make the fish less active during the day.

Fall Fishing

In fall, the water begins to cool down, and the fish start to feed aggressively before winter. During this time, anglers can expect to catch largemouth and spotted bass, catfish, and crappie.

The best fishing time in fall is early morning or late afternoon, until dusk, just like in the summer and spring. 

Winter Fishing

Winter may not be the most popular season for fishing on Smith Lake, as the water temperature drops and the fish become less active.

However, for brave anglers not afraid of the cold weather, winter can be an excellent time to catch trout stocked annually here. The best time to fish for trout during the winter is midday when the water is warm.

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Smith Lake, Alabama, Bass Fishing

One of the main reasons Smith Lake is such a great destination for bass fishing is the lake’s unique structure. The water is deep and clear, with numerous points and ledges providing ample bass habitat.

The lake’s topography is especially conducive to fishing with topwater lures, jerk baits, and swimbaits. The shoreline is also lined with fallen trees, brush piles, and other structures, providing good cover and food for bass.

The lake’s size is also a hit destination for bass fishing. As mentioned previously, Lake Smith, Alabama, has over 21,000 acres of water and a 500-mile shoreline. This provides plenty of areas to explore and fish. Anglers can find bass throughout the lake, from the shallow coves to the deep, rocky points and ledges.

Bass Species

Smith Lake in Alabama is widely regarded as one of the premier bass fishing destinations in the region. According to the identification chart, the lake is filled with the following bass species:

  • Largemouth bass
  • Guadalupe bass 
  • Striped Bass
  • Smallmouth bass
  • White Bass
  • Spotted Bass 
  • Yellow Bass
  • Striped Bass Hybrids

 Largemouth bass and large-sized Striped bass are the most populous and widely targeted species. The lake maintains a healthy bass population and provides anglers with sustainable fisheries. The largemouth bass population is especially impressive, with fish weighing over 10 pounds caught regularly, while the striped bass can be found in monster sizes over 40 pounds.

Smith Lake Alabama Map

Smith Lake Al

Lake Smith Fishing Regulations 

Before fishing on Lake Smith in Alabama, it is essential to be aware of the lake’s fishing regulations. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is in charge of overseeing and enforcing the fishing regulations in the Alabama and Lake Smith region. Below we present some of the rules and guidelines that anglers need to be aware of before casting their lines.

Fishing License

All anglers fishing in Smith Lake must possess a valid Alabama fishing license that can be purchased online or from various spots and retailers across the state.

Size and Catch Limits

The size and catch limits for different fish species in the lake vary, and anglers must adhere to these regulations. For example, the general limit for black bass (largemouth and smallmouth) in Alabama is 10 fish. The daily creel limit is no more than five smallmouth bass in the mix per angler.

Special regulations for Lewis Smith Reservoir also limit the daily saltwater striped bass catch to 2 for those larger than 22 inches in total length.  Between June 15th and October 15th, it’s illegal to purposely cull any saltwater striped bass from the daily allowed creel. Catching black bass varieties (largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted) between 13 and 15 inches in total length is also considered illegal.

Why are regulations necessary?

Following regulations is crucial to ensure the healthiness and sustainability of the lake’s ecosystem. Anglers can obtain a complete set of fishing regulations from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website or by contacting their local offices. Check out Lake Smith, Alabama, guides and familiarize yourself with all necessary information and rules before embarking on a fishing adventure.

Tips for Fishing on Smith Lake, Alabama 

Each fishing spot has its own characteristics. However, some universal tips apply and can help when fishing on Smith Lake, Alabama.

  • If possible, try using a boat to access deeper areas of the lake where many attractive fish tend to hide and congregate.
  • You can experiment with fishing at different times of the day to see when the fish are most active. We suggest early morning and late afternoon, which are typically good times to fish.
  • Pay attention to weather conditions because sudden temperature changes can affect the fish’s behavior.
  • Use lures mimicking the natural prey or live bait to increase the chances of success in your fishing quest. 
  • Always follow the fishing rules and regulations, care for the environment around the lake, support sustainable fishing, and leave good practices for yourself and future generations.
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Final Words

Smith Lake, Alabama, offers fishing opportunities during the whole year for anglers of different skill levels and fishing techniques. Identify the best time to fish and what kind of fish you expect to catch in the region and during each season to maximize your chances of having a successful fishing trip.

Overall, Smith Lake is an excellent destination for bass fishing, with its unique structure, large size, and high-quality bass population. In addition, Lake Smith, Alabama, is a great choice for fishing trout, crappie, catfish, and other fish species. With its versatility, this lake has something to offer for everyone.


What kind of fish are in Smith Lake Alabama?

Smith Lake, Alabama, has a variety of fish, including bass, catfish, crappie, and trout.

What is the best bait to use at Smith Lake?

Depending on the type of fish being targeted, it’s best to use live bait or lures that mimic the natural prey of the target fish.

What fish are biting in Smith Lake, Alabama?

The type of fish biting in Smith Lake, Alabama, can vary depending on the season and conditions. Bass, catfish, crappie, and trout are common targets, but some anglers visit Smith Lake for the trophy-size game fish. 

People Also Ask

Does Smith Lake have smallmouth bass?

Yes, the smallmouth bass is found in Smith Lake, Alabama.

What is the size limit for bass in Smith Lake, Alabama?

The size limit for black bass in Smith Lake, Alabama, is not to possess black bass (largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted) between 13 and 15 inches in length.