The Fish of Alabama: The Different Species and Subspecies

Those who live in the state of Alabama are lucky when it comes to fishing. Alabama is an absolute fishing hotspot with over 500,000 acres of freshwater bodies, including rivers, lakes, and streams. On top of that, saltwater fishing is also prevalent in the country, with many people traveling to the state only to catch some of the many species and subspecies found there. 

Ever thought about going fishing in Alabama? If so, you should know more about the fish in Alabama, when the best time for fishing is, whether you need a fishing permit or endorsement, etc. 

This guide will discuss these topics in great detail, so stick around to learn more!

Alabama Fish Species – Explained

According to sources, more than 450 species of fish can be found in Alabama waters, and they belong to approximately 30 different families. They live in the 16 different river systems in the state, allowing anglers from all over to have at least a few places they can visit to catch a few fish. 

If you are new to Alabama fish species and want to know more about the species and subspecies commonly found in the state, below follows a detailed list of the top 4 saltwater and top 4 freshwater fish you should attempt to catch when fishing in Alabama:

Alabama Freshwater Fish

All rivers and lakes in Alabama are densely populated by Alabama freshwater fish, and believe us when we say this – there are many rivers and lakes in the state. Those anglers interested in freshwater fishing can try inshore fisheries in addition to regular freshwater fishing. During their journey, they may come across the following common fish species: 

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass is quite common in Alabama, especially the Tennessee River. This species is smaller than the largemouth bass and usually lives in bodies of water that are not inhabited by its larger sibling. Some smallmouth bass can live up to 15 years, but they typically reach maturity between the ages of 2 and 4. The best time to catch some smallmouth bass is in spring and summer, as these fish are more active in warmer weather. 

Topwater Smallmouth Bass Fishing

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass is yet another bass species you can find in Alabama. This is quite a common species, as it is prevalent across the US. 

If you wish to try the largemouth bass fish of Alabama, we recommend going in the summer. That is when the bass comes to shallow waters to feed. Since they spawn earlier in the year, there are many young largemouth bass that you can also catch. 

Pickwick Landing Dam and the surrounding area


You might have heard this name from the MTV series “Catfish,” but the name actually comes from a fish species! This fish is quite funny-looking, with whiskers on its face and a skin-colored body that can be up to 12 inches long. 

These fish spawn in spring but are most active in summer when looking for food. So, you will most likely catch them in summer with worm or crawfish baits.


Crappies are the best fish to catch with children as they are not extremely fast-moving and will go for any bait that comes their way. This species is also quite delicious, so if you go crappie fishing in Alabama, you may end up with a fantastic lunch or dinner for the whole family. 

Alabama Saltwater Fish

Deep sea fishing is quite common in the area because of the many saltwater fish Alabama has to offer. If you ever want to taste some Alabama saltwater fish, you should try catching: 


You can find redfish under the name red drum or even red bass, as this is another common bass species in this state. These fish can grow up to 45 inches and exceed 50 pounds. Although they are available all year, they are not the easiest fish to catch as they are meticulous swimmers. When fishing for redfish, you’ll be up for a fight!


Tarpons are some of this planet’s oldest inhabitants, as biologists have found that they date to prehistoric times. They are most active during summer, especially in July. Many anglers target Tarpon in summer as this is a common game fish in Alabama and other US states.  


Trout is another common species in bodies of water in the US. When it comes to Alabama, interested anglers can go trout fishing year-round and are not talking about Rainbow trout, as these fish are highly active all year long. There are many trout species, with the most prevalent being the speckled trout.


Flounder is a species not recommended for beginner anglers as it is quite challenging to catch. These fish are active all year round, especially at nighttime. 

There are many flounder species, with many people thinking that the halibut is one of the flounder species. But this fish is more of a relative to flounder than a subspecies. 

What to Fish for When in Alabama?

Even though you can target any of the abovementioned fish species in Alabama, you should know a few facts before planning your next trip

Here is what you need to know about Alabama fishing: 

  • The best type of fish to target in Alabama is the bass and trout. All the species mentioned above are quite common across the state, so you can pick your favorite and start targeting it. 
  • The best time of year to fish in Alabama is summer, as many fish move from deep to shallow waters to feed and get a bit of warmth. However, some species are active year-round, so you go fishing even in winter!
  • The spawning season of most Alabama fish species is spring, so you can expect to see many youngsters swimming around during summer. 
  • To go fishing in Alabama, you must obtain a license and have the proper endorsement for some less common fish species. 

Final Words on the Fish of Alabama

We hope our exhaustive fishing guide was enough to have you wishing to fish Alabama waters ASAP! As an extremely fishing-friendly state, Alabama offers hundreds of fish species, many of which will have you licking your fingers, like the juicy bass or crappie.

Whenever you experience the beauty of Alabama, its amazing waterfront sceneries, and the awesome fishing community, do not hesitate to share it with us!


What is the most common fish in Alabama?

If there is one fish species that is most prevalent in Alabama, it has to be the bass, especially the largemouth bass. 

What is the biggest fish in Alabama?

The biggest freshwater fish Alabama state has ever had is the catfish, with some fish exceeding 100 pounds. As for the biggest saltwater fish Alabama has, it has to be the yellowfin tuna, which can sometimes exceed 400 pounds and be more than 8 feet long. 

Can you Catch tuna in Alabama?

Anglers can catch tuna when fishing at any of the bodies of water in Alabama. The yellowfin tuna is the most common and largest tuna found in Alabama. 

People Also Ask

Why does Alabama have so many fish?

The fish Alabama state has usually lives there because of the warmer climate. The weather makes the area suitable for fish feeding and spawning both in summer and winter. The area’s high rainfall levels and the many bodies of water also make it possible for many fish species to stay there. 

Are fish safe to eat in Alabama?

Even though there are many Alabama fish species, most are not recommended for eating. Before catching and cooking fish in Alabama, check the list of fish not safe to eat. 


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