Things To Do: Enjoy Fishing in Your National Forest

The National Forests in Alabama offers you many opportunities to escape the crowds and explore more than 668,000 acres of public lands. Several ponds and reservoirs on the National Forests in Alabama offer great fishing for bass, bream, crappie, and catfish. Several miles of stream contain bream and bass including the "trout of the south" or red-eye bass.

An Alabama state fishing license is required to fish within the National Forests in Alabama. Unless otherwise posted, state fishing regulations and limits apply to all waters on the National Forests in Alabama.

Along with our partners and cooperators, we are proud to host free annual “Kids Fishing Days” across the Forests. Contact the district offices for more information on dates and locations.

Stop the Spread of Non-Native Invasive Species

Unwanted plants and animals can hitchhike on boats, trailers, gear, and vehicles. Non-native Invasive Species (NNIS) plants typically grow quickly and can take over lakes negatively impacting fish populations and making boating and fishing nearly impossible. NNIS fish and other aquatic organisms can displace natives and ruin the local fisheries.

To prevent the spread of NNIS, be sure to take the following precautions prior to visiting and before leaving a waterbody:

Click to learn more about preventing the spread of NNIS

Remove any visible mud, plants, fish or animals before transporting equipment

Eliminate water from equipment before transporting

Clean and dry anything that came in contact with water (Boats, trailers, equipment, clothing, dogs, etc.)

Never release plants, fish or animals into a body of water unless they came out of that body of water.

For more information on the prevention of spread of NNIS click the links or the icon above.


Bankhead National Forest

Brushy Lake

Surface acres:

26

Fish species:

largemouth bass, spotted bass, bluegill, redear sunfish (shell cracker), and crappie

Fishing access:

1 boat ramp (no gas powered motor operation permitted), 1 universal accessible fishing pier, shoreline fishing

Creel limits:

Posted: 3 bass of any size, 20 bream all other Alabama state regulated daily, possession, and size limits apply.

<
 

Brushy Lake directions, maps, and additional information.

Map of Brushy Creek LakeMap: click image to enlarge


Lewis-Smith Lake (Smith Lake) is a 21,200 acres revervoir operated by the Alabama Power Company. The fisheries is managed by the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division. The Bankhead National Forest operates and maintains three recreation areas around Smith Lake with boat ramps and parking at each along with camping, hiking and other recreational opportunities. For more information click the following recreation area links: Clear Creek Recreation Area, Houston Recreation Area, and Corinth Recreation Area.

Conecuh National Forest

Open Pond

Open Pond Recreation area has 3 natural ponds (Open Pond, Buck Pond, and Ditch Pond) totaling 50 acres.

Open Pond directions, maps, and additional information.

Surface acres:

35

Fish species:

largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and channel catfish

Fishing access: 

3 boat ramps (no gas powered motor operation permitted), 2 universal accessible fishing piers, shoreline fishing

Creel limits:

Unless otherwise posted, all Alabama state regulated daily, possession, and size limits apply.

 

Maps and photos: click on image to enlarge

Map of Open Pond Recreation Area

Map of Open Pond

Photo of Open Pond

Photo of Open Pond


Buck Pond

Surface acres:

6

Fish species:

largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish

Fishing access: 

1 universal accessible fishing piers, limited shoreline fishing

Creel limits:

Unless otherwise posted, all Alabama state regulated daily, possession, and size limits apply.

 

Maps and photos: click on images to enlarge

Map of Open Pond Recreation Area

Map of Buck Pond

Photo of Buck Pond


Ditch Pond

Surface acres:

8

Fish species:

largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish

Fishing access: 

1 boat launch (no gas powered motor operation permitted), shoreline fishing

Creel limits:

Unless otherwise posted, all Alabama state regulated daily, possession, and size limits apply.

 

Maps and photos: click on images to enlarge

Map of Open Pond Recreation Area

Map of Ditch Pond

Photo of Ditch Pond


Blue Lake

Surface acres:

39

Fish species:

largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish

Fishing access: 

1 boat launch (no gas powered motor operation permitted), limited shoreline fishing

Creel limits:

Unless otherwise posted, all Alabama state regulated daily, possession, and size limits apply.

Comments:

A swimming area is located on the Forest Service owned shoreline. Much of the lakeshore is owned by a private church camp.

 

Blue Lake directions, maps, and additional information.

Photo of Blue LakeMaps and photos: click on images to enlarge

 


Leon Brooks Hines Lake/Escambia County Public Fishing Lake:
This 184 acre man-made lake is located within the Conecuh National Forest and is operated by the Alabama Department of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. Boat rentals are available here. This lake is closed during certain periods of the week and year. For more information on schedule of operation, fishing, rentals, and other information


Oakmulgee Division of the Talladega National Forest

Payne Lake

Surface acres:

110

Fish species:

largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and channel catfish

Fishing access: 

1 boat launch (no gas powered motor operation permitted), shoreline fishing

Creel limits:

All Alabama state regulated daily, possession, and size limits apply.

Comments:

Currently underway is a proposed project to improve the Payne Lake Recreation Area including lake habitat and fisheries enhancements. Contact the Oakmulgee Ranger District office for more information.

 

Payne Lake directions, maps, and additional information.


Shoal Creek Division of the Talladega National Forests

Coleman Lake

Surface acres:

21

Fish species:

largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish (shellcracker), and channel catfish

Fishing access: 

2 boat launches (no gas powered motor operation permitted), trail and boardwalk

Limits:

All Alabama state regulated daily, possession, and size limits apply.

 

Coleman Lake directions, maps, and additional information.

Maps and photos: click on images to enlarge

Map of Coleman Lake

Photo of Coleman Lake


Sweetwater Lake

Surface acres:

61

Fish species:

largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish (shellcracker), and crappie

Fishing access: 

1 boat launch (no gas powered motor operation permitted), very limited shoreline fishing

limits:

All Alabama state regulated daily, possession, and size limits apply.

 

Sweetwater Lake directions, maps, and additional information.

Maps and photos: click on images to enlarge

Map of Sweetwater Lake

Photo of Sweetwater Lake

Photo of Sweetwater Lake

Largemouth bass captured during fish sampling in Sweetwater Lake


Morgan Lake

Surface acres:

11

Fish species:

largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish (shellcracker), crappie, and catfish

Fishing access: 

1 boat launch (no gas powered motor operation permitted)

Limits:

All Alabama state regulated daily, possession, and size limits apply.

 

Morgan Lake directions, maps, and additional information.


Highrock Lake

Surface acres:

19

Fish species:

largemouth bass, bluegill, and redear sunfish (shellcracker)

Limits:

All Alabama state regulated daily, possession, and size limits apply.

 

Highrock Lake directions, maps, and additional information.


Talladega Division of the Talladega National Forest

Lake Chinnabee

Surface acres:

20

Fish species:

largemouth bass, bluegill, and redear sunfish (shell cracker)

Fishing access: 

1 boat ramp (no gas powered motor operation permitted), limited shoreline fishing

Limits:

All Alabama state regulated daily, possession, and size limits apply.

 

Lake Chinnabee directions, maps, and additional information.

Photo of Lake ChinnabeeMaps and photos: click on images to enlarge


Lake Virginia (Lake Tallaseehatchee/Site 1)

Surface acres:

87

Fish species:

largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish (shell cracker), crappie, and catfish

Fishing access: 

1 boat ramp (no gas powered motor operation permitted), very limited shoreline fishing

Limits:

All Alabama state regulated daily, possession, and size limits apply.

 

Lake Virginia directions, maps, and additional information.

Maps and photos: click on images to enlarge

Largemouth bass captured during fish sampling in Lake Virginia

Crappie captured during fish sampling in Lake Virginia

Flathead catfish captured during fish sampling in Lake Virginia


Little Wills Reservoir (Lake Wills/Site 2)

Surface acres:

17

Fish species:

largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish (shell cracker), and crappie

Fishing access: 

1 boat ramp (no gas powered motor operation permitted), limited shoreline fishing

Limits:

All Alabama state regulated daily, possession, and size limits apply.

 

Little Wills Reservoir directions, maps, and additional information

Maps and photos: click on images to enlarge

Map of Little Wills Reservoir

Photo of Little Wills Reservoir

Photo of Little Wills Reservoir