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Fishing is an integral part of Alabama’s local culture, and freshwater fish are the prize for the most skillful fishermen. There are 23 public lakes in the state, ranging from small to massive in size.

Lake Martin. Photo: John Coley / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

You’ll most likely find largemouth bass, bluegill and redear sunfish in them, but often many more species. 

If this is your first fishing experience in the state and don’t know which spot to pick, choose one of the 15 best fishing lakes in Alabama from the list below:

Name Location Fish species
Jordan Lake Elmore County Bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish
Lake Martin Western-Central Alabama Largemouth and spotted bass
Neely Henry Lake North Alabama Largemouth and spotted bass, bluegill, white bass, and catfish
Escambia County Lake Escambia County Bass, bluegill, and channel catfish
Chambers County Lake Chambers County Bass, crappie, and bluegill
Wheeler Lake Northwest Alabama Bass, sunfish, sauger, catfish, and crappie
Guntersville Lake Northeast Alabama Crappie, catfish, and bass
Pickwick Lake Northwest, Tennessee-Alabama border Smallmouth bass and catfish
Eufaula Lake Southeast Alabama All types of bass, crappie, flathead, and channel catfish
Lake Dannelly South Alabama White crappie, striped bass, and hybrid striped bass
Aliceville Lake West Alabama Largemouth bass and crappie
Lewis Smith Lake North Alabama Striped bass, bream, and crappie
Weiss Lake Northeast Alabama Crappie, largemouth, and striped bass
Warrior Lake Near Tuscaloosa Largemouth bass and crappie
Coffeeville Lake Near Jackson Largemouth bass, white and black crappie, channel, flathead, and blue catfish

1. Jordan Lake

Located in Elmore County, Jordan Lake is close to the city of Wetumpka. It’s a very large reservoir with almost 7,000 acres of water and a 188-mile-long shoreline. This lake’s primary purpose is fishing.

With a great population of largemouth bass, as well as spotted bass, it’s the best lake for bass-fishing in Central Alabama

There are also large populations of bluegill, crappie, catfish, and white bass.

Website: Jordan Lake

2. Lake Martin

This reserve, not so far away from Jordan Lake, has 39,000 acres of water and a 750-mile-long shoreline, making it one of the largest lakes in Alabama

It’s also one of the largest man-made lakes in the entire United States!

Largemouth bass is very common, as well as spotted bass. There are many fishing tournaments organized throughout the year, as well as family activities and weekend-getaway activities: boating, water skiing, camping, golfing, and more.

Website: Lake Martin

3. Neely Henry Lake

Located a bit northern from our previous two entries, Neely Henry Lake was formed by the building of the Neely Henry Dam. It is 11,200 acres wide with almost 340 miles of shoreline.

As a fishing lake, it’s very popular and it hosts great numbers of largemouth and spotted bass, bluegill, white bass, striped bass, and catfish. 

Services are organized at the lake, so you can rent a boat to take you fishing.

Website: Neely Henry Lake

4. Escambia County Lake

Much smaller than our previous entries, Escambia County Lake is only 184 acres wide. However, it is still very rich in terms of fish species, with bass, bluegill, and channel catfish very common in the area.

Aside from daily fishing throughout most of the year, night fishing is also organized during the summer. 

The lake has a boat ramp and a fishing pier, as well as restrooms, concession stands, and a pavilion, making it a great location for a family trip and one of the best small fishing lakes in Alabama .

Website: Escambia County Lake

5. Chambers County Lake

This 183-acre lake located in Chambers County is home to bass, crappie and bluegill. Very close to Lafayette, Alabama, it’s very well developed for such a small lake.

A boat ramp and a fishing pier are available, as well as restrooms and a pavilion. 

Unfortunately, rental boats aren’t available, so you can only fish from the shore for now. Despite that, it’s still one of the best crappie fishing lakes in Alabama .

Website: Chambers County Lake

6. Wheeler Lake

Located in the far north, this lake got its name after General Joseph Wheeler. It’s 68,300 acres-wide, making it the second largest lake in Alabama. 

As such, it’s a very popular tourist attraction with the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge managing the area.

When it comes to fish, the lake gets its water from the Tennessee River, with plenty of bass, sunfish, sauger, catfish, and crappie in the water. 

Wheeler Lake gets about 200,000 fishing visitors on a yearly basis, making it one of the most popular fishing lakes in Alabama .

Website: Wheeler Lake

7. Guntersville Lake

Guntersville Lake is the largest Alabama lake with a surface area of 69,100 acres. 

It’s actually very close to Wheeler Lake, as the two are separated by a dam. Because of water vegetation, this is a great environment for gamefish.

Tournaments are organized on a weekly basis, catching crappie, catfish, and bass. 

Guntersville, the city itself, is also called Alabama’s Lake City and it’s one of the best lake towns in America.

Aside from fishing, the area is home to great hiking trails, camping areas, and boating activities.

Website: Guntersville Lake

8. Pickwick Lake

This 41,515-acre lake is actually shared by Alabama and Tennessee, as it’s formally part of the Tennessee Valley Authority. 

Nevertheless, as a fishing spot, Pickwick Lake is a record-holding lake in Alabama !

It’s very well-known for record-size smallmouth bass and catfish. The most popular areas are the Wilson Dam tailwater and the basin at Colbert Fossil Plant, where warm water attracts fish during the winter.

Website: Pickwick Lake

9. Eufaula Lake

Eufaula Lake, formally known as the Walter F. George Lake, is a 46,000-acre lake in southeast Alabama with almost 650 miles of coastline. 

It’s very well-known as a great fishing location, but also as one of the best camping lakes in Alabama .

The most common species of interest are the crappie, largemouth, white and smallmouth bass, flathead and channel catfish, and sunfish. 

When it comes to camping, this lake is managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Website: Eufaula Lake

10. Lake Dannelly

With 500 miles of shoreline and 27 square miles of water surface, this lake is very popular amongst locals as a fishing ground. 

It’s an artificial reservoir, developed in 1974.

Rich with white crappie, striped bass, hybrid striped bass, as well as blue catfish and channel catfish, this lake is surrounded by parks and enthusiasts often fish from the shore. 

It is definitely one of the best fishing lakes in South Alabama.

Website: Lake Dannelly

11. Aliceville Lake

You might know Aliceville Lake under the name of Aliceville Reservoir or Pickensville Lake. 

It’s one of the best fishing lakes in West Alabama, and it’s been managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers since the 1980s.

Largemouth bass and crappie are the most common species, with most fish ranging from 10 to 18 inches. Both sizes and the sheer numbers of the crappies here surpass the state averages.

Website: Aliceville Lake

12. Lewis Smith Lake

Often referred to as just Smith Lake, this 21,000-acre lake is found in the north of Alabama, with one of the largest dams in eastern USA creating the reservoir.

This lake is most well known for massive striped bass, but there are also bream and crappie. 

Aside from being home to some of the best striped bass fishing in Alabama , Smith Lake is also home to urban myths, as the building of the dam flooded a town called Falls City.

Website: Lewis Smith Lake

13. Weiss Lake

Found in northeastern Alabama, Weiss Lake is about 30,200 acres-wide, with almost 450 miles of shoreline. 

It takes water from the Coosa River, Chattooga River and Little River, rising 560 feet above sea level during the summer.

Rich in crappie, largemouth, and striped bass, Weiss Lake is one of the best fishing lakes in the spring , especially from March to May. 

The bass bites best from February to May, as well as early fall.

Website: Weiss Lake

14. Warrior Lake

Also rich with largemouth bass and crappie, Warrior Lake is located near Tuscaloosa. 

Even though the lake isn’t as developed as some other fishing spots on this list, it still has camping, hunting, and fishing grounds available.

It’s a great primitive camping and fishing location , managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. 

Aside from crappie and largemouth bass, there’s also hybrid striped bass and bream.

Website: Warrior Lake

15. Coffeeville Lake

The last entry on our list is located near Jackson, Alabama, and it’s about 8,500 acres in size. 

Also maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Coffeeville Lake is a great fishing location with campsites, showers, and a boat ramp.

It’s rich with largemouth bass, white and black crappie, as well as channel, flathead, and blue catfish. 

Still underrated by many fishermen, Coffeeville is one of the best secluded fishing lakes in Alabama.

Website: Coffeeville Lake

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