State Public Fishing Lakes Return to Regular Fishing Season Schedule

February 1 marks the return of the fishing season schedule for 22 of Alabama’s 23 State-owned public fishing lakes, commonly known as state lakes or county lakes. Madison County Lake will open February 5. Noted for quality fishing for bream, largemouth bass, channel catfish, and crappie (in some lakes), these smaller lakes warm more quickly than larger waters. State lakes also provide excellent bank fishing, pier and boat fishing.
“State public fishing lakes are the ultimate family fishing destination,” said Jack Turner, State Lakes Supervisor for the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF). “Each lake has a concession building with snacks, drinks, restrooms and fishing advice. The concessionaires have mowed areas along the banks for fishing, and children have room to play when they tire of catching fish.”
Fishing is an affordable and easily accessible recreational opportunity for all Alabamians. Each state lake, except Pike, offers boats for rent ($5) and launching of private fishing boats ($3). Essentially all work by the Fisheries Section is paid for by anglers; no General Fund money is used. A $3 daily permit is required at all lakes except Pike County Lake, and state fishing license requirements apply.
The Fisheries Section carefully stocks and manages the lakes for optimum fishing. Concessionaires fertilize the lake for maximum production. Fishing piers allow anglers to fish deeper water in a comfortable environment. According to Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Barnett Lawley, the fishing in state lakes is exceptional. “I knew we had excellent bream fishing, but I did not realize the number of big bass caught at these lakes until I became Commissioner,” Lawley said. “Last year, anglers weighed out 176 bass over five pounds each from Alabama’s state-owned lakes.”
State public fishing lakes are found throughout Alabama, mostly in rural areas. Locations of the lakes can be found here.
To ask a biologist about what types of fish and the average sizes that are caught at each lake, anglers may also call a regional office:
Decatur 256-353-2634
Anniston 256-831-6860
Northport 205-339-5716
Montgomery 334-242-3471
Spanish Fort 251-626-5153
Enterprise 334-347-9467
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit