Gulf State Park


Cross Park Trail Overlook

Enjoy freshwater and saltwater fishing around Gulf State Park! 

Gulf State Park is home to some of the finest and most scenic fishing in Alabama. Whether you desire a sensational saltwater experience fishing on the pier or would rather freshwater fish from breathtaking Lake Shelby, there is something here for most fishermen who want to have a good time, enjoy the beauty of nature, and hopefully catch some dinner as well.

Gulf State Park Lakes:

Lake Shelby - 592 acres

Middle Lake - 193 acres

Little Lake - 39 acres


Pier over the Gulf of Mexico:

2,448 feet of fishing space 


The three lakes at the Park are classified as freshwater and the Pier is classified as saltwater. You're AL fishing license must reflect these distinctions.


You must purchase a saltwater or freshwater license before you begin fishing. You can purchase them online. There is a courtesy computer located in the Bait & Tackle shop on the Pier that you are able to use to purchase a license online. 


If you are interested in gaining skills to fish off of a saltwater pier, sign up for our Angler's Academy class. This class is only offered during the summer season.


What species could anglers reasonably expect to catch from Lake Shelby and the Pier?


Lake Shelby:

  • Redfish, Bream, Speckled Trout, and Catfish are the usual species caught. Bass fishing is tough, but people that know how to fish the lake have been successful.
  • Live bait (shrimp, crickets, night crawlers) or artificial (worms, plugs or jigs)



  • Flounder, Sheepshead, Pompano, Spanish Mackerel, King Mackerel, Blue Fish, Red Fish, Speckled Trout, Whiting, Croker are your typical fish caught, but there are several other species that are caught by experienced fisherman.
  • Live bait is the most popular choice (shrimp, fiddler crabs, ghost shrimp, sand fleas, bull minnows) or artificial ( most popular: Gotcha plugs, spoons, fish bites, jigs, plugs)

Checkout the Outdoor Alabama information regarding saltwater fishing creel and size limits.

Visit our Fishing and Education Pier page for hours and costs of the Pier.


What are popular/productive tactics for each (bait, tackle, time of day)?


Lake Shelby:

  • Fish typically bite better in the morning or in the afternoon.
  • Several different bait combinations are used to catch fish out of Lake Shelby.



  • Fish typically bite better when the water temperature reaches 68 degrees. Anglers tend to be more successful early in the morning or late in the afternoon around sunset.
  • Anglers use bait casting reels or open face spinning reels. There are hundreds of different successful combinations regarding the way bait is presented to the fish. Time and experience is key to loading up a cooler full of fish.


What, if any, special angling restrictions apply to Lake Shelby?

All that is needed to fish in Lake Shelby is a freshwater fishing license.

Purchase a fishing license online.