Fly Fishing In Alabama
Alabama just started stocking trout in one specific area, but the state has some great fly fishing opportunities that you can take advantage of for other species. I’ll cover seven of the best trout and fly fishing spots in Alabama in this article.
What Kind Of Trout Are Found In Alabama?
So far, Alabama’s wildlife authorities have only stocked rainbow trout in the state’s waterways. However, rainbow trout are some of the most sought after trout in the world, and they’re very plentiful in Alabama. So, the lack of variety shouldn’t be that big of a deal. However, you’ll have to target them in one specific spot.
The Best Fly Fishing Locations In Alabama
1. Black Warrior River’s Sipsey Fork
Black Warrior River isn’t a great spot to catch trout, but one particular section of it is a fly fisherman’s dream. Sipsey Fork is located just downstream of the Lewis Smith dam. The dam provides Sipsey Fork with plenty of cold water, and Alabama’s wildlife authorities have used Sipsey Fork to stock rainbow trout for decades. It’s a well-kept secret, but all of best fly fishermen love Sipsey Fork.
The fork is about 12-miles long, and the rainbow trout are pretty much all that you’ll be able to catch in it. The trout are left alone quite a bit. So, there are some big boys waiting for you if you decide to check the area out.
The best part about Sipsey Fork is that it leads right into Black Warrior River. If the rainbow trout aren’t biting, or if they stop feeding after a while, you can just drive down the road a little bit for some of the best bass fishing in the state.
2. Coosa River
Coosa River is one of the best spots to fly fish for spotted bass. The river is extremely long. It flows down from Georgia, and several dams have created massive lakes that are great for wading.
You won’t find any trout in this lake, but spotted bass put up a really hard fight, and they’re hard to trick with fly fishing tackle. If you want to do something that tests your fly fishing skills, try fishing at one of Coosa River’s many man-made lakes.
I suggest bringing a spare spinning rod with you, though. If you haven’t targeted larger species with fly fishing equipment, you might have a hard time getting used to it. Luckily, the lakes are all great spinning spots, too.
You should also be ready for some difficult terrain. If you want to use fly fishing equipment, you’ll want to head to the canals. However, the canals are difficult to reach on foot.
3. Cahaba River
Cahaba River is the longest free-flowing river in Alabama. There are no dams stopping it, and there aren’t any pieces of equipment forcing the water to behave differently. It’s entirely natural.
Cahaba River is a great spot for fly fishing. It thins out at several different places, and fly fishermen can easily wade into the water to catch bass, pan fish, and even redeyes. Redeyes are a species of bass that look somewhat similar to trout, but they’re a lot more aggressive than trout. If you’re a fly fisherman, and you’re looking for a difficult fight, you’ll get what you’re looking for with redeye bass.
4. Tallapoosa River
Tallapoosa River is a river that formed from two different creeks intersecting. It joins up with the Coosa river eventually, but it provides a lot more opportunities for redeye bass than Coosa.
That’s actually what Tallapoosa River is known for. There are several guides that will take you to the best redeye bass spots on the river, and you’re almost guaranteed to catch the fish of a lifetime.
I recommend hiring a guide when you visit Tallapoosa River. The river is very popular, and unless you know what you’re doing, you’ll probably have a hard time finding a good fishing spot without being bothered by other fishermen. The guides know the best spots, and they’ll make your trip worthwhile.
5. Black Warrior River
I mentioned Black Warrior River earlier, but that was the trout fishing spot that the area is known for. Now, I want to talk about the best spot for bass, pan fish, and other warm-water species.
Black Warrior river is incredibly long, and you can find good fish throughout it. However, the best spot to catch big bass is near the last bit of Sipsey Fork. The water is incredibly warm compared to Sipsey Fork, and it’s fairly shallow. So, it’s easy for you to wade. A short walk will allow you to go from targeting massive bass to targeting rainbow trout.
6. Wilson Lake
If you want to stay far away from other fishermen, you should go to Wilson Lake. It’s a part of the Tennessee river, and a lot of fishermen avoid it in favor of more popular areas.
It’s not very popular because of the terrain and the lack of some popular species. However, it has some very large bass swimming around in it, and most people stay away from it. If you’re an avid fisherman, it’s the best spot to simply relax and fish.
7. The Gulf
Fly fishermen usually dream of trout and other freshwater fish, but what if I told you that you could use your fly fishing rod at the beach? You can catch tarpon, peacock bass, and other species that are popular in the Gulf with a fly rod.
You won’t be able to catch trout or other fish that only live in freshwater, but you can catch tons of fish that live in saltwater or brackish water. You’ll have to get used to handling a fly in the waves, though. Try to pick a relatively calm time of day to try it out for the first time.
Fishing on Flat Boats
This section doesn’t cover a specific spot, but it does cover one of the best ways to use a fly rod. A lot of fishermen have started using fly rods on chartered flat boats. They usually target tarpon in the deeper parts of the ocean. If you’re up for a challenge, you should give it a try. Just make sure you’re ready for it. The tarpon can put up a really tough fight.
Alabama Trout Fishing Regulations: FAQ
There are several rules and regulations that you must follow when targeting trout in any of Alabama’s waterways. Here are a few of them.
Can You Keep Trout In Alabama?
You can keep the trout you catch in Alabama. However, you can only keep fish that are between 15-inches and 22-inches in length, and you can only have six of them in your possession at a time. You can also have one over-sized trout as a part of your daily creel limit. So, Alabama is a little less strict than other states when it comes to size limits.
How Many Rods Can You Use In Alabama?
In general, you can use up to three rods in Alabama. You’ll have trouble using more than one rod for trout, though. Some lakes also limit you to only one rod. Check the regulations that each individual lake has posted.
Do You Need A Fishing License In Alabama?
If you’re above the age of 16, you have to buy a fishing license to target any of Alabama’s fish. If you’re under 16, you don’t need one, and if you’re over 65, you don’t have to get one, either.
Where To Find More Alabama Regulations and Fishing Information
I can’t cover every regulation that applies to Alabama’s waterways in one article, but here’s a handy resource that will help you out.
If you know of a good fly fishing river or lake in Montana that you believe belongs on this list, please contact me at [email protected] and let me know.
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