Alabama is an excellent escape for fishermen of all ages. This state is overflowing with natural beauty and diverse fish habitats. With abundant wetlands in the southern portion of the state Alabama provides a rare chance for some swamp fishing. Thanks to its southern location Alabama is a year round fishing state with a nice, mild climate.
Phenomenal bass fish awaits in this state. Alabama loves its bass fishing so much it has designated eleven lakes as the Alabama Bass Trail and made the largemouth its state freshwater fish. Alabama is also proud to call itself the birthplace of bass tournaments – with the first taking place in 1968, in Mongomery. Recently a sixty-nine pounder broke the world record for landlocked striped bass in the Bankhead Reservoir!
Small and largemouth, along with spotted, striped, striped hybrid, white, yellow, rock, and shoal, make up Alabama’s diverse bass country (some call Alabama’s spotted bass the Alabama bass). Lake Logan Martin is one of the lakes of the Alabama Bass Trail, boasting sizable largemouth and spotted. Pickwick Lake is another of the famed eleven, notable for being a lake to find both smallmouth and largemouth (good for crappie too). Halawakee Creek is notorious for large shoal bass, which are Apalachicola River natives.
For the enthusiastic fisherman looking for a more unique experience, Alabama is blessed with vast wetlands that are a veritable fishing paradise. Bass thrive in Alabama’s swamps, along with catfish, and crappie. Catfish are not only found all over Alabama, but some of America’s biggest are caught here. The state record blue catfish was a pole breaking hundred and twenty pounds, and was caught in the Holt Reservoir.
Sipsey River is one of few still wild swamp rivers, and it is a unique atmosphere to troll or kayake through while fishing for bass, swamp darters, catfish, shad, and pickerel. In spite of its smaller size, the Sipsey river has proven that it is the place to land a big one, as the state striped hybrid bass record was caught there. Blackwell swamp provides good catfish, bass, and even bluegill. Beware of alligators while fishing Alabama’s wetlands though!
With so much coastline Alabama allows for exceptional saltwater fishing. Awaiting in its offshore waters are amberjack, bluefish, flounder, mackerel, tuna, wahoo, snapper, sea trout, and mahi mahi. Saltwater fish are so abundant in the shore water that surf fishing is popular in Alabama.
Alabama is part of a great program that is one of, if not the largest, artificial reef installation programs in the country. Twelve thousand square miles of offshore reef has been sunk to provide fish habitats! The Mississippi Bay and Mobile Bay is part of this program. Dauphin Island is not as well known, but is great for inland saltwater fishing, especially for red snapper. Saltwater licenses are valid for seven days, annually, or for a lifetime.
Every year Alabama has a free fishing day, but if you need more then Alabama fishing licenses can be bought online, by phone. Persons age sixteen or older need to be licensed. Most recreational licenses can be bought from licensing agents. Lifetime licenses are also available. Additional saltwater registration is required by state law, but is free of charge.
Residency is proven by owning a valid Alabama state driver’s license and show proof of within-state residency for ninety days prior to applying. Ninety days of residency applies to military personnel stationed in the state, but they are exempt from needing a state driver’s license.
Whenever you head out fishing to a new place, it's always best to speak to local anglers. Use fishing forums to ask questions and learn about the most accurate and up to date conditions.