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Jones Bluff Reservoir

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Fish and Fishing in
Jones Bluff Reservoir or the Alabama River (R. E. "Bob" Woodruff Lake and the Robert F. Henry Lock and Dam)

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Kelly Jordan with a fine 6 pound, 9-ounce bass from the Alabama River, Jones Bluff Reservoir, during the ESPN/BASS Elite 50.Jones Bluff Reservoir (also known as R. E."Bob" Woodruff Lake) impounds the Alabama River between Montgomery and Selma in central Alabama. The Army Corps of Engineers built the Robert F. Henry Lock and Dam to create a 12,510 acre reservoir that provides navigation, hydroelectric power generation, and recreation. Jones Bluff is a riverine impoundment; meaning much of the reservoir is confined to the historic river channel. Its low retention time and water storage capacity often result in frequent winter and spring flooding. Locals still refer to it as the Alabama River; however, numerous creeks have been flooded, providing a wide variety of fishing opportunities.

Largemouth bass drawing from 7th-9th Grade students at Johnnie R. Carr Junior High School, Montgomery, Kevin Adams, Art Teacher
Drawing by Katie Sweat, a 7th Grader at Jonnie R. Carr Junior High.

Bass are numerous and growth is average, thanks to an abundant population of small shad. Bass fishing success and techniques in this reservoir are highly influenced by hydropower generation. Largemouth bass can be caught in backwater areas off the main river and the influence of current on their feeding activity is negligible. However, Alabama bass feeding activity is highly influenced by current and fishing for this species can be excellent on the main river when current is present. Without current, Alabama bass fishing is usually very difficult. Thus, most bass anglers opt to fish for Alabama bass on the main river channel during hydropower generation and target largemouth bass in the backwaters during periods of low flow. A tentative generation schedule can be obtained by calling the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers at 334-682-4896.

Similar to the last sample, largemouth bass were more abundant in backwater areas of the reservoir in the spring 2009. Electrofishing catch rates were similar to the lake average and higher than the last two sample years. Growth and condition of largemouth bass was excellent. The oldest largemouth bass collected was age-8.

Riverine sample sites in 2009 were dominated by Alabama bass. These fish are the Alabama sub-species, which typically grow faster and larger than the northern subspecies found outside the Mobile Bay drainage. The catch rate of Alabama bass during the spring 2009 electrofishing sample was faster than rates observed in 2006. Alabama bass growth and condition was excellent. The oldest Alabama bass collected was age-9.

Jones Bluff Reservoir produces crappie in great numbers and supports an excellent fishery, especially in the spring. White crappie were almost four times as abundant as black crappie in fall 2005 trap-net sampling. A huge crappie spawn from spring 2005 was also confirmed and catch rates were among the highest ever documented in this reservoir. With the excellent growth rates of crappie in Jones Bluff, anglers should begin catching these fish in large numbers beginning in spring 2007. Stable springtime water levels should provide excellent crappie fishing during the next several years.

Hybrid striped bass, white bass, channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish also attract  anglers, especially below the Henry Lock and Dam, where they are accessible from the bank or by boat. This reservoir does not stratify during summer due to almost constant flow; thus, fish can be found at varying depths throughout the year.
It is illegal to possess blueback herring Duane Raver's Blueback Herring courtesy of the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Alabama. Regulations designate legal capture methods for bait and specify additional species that may not be used for bait.

Links (disclaimer):

Fishing license information may be found at: www.outdooralabama.com/fishing/freshwater/license/. Instant licensing is available via the Internet (2% fee), via the telephone by calling 1-888-848-6887 ($3.95 fee), or at 900 vendors and probate offices in Alabama. All youth age 15 and younger fish for free.

Possession and creel limits for Alabama public waters are listed at: www.outdooralabama.com/fishing/freshwater/regulations/

Bass fishing quality at Jones Bluff Reservoir can be assessed from bass club tournament results.
If you are a member of a bass club, please consider being a part of our Bass Angler Information Team. We use information from clubs to help better manage your lakes for fishing.

State fish management information and Alabama reservoir location, size and elevation are listed at: www.outdooralabama.com/fishing/freshwater/where/reservoirs/

A US Army Corps of Engineers lake, fishing, boating and camping information for Jones Bluff (called R. E. "Bob" Woodruff Lake) is available at: http://corpslakes.usace.army.mil/visitors/projects.cfm?Id=K508590. A map is available on this site, or a larger 11” X 17” version can be obtained from the local Corps office by calling 1-334-872-9554.  Cooter's Pond in Prattville has 51 picnic sites, 40 trailer spots, a hiking trail and boat launch. On the south side of the lake, Gunter Hill has 146 campsites and Prairie Creek Campground has 67 campsites and 20 trailer spaces including a boat launch, boat docking area, a place to clean your fish, playground, washer and dryer, camper hookups and primitive camping. The Corps has a number of day use parks also, http://corpslakes.usace.army.mil/visitors/projects.cfm?Id=K508590

K and K, Inc. is a campground off of I-65 at Prattville/Millbrook and between Cooters Pond and Gold Star boat launches.

Bass fishing reports Jones Bluff or Woodruff Lake may be available at: www.wmi.org/bassfish/reports/alabama/.

Current water levels may be found for Alabama River and "R.F. HENRY LOC" at: http://iwin.nws.noaa.gov/iwin/al/hydro.html.
Corps of Engineers map of Woodruff (Jones Bluff).

Alabama River, Jones Bluff Reservoir, looking downstream from a bluff near Autaugaville, February 2001.Additional information about the local area is available at www.montgomerychamber.com, www.prattvillechamber.com, www.prattvilleal.gov and www.selmaalabama.com/. Additional general information is found under the "R. E. 'Bob' Woodruff Lake" listing at: www.al.com/parks/central.html.
Downtown Prattville has a bed and breakfast, www.smithbyrdhouse.com/ (Cooter's Pond would be the closest boat ramp.)

It shall be unlawful to intentionally stock or release any fish, mussel, snail, crayfish or their embryos including bait fish into the public waters of Alabama under the jurisdiction of the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries as provided in Rule 220-2-.42 except those waters from which it came without the written permission of a designated employee of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources authorized by the Director of the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries to issue such permit. The provisions of this rule shall not apply to the incidental release of bait into the water during the normal process of fishing.

The Fisheries Section’s District II office can answer specific questions about Jones Bluff Reservoir by sending mail to Dan Catchings at Dan.Catchings@dcnr.alabama.gov.

Prepared by: Fisheries Section, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. This site is presented for information only the Fisheries Section cannot be responsible for the quality of information or services offered through linked sites, disclaimer. To have your site included, send your URL, e-mail address, or telephone number to the Fisheries Web Master, doug.darr@dcnr.alabama.gov. The Fisheries Section reserves the right to select sites based on relevant and appropriate content, of interest to our viewers. If you discover errors in the content or links of this page, please contact Doug Darr. Thank you.

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