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Lay Lake is a 12,000-acre reservoir located thirty-five minutes south of Birmingham off I-65 and fifteen miles south of Columbiana in east-central Alabama. Lay Lake borders St. Clair, Talladega, Shelby, Coosa, and Chilton counties. The primary uses for this reservoir are hydroelectric generation and recreation. Lay Lake is popular for tournament fishing and boating recreation. Seven public access areas offer bank and boat access to the lake.
Since being impounded in 1914 by the Alabama Power Company, Lay Lake is best known for its spotted bass and largemouth bass fishing. A high quality largemouth bass and spotted bass fishery exists at Lay Reservoir. Largemouth bass up to 18-inches are abundant and with moderate numbers of larger bass. Spotted bass up to 18-inches are very abundant with moderate numbers of larger fish. The best fishing for largemouth bass occurs in creeks and shallow water sloughs. Anglers targeting spotted bass should fish riverine portions of the lake.
Crappie 9- to 12-inches are moderately abundant and are found throughout the lake associated with woody cover and weed beds. In 1993, a 9-inch minimum length limit was implemented on crappie to help protect younger fish. Anglers have supported this length limit overwhelmingly. Bream fishing is also very popular in Lay Lake. Bream offer a good summer fishery in creeks with woody cover and around weed beds. The best fishing for crappie and bream occurs in creeks and shallow water sloughs.
In the upstream end of Lay Lake, the tailwater fishery below Logan Martin Dam is excellent for hybrid striped bass and catfish. Striped bass are also present. The tailwater area is also popular with anglers who enjoy fishing for largemouth bass and spotted bass when shad are running along the banks. The 2002 Bass Masters Classic was won in this area. The Logan Martin tailwater is an extremely high use fishery, very popular with local anglers.
Alabama Power Company has improved fishing by providing habitat in this lake. Coordinates of these habitat improvements are available as an Excel spreadsheet or a GPS download from www.alabamapower.com/lakes/fishdata.asp.
It is illegal to possess blueback herring in Alabama because of the harm they could cause other fish populations. Regulations designate legal capture methods for bait and specify additional species that may not be used for bait.
Link list (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.
Bass fishing quality at Lay Lake is assessed from bass club tournament results here.
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: wwww.outdooralabama.com/fishing/freshwater/where/reservoirs/
Information concerning lodging and recreation near the Lay Lake Reservoir is listed at: www.shelbycountytourism.org and www.birminghamal.org. The 4-H Center offers on-the-lake accommodations and meeting facilities a short drive from Birmingham: www.alabama4hcenter.org.
Contact the following fishing guides:
Lay Lake has a fish consumption advisory. Information on the consumption advisory may be found at the Alabama Department of Public Health Web site, www.adph.org. Consumption advisory information is found under "A-Z Contents" by looking for "Fish Consumption Advisories."
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 District II Fisheries Supervisor can answer specific questions about Lay Lake by sending mail to Dan.Catchings@dcnr.alabama.gov.