Fishing in Holt Reservoir

Holt Reservoir is a modest sized 3,296-acre lake on the Black Warrior River and is located just north of Tuscaloosa from the Holt Lock and Dam upstream to Bankhead Dam. The primary uses for this reservoir are navigation, flood control, and recreation. Camping, hunting and boating are also available on this reservoir. There are modern camping areas, as well as areas for primitive camping. For the day user there are several areas with facilities for boaters, swimmers, picnickers, hikers, and sightseers. Holt Lake has two privately managed marinas for boat docking and storage. Six public facility areas with bank and boat access for anglers circle Holt Reservoir.

Since being impounded in 1965 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Holt Reservoir is best known for its largemouth bass and spotted bass fishing. Largemouth bass up to 18 inches and spotted bass up to 15 inches are abundant with moderate numbers of larger fish. Largemouth bass are most abundant in backwater areas. Anglers targeting spotted bass should fish riverine portions of the lake.

Bass fishing quality at Holt Reservoir is 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.

The best fishing for largemouth bass, crappie, and bream occurs in creeks and shallow water sloughs.
A slough typical of Holt Reservoir
(photo by Jerry Moss)

Crappie growth in this reservoir was near or slightly below the lake average, and 9- to 12-inch fish were less abundant in 2006 than in previous years. However, catch rates of younger crappie were the highest ever recorded in Holt Reservoir and two strong year classes of young crappie were sampled. Crappie are found throughout the lake in woody cover and weed beds. Another good fishery in Holt Reservoir is bream fishing. Bream fishing provides a good summer fishery in creeks with woody cover and around weed beds. Drum, various species of catfish, buffalo, hybrid striped bass, largemouth bass, and spotted bass are the most frequently and most popular species caught in the headwaters of Holt Reservoir below Bankhead Dam. Tailwater fishing is popular with local anglers, and they are generally satisfied in part due to a "boating lane" which allows anglers access to tailwaters immediately below the dam.

Contact the Fisheries Section's District III office for specific questions about Holt Reservoir.