Fishing in Lay Lake

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.

Man catches a crappie
A Lay Lake crappie angler finds success in the spring.

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. 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.

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.

Contact the Fisheries Section's District II office for specific questions about Lay Lake.