Fish and Fishing in the Mobile Delta

The Mobile Delta consists of approximately 20,323 acres of water just north of Mobile Bay. Second only to the Mississippi River Delta in size, the Mobile Delta is an environmental showplace that is 30 miles long and 12 miles wide. It covers more than 200,000 acres of swamps, river bottomlands and marshes. Congress named the Mobile Delta a National Natural Landmark in 1974; fewer than 600 sites have received that honor. The Alabama Environmental Council considers the Delta as one of "Alabama's Ten Natural Wonders." Formed by the confluence of the Alabama and Tombigbee rivers, the Mobile Delta is a complex network of tidally influenced rivers, creeks, bays, lakes, wetlands, and bayous.

Since the Mobile Delta empties into Mobile Bay, it is a productive estuary with numerous species of fresh and saltwater fish. The Bartram Canoe Trail is a unique way to see the Delta; a map of the Trail is available from the Lands Division. The Mobile-Tensaw Delta and W. L. Holland Wildife Management Areas and Upper Delta Wildlife Management Area offer hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities for those utilizing the Delta. Anglers enjoy the Delta because of the good fishing and because of the natural beauty of the marsh and the cypress and tupelo gum forests.

Largemouth bass fishing success in the Delta is good year-round and many anglers are successful even during the coldest winter months. Delta bass anglers have good success whether they fish the grass beds of the lower Delta or rivers and streams of the heavily-timbered upper Delta. Anglers have good luck using crankbaits, plastic worms, or live shrimp.

Sampling during the spring of 2007 in the Upper Delta above I-65 revealed that there was an adequate spawn of largemouth bass in 2006. Catch rates of 2007 spawned bass were higher than the 2006 sample, despite drought conditions.  The abundance of stock-size bass (8 to 12-inch) in 2007 was above average. Currently, anglers may find reduced numbers of 12 to 15-inch bass. This size group of bass is strongly influenced by the 2004 year-class which suffered heavier than normal mortality due to drought conditions and Hurricane Ivan effects. However, good recruitment of the stock-size group of bass should allow for improved numbers of 12 to 15-inch bass during 2008.

Kayaking the Bartram Canoe Trail

During the spring and fall months, crappie fishing is good in cover along the banks of timbered creeks and lakes. Good locations include Stiggins Lake, Douglas Lake, Little Lake, and Bay Minette Creek. Most anglers are successful with minnows or jigs fished near deep structure. Crappie and bream of harvestable size are in moderate abundance throughout most of the Delta.

Bream (bluegill and redear sunfish) are caught year-round in good numbers. An impressive winter fishery for bream occurs in deep channels that drain shallow lakes and bays of the lower Delta. In the late spring, bream concentrate around cover in the shallow bays near the Causeway. Fishing near old duck blinds with crickets is a good way to catch a limit of bream in the late spring.  The Mobile Delta may be the best place in Alabama to catch the redspotted sunfish.

Chuckfee Bay Sunrise, Mobile Tensaw River Delta, 2013 Outdoor Alabama Photo Contest, Youth Ages 6-12, Honorable Mention, Edward B Ladd III, Mobile, Age 8

During the fall, anglers often limit on abundant runs of saltwater fish, such as redfish, speckled trout, and flounder. Redfish are caught on large crankbaits or plastic grubs, though the favorite is live-rigged shrimp. Speckled trout are taken on jigs, plastic grubs, and are also caught on live and dead shrimp rigs. Flounder are readily caught on bottom-fished rigs using bull minnows or grubs. Popular areas to catch these fish include points off the mouths of the lower Tensaw, Blakely, Apalachee, and Mobile Rivers.  Limits and regulations on saltwater and estuarine species are the same for inland waters as for waters up to three miles offshore.

Boating access in the Mobile Delta is abundant with more than twenty access sites available throughout the Delta. Popular fishing sites for those without boats include newly constructed piers for bank anglers. These sites are found at Cliff’s Landing off Highway 225, Meaher State Park pier off the Highway 90-98 Causeway (fee), Choccalotta Access Area on Highway 90-98, and the U.S.S. Alabama Battleship Park Pier. Fishing is also very popular along the Highway 90-98 Causeway, where many bridges and road accessible areas abound for bank anglers.

Hotel accommodations are found in Mobile, Daphne, and Bay Minette. Camping facilities are available in Baldwin County at Meaher State Park and Blakely State Historic Park. KOA Campgrounds provide camping facilities in the Delta within minutes of Interstate I-65. Baldwin and Mobile counties are well populated areas with excellent access to numerous restaurants, service stations and fish camps. The Mobile Delta has lots to do, see and catch.

For more information on the Mobile Delta, please contact the District V Fisheries Office.