Fish and Fishing in the Alabama River
True to its name, the Alabama River flows through the heart of the state of Alabama. Originating just north of Montgomery, the Alabama River is born from the marriage of the Coosa River and the Tallapoosa River near the Fall Line. As with most of Alabama’s great rivers, dams slow the progress of the Alabama River as it flows to meet the Tombigbee River and form the Mobile River. All of the Alabama River downstream of Montgomery is commercially navigable.
The Alabama Scenic River Trail is a 631-mile boating trail from Weiss Lake down the Coosa River into the Alabama River and through the Mobile Delta to the Gulf of Mexico. Gage height readings and water discharge information for the Alabama River is available from NOAA. The lakes on the Alabama River are run-of-the-river type impoundments, each lake is basically the old river channel. From upstream to downstream, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes on the Alabama River are Jones Bluff, Millers Ferry, and Claiborne.
Jones Bluff or R. E. "Bob" Woodruff Reservoir
Officially, Robert F. Henry Dam forms R. E. "Bob" Woodruff Lake, but it is commonly known as Jones Bluff. Most local anglers simply call it the Alabama River. This upper section of the Alabama River and the lower ends of both the Coosa River and the Tallapoosa River are known for the giant spotted bass, which often hold on the edge of current. Largemouth bass like to ambush prey from quieter sloughs and flooded creeks of the lower section of Jones Bluff. Unimproved access to the lower Coosa River is available below Jordan Dam on the east side. Improved boating and fishing access to the lower Coosa River is available at Crommelin Landing and Fort Toulouse. Boat ramps are available in the middle and lower part of Jones Bluff at Benton, Cooters Pond, Gunter Hill, Holy Ground Battlefield Park, Powder Magazine, Prairie Creek, and Swift Creek.
Millers Ferry or William "Bill" Dannelly Reservoir
From R. E. "Bob" Woodruff Lake, the Alabama River flows into William "Bill" Dannelly Reservoir. The 105-mile long Dannelly Reservoir is more commonly known as Millers Ferry, after Millers Ferry Lock and Dam operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Although this section of the Alabama River has excellent fishing for largemouth bass, Miller Ferry is more famous for its consistently good crappie fishing. Historically significant Selma is in the upper half of Millers Ferry Lake. An inexpensive getaway spot on Millers Ferry is Roland Cooper State Park near Camden, which has a nine-hole golf course, vacation cabins, and a modern campground. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the US Army Corps of Engineers have boat ramps around Millers Ferry. The tailwaters below Millers Ferry Lock and Dam provide excellent seasonal fishing for striped bass, spotted bass, crappie and large catfish.