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Alabama boating/fishing areas near Birmingham?

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Alabama boating/fishing areas near Birmingham?

Old 11-17-2019, 07:30 AM
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Default Alabama boating/fishing areas near Birmingham?

We're considering relocating to the outskirts of Birmingham (North of it) and wondering how the boating and fishing is in that area with the many rivers and lakes I'm seeing. I've only fished saltwater but would be interested in learning freshwater fishing to teach my boys. Are there channel cats or just bass/stripers? Are there streams you can fly trout fish?

Also, are there plenty of rivers and lakes to take my kids boating/tubing/water skiing?

Thank you for the insight!

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Old 11-17-2019, 02:41 PM
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Where north of Birmingham? I an in Cullman and my office is in Gardendale.

The only trout stream in Alabama is right below the Smith Lake dam. Access is from AL 69. Smith Lake is huge and has decent bass, crappie and stripe fishing. Good fishing on the Warrior especially catfish. Guntersville has world class fishing. There are monster blue cats below the dam and some sauger.

For water sports Smith is great. It is a clear water "mountain" type lake with depths of 300' at the dam. The deep cold water going through the dam makes it viable to stock the trout.
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Old 11-17-2019, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary999 View Post
Where north of Birmingham? I an in Cullman and my office is in Gardendale.

The only trout stream in Alabama is right below the Smith Lake dam. Access is from AL 69. Smith Lake is huge and has decent bass, crappie and stripe fishing. Good fishing on the Warrior especially catfish. Guntersville has world class fishing. There are monster blue cats below the dam and some sauger.

For water sports Smith is great. It is a clear water "mountain" type lake with depths of 300' at the dam. The deep cold water going through the dam makes it viable to stock the trout.
Thank you Gary! Sounds really nice- I'm trying to transfer to a Birmingham job and my goal would be to live North or NE of Birmingham with a 30-45 min commute to be able to get 20-30 acres. Ashville AL looks like it may be a 45ish minute commute.
Old 11-17-2019, 04:47 PM
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Where in B'ham would the job be?
Old 11-17-2019, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary999 View Post
Where in B'ham would the job be?
Birmingham VA Medical Center
Old 11-18-2019, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Gasser44 View Post
We're considering relocating to the outskirts of Birmingham (North of it) and wondering how the boating and fishing is in that area with the many rivers and lakes I'm seeing. I've only fished saltwater but would be interested in learning freshwater fishing to teach my boys. Are there channel cats or just bass/stripers? Are there streams you can fly trout fish? Also, are there plenty of rivers and lakes to take my kids boating/tubing/water skiing? Thank you for the insight!
There are a couple small private lakes (Inland Lake and Highland Lake) minutes from Ashville. My in-laws had a place on Highland until just a few years ago and they used to sell a limited number of passes to nonresidents. Fishing was not as good as some of the bigger lakes but still pretty good. The two bigger lakes you will be closest to are Guntersville and Logan Martin. Logan Martin/Coosa River is pretty good but be warned there is a portion on the lower lake by an area called Riverside where ADCNR tests the fish every year for PCBs and Mercury. Sometimes they will issue consumption advisories for bigger bass and catfish. Last year the advisory was for catfish only.
If it were me I would look at Guntersville/Tennessee River. IMO it is the best fresh water fishery in the state. It is also the largest lake in Alabama and will be essentially as close as any other major lake to Ashville.
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Old 11-18-2019, 06:26 AM
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From Birmingham to Guntersville is 75 miles, and it's mostly 2 lane roads. Yes, it's one of the premier lakes in the U.S. with beautiful houses and great bass fishing.
On the other hand, Lewis Smith Lake is about 50 miles northwest of Birmingham, and it's mostly interstate driving. It's a deep, clear lake snaking throughout the hills.
Logan Martin Lake is 45 miles east of Birmingham, and interstate all the way. It's on the Coosa River, and is also a pretty good size lake.

I would tell you to get out there and see the lakes in person. You might want to pay close attention to the societies around the lake if you have kids, including quality of schools and the people in the area. The most desirable areas to live in the Birmingham area are Mountain Brook and the suburbs on the south side--a couple of valleys south of downtown--even into Shelby County.

We just moved to Huntsville area, but have a lake house at Muscle Shoals on the incredible Tennessee River on Lake Wilson.
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Old 11-18-2019, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Bamaman View Post
From Birmingham to Guntersville is 75 miles, and it's mostly 2 lane roads. Yes, it's one of the premier lakes in the U.S. with beautiful houses and great bass fishing.
On the other hand, Lewis Smith Lake is about 50 miles northwest of Birmingham, and it's mostly interstate driving. It's a deep, clear lake snaking throughout the hills.
Logan Martin Lake is 45 miles east of Birmingham, and interstate all the way. It's on the Coosa River, and is also a pretty good size lake.
The title says Birmingham but looks like you missed the part where he says he will be living in Ashville. Logan Martin will be the closest at about 40 miles then Guntersville at about 50 and then Smith the farthest at about 60 (to launch). Your options to launch and to drink and eat will be much greater at Guntersville. There will be no Interstate travel for any of his scenarios they will all be mostly on 2 - lane US or State Highway. Guntersville will also be the easiest tow as he will be going parallel to the ridge lines as opposed to with Logan Martin or Smith he will be going more perpendicular to the ridgelines.

Last edited by xl883lo; 11-18-2019 at 09:42 AM.
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Old 11-18-2019, 04:37 PM
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The reason I suggested that he go out and physically look at the communities is that some areas have a society that's a little rough socially--and even legally. I have a buddy in Ashville and I've been to Ashville and just about every town in the area. They all have their plus' and minus'.

We just moved 2 weeks ago to rural Madison County, AL after living in a 5000+ square foot home in a luxury neighborhood. After burglaries and car thefts, the local judges continue to turn out thieves without punishment, The schools in our area are full of future rocket scientists, and I'm saving substantially not having an 8 year old in private schools.

Lewis Smith Lake NW of Birmingham has a big real estate liquidation presently. The homesite prices are just a small percentage of what land prices are on Guntersville, Wheeler, Wilson or Pickwick lakes. See: https://www.facebook.com/livelakefro...ref=nf&__xts__[0]=68.ARDgtqwKPvsUDvOAQe4uDbLCa4QmWYi7Fb-0UIL6tLcTxjBcCnSvqBO3Bf54HdYXGQZN-CG-3Xa989icVn7_URIHP8X-mxS6lVe_L90VatIkumVVYGex4Dd7eH4-iCGLMtdW459a1-vjS20PUL89TXoIXRn0IKlJ2FFlm4rYm3GsdCJlwVQtYZDwenlt kYlUsSwrbyHxeuTb--yycHq0u5dVKagHuc4uL1EvXdi_AmADuWPxk1aBrdCioZ1Ju8Vx dJGuenCWFNX1zO8x-o1gIyYQuuREt48gCErn&ft[tn]=kC-R-R&ft[adid]=23843811792010196&ft[qid]=6760780198132287709&ft[mf_story_key]=2507372178631322877&ft[is_sponsored]=1&ft[ei]=AI%40AQKWD6anLcUcmQjKM_AC9DyzWBbYvKJtpJvmcBwkp4kF cF_9PRcLCKKzOKoV6NJjUp4gGko_LN7iP-GBCPb6j2Gg&ft[top_level_post_id]=724059778072629&ft[content_owner_id_new]=314351322376812&ft[call_to_action_type]=LEARN_MORE&ft[page_id]=314351322376812&ft[src]=10&ft[story_location]=5&ft[story_attachment_style]=share&ft[view_time]=1574116296&ft[filter]=h_nor&ft[page_insights][314351322376812][page_id]=314351322376812&ft[page_insights][314351322376812][actor_id]=314351322376812&ft[page_insights][314351322376812][dm][isShare]=1&ft[page_insights][314351322376812][dm][originalPostOwnerID]=0&ft[page_insights][314351322376812][psn]=EntStatusCreationStory&ft[page_insights][314351322376812][post_context][object_fbtype]=266&ft[page_insights][314351322376812][post_context][publish_time]=1573755684&ft[page_insights][314351322376812][post_context][story_name]=EntStatusCreationStory&ft[page_insights][314351322376812][post_context][story_fbid][0]=724059778072629&ft[page_insights][314351322376812][role]=1&ft[page_insights][314351322376812][sl]=5&ft[page_insights][314351322376812][targets][0][actor_id]=314351322376812&ft[page_insights][314351322376812][targets][0][page_id]=314351322376812&ft[page_insights][314351322376812][targets][0][post_id]=724059778072629&ft[page_insights][314351322376812][targets][0][role]=1&ft[page_insights][314351322376812][targets][0][share_id]=0&ft[fbfeed_location]=1&ft[insertion_position]=71&ft[ordinal_position]=72%3A5&__md__=1
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:47 PM
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I relocated from Mobile to the Birmingham area 7 years ago, and now live in Alabaster which is about 25 miles south of town. The other replies seem spot on, but I’m happy to help, feel free to reach out...
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Old 12-02-2019, 01:49 PM
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Guys I really appreciate this information, I'm not set on Ashville by any means. My goal is to have at least 15+ acres and be within 45-50 minutes of Birmingham for work. It sounds like I'll be able to get to rivers and large lakes whether I live N, E, or NW of Birmingham which is great news. I'm mostly excited to the fact that my family and I can actually get in the water. Here in Central Florida it's always Gators every where, amoebas, or sharks offshore.
Old 12-02-2019, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Gasser44 View Post
Guys I really appreciate this information, I'm not set on Ashville by any means. My goal is to have at least 15+ acres and be within 45-50 minutes of Birmingham for work. It sounds like I'll be able to get to rivers and large lakes whether I live N, E, or NW of Birmingham which is great news. I'm mostly excited to the fact that my family and I can actually get in the water. Here in Central Florida it's always Gators every where, amoebas, or sharks offshore.
That being the case I would suggest you go to the Alabama State Education Department website and look at the grades for the school system. Alabama has some excellent schools and we have some truly crappy ones. The good schools are not always where you might think they are. The State grades all the schools every year. It is not perfect but it at least is a benchmark. I would give you a link but the website is down this afternoon.
Old 12-02-2019, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by xl883lo View Post
That being the case I would suggest you go to the Alabama State Education Department website and look at the grades for the school system. Alabama has some excellent schools and we have some truly crappy ones. The good schools are not always where you might think they are. The State grades all the schools every year. It is not perfect but it at least is a benchmark. I would give you a link but the website is down this afternoon.
Thank you, you're actually about the third person to tell me that. We are doing homeschool and currently do some courses at a church/school. Our hope is to find a church that offers something similar. If we can not find a co-op type setting it will be full homeschool as my wife stays home or private school. My wife was a public school teacher here in Florida and she was adamant that our kids will not attend public schools if we can make it work. What I did find interesting is Alabama doesn't have a state lotto- in Florida we have Bright Futures state scholarships which is fully funded by the lotto system. I found UAB offers different tier scholarships based on GPA/ACT scores that are not income based so that is great news.
Old 12-03-2019, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Gasser44 View Post
Thank you, you're actually about the third person to tell me that. We are doing homeschool and currently do some courses at a church/school. Our hope is to find a church that offers something similar. If we can not find a co-op type setting it will be full homeschool as my wife stays home or private school. My wife was a public school teacher here in Florida and she was adamant that our kids will not attend public schools if we can make it work. What I did find interesting is Alabama doesn't have a state lotto- in Florida we have Bright Futures state scholarships which is fully funded by the lotto system. I found UAB offers different tier scholarships based on GPA/ACT scores that are not income based so that is great news.
The benchmark for full scholarships in Alabama state colleges looks to be about 29 on the ACT. Our local high school has A/P classes in cahoots with the local university, and many better students enter the university with almost 1 full year of core courses behind them for just registration fees. It's like a $4K freebie. Whether this program applies to homeschooled is doubtful.

You might have to look long and hard to find a really good church related home school program in Alabama. My daughter was homeschooled for behavioral issues--rather than it being for any other reason. It didn't work well in her case. I do have a friend that homeschooled her kids, but she has a Masters from Harvard in Education. And the kids were Air Force children--being moved often.
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Bamaman View Post
The benchmark for full scholarships in Alabama state colleges looks to be about 29 on the ACT. Our local high school has A/P classes in cahoots with the local university, and many better students enter the university with almost 1 full year of core courses behind them for just registration fees. It's like a $4K freebie. Whether this program applies to homeschooled is doubtful.

You might have to look long and hard to find a really good church related home school program in Alabama. My daughter was homeschooled for behavioral issues--rather than it being for any other reason. It didn't work well in her case. I do have a friend that homeschooled her kids, but she has a Masters from Harvard in Education. And the kids were Air Force children--being moved often.
Thanks, I graduated highschool with an AA from dual enrollment my last two years in highschool. Hopefully they offer something similar as well, saved me from ever needing a student loan.
Old 12-03-2019, 12:01 PM
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With that being the case, if you would like some land you may consider the Alabaster area, even Calera. Both are very convenient to I-65 N...you would actually be within about 30 minutes of the Coosa River...
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Old 12-05-2019, 08:29 PM
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I've got several friends who home school through Evangel Christian in Alabaster and absolutely love it.... https://www.evangelhomeschool.org

As far as lakes go.... Martin and Smith are the two largest and are the cleanest by far for swimming/recreation, but are probably the toughest to fish. The Coosa River chain of lakes is probably the best fishing outside of the world class bass fishing on Guntersville and the crappie fishing at Weiss. Mitchell is a totally overlooked lake that nobody pays attention to, but is a great escape about 45 miles south of town, We are truly blessed with great freshwater lakes within 90 minutes of Birmingham.
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Old 12-15-2019, 05:02 AM
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Another question, are fiberglass boats usable in general within the lakes/rivers in Alabama or are rocks a problem? Didn't know if aluminum is the only way to go there?
Old 12-15-2019, 06:29 AM
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Glass.
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Old 12-17-2019, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Gasser44 View Post
Another question, are fiberglass boats usable in general within the lakes/rivers in Alabama or are rocks a problem? Didn't know if aluminum is the only way to go there?
I'd say >80% of boats here are fiberglass. The rest are crappie guys in Bass Trackers who are going stump-jumping on Lay Lake or the Warrior River.

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