Fishing at Bankhead Lake, Alabama
Bankhead Lake is best known for catches of largemouth bass and spotted bass. Largemouth bass up to 16 inches are abundant with lower numbers of larger bass. Trophy potential exists in backwater areas. The spotted bass have modest numbers of 8- to 13-inch fish but lower numbers of larger fish. Better opportunities for anglers to catch spotted bass are found in lower sections of the reservoir.

The crappie growth in this reservoir is excellent, and the fish caught are usually large. The number of crappie are relatively low due to poor recruitment in recent years. In 1993 a 9-inch minimum length limit was implemented on crappie to protect younger fish and has been well supported by anglers.

Another popular sport fish in Bankhead Lake are hybrid striped bass. Hybrids in the 3-8 pound range are commonly caught in swift tailrace and headwaters in spring and fall. The headwaters of Bankhead Reservoir are the Smith Lake tailwaters. The former world and current state record hybrid (25 lb. 15 oz.) was caught in headwaters in 1996.

In addition to hybrid striped bass, the Bankhead Reservoir headwaters (Smith Lake tailwaters) are excellent fisheries for rainbow trout, catfish, various sunfish, largemouth bass and spotted bass. Beginning several years ago, the stocking rate for trout was increased to seven stockings annually. Each stocking usually consists of 3,000 rainbow trout. Seasonally, the skipjack herring fishery is tremendous.
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