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Hiking with Hailey: Dallas County Public Fishing Lake

This week, as we celebrate National Fishing and Boating week, we’ll cast our rods out at one of Alabama’s hidden gems in Dallas County!
Published: Jun. 14, 2021 at 6:31 AM CDT
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SARDIS, Ala. (WSFA) - Saturday wrapped up National Fishing and Boating Week, as people across the country hit the water hoping to reel in a big catch! So naturally, we wanted to do the same thing, so we checked out the Dallas County Public Fishing Lake for this week’s episode of Hiking with Hailey.

Tucked just off State Highway 41, the Dallas County Public Fishing Lake is just one of many lakes available for fishers across the state.

“The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division has 23 different public fishing lakes located around the state in 20 counties,” said Marianne Hudson, who works for the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division. “These are really hidden gems for residents and non-residents alike to come and fish. These locations are strategically placed throughout the county in rural locations so that everyone has the opportunity to get out and fish and have some fun and put food on the table.”

Spanning 100 acres, the Dallas County Public Fishing Lake provides an assortment of aquatic...
Spanning 100 acres, the Dallas County Public Fishing Lake provides an assortment of aquatic critters that attract fisherman of all shapes and sizes.(Source: WSFA 12 News)

Spanning 100 acres, the Dallas County Public Fishing Lake provides an assortment of aquatic critters that attract fisherman of all shapes and sizes. The lake is stocked annually with catfish, but some other fish are already renewing themselves.

“These lakes were actually initiated back in the 1940′s as an opportunity for people to come out take advantage of the abundant fishing opportunities we have here, and so these lakes are actually stocked to provide maximum opportunities for fishermen,” said Hudson. “We have largemouth bass, we have crappie, we have bluegill, and we have red ear. There’s some people who come out here and fish every day, and so if we have a lot of repeat visitors, it means the fishing is good and lots of success to be had out here.”

As Marianne mentioned, Alabama has 23 different public fishing lakes in 20 different counties, all offering their own unique spin on fishing.

“Every one of our public fishing lakes varies in size and varies really in habitat and vegetation, and fisherman really have to learn to fish the lake that they want to fish, and so there’s different techniques and different tricks and different tools that fisherman can use to get to know the lake and have optimal success,” said Hudson. “Some people rent boats. Some people bring their own and fish from the bank. All of our public fishing lakes are accessible even for those in wheelchairs. So there’s opportunities for everyone to get out here and fish.”

The Dallas County Public Fishing Lake is stocked annually with catfish. Largemouth bass,...
The Dallas County Public Fishing Lake is stocked annually with catfish. Largemouth bass, crappie, blue gill and red ear can also be caught.(Source: WSFA 12 News)

And out at the Dallas County Public Fishing Lake, it’s not about the size of the fish on your hook or the number of fish you reel in – it’s all about the memories made and the friendships built along the way.

“Many people don’t realize that Alabama is actually a destination state for fishing and other outdoor recreational sports, and so people come from other states to fish our lakes. We have a lot of wonderful fishing here, and our public fishing lakes provide opportunities for that as well,” said Hudson.

Now, if you’re nervous about not being “e-fish-ent” with the fishing pole, don’t worry - the Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries has you covered.

The Dallas County Public Fishing Lake is just one of 23 public fishing lakes across 20 counties...
The Dallas County Public Fishing Lake is just one of 23 public fishing lakes across 20 counties in Alabama.(Source: WSFA 12 News)

“Our Go Fish initiative is designed for individuals and families to come out and learn how to fish from our staff,” said Hudson. “We have mentors that will supply you with everything you need: the fishing rod, the location, all the tackle and equipment, and also one-on-one mentoring and lessons from our staff. So if you go to outdooralabama.com, we will provide a list of locations and dates you can register – come on out and learn to fish!”

The Dallas County Public Fishing Lake is open from sunrise to sunset. For more information on hours of operation, visit them online at the link above. A fishing license is required to fish and can be purchased at the bait and tackle shop on site.

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