Black Belt Fishing, State Parks Adventures, Flavors Campaign & More – April Newsletter
Black Belt Offers Abundant Options for Activities during COVID-19
As we head into the summer and travel restrictions are being lifted, now is the perfect time of year to explore the Black Belt and enjoy all of the recreational opportunities available in the region. From world-class fishing to fun activities on public waters and state parks, there are plenty of options for folks to enjoy responsible recreation during this time.
The fishing in the Black Belt is widely known to anglers and regularly produces excellent – and big! – largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, and bream fishing. There are abundant opportunities to find that hotspot for consistent action by checking out the various lodges and outfitters in the Black Belt that provide high-quality fishing along with all-inclusive services and accommodations. Our public lakes and rivers are great resources if you’re looking for that natural lure of the great outdoors in the region. To that end, Lake Eufaula is often referred to as the “Bass Capitol of the World” and was recently named the 21st best bass fishing lake in the country!
State Parks abound in the Black Belt from Lakepoint on beautiful Lake Eufaula over to Roland Cooper in Wilcox County and up to Lake Lurleen north of Tuscaloosa, these spots and the others in the region remain open and, with various exceptions, are still providing essential services and fine fishing for folks to safely enjoy the parks and the water.
For example, Lakepoint is a resort property and remains open for fishing, lodging, to-go service dining, canoe, kayak and boat rentals, RV camping, cottages and cabins, birding, hiking and more while Lake Lurleenremains open for some boat rental, camping, day-use, hiking, picnicking, and fishing. Roland Coopercontinues to provide access to the incredible fishery on Miller’s Ferry as well as overnight RV park, camping and cabin accommodations. And don’t forget about the adventurous escapes and activities provided by Bladon Springs in Choctaw County, Blue Springs in Barbour County, Chewacla in Lee County, Chickasaw in Marengo County, or Paul Grist in Dallas County either. With the evolving nature of the COVID-19 situation, it is recommended that you call individual state parks if you have any questions about reservations, activities and hours.
We encourage you to get out there on the water, wet a line and safely enjoy Alabama’s Black Belt region.
Flavors of the Black Belt Trail Launching Soon!
In need of a cure for cabin fever?
Then get your motor running for an adventurous trip to indulge in a bounty of drinks and eats created by the locals across Alabama’s Black Belt. This fun, back roads adventure, titled Feed Your Adventure – Flavors of the Black Belt Trail, will highlight themed travel destinations designed around the hand-crafted foodstuffs, brews and spirits found across our 23-county region and also includes where to shop for them.
In addition, we map out the Black Belt’s unique places to visit along the way, dining spots favored by the locals and cozy places for an overnight stay.
Feed Your Adventure offers a fun “passport” competition for a grand prize and a Feed Your Adventure Photo Contest that will have a monthly winner as well.
Be on the lookout for the official launch of these exciting road trips and the photo contest in the near future. In the meantime, start planning your next adventure here and remember to follow the recently announced COVID-19 guidelines as you explore.
Black Belt Bounty Now Available
We’re pleased to announce that Black Belt Bounty – Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association’s beautiful new coffee table book – is back in stock!
Due to incredible demand and overwhelming success of the first printing, a second printing was just completed, and we expect it to be as popular as the first. Pre-order your copy of the second edition on our website at this link.
This deluxe hard-cover 11 x 11 is a treasure trove of endearing stories of the Black Belt’s hunting and fishing heritage penned by award winning outdoor scribes. The pages are heavily laden with images and artwork from nationally recognized wildlife photographers and artists as well a wild game recipe section by celebrity chefs. Most all the contributors are from Alabama and many from the Black Belt region.
Black Belt Bounty makes the perfect gift for graduates, newlyweds, and sportsmen and spectators alike. It promises to become a prized possession for anyone who enjoys the outdoors or simply a good read and it’s a gift that will endure for many generations.
Cash is King of the Best Dogs of the Black Belt Photo Contest
The first-ever Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association “Best Dogs of the Black Belt” Photo Contest was an astounding success by all measures and finished with Steve Hutto’s photo of Cash emerging as the winner. The contest drew nearly 200 entries all totaling more than 10,700 votes with Hutto’s photo of Cash garnering nearly 7,300 votes.
“We loved seeing everyone’s hunting companions throughout this contest,” said Pam Swanner, director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “We know that people rightfully love their canine hunting buddies and the overwhelming response we had to this contest only solidified that sentiment. So much of being afield is the dog work and this contest was a fantastic way to recognize and praise these sporting dogs as well as the endless hunting opportunities within the Black Belt region.”
The photo of Cash further highlighted the Black Belt’s cultural significance with bird dogs, and the contest as a whole promoted the numerous dog hunting opportunities within the Black Belt including quail hunting, duck hunting, small game hunting as well as hog and deer hunting.
To be eligible, the photo must have featured a hunting dog on point, in action, or posing with their retrieved bird or game and uploaded to the website. To see all the sporting dog entries, visit www.AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures.org/bestblackbeltdogs.
Steve Hutto, of Fitzpatrick, Alabama, is the owner of Steady Point Kennels and has been training bird dogs for the past 30 years. He guides regularly around the Fitzpatrick and Union Springs area throughout the Alabama quail season and keeps right around eight dogs in his kennel. Hutto noted that Cash, a beautiful 3-year-old Brittany, is one of his best and most stylish bird dogs despite coming to him without any training.
“Cash came to me at 10 months old after a family decided that they could not give him the life he needed as a true hunting dog with endless energy. I told them I would take him on a two-week trial basis, and it took only three days before he was nailing quail with beautiful points. Cash is incredibly stylish for a Brittany keeping his head and tail up and is one of, if not the, top dog in my line.”
Hutto won a Filson Mesh Game Vest (valued at $145) perfect for the Black Belt’s mild winter seasons and designed for upland bird and small game hunting, which was donated by one of the nation’s leading conservation organizations Quail Forever, plus three varieties of Sure Shot Game Calls – the Yentzen Classic (the original double reed duck call), the Rascal 7-in-1 call for duck, quail and turkey hunting and the Speckle Belly Goose Call along with a lanyard (valued at $125). Total prize package is worth $270.
ALBBAA promotes and encourages ethical hunting and fishing practices. Its contests were created to further educate the public on the abundance of natural resources found in Alabama’s Black Belt region.
Big Gobbler Photo Contest Deadline Nears
As turkey season comes to a close, hunters pursuing wary gobblers in Alabama’s Black Belt – long known for its hallowed turkey woods – are encouraged to submit photos of successful hunts. The ALBBAA Big Gobbler Photo Contest, now in its eighth year, will be showcasing the 23-county Black Belt region’s dedicated hunters and legally harvested birds.
The contest (www.AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures.org/biggobblercontest) will feature a prize of an official National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) framed and doubled matted Lynch and Gibson turkey box calls print (limited edition #300 of 1900) by Melissa Gayman Ball (valued at $225) donated by the NWTF Alabama Chapter. The winner will also receive a newly released book titled “Memories of Spring” by avid outdoorsman Ron Jolly and wildlife photographer Tes Randle Jolly. This book is full of entertaining stories that any beginner or seasoned turkey hunter will enjoy. The contest coincides with the length of Alabama’s spring turkey season and closes on Sunday, May 3 within the Black Belt.
“It is no secret that Alabama’s Black Belt region is home to some of the finest turkey hunting in the country,” said Pam Swanner, Executive Director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “These wily eastern turkeys are indeed the “King of Spring” and present an addicting challenge to hunters of all levels. We encourage folks to visit the habitat-rich Black Belt for fantastic turkey hunting opportunities and stand ready to assist hunters interested in a full-service outfitter as well as the public lands available within the region.”
Contest participants are limited to only one entry and must fully complete the online form with the necessary information, including person (or persons) in the photo and the county where the gobbler was harvested. Visitors to the contest webpage may vote once per day, per email.
Only photos of turkeys taken in the Black Belt during the 2019-20 season (including those taken in Clarke and Monroe counties during the 2019 fall season) are eligible. Previous winners of the Big Gobbler Contest from 2018-19 and 2017-18 are not eligible this year.
“Alabama, and specifically the Black Belt region, is well known for incredible turkey hunting opportunities, and we fully expect another productive season here in Alabama,” said Chuck Sykes, Director of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division. “To further enable Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries to more effectively manage one of our most precious natural resources, we highly encourage folks to Game Check their turkey harvests. It is an extremely simple process that will provide invaluable information.”
Enjoy the outdoors!
Alabama Black Belt Adventures
The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association is committed to promoting and enhancing outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities in the Black Belt in a manner that provides economic and ecological benefits to the region and its citizens. For more information, go to www.alabamablackbeltadventures.org.