Find a Great Black Belt Fishing Spot: May Newsletter
Fine Fishing Spots Abound in Black Belt
Many of us have spent quality time in Alabama’s beautiful Black Belt forests in pursuit of turkeys and deer or quail and then retired to a relaxing cabin or lodge to relive the memories. But we can also think of no better places to spin some fish tales than in the Black Belt.
There are lots of lodges that offer great fishing spots in the Black Belt. Just visit our Outfitters and Lodges page on our website to find one that suits your needs. You can also stay on public waters and haul in plenty of fish – and big ones at that!
For example, Lakepoint State Park on the “Bass Capital of the World” Lake Eufaula is an amazing spot for the serious angler as well as for the casual outdoorsperson who wants to spend some time with the family. Lakepoint offers a full-service restaurant and lounge, a marina, hiking trails, a modern campground (with 192 improved campsites), tennis courts, a swimming complex and playgrounds. You can book a room in the Lakepoint Resort Lodge and Convention Center or make reservations for one of the 29 cabins or 10 lakeside cottages. Handicap-accessible and dog-friendly units are available, too.
Roland Cooper State Park, 285 Deer Run Drive in Camden, offers some of the best fishing in southwest Alabama on the Dannelly Reservoir – probably best known as Millers Ferry. The park provides great boat launching facilities. There are five furnished, two-bedroom cabins at Roland Cooper.
The park also has “tiny house” cabins ready to rent for $98 per day with discounts for weekly and monthly rentals. Three of the cabins sleep six in two bedrooms. Another tiny cabin is ADA compliant with one bedroom with two queen beds with a wheelchair-friendly bathroom and shower. There is also a wheelchair ramp to the main entrance and doorways wide enough to accommodate wheelchair mobility. The cabins are sprinkled throughout the existing RV campground.
Plus, Roland Cooper has 47 improved campsites with picnic tables, grills, water, 30-amp electrical and sewer hook-ups. Tent camping is available at 13 primitive sites, too. All campers have easy access to nearby bathrooms and showers.
Another bonus at Roland Cooper is the fact that it’s a featured stop on the Black Belt Birding Trail with bald eagles and osprey around most of the year. Other raptors, songbirds and waterfowl are common.
Both Lakepoint and Roland Cooper play host to frequent fishing tournaments. You can find one that interests you by visiting the Lakepoint schedule page here or an overall listing provided by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources here.
It’s easy to find a place to wet a hook in the Black Belt!
Pickens County Teen Wins Photo Contest
Carlee Jane Criswell of Reform is the winner of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Big Gobbler Photo Contest with her shot of a nice turkey taken in Pickens County. The 14-year-old eighth-grader at Gordo High School won the prize package valued at $175.
This year’s contest, our seventh annual, was sponsored by Josh Cumbee, owner of Jager Calls of Barbour County. Carlee Jane will receive a handcrafted one-of-a-kind Jager Call with striker, a Summit Predator Blind, a Thermacell Mosquito Repellent and a sweet Jager Calls T-shirt.
We received entries from 13 of the 23 Black Belt counties, with five coming from Montgomery County, four from Barbour and Bullock and three from Pickens.
Carlee Jane’s big gobbler was taken during a hunt with her father, Jeff, in the Palmetto community north of Reform. It was the youngster’s third-ever turkey. Carlee Jane recalled her excitement from the hunt. “I was shaking so bad,” she said. “He looked like he was floating across the field!”
Pam Swanner, director of the ALBBAA, praised all of the 27 entries in the contest. “It was nice to see another young person do well as it reminds us spending time in the outdoors together is the perfect way for families to make lifelong memories. We even had one entry of a young man with his grandfather, celebrating 20 years of turkey hunting together.
“For the seventh year in a row, we’ve brought awareness to the great hunting opportunities found in the Black Belt through our popular contests,” she said.
Summer Fun in the Black Belt
Thankfully, with the summers we have in Alabama, the Black Belt offers plenty of ways to cool off with fun activities on the water.
Canoeing and kayaking – and standup paddle boarding – are great ways to explore the Black Belt portion of the Alabama Scenic River Trail (photo above). The Trail’s website provides lots of information about outfitters all across the state, including waters around Tuscaloosa, old Cahawba, Millers Ferry and lots more!
If you are up for the challenge, train this spring and summer to get ready for the amazing Alabama 650 race from Sept. 14-24. This event will take hardy paddlers the entire original Alabama Scenic River Trail’s 650 miles from northeast Alabama (Weiss Lake) to Fort Morgan on the Gulf of Mexico! Visit the link above for the full story.
Don’t forget there’s also whitewater rafting in the region. Head to Russell County (on our side of the state line) for the Phenix City/Columbus, Ga., urban whitewater rafting on the Chattahoochee River. The Chattahoochee Whitewater Park was named as one of the top 12 manmade adventures in the world by USA Today. There’s also fly fishing instruction, zip lines that go from one state to another and bike rides.
On the other side of the Black Belt, pay a visit to Shark Tooth Creek Outdoor Adventures in Aliceville for camping, discovering shark tooth fossils, canoeing and more fun in the water. You’ll need to call to set up your visit (205-373-2605), but you can read all about it at their website. You’ll go home with 10 shark teeth that you uncover yourself!
If you want your daytime entertainment on dry land – but right next to the Black Warrior River in Hale County – you will be amazed by Moundville Archaeological Park just south of Tuscaloosa at 634 Mound State Parkway. The park grounds are open from dawn to dusk, admission hours from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. The museum is open from 9-5. Moundville is one of the country’s “premier Native American heritage sites,” according to the University of Alabama Museums website. National Geographic called the site the “Big Apple of the 14th century,” describing the prehistoric community that was at its peak America’s largest city north of Mexico. A visit is informative and inspiring.
Music, Music and More
Here are some great events coming up in the Alabama Black Belt in the next few weeks. Late spring is a great time to hear some great music in the region.
The 26th Annual Uriah Cotton Patch Festival is May 18 in Uriah, located on Highway 21 southwest of Monroeville. The festival runs from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and features lots of children’s activities, including a petting zoo, along with arts and crafts, food vendors and more. For more information, call Patricia McCullers at 251-862-2279 or 251-294-2253.
The first Opelika Songwriters Festival is May 24-26 with live musical performances by national, regional and local songwriters. Multiple venues in Opelika will play host to dozens of singer/songwriters, including Kate Campbell, Shawn Mullins (No. 1 hit “Lullaby”), Kim Richey, Grammy winner Dan Navarro, Harpeth Rising, Cliff Eberhardt and Grayson Capps. Visit opelikasongwritersfestival.com for tickets and more information.
The 40th Annual Hank Williams Festival will be May 31-June 1 at Hank Williams Music Park in Georgiana. To reach the festival from I-65, take Exit 114 and go 1 mile east. Headlining the event this year is Confederate Railroad, performing at 9 p.m. on May 31. Gates open at 2 p.m. with continuous entertainment. Tony Jackson takes the stage at 9 p.m. on June 1 to close out the festival. Visit hankwilliamsfestival.com to order tickets (must be received by May 26) and more information.