Where To Kayak Fish in Alabama

Opinion: on where to kayak fish in Alabama

Alabama has the most navigable stream miles in all of the United States.

Alabama has the most navigable stream miles in all of the United States.

The MOST!  No other state has more than Alabama, the beautiful.  There are over 77,000 miles of rivers and streams in Alabama.  On top of that, our state also ranks 14th in the nation in its number of acres of lakes, ponds, and reservoirs and 24th in the number of acres of wetlands.  There is more freshwater biodiversity in Alabama than any other state.

The northern part of the state hosts the mighty Tennessee River with hydroelectric reservoirs hosting tens of thousands of acres of water.  Lake Guntersville alone is 75 miles long and hosts 69,000 acres of water!  That helps to make it one of the most diverse kayakable lakes in the U.S.!  Sprinkled throughout the state are more diverse areas to fish: bays in the Mobile Delta, the Coosa River, private trophy lakes throughout the state, and public lakes from top to bottom.

Some of the world’s foremost biologists have given Alabama the title of “America’s Amazon”.

Obviously the Amazon in South America is one of the most biologically diverse and healthiest ecosystems on the planet.  But did you know that Alabama has been described as “America’s Amazon”?  The abundance of waters in our state along with our topography and climate have some of the world’s greatest biologists giving Alabama the title of “America’s Amazon”.  That’s a badge that we should wear with pride.  As kayakers we should be ambassadors of Alabama’s great outdoors.

The most biodiverse individual river in North America is about a hundred miles north of the Alabama state line.  So you may think that the massive Tennessee River Watershed in North Alabama accounts for most of the credit of the “America’s Amazon” title, however, it is the Alabama Delta Watershed that really contributes the most to that claim.  The Alabama Delta Watershed, which runs from the Coosa River and its tributaries in Northeast Alabama down through heartland of the state (some say Dixie) into the Mobile Delta region, is a treasure of Alabama and biological store of diversity for our planet!  It really is.  From freshwater streams pouring out of the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains draining all the down through the plains of the middle of the state, to the brackish waters of the bays, backwaters, and deltas of Mobile, to the abundant salt waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama’s water systems are diverse and presently fairly healthy (but could always use some improving and regular monitoring).

Alabama is seventh in the country in perennial stream miles but first in navigable stream miles.

The US Geological Survey estimates that 10% of the freshwater resources in the United States flow through Alabama.  Few states in the US can match this claim.  Additionally, Alabama is seventh in the country in perennial stream miles but first in navigable stream miles.

“So, would someone tell me where I could take my family to go catch some fish from the kayak?”

Well, we are blessed with water resources in our state.  And while private landowners own land on most of those river miles, the federal and state Governments also own a lot.  So with respect, you should not struggle in finding a place to launch your kayak, paddle your kayak, or catch a fish in the state of Alabama—even if you are new to the sport.  To be blunt, if you can’t find a place to paddle or fish in Alabama, you would not be able to find a place to paddle or fish elsewhere.

So with respect, you should not struggle in finding a place to launch your kayak, paddle your kayak, or catch a fish in the state of Alabama.

Here are two suggested ways to find a fishing spot:

  • Go explore and use tools such as Google Maps, USGS surveys, and other government tools to find public launch points. Looking on the Outdoor Alabama website and Google Maps are great places to start.
  • Meet a fellow angler and ask to go fishing. “Let’s go fishing sometime” is a great way to share water and “do life” with someone else.

The internet never forgets.  Simply put, fishing details posted online will put pressure on a boat ramp, a stream, or swamp.  Anglers are drown to Alabama to fish in our waters.  “Local knowledge” is now always on the brink of being “common knowledge” thanks to the internet.

Fishing with knowledgeable anglers is a preferred way for the new kayak anglers to start fishing from a kayak.  In fact, fishing new spots with new people is part of the adventure and one of the main reasons that I enjoy kayak fishing.  I highly recommend you go to local club events or organizational gatherings, get involved with those groups, and go fishing with friends and soon-to-be friends.

Don’t forget, we fish out of kayaks, canoes, SUP, floats, and more lightweight vessels.  You will have to work to get to some of the most rewarding fishing in Alabama.  I’ve used robust carts, heavy duty ropes, and even ATVs to access unpressured water.

However, at the same time, massive largemouth bass and giant redfish are caught just feet from a busy highways that see tens of thousands of people pass by every day.  For instance, just see Randy Howell’s amazing morning during the Bassmaster Classic in 2013 on Lake Guntersville where he caught big bass after big bass to win the tournament near the heart of Guntersville just feet from a major 4-lane highway.  See the crappie anglers that fish the bridges and causeways along roads all throughout the state.  See the tourists that fish the piers along the gulf.  We’re blessed with fish and we’re blessed with places to fish.

We are surrounded by awe-inspiring wonders in our state.  With a little bit of research, you’ll discover just how accessible they are.  Check the resources link for links that will guide you to tools and websites that list boat/kayak/canoe launches on some of our waters here in Alabama.

With respect, there will be virtually no posting of launch points, fishing reports, and water details on this website.  I have personally seen a creek back home raided once it was discovered trout lived there.  I’ve see other spots seen intense pressure.  After a Bassmaster Elite event on Lake Guntersville, one particular ramps was literally destroyed due to the amount of traffic it saw after ESPN aired that event’s episode.

My point:  Alabama has a lot to offer new kayak anglers.  Discovering new places to fish is part of the adventure.  Providing fishing location details online will probably tell others where someone else’s honeyhole is located.  The volume of water in a small creek is often much less than a tiny man-made lake.