Lay Lake – Site Of The Bassmasters Classic!

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Lay Lake is a 12,000-acre reservoir located thirty-five minutes south of Birmingham off I-65 and fifteen miles south of Columbiana in east-central Alabama. The lake borders St. Clair, Talladega, Shelby, Coosa, and Chilton Counties. The primary uses for this reservoir are hydroelectric generation and recreation. Lay Lake is very popular for tournament fishingand was the site of the 2007 Bassmasters Classic.

Impounded in 1914 by the Alabama Power Company, Lay Lake is best known for its spotted and largemouth bass fishing. It is loaded with largemouth and spotted bass up to 18-inches and has plenty of larger bass. The best fishing for largemouth occurs in creeks and shallow water sloughs while spotted bass are usually found in the main river portions of the lake. In the upstream end of Lay Lake, the tailwater fishery below Logan Martin Dam is excellent for hybrid striped bass.

The tailwater area is also popular for largemouth and spotted bass when shad are running along the banks. The 2002 Bassmasters Classic was won in this area.

Lay Lake is one of six Alabama Power Company reservoirs on the Coosa River. It lies is between Lake Logan Martin to the north, and Lake Mitchell, to the south and stretches 47 nautical miles. The lake has 289 miles of shoreline. Anglers must travel 23 miles below Logan Martin Dam before Lay becomes a reservoir like most southern anglers are accustomed to. The river overflows it banks and covers thousands of acres of what was once prime farmland.

Lay Lake   Site Of The Bassmasters Classic!

Standing timber, old roads, collapsed bridges, creek channels, railroad beds and collapsed railroad trestles can be found underneath the water and offer excellent cover for bass. There is also an abundance of grass and lily pads in the lake due to the fact that the water level remains the same year round.

Lay Lake has an abundance of large and medium-size creeks, as well as branches, which dump water into it all along it’s length.

Kelly Creek, Flipper Creek, Locust Creek, Talladega Creek and Tallaseehatchee Creek empty in the upper third, as do Bailey Branch and Deer Lick Branch.  Yellowleaf Creek, Dry Branch, Bulley Creek, Beeswax Creek, Cedar Creek, Sulphur Creek and Peckerwood Creek are all major creeks in the middle portion of the lake. Hay Spring Branch, Pope Branch, Mud Branch, Flat Branch and Kelly Branch also dump water into Lay Lake’s middle section, but to a lesser degree.

The lake’s lower third has Spring Creek, Blue Springs Creek, Waxahatchee Creek and Paint Creek as major water suppliers, while Reed Creek, Coagie Creek, Camp Branch, Sawmill Branch, Chalybeate Creek, Little Tom Creek, Slaughter Creek, School Branch, Wash Creek, Crawford Branch and Mill Creek are smaller arteries.

Flipping and pitching jig combos and tube baits to weed edges, piers, thick matted weeds, rock banks and bluffs, or fan-casting creek and river flats are great tactics for winter bass on Lay lake. Some weeds die during winter, but still hold bass that relate to them as cover. Swimming a jig is also a popular tactic on Lay Lake for covering water fast and getting the big bass to bite. Tube baits, worms and lizards take a lot of semi-dormant bass just waiting for a easy meal dropped right in their faces.

Keep in mind that on some days a mouthful of pork, plastic or an over-sized offering, will get the bigger bass bite. On other days you must downsize your lures to even get bit.

Spinnerbaits catch bass year round on Lay Lake; and during December, January and February many anglers like to slow-roll or drop heavy spinnerbaits in deep water. Spotted bass are suckers for these flashing and vibrating lures. Largemouth bass found shallow around weed and wood cover are very susceptible to spinnerbaits, especially when the water temperature is in the upper 50′s, with a slight stained look to the water.

When targeting these Coosa River bass many anglers fish the main river. These Bama bass will strike buzzbaits, topwaters, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, jig combos, Carolina-rigged and Texas-rigged worms, tube baits, and even swim baits. Deep-diving crankbaits (especially chartreuse) and rattletraps are good lures.

During water generation, try fishing the outside bends of the main river. Especially target where slack water and eddy areas provide ambush hideouts for spotted bass that tolerate swift current a little better than the largemouth bass. Largemouth hogs can be had at times around stumps, weeds edges, lay downs, points and the lower ends of islands.

Give Lay Lake a try when visiting the Birmingham area. You are sure to find some great bass fishing action any time of the year!