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Gainesville Reservoir

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Fish and Fishing in
Gainesville Reservoir

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Gainesville Reservoir is a run-of-the-river reservoir on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. Gainesville Reservoir is located off I-59 in west central Alabama between Meridian, Mississippi, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Howell Heflin Lock and Dam impounds the Tombigbee River 8 miles north of Epes, Alabama. The 6,400-acre lake is just east of Gainesville, Alabama. The reservoir's primary uses include navigation, flood control, and recreation. Recreation opportunities include camping, hunting and boating. Ten areas allow public use and bank fishing with eight areas having boating access.

Since being impounded in 1978 by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, Gainesville Reservoir is best known for its largemouth bass and crappie fishing. There is a good abundance of largemouth bass up to 18 inches with moderate numbers of larger bass. The crappie growth in this reservoir is excellent with an abundance of 9- to 12-inch fish. In 1993 a 9-inch length limit was implemented to protect young crappie. This length limit has been well received by anglers and is an important management tool for biologists. Another good source of panfish in Gainesville Reservoir is bream.

Bream fishing (mostly bluegill) is good from summer through fall months in backwater areas of the reservoir and around weed beds. The best fishing for all game fish species in this reservoir are in sloughs and backwater coves, around standing timber and emergent and submersed aquatic plants.

The tailwater fishery below Howell Heflin Lock and Dam is excellent for catfish, hybrid striped bass, and freshwater drum. Tailwater fishing is popular with local anglers, and they are generally satisfied with their catch rates.

Channel catfish from Gainesville Lake, Alabama.
Gainesville is a great catfishing lake.

It is illegal to possess blueback herring Duane Raver's Blueback Herring courtesy of the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Alabama. Regulations designate legal capture methods for bait and specify additional species that may not be used for bait.

Links (disclaimer):

Fishing license information may be found at: www.outdooralabama.com/fishing/freshwater/license/. Instant licensing is available via the Internet (2% fee), via the telephone by calling 1-888-848-6887 ($3.95 fee), or at 900 vendors and probate offices in Alabama. All youth age 15 and younger fish for free.

Possession and creel limits for Alabama public waters are listed at: www.outdooralabama.com/fishing/freshwater/regulations/

Bass fishing quality at Gainesville Reservoir is assessed here.
If you are a member of a bass club, please consider being a part of our Bass Angler Information Team. We use information from clubs to help better manage your lakes for fishing.

State fish management information and Alabama reservoir location, size and elevation are listed at: www.outdooralabama.com/fishing/freshwater/where/reservoirs/
US Corps of Engineers map of Gainesville Reservoir and recreational facilities.

Livingston is the county seat of Sumter County, and information about the city's accommodations may be found at: www.ci.livingston.al.us/
Additional general information is found under "Gainesville Lake" at: al.com/parks/central.html

Bass fishing reports for Lake Gainesville may be available at: www.wmi.org/bassfish/reports/alabama/.

Current water levels may be found at http://iwin.nws.noaa.gov/iwin/al/hydro.html

A fish consumption advisory has been issued by the Alabama Department of Public Health for the Sipsey River a half mile up from its confluence with the Tombigbee River, Greene County. Consult with the Alabama Department of Public Health for specific information before consuming fish from Gainesville Reservoir.

It shall be unlawful to intentionally stock or release any fish, mussel, snail, crayfish or their embryos including bait fish into the public waters of Alabama under the jurisdiction of the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries as provided in Rule 220-2-.42 except those waters from which it came without the written permission of a designated employee of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources authorized by the Director of the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries to issue such permit. The provisions of this rule shall not apply to the incidental release of bait into the water during the normal process of fishing.

The Fisheries Section's District III biologist can answer specific questions about Gainesville Reservoir at Jay.Haffner@dcnr.alabama.gov.

Prepared by: Fisheries Section, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. This site is presented for information only the Fisheries Section cannot be responsible for the quality of information or services offered through linked sites, disclaimer. To have your site included, send your URL, email address, or telephone number to the Fisheries Web Master, doug.darr@dcnr.alabama.gov. The Fisheries Section reserves the right to select sites based on relevant and appropriate content, of interest to our viewers. If you discover errors in the content or links of this page, please contact Doug Darr. Thank you.

Largemouth Bass Rubbing

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