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Fish and Fishing in
Yates Lake

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Sunset over Yates Reservoir by Jon HornsbyYates Reservoir, also known as "middle pond," impounds the Tallapoosa River near Tallassee between the reservoirs of Martin and Thurlow. Alabama Power Company built Yates Dam in 1928 to create a 1,980 acre reservoir that provides navigation, hydroelectric power generation, and recreation. The water discharged from Martin Dam is cold and infertile, which directly influences the quality of the Yates Reservoir fishery. Baitfish, such as threadfin shad and gizzard shad, are not as abundant in Yates as they are in most other Alabama Reservoirs; therefore, growth of game fish is is slower.

Alabama Power Company Boat Ramp and Park on Yates ReservoirLargemouth bass and spotted bass were collected at similar rates during the spring 2006 electrofishing sample; however, bass abundance and growth is below average, since forage fish are somewhat scarce. Bass fishing success and techniques in this reservoir are influenced by hydropower generation, especially in the upper portion. Largemouth bass are more concentrated in feeder creeks and backwater areas. Spotted bass are more likely caught near the main river channel, although specific creeks with deeper water can still hold fish. Although the overall abundance of bass is suppressed in Yates, a number of big largemouth bass are caught there regularly since mortality rates are low. The oldest largemouth bass collected during the 2006 sample was an uncharacteristic fourteen.

Primitive boating access at the upper end of Yates Reservoir.

Yates Reservoir produces good crappie fishing, especially in the spring. Fall catch rates during trap-net sampling, revealed adequate catch rates of black crappie when compared to other reservoirs statewide. White crappie are also present in this system, but to a much lesser degree. Crappie are much more likely to be caught in the major creeks feeding the main reservoir such as Channahatchee and Sougahatchee. Crappie growth is slow and mortality rates are somewhat high in Yates.

Striped bass, white bass, channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish also attract anglers, especially in specific areas. Special striped bass regulations apply to Yates Lake. Another species that attracts angler attention is the yellow perch, since the flesh is very firm and appetizing. This species is new to the Tallapoosa River drainage, although no adverse affects are expected from its presence since it co-exists with game fish in other Alabama reservoirs.

Two Alabama Power Company boat ramps serve Yates Reservoir. The largest one, pictured on the right, sits in the middle of Yates on the west bank (From Hwy 14 just west of the dam in Tallassee, go north on Ann Ave. At about 1.5 miles, keep right on Upper River Rd (CR44), travel about 1.2 miles to right on CR30. Follow around to access). A primitive ramp services the upper end (pictured above).  The Lands Division of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources also has a small ramp on the Coon Creek Tract.

Alabama Power Company has improved fishing by providing habitat in this lake. Coordinates of these habitat improvements are available as an Excel spreadsheet or a GPS download from www.alabamapower.com/community/lakes/fishing-information.asp.
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.


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/

Being small and relatively unknown, few bass tournaments are held in Yates Lake. The bass club tournament results that are submitted are found 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. We need more information on Yates and Thurlow.

Additional information about the local area is available at: www.montgomerychamber.com and www.visitelmoreco.com/

Bass fishing reports for Yates Lake may be available at: www.wmi.org/bassfish/reports/alabama/.
Current water levels may be found for Yates Dam at: http://iwin.nws.noaa.gov/iwin/al/hydro.html

It is unlawful for any person to operate any vessel on the waters of Alabama within 800 feet below a hydroelectric dam and/or navigation lock and dam unless each person aboard, including the operator, is wearing a securely fastened U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device Type I, II or III or V.

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. 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 Supervisor can answer specific questions about Yates Lake or Thurlow Lake by sending mail to: Dan Catchings.

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.


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