Fishing the Mulberry Fork
The Mulberry Fork is a tributary of the Black Warrior River in the state of Alabama. The Mulberry Fork along with the Locust Fork and the Sipsey Fork join to form the Black Warrior River. The Mulberry Fork drains part of the southernmost end of the Appalachian Mountains north and west of Birmingham.
The Mulberry Fork rises in northeastern Cullman County. It flows in tight meanders along a ridge of the foothills, forming the boundary between Cullman and Blount counties. It receives the Sipsey Fork from the northeast in Walker County, approximately 15 miles east of Jasper. The confluence with the Locust Fork is now submerged within Bankhead Reservoir and forms a border on a small section of Jefferson County.
The upper Mulberry Fork watershed (source to Broglen River) supports a very diverse fish community consisting of 27 species. Fish diversity diminishes in the lower Mulberry Fork. Industrial development and urban expansion over the last century probably contributed to species decline in the lower reaches.
The land on the bottom of the Mulberry Fork and land adjacent to the stream may be privately owned, and permission must be obtained from the landowner prior to crossing or wading these areas. Limited access can be obtained from county road bridge right-of-ways crossing the creek. The Mulberry Fork was declared navigable by the Alabama Legislature from "the Sepsie fork to Ballimore" on December 3, 1821, page 83, which means the bottom of the stream is state land. In Cullman County, the entire Broglen River was determined to be navigable, and the Mulberry Fork was determined to be navigable from "Township 10S, Range 1E, Section 8 and all downstream from there." In Blount County, the Mulberry Fork was determined to be navigable from "Township 10S, Range 1E, Section 3 and all downstream from there." In Walker and Jefferson counties, the entire Mulberry Fork was determined to be navigable.
The upper portion of the Mulberry Fork offers excellent wade fishing opportunities. Access can be found at several bridge crossings. Access to the river can be made at the Cullman County Road 783 and 698 and at the Highway 278 bridge. Access is steep and care must be taken descending to the river. Access to the river can also be obtained via Cullman County Roads 1807 and 1758. The terrain is not as steep at these areas, but care should be taken descending to the river. Double bridges near Hanceville down to Garden City is a good float on the Mulberry Fork.
The Mulberry Fork offers excellent float fishing in the lower reaches. The river in these areas are a mix of pools, runs and shoals. Some of the shoals are classified 1 and 2 rapids so caution should be taken when floating the river, especially during periods of high flow.
The upper most floatable section is from the Cullman County Road 747 crossing to U.S. Highway 31. This section is a float of 11.3 miles. Banks are steep, but they can be negotiated by carrying or sliding a canoe. The second floatable section is from U.S. Highway 31 bridge to the bridge just above I-65.
The Mulberry Fork can provide excellent fishing for a variety of species. Anglers can expect to catch largemouth bass, spotted bass, crappie, bluegill, and longear sunfish. Ultra-light spinning tackle or a small fly rod with small spinners or plugs is all that is needed for an enjoyable day’s fishing.
Fishing license information may be found at: Licenses. Instant licensing is available via Internet (2% fee) or telephone 1-888-848-6887 ($3.95 fee). Fishing licenses may also be purchased at local bait and tackle stores and county probate offices. Youth age 15 and younger fish for free. Alabama residents age 65 or older are not required to purchase a fishing license.
Possession and creel limits for Alabama public waters are listed at: Creel Limits
The US Geological Survey gives water discharge estimates and gage heights.
The Fisheries Section's District Office can answer specific questions about the Mulberry Fork by sending email to Jay Haffner.
"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."
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