Lewis Smith Lake is a 21,200-acre man-made lake on the Sipsey Fork, the uppermost lake on the Black Warrior River. The three-fingered lake has over 500 miles of shoreline in Cullman, Walker, and Winston counties, and at full pool has a level of 510 feet above mean sea level.
The lake was impounded by Alabama Power Company's Lewis M. Smith Dam, the largest earthen dam in the eastern United States. The dam is 2,200 feet long and reaches a maximum height of 300 feet. Construction began on November 25, 1957. It was dedicated in May 1961 and entered service on September 5, 1961.
Nearby towns include Bremen, Crane Hill and Dodge City in Cullman County; Curry and Jasper in Walker County; and Addison, Arley, and Double Springs in Winston County. It is the second-cleanest lake in America, behind Lake Tahoe.
While Smith Lake has over 70 species of fish in its waters, it is a prime destination for striped, spotted and largemouth bass fishermen. It hosts weekly local fishing tournaments, a unique night tournament, the annual Red Cross Spring Bass Classic, and frequent stops on national fishing tours.
Spotted bass from Smith Lake set several world fishing records in the 1970s. The current record was set in California from a lake stocked from Smith Lake bass. Alabama's record catch was an 8 pound, 15 ounce specimen caught on Smith Lake by Phillip Terry of Decatur on March 18, 1978. The junior world record Striped bass was a 31 pound, 15 ounce fish caught at Smith Lake by 8-year-old Kamron Butler of Eva in 2007.
Public lake access is provided at the dam, at Smith Lake Park and Speegle's Marina in Cullman County, and from the Bankhead National Forest and Sipsey Wilderness. Some fishing guides have been prosecuted for stocking the lake with invasive Blueback herring, intended to fatten the lake's striped bass.
- Winston County Road 41 over Sipsey Fork between Curry and Arley
- U. S. Highway 278 over Sipsey Fork between Double Springs and Houston
- Winston County Road 63 over Brushy Creek between Houston and Arley
- Winston County Road 77 (Helicon Road) over Rock Creek between Arley and Helicon
- Winston County Road 22 over White Oak Creek between Helicon and Trade
- Cullman County Road 946 over Crooked Creek between Mt Zion and Crane Hill
- "Big Bridge", Cullman Country Road 222 over Ryan Creek between Wheat and Brushy Pond
- Cullman County Road 813 over Ryan Creek between Trimble and Loretto
- Darr, Doug (2008) Fish and Fishing in Smith Lake. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
- "Citizen Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring of Alabama's Reservoirs: Volume 1: Lewis Smith Lake" (October 1999) Alabama Water Watch
- "Lewis Smith Lake." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 23 Feb 2008, 00:43 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 7 Apr 2008 .
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