Lay Lake, Alabama, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Alabama - Metropolitan -

Lay Lake is an impressive 12,000-acre reservoir stretching for 48 miles through the counties of Talladega, Shelby, Coosa, and Chilton in east-central Alabama. The primary uses for this lake are hydroelectric power generation and outdoor recreation. Since being impounded in 1914 by the Alabama Power Company, the lake is best known for its largemouth bass and spotted bass fishing.

Lay Lake offers 289 miles of shoreline and provides recreational opportunities for boating, fishing, swimming, and other outdoor activities. Boat ramps, picnic facilities, nature trails, and restrooms are available to the public. When it comes to fishing, Lay Lake offers some of the best fishing in the South. Sport fish species include several varieties of bass, crappie, bream, catfish, and sunfish. Several bass tournaments are annually held on Lay Lake. Largemouth bass and spotted bass up to 18-inches are abundant. In the upstream end of Lay Lake, the tailwater area below Logan Martin Dam is excellent for hybrid striped bass and catfish. The 2002 Bass Masters Classic was won in this area. Note: Lay Lake dose have a fish consumption advisory due to PCBs and mercury. See the link below before consuming fish from Lay Lake.

For boaters, Lay Lake is an excellent lake to cruise or paddle. Five islands can be found within its 48 miles of deep, clear, cool water. Multiple public and private boat ramps are located along the shoreline making getting on the lake a breeze. Many of the launches have marinas, restaurants and stores. Beeswax Creek Park is a county park adjacent to the lake which covers nearly 100 acres and features a walking trail, boat launch facilities and picnic pavilions.

Families who like to camp will find several campgrounds and RV parks in the area. Those would rather not rough it will find bed-and-breakfasts and other various vacation rentals and real estate in the area. Lay Lake is conveniently located 35 minutes southeast of Birmingham off I-65 and 15 miles southeast of Columbiana.

Birmingham is a vibrant city nestled in the rolling foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Visitors to Lay Lake can enjoy fine dining, shopping, a zoo, museums, golfing, world-class attractions, and lodging of every kind imaginable. The University of Alabama at Birmingham is well known for its sporting events and Talladega Superspeedway is an all time favorite with NASCAR fans. For outdoor enthusiasts, Ruffner Mountain is a 1,000-acre nature preserve, just five miles from the center of the city. In this urban forest, mile after mile of hiking trails cover all the ridges and valleys; one trail ends at a spectacular overlook with a breathtaking view of the city. A covered picnic pavilion is available and a great place to stop, relax, and have lunch.

For a little less hustle and bustle, the town of Columbiana offers shopping, dining and several small parks. Just a few minutes northwest of Lay Lake, this town welcomes tourists and is a great place to do a little gift shopping or sample some fine Alabama cuisine.

Nature lovers will find several state parks and wilderness areas near Lay Lake. Oak Mountain State Park is Alabama’s largest state park where visitors can enjoy mountain biking trails, camping, picnicking, tennis, swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, backpacking, and horseback riding. The park is also home to the Alabama Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

Northeast of Lay Lake is the Talladega National Forest which covers 392,567 acres and offers numerous outdoor recreational opportunities. Hiking, camping, hunting, boating, fishing and horseback riding are allowed amid numerous streams, lakes, lush canyons and bluffs from 50 to 2,000 feet. Approximately 850 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish make their home in the forest. Game animals include white-tailed deer, bobwhite quail, gray and fox squirrel, turkey, rabbit, raccoon, and various waterfowl. Threatened or endangered species finding shelter in the forest include the red-cockaded woodpecker, the flattened musk turtle, and several species of mussels.

Lay Lake and the surrounding area is a fantastic outdoor playground, where kids of all ages can enjoy every adventure imaginable, from fishing, boating, hiking, camping, and kayaking to horseback riding, hunting, scaling massive boulders and rappelling down scenic ravines. From scenic views along the shoreline in the summer to the mountain region’s gorgeous fall colors, there’s something spectacular to experience year round.

Things to do at Lay Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Kayaking
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • National Forest
  • Museum
  • Playground
  • NASCAR
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Lay Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Spotted Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Sunfish

Lay Lake Photo Gallery

Lay Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

divider

Water Level Control: Alabama Power Company

Surface Area: 12,000 acres

Shoreline Length: 289 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 396 feet

Average Depth: 22 feet

Maximum Depth: 88 feet

Water Volume: 262,774 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1914

Drainage Area: 9,087 sq. miles

Trophic State: Eutrophic

Spread the word! Share our Lay Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.