Lewis Smith Lake, Alabama, USA
Also known as: Smith Lake
Lewis Smith Lake is a perfect place for an outdoor adventure. Tucked into a corner of the Bankhead National Forest in northern Alabama’s Mountain Region, the abundance of coves and deep clear water of the many-fingered Lewis Smith Lake draws anglers and boaters from all over.
One of Alabama’s cleanest lakes, Lewis Smith Lake is an impoundment of the Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River. Created in 1961 with the construction of Smith Dam, Lewis Smith Lake is named in honor of Lewis Martin Smith, a past president of Alabama Power. Alabama Power built the dam, one of the largest earth and rock filled dams in the eastern United States for flood control, hydroelectric power, navigation and recreation. Water levels on Lewis Smith Lake are controlled by Alabama Power and fluctuate about 14 feet each year.
Lewis Smith Lake holds the Alabama state record for a spotted bass caught in 1978, weighing 8 pounds 15 ounces. Fishing on Lewis Smith Lake is excellent and will challenge anglers of all skill levels. In addition to spotted bass, there are healthy populations of largemouth and striped bass and black crappie, bluegill and channel catfish. Anglers can fish from the bank, pier or by boat. There are several full service marinas with rentals and boating and fishing provisions. Below Lewis Smith Lake, the cool tailwaters of Smith Dam are one of the few places in Alabama to catch rainbow trout. The US Fish and Wildlife Service stocks the trout.
Lewis Smith Lake has over 20,000 surface acres of water spread out over three main fingers rimmed with lots of tiny coves. Lewis Smith Lake covers parts of three counties including Walker, Winston, and Cullman Counties, and stretches over 35 miles. Cullman County owns Smith Lake Park on the shore of the lake. The park includes lakeside cabins, a campground and an ADA accessible boat ramp. There is also a spiral waterslide to delight any family.
Part of Lewis Smith Lake is bordered by the William B. Bankhead National Forest. At over 180,000 acres, it is Alabama’s largest National Forest. It includes the Corinth, Houston, and Clear Creek Recreation Areas. Sipsey Wilderness Area is also part of the Bankhead National Forest. Known as the “Land of 1,000 Waterfalls,” Sipsey Wilderness Area includes some of the most beautiful scenery in Alabama and is the largest Wilderness Area east of the Mississippi River. Sixty-one miles of the Sipsey Fork River above Lewis Smith Lake are designated as Alabama’s only National Wild and Scenic River. Sipsey Fork River passes through some of the state’s only remaining virgin timber stands — and by spectacular limestone bluffs. It is a beautiful place to canoe or kayak.
Set against the majestic backdrop of the Bankhead National Forest and Sipsey Wilderness Area, Lewis Smith Lake is an ideal location for an outdoor adventure. Add the draw of Lewis Smith Lake’s deep, clean, clear water and nearby hiking, hunting, and fishing and it’s sure to become one of your favorite vacation destinations.
Things to do at Lewis Smith Lake
- Vacation Rentals
- Cabin Rentals
- Wildlife Viewing
- National Forest
Fish species found at Lewis Smith Lake
- Black Bass
- Black Crappie
- Channel Catfish
- Rainbow Trout
- Spotted Bass
- Striped Bass
Lewis Smith Lake Photo Gallery
Lewis Smith Lake Statistics & Helpful Links
Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed
Water Level Control: Alabama Power
Surface Area: 21,200 acres
Shoreline Length: 500 miles
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 510 feet
Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet
Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 522 feet
Maximum Depth: 264 feet
Water Volume: 1,390,000 acre-feet
Completion Year: 1961
Water Residence Time: 435
Lake Area-Population: 78,000
Drainage Area: 944 sq. miles
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