Little Bear Creek Reservoir, Alabama, USA

Also known as:  Little Bear Reservoir

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Little Bear Creek Reservoir — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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All About Little Bear Creek Reservoir

Little Bear Creek Reservoir, located 13 miles southwest of Russellville in Franklin County in the Mountains Region of northwestern Alabama, is a 1,560-acre reservoir popular for boating, fishing, swimming and other recreational pursuits. In the late 1960s, the Tennessee Valley Authority began construction on what is known as the Bear Creek Water Control Project. The project is now controlled by the Bear Creek Development Authority. Little Bear Creek Reservoir is one of four reservoirs operated by the Bear Creek Development Authority.

Little Bear Creek Reservoir was impounded in 1976 mostly for flood control and drinking water purposes, but has become one of the area’s most-loved vacation destinations. Along with Little Bear Creek, the Bear Creek Development Authority oversees Cedar Creek, Upper Bear and Bear Creek Reservoirs. Together, all four lakes offer nearly 9,000 acres of wonderful fishing, boating, sand beaches, swimming, hunting, camping, miniature golf, picnicking and hiking. A 30-mile canoe float stream is located between Upper Bear and Big Bear Reservoirs. There are five campgrounds open Mid-March through Mid-October, and the lakes are open year round. Little Bear Creek Reservoir is often considered the prettiest of the lakes due to its limestone bluffs, tree lined shores, and clear blue water.

There are a small number of private homes along the 45 miles of shoreline of Little Bear Creek Reservoir, but camping and fishing are the main pastimes for the area. There are three public access areas to the lake: Elliot Branch, McAffee Landing, and Williams Hollow, and two campgrounds located at Elliot Branch and Williams Hollow. Most of the campsites offer full access for RVs, campers and trailers. Vacation rentals are also available on a peninsula of the reservoir.

Fishing on Little Bear Creek Reservoir can be exciting and promising. A Bear Creek Development Authority fishing permit is required in addition to an Alabama state fishing license. Little Bear Creek Reservoir is known best for its bass: largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted. Crappie, catfish, bream, and bluegill fishing are good too. There is a 13-16 inch protective limit on largemouth bass. Bass anglers are encouraged to harvest all largemouth bass less than 13 inches in length. Larger and faster growing bass will be the result. Smallmouth bass and spotted bass have no protective length limit. The reservoir was stocked with a Florida strain largemouth bass in 1981 in an attempt to incorporate the Florida bass genetics into the population. Channel catfish were also stocked into the reservoir in 2001 and 2004.

Boat rentals are available on Little Bear Creek Reservoir, or launch your own boat as you set out for a day of fun. Pack a picnic lunch and eat on the lake, or drop anchor and swim or row into one the campgrounds and enjoy your meal at one of the many picnic areas. Enjoying a meal while watching the water is a wonderful way to relax.

Tired of the lakes? Head into nearby Russellville for the Watermelon Festival. The annual event is held in August in downtown and is a carnival-type event sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. The King drive-in theater is located just north of Russellville on Highway 43. It is one of the only drive-in movie theaters still operating in Alabama. The theater features old style speakers that hang off the window of your car, or you can tune in through you FM radio.

After your day of fishing, swimming, boating or hiking around Little Bear Creek Reservoir, sit back and relax in your rental cabin or campsite and be sure to catch a famed Alabama sunset as you reflect on the day’s activities.

Things to Do at Little Bear Creek Reservoir

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Miniature Golf
  • Movie Theater
  • Drive-in Theater

Fish Species Found at Little Bear Creek Reservoir

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Spotted Bass
  • Sunfish

Find Places to Stay at Little Bear Creek Reservoir

If you’re considering a Little Bear Creek Reservoir lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Little Bear Creek Reservoir Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Little Bear Creek Reservoir lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Little Bear Creek Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Tennessee Valley Authority, Bear Creek Development Authority

Surface Area: 1,560 acres

Shoreline Length: 45 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 620 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 608 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 637 feet

Average Depth: 16 feet

Maximum Depth: 84 feet

Water Volume: 37,800 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1976

Drainage Area: 91 sq. miles

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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