Little Bear Creek Reservoir, Alabama, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Alabama - Mountains -

Also known as:  Little Bear 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

Little Bear Creek Reservoir Photo Gallery

    Little Bear Creek Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links

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    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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    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.


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    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.


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    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."


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    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.


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    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.


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    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.


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    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.


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    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


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    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.


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    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.


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    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.


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    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.


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    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.


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    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.


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    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.


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