Weiss Lake, Alabama & Georgia, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Alabama - Mountains - Georgia - Historic High Country -

The self proclaimed “Crappie Capital of the World,” Weiss Lake is a fantastic destination for anglers and the entire family. The lake is in Cherokee County in northeastern Alabama near the Georgia border. The headwaters of the Coosa River start in northwest Georgia, and Weiss Lake is accessible from both Alabama and Georgia. There are about 2,000 acres of river and backwater habitat on the Georgia side of the lake. With fishing, boating, and water sports along with the spectacular scenery surrounding the lake, there is something to please any outdoor enthusiast.

In the 1890’s Captain William Patrick Lay had the idea to harness the water power of the Coosa River. He incorporated the Alabama Power Company, but work on the hydroelectric projects on the Coosa River didn’t start until after WWII. Weiss Lake is the first of six impoundments created in the Coosa River system. The lake gets it water from the Coosa, Chattooga, and Little Rivers. Construction of Weiss Dam, the first dam built by the Alabama Power Company on the Coosa River, began on July 13, 1958. Named for Alabama Power’s Chief Engineer F. C. Weiss, the dam started to generate power on June 5, 1961.

Weiss Lake was built for hydroelectric power, but it is also used for flood control, irrigation, drinking water, and recreation. The 52 mile long lake is a storage lake, and its water levels fluctuate about 10 feet seasonally. The lower part of Weiss Lake has two dams, Weiss Dam and the Lakes Power Pool Dam, both of which drain into Neely Henry Lake. Weiss Lake is unique in the Alabama Power system because its spillway gates are 4 miles from the powerhouse. Water runs to the powerhouse through a 1 mile long man-made channel.

The bottom of Weiss Lake is varied ranging from shallow flats to deep channels, creating exceptional fish habitiat. Anglers will often catch crappie weighing over 2 pounds, and it’s not uncommon to catch crappie over 3 pounds. February through May are the best months to fish for crappie, and there is a spring rodeo. Along with black and white crappie, the lake is known for its largemouth bass fishing. There are also healthy populations of smallmouth, white, striped, and spotted bass, hybrid striper, bluegill, longear and redear sunfish, freshwater drum and blue, channel, and flathead catfish. The creel limit for most fish is 30, but anglers should check the fishing regulations for particulars on weights and limits.

Along with fishing, Weiss Lake is popular for boating, sailing, swimming, waterskiing, and jet skiing. There is public access to the lake and several private marinas. Accommodations range from campgrounds and cabins to motels. There are also several residential developments around the lake. Weiss Lake brings an estimated $200 million in tourism to Cherokee County.

Recreation in Cherokee County, however, is not limited to Weiss Lake. The county, which was named for the Cherokee Indians that lived in northern Alabama, is the home of the Cherokee Rock Village previously known as Little Rock City. West of Leesburg, the 200 acre park has sandstone and quartz formations, some of which are 150 feet tall and 70 feet wide. It is believed that the rock formations were used for ceremonies. Today it a popular spot for rock climbing, and visitors can look down on Weiss Lake and see from Alabama to Georgia.

The Little River Canyon National Preserve runs along Lookout Mountain in Cherokee County. There is a picnic area and an 11 mile long scenic drive. The preserve has bluffs, pools, and sandstone cliffs along with the 45 foot Little River Falls. There is also kayaking, canoeing, and whitewater rafting within an easy drive from Weiss Lake. DeSoto State Park was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps atop Lookout Mountain, and it has camping, cabins and mountain chalets.

With its panoramic views, striking rock formations or water sports, Weiss Lake has much more than just exceptional fishing to offer visitors.

Things to do at Weiss Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Rock Climbing
  • State Park

Fish species found at Weiss Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Freshwater Drum
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Redear Sunfish (Shellcracker)
  • Spotted Bass
  • Sunfish
  • White Crappie

Weiss Lake Photo Gallery

Weiss Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

divider

Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Alabama Power

Surface Area: 30,200 acres

Shoreline Length: 455 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 564 feet

Average Depth: 10 feet

Maximum Depth: 62 feet

Completion Year: 1961

Drainage Area: 5,273 sq. miles

Trophic State: Eutrophic

Spread the word! Share our Weiss 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.