William ‘Bill’ Dannelly Reservoir, Alabama, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Alabama - River Heritage -

Also known as:  Lake Dannelly, Millers Ferry, Dannelly Reservoir, Millers Ferry Reservoir, Millers Ferry Lake

Along the Alabama River in the River Heritage region of the state, visitors will find the William “Bill” Dannelly Reservoir. Located an hour southwest of Selma, the reservoir encompasses 105 miles of the Alabama River with over 500 miles of shoreline. The reservoir is better known locally as “Millers Ferry” for the dam, which came online in 1970 and produces enough energy to serve more than 50,000 homes. The lake is a recreation lover’s paradise, with fishing, hunting, boating, camping, hiking, hunting, water sports and wildlife viewing opportunities year round. Numerous parks, boat ramps, recreation areas and campgrounds line the reservoir and provide access to the lake along with picnic facilities, playgrounds, beaches, swimming areas and overnight camping options.

William “Bill” Dannelly Reservoir was formed by the construction of Millers Ferry Lock and Dam. Construction of the dam began in 1963 and was completed in 1974. It was built for both hydropower and navigational purposes. The lake that it impounds was named for Judge William “Bill” Dannelly who was an active supporter of river development. A former Wilcox County probate judge, Dannelly is credited with leading the modernization of the Alabama and Coosa Rivers.

A major draw to William “Bill” Dannelly Reservoir is the exceptional bass fishing. Both largemouth bass and spotted bass are considered excellent at this reservoir. With high fertility and a relatively stable threadfin shad population, this reservoir consistently produces two to four pound bass or larger. Anglers will also find great fishing for white crappie and black crappie. Other common species include bluegill sunfish, gizzard shad, and striped bass. Access to the lake can be found all along the shores of William “Bill” Dannelly Reservoir. Fisherman can take advantage of the numerous boat ramps, or fish straight from the banks of the reservoir. Some campgrounds also feature piers. A marina catering to powerboats is located near the dam on the west end of the lake called Millers Ferry Marina.

Fishermen, nature enthusiasts, and birdwatchers share the many recreation spots, parks, and campgrounds along William “Bill” Dannelly Reservoir. A visitor’s center near the Millers Ferry Lock and Dam provides bird watching information, in addition to maps and guides for the numerous campgrounds. One of the larger parks in the area can be found along the twists and turns of the reservoir on the east end of the lake. Roland Cooper State Park is a 236-acre park in a majestic pine forest setting, featuring a nine-hole golf course, vacation cottages, modern campground, playground, picnic area and boat launching facilities. Several other locations provide developed and primitive camping including Chilatchee Creek Campground, Millers Ferry Campground, Six Mile Creek Park, Elm Bluff Park, Portland Landing, and Bridgeport Landing. A complete list of parks, campgrounds, and facilities can be found in the internet resources section below.

Visitors looking for a unique water sport adventure can explore the Alabama Scenic River Trail, which starts at the Georgia State Line and winds through the state, passing through the William “Bill” Dannelly Reservoir and on to the Gulf of Mexico at Fort Morgan. At 631 miles, The Alabama River Trail is the longest water trail of any single state in the country, following seven rivers and two creeks. Water sport enthusiasts can enjoy boating, canoeing, sailing, water skiing and kayaking on the expansive waters of William “Bill” Dannelly Reservoir.

For a relaxing afternoon, visitors can enjoy the rich history of the area going back to the Native American settlements, up to the Civil Rights Movement. Adjacent to William “Bill” Dannelly Reservoir, visitors can check out the Liddell Archeological Site. This archaeological site is a prehistoric Native American site, which contains evidence of human occupations from the early Archaic of about 9000 BC. For more recent history and a leisurely afternoon ferry ride, a trip to Boykin (also known as Gee’s Bend) is in order to see the famous Gee’s Bend Quilters Collective. Visitors can take the ferry that runs between Camden and Boykin to see the distinctive, sophisticated quilting style that has been passed on for at least six generations to the present day. The quilts and their history have been published in books and put on display in major exhibitions around the country. A trip to the area wouldn’t be complete without visiting historical Selma, AL. The city has the state’s largest historic district, as well as many Civil Rights historical sites including the National Voting Rights Museum and Martin Luther King Jr. Street Historic Walking Tour.

The William “Bill” Dannelly Reservoir is largely unspoiled by commercial or residential development. Cabins can be found at the various campgrounds and parks surrounding the lake. Otherwise, several communities are located nearby and offer plenty of accommodations ranging from hotels to bed and breakfasts.

For a sportsman’s vacation or a trip through history, William “Bill Dannelly Reservoir is a wonderful destination for a family vacation or weekend getaway.

Things to do at William ‘Bill’ Dannelly Reservoir

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Museum
  • Playground

Fish species found at William ‘Bill’ Dannelly Reservoir

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Gizzard Shad
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Shad
  • Spotted Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Sunfish
  • White Crappie

William ‘Bill’ Dannelly Reservoir Photo Gallery

    William ‘Bill’ Dannelly Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    Surface Area: 17,000 acres

    Shoreline Length: 500 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 80 feet

    Average Depth: 19 feet

    Maximum Depth: 60 feet

    Water Volume: 332,000 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1970

    Drainage Area: 20,600 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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