My Outdoors Online
Picking up where the road ends!
Some of the best largemouth bass and crappie fishing in the country is right here in Alabama making it no surprise that fishermen focus on bass for brawling, crappie for eating and bream because they're fun and tasty. Rainbow trout are seldom mentioned because they belong in clear, cold mountain streams...not exactly common Alabama topography.
Alabama may not have the topography for rainbow trout, but we do have Smith dam on the Sipsey river with a tailrace that is almost the perfect temperature for Rainbow Trout the entire year and a DCNR that works hard to improve outdoor opportunities for Alabama outdoorsmen. Since 1974 Alabama power, federal fish and wildlife and the Alabama DCNR have been stocking rainbow trout on regular intervals into the Smith dam tailrace and it's made for really fun trout fishing. In addition to simply stocking trout, fish habitat and bank access are being steadily improved to make your trout fishing expedition fun and rewarding.
Getting there isn't very difficult, from Jasper find highway 69 and head East, from I-65 take exit 299 at Dodge City and go West on highway 69. When you reach the Sipsey river bridge you'll see the "Riverside Fly Shop" on the Southeast corner of the bridge, take the road across from the fishing shop on the East side of the river (it runs parallel to the river), find a parking spot and start catching fish!
Trout are like most fish and they sit in an ambush position waiting for something tasty to come by...then they pounce on it. Trout are different than most freshwater fish in Alabama because you don't have to arrive at sunup to catch them!
If you're going to use a spincast set-up, 4 pound test and small hooks are ideal. There is a large virility of bait that trout love to eat (especially stocked trout), earthworms, power bait and small spinners will help you bring home a limit of Rainbows. Corn also works as a trout bait, but I've had several people tell me that the trout can't digest corn and it ends up blocking their digestive system, killing the fish.
If you're going to use a fly rod, it's probably worth a call or visit to the Riverside Fly Shop to see what the current favorite fly is.
The limit on Alabama trout if 5 per day. DO NOT share a stringer or creel! If you and a buddy are using one stringer and you have 7 trout on it and you're checked by a game warden, the person holding the stringer gets a ticket for catching to many fish! I spoke with a guy that had this happen to him.
Pay attention to river levels and alarms from the dam. There is a published generation schedule, but the schedule in not always followed and you must be prepared to get out of the river quickly. If you hear a siren, or notice the water level rising, reel your cast in and start heading for the bank immediately. If you are with a group (especially with kids), know where everyone is all the time so you can be sure that if the water starts rising they can reach the bank quickly.