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County Lake ready for busy summer

The 184-acre Chambers County Lake provides the perfect fishing atmosphere.

The relatively short winter and early onset of summer have made the Chambers County Public Fishing Lake a popular destination in the first half of 2012, and with school ending recently it seems like a sure thing that there will be no slowing down anytime soon. Lake levels have been consistent, and the grounds are in pristine condition attracting visitors from all over East Alabama and Georgia.

Anglers have had lots of luck catching catfish from the banks of the lake.

The lake recently hosted their biggest event of the season with the Children’s Catfish Rodeo and it was once again a big success, drawing nearly 200 young fishers. Participation in the biggest catfish and bream contests have been outstanding, and thought there hasn’t been much luck, the Saturday bass tournament’s are still ongoing and will soon be moving to the afternoon.

Lake Manager Bonnie Howell says that, for the most part, fishing has been good this year. “The catfish are really biting,” she says. “And people are having a lot of luck catching bream.”

Donnie Pope, a regular angler at the lake says that bream seem to be bedding during full moons and new moons this year, and are being caught in abundance throughout the lake. Fishers are catching catfish in abundance from the shores, from the pier and from boats.

Howell also says that crappie are being caught in some of the deeper waters (8-10 ft.) near the dam of the 184-acre lake.

As for the bass fishing, it hasn’t been as plentiful as in years past. “It’s been spotty at best,” Howell says. “There’s been so many changes in the weather, it got really hot, then cooled down, now it’s gotten hot again and there’s just been no consistency in the water temperature.”

Pope, who is one of the lake’s most accomplished bass fishers, says that a number of factors could be causing the fish not to bite. “It could be an abundance of bait and it could be the weather,” he says. Pope and Howell both say that there have been days where the bass are biting, but in an attempt to increase the odds, Howell has taken the limit off bass fishing. “We’re hoping it (bass fishing) will pick up in the summer,” she says.

As for the rest of the summer, Howell is looking forward to a good season. She also noted the winners of the recent catfish and bream contests. Mr. James Allen took first place in the biggest catfish contest with an 11.85-pounder. Tim Gallagher came in second with an 8.3-pound cat and Allen had the third place fish at 8.2 pounds.

Samantha Dailey won the bream contest with a nice 1-pound fish. William Wright also had a 1-pounder and came in second and Dailey came in third with a 0.95-pound fish.

Howell says that the lake will also be participating in this weekend’s Free Fishing Day in Alabama. Each calendar year, the Commissioner of Conservation and Natural Resources designates a Free Fishing Day for the public to fish recreationally in public waters without a fishing license.  Saturday, June 9, 2012, had been designated as Free Fishing Day. There is an exemption of the usual fishing license requirement on that day.

The lake is open six days a week from sunrise to sunset and is closed on Tuesday for the rest of June. Starting in July the lake closes on Tuesday and Wednesday. The lake will close for the year on December 1. Regular prices and fees are as follows: Daily Fishing Permit (12 and older) – $3; Boat Rental Permit – $5; Launch Permit – $3; Boat Package (boat rental, battery, paddle, PDF…fishing permit not included) – $20.

The lake store is also stocked with food and drinks and a number of other fishing and outdoor supplies. Live bait including, big reds, little reds, wigglers, night crawlers, pink worms and crickets are for sale. Livers, shiners and wax and meal worms are also available.

The Chambers County Lake is located five miles southeast of LaFayette on County Road 83. Call 864-8145 for more information.

Bream have been especially active this summer and some crappie are being caught in the deep waters near the dam.