DeKalb County Public Fishing Lake: An Enduring Treasure for Anglers and Families

DeKalb County Public Fishing Lake: An Enduring Treasure for Anglers and Families
By Kerry Scott

Tucked away on scenic Sand Mountain in Sylvania, the DeKalb County Public Fishing Lake has been drawing anglers and families for decades, with its abundant fishing opportunities and family-friendly amenities. Seven years ago, the lake underwent extensive maintenance and refurbishment and reopened under the management of Steven Simmons. Today this beautiful natural area continues to serve as a safe, accessible, and idyllic spot for both locals and visitors from across the state and beyond.

Simmons is no stranger to the intricacies of running a public fishing lake. Growing up with a father who managed a similar lake for an impressive 27 years in Clay County, Simmons’ expertise and passion made him the perfect fit for the position. “I was already familiar with the policies and expectations,” said Simmons.

Little River Burgers and Brews pimento cheese bacon burger
DeKalb County Public Lake by Patty Tucker

Wide Variety of Fish

The lake’s tranquil waters are home to a diverse fish population, including bass, catfish, bluegill, shellcracker, crappie, and more. While you’re encouraged to keep what you catch, bass over 13 inches long must be released back into the lake. Daily limits are posted for other fish species to ensure responsible fishing practices.

A Haven for Families

More than a fishing destination, the lake’s picturesque landscapes are the perfect backdrop for families to bond, relax, and create lasting memories as they take walks, grill out or simply share a picnic basket. The bank fishing design makes the water easily accessible, and there are plenty of picnic spots thoughtfully scattered around the perimeter.

Perfect for Beginners and Experts Alike

While rivers might be daunting for some, the lake offers a controlled and secure space for both seasoned anglers and newcomers to the sport. It’s the perfect place for youngsters to learn the art of fishing, with many second-generation fishermen bringing their own children and grandchildren to share the joys of fishing and create a legacy of their own.

Facilities to Enhance Your Experience

Management goes above and beyond to ensure visitors have a pleasant and comfortable stay. The facilities are designed to accommodate diverse needs:

  • Boat ramp: For those who wish to explore the lake by boat, a convenient boat ramp provides easy access.
  • Covered fishing piers: The lake offers two covered fishing piers that are ADA compliant, ensuring that everyone can enjoy fishing with ease.
  • Pavilions: ADA-compliant pavilions offer shaded areas for relaxation and family gatherings.
  • Public restrooms: Clean, well-maintained public restrooms are available for visitors’ convenience.
  • Concessions: The onsite store provides bait, tackle, and snacks to keep anglers fueled for their fishing adventures.
  • Campground facilities: The lake boasts 10 campsites, including four equipped for RVs. These sites come with electricity, water, and public restrooms. As weekends can get busy, it’s advisable to make reservations in advance to secure your spot.

Plan Your Visit

To visit the DeKalb County Public Fishing Lake, head north from Rainsville on Alabama Hwy 75 for about 6 miles, then turn left onto County Road 27 for three quarters of a mile. Finally, take a right onto County Road 194, which leads straight to the lake.

The lake is open from sunrise to sunset daily, except Wednesdays when it is closed for maintenance. The lake closes during the winter months from late November to February, reopening for the fishing season. Be sure to check the website, as closing dates are subject to change periodically.

Licenses and Permits

To fish in the lake, normal fishing license requirements apply to anglers 16 and older. Additionally, a daily fishing permit is required for those 12 and older, which costs $3.00. For those who wish to rent a boat or bring their own, boat permits are $5.00 for rentals and $3.00 for personal boats. These permits are necessary to ensure compliance with state regulations and contribute to the lake’s maintenance and preservation.

Truly one of Alabama’s treasures, the lake and its surroundings endure as a timeless spot for cherishing past and present while creating new traditions.