GUNTERSVILLE, AL — Today, the state of Alabama announced the creation of an unprecedented experience for bass anglers: The Alabama Bass Trail. The Trail, consisting of 11 fisheries ranging from Pickwick Lake in the northwest corner of the state to the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta on the Alabama coast, will offer anglers a year-round opportunity to angle for America’s favorite gamefish.
“With the excitement of B.A.S.S. coming back home to Alabama where the organization started, on top of the success of our state’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, we believe that now is the perfect time to organize this experience for bass anglers,” said Kay Donaldson, program director of the Alabama Bass Trail. (B.A.S.S. recently relocated its world headquarters to Birmingham from Orlando, and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail is on track to have its 10 millionth visitor in 2012).
Alabama Bass Trail lakes include: Lake Guntersville, Wheeler Lake, Pickwick Lake, Lewis Smith Lake, Neely Henry Lake, Logan Martin Lake, Lay Lake, Lake Jordan, the Alabama River, Lake Eufaula and the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta.
The Trail is founded on three main pillars: Promote, Preserve, Educate.
The promotion will come through media outlets like Bassmaster Magazine and Bassmaster.com, as well as the Trail’s website: Alabamabasstrail.org. This site will offer visiting anglers a hotel booking search engine; lake maps including fishing hotspots; location of ramps and marinas; lists of local campgrounds and guides; water generation schedules and more.
The preservation and education aspects of the venture evolve from a partnership between the Alabama Bass Trail and the Alabama Student Angler Bass Fishing Association (ASABFA). The high school and college kids participating in club events within the ASABFA donate time building and placing artificial reefs and performing lake cleanups. Once a club has performed 250 hours of service, the Trail rewards them with a $500 grant (funded by private donors).
“Getting these kids involved in the sport is so important. Plus, they are improving Alabama lakes that are already very good,” Donaldson said.
The lakes within The Alabama Bass Trail were chosen based on geographic location, reputation, access and catch rates.
“Every lake on the Trail has a very good resume,” Donaldson said. “And there are many other awesome lakes in Alabama. However, we wanted anglers to experience everything the state had to offer, from a tidewater fishery in the Delta, to a river experience on the Coosa impoundments, to a big-water, big-fish experience on Guntersville. Bass fishermen will be able to fish 12 months out of the year somewhere on the Trail and have an awesome experience.”
“We couldn’t be more excited about creation of The Alabama Bass Trail,” said Don Logan, one of three owners of B.A.S.S. and a participant in festivities unveiling the Bass Trail. “B.A.S.S. returned to Alabama because it is the heart of bass country. The fisheries are diverse, offering anglers a chance to fish many different ways. And the passion for angling seems to be weaved within the social thread of every community in the state, both large and small. Visitors to the Alabama Bass Trail will experience this first hand.”
“Anglers spend some $700 million in Alabama each year, and that enormous financial engine will only grow more powerful with the guidance offered by the Trail,” said Donaldson. “It’s a way of reminding resident anglers of the tremendous resource they have here in the state, and of getting the word out to anglers in other states that Alabama is the place to go if you love bass fishing.”