Lay Lake keeps on keeping on

Alabama's Lay Lake celebrates its 100th birthday next year.

Given Lay Lake’s excellent bass fishing, you may find it hard to believe that this storied 12,000-acre reservoir celebrates its 100th birthday next year. Conveniently located 35 minutes south of Birmingham off of I-65, Lay Lake has played host to countless major bass tournaments. That includes the 2007 Bassmaster Classic, which was won by Bassmaster Elite Series pro Boyd Duckett.

Although Duckett won the Classic during the month of February, he has also enjoyed superb fishing at Lay Lake in other seasons.

“Even in the hot summertime, Lay produces five-bass tournament limits that go 17 to 19 pounds,” Duckett says.

The dilemma you face when you venture here is whether to fish for largemouth or mean-spirited Coosa River spotted bass. Largemouths up to 18 inches are abundant. Feisty spotted bass up to 18 inches are even more prevalent. Either way, you’ll get plenty of action with quality bass and catch moderate numbers of larger fish.

Duckett has devised three reliable patterns that will keep you in touch with Lay Lake’s bass in August. One of them will do the trick, whether you are fishing the upper, middle or lower section of the lake. Seven public access areas allow you to launch close to the type of fishing you prefer, saving time and costly boat fuel.

Largemouths below the Narrows

“You can always catch shallow largemouths in the summertime on the lower end of Lay Lake,” Duckett says.

The largemouth bass hang in pockets below a stretch of the lake known as the Narrows, Duckett points out. The most productive pockets have deep creek channels. You’ll find the bass within the first 500 yards of the creeks in water willows.

Water willows typically grow near the bank not much deeper than 2 feet. The most productive patches of this aquatic vegetaion have deep water nearby. If Duckett’s boat is floating over 4 feet of water when he’s pitching to water willows, he knows he’s working over grass that has high bass potential.