Hot spots: Lake Eufaula, Alabama

Historically, few bass fisheries in the South rival the bass fishing at Lake Eufaula, it’s 45,000 acres straddling the Alabama and Georgia borders on the Chattahoochee River. 

In the early years of B.A.S.S., Lake Eufaula was rightfully known as the “Bass Fishing Capital of the World.” In the late 1960s and early 1970s, winning weights exceeded 100 pounds for four events, keeping in mind the rules were based on 15-bass daily limits. And B.A.S.S. kept coming back, with 18 national tour events held through 2023. 

History aside, what keeps anglers and tournaments coming back to Eufaula is the topography and habitat that is most favorable for perennial recruit of bass, along with a strong forage base.

Largemouth spend their summers on the cooler, current-driven ledges of the main river channel. Connected to that are well-defined creek channels with primary and secondary points where the bass stage prior to the spawning cycle. From there, the bass migrate along the creek channels, staging along the way on isolated brushpiles (many strategically placed by anglers), as they finally transition to textbook spawning flats, which are defining characteristics of this lowland reservoir.

The attraction to Eufaula for visiting anglers is twofold. You stand to catch a trophy largemouth, and you can bring your favored style of angling here and expect to be successful. 

The good news is the spawning cycle is prolonged here, so there is plenty of time to take full advantage of what makes Eufaula so special for the bass fishing. The trigger point for the spawning cycle happens when the water temperature reaches 60 degrees. Depending on the length of winter — and early spring cold fronts — the complete spawning cycle can run from March through May, when the bass move back out to deeper water. Even then, the fishing is productive for suspended bass in timber and deeper brushpiles, as an alternative to the crowded ledges where the bass concentrate in well-known, specific areas. 

In summer when the vegetation reaches maturity, you can enjoy topwater frog fishing in shallow water, or catch bass on grass edges with big spinnerbaits or Texas-rigged soft plastics. In spring, bring a Carolina rig to cover water and intercept migrating largemouth transitioning to the spawning areas. 

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Eufaula is considered the second-best bass fishing lake in the state, behind Lake Seminole, also on the Chattahoochee River and to the south. 

That makes planning a trip to Eufaula worthwhile, while knowing B.A.S.S. fishing history was made here. The Humminbird depth finder was invented here by fishing legend and Eufaula native Tom Mann, who also invented the Little George tailspinner and the famous Mann’s Jelly Worm, among many other soft and hard plastic lures. 

Lay of the lake: Impounded by the Chattahoochee River, Lake Eufaula is 45,181 surface acres, extending north about 85 miles from the Walter F. George Lock and Dam. 

Trivia: In 1968, the year B.A.S.S. was founded by Ray Scott, the organization’s first tournament was held at Eufaula. John Powell won the 1968 Eufaula National with 132 pounds in three days during June. The daily limit back then was 15 bass. 

Where to stay: Lakepoint State Park has a full-service marina, lodge with a hotel and a restaurant, lakeside cottages and cabins designed for fishermen. The park has a campground with 192 campsites. 

Good eats: A local favorite since 1991 is Phil’s BBQ, proclaiming its reputation for “The Best Butts In Alabama,” for its pork shoulder cuts of meat. The menu also features smoked ribs, chicken and turkey and homemade cakes.