June 8th A Reel-y Good Day to Hit the Water in Alabama
Saturday, June 8th is Alabama Free Fishing Day, a statewide event that encourages residents and visitors to enjoy the outstanding fishing opportunities of Alabama's waters like Bass and Catfish rich waters of Limestone County’s Wheeler Lake and Elk River. On this day, the Commissioner of Conservation and Natural Resource has designated the public waters of Alabama free to fish recreationally without the need of a license. Some lakes may ...
may still require a fee to access and permits to fish. Private land owners still maintain rights over their private ponds and their permission is needed to fish those lakes. State harvest laws still apply during this free day. Enjoy Champion Fishing at Wheeler Lake during this Alabama Free Fishing Day
This annual free fishing day is a great chance to hit Wheeler Lake, Alabama’s second largest lake, which has been yielding record- and near-record breaking fish this season. Though this isn’t unusual, there’s a history of big lurking Cats and Bass in these waters.
During the Cabela King Kat Tournament 2019, Ohio anglers Carl Morris Jr. and Rob Parsons brought in a 114.96 pound Catfish – the largest ever weighed in at any King Kat Tournament to date. The previous record for largest Catfish caught on Wheeler Lake was again by a King Kat angler from Killen, AL who reeled in 89 pounds 96 ounces.
Wheeler Lake was the source for the International Game Fish Association certified World Record Blue Cat as well as the Alabama State Record. The giant was reeled in at 111 pounds by William McKinley in 1996 on 30-pound test line and skipjack bait. The world record fish held the title until 2011 but McKinley still holds the title for line-class. The state record stood until 2012.
Wheeler Lake yielded another champion Blue Cat in 2015 when John Nordykein of Missouri reeled in the 105 pounder in January prepping for the Alabama Catfish Trail tournament. It was skipjack that landed the record-breaker but being during practice rounds, it didn’t go to the scale or books.
The Largemouth Bass record on Wheeler Lake goes to Mitch Mitchell of 9 pounds and 8 ounces in 2017. While the Spotted Bass record goes to Danny Joe Betteron of 6 punds and 3 ounces in 2008.
Anglers taking to Wheeler Lake and the Elk River are likely to encounter Sauger, Hybrid Striped Bass, Striped Bass, White Bass, Redear Sunfish, White Crappie, Black Crappie, Blue Catfish, Channel Catfish, Spotted Bass, Smallmouth Bass and Largemouth Bass.
Have fun with the kids this Alabama Free Fishing Day
Happening locally, the Kids Fishing Rodeo for ages 5-15 with the Limestone County Sportsman's Club will happen at their club lake on Kennedy Road (north of the Oakdale-Pepper Road intersection in Athens) from 9:00AM-12:00PM. This event is free and open to the public. Children must be accompanied by an adult and bring their own bait and tackle. Prizes will be awarded by age group. For more information: Ron or Carol Mulack 256-233-3634.
Making a splash also this Free Fishing Day is the Larry Mitchell Memorial Youth Fishing Rodeo at Joe Wheeler State Park (4403 McLean Drive in Rogersville) from 8:00AM-11:00AM in celebration of National Marina Day. Registration starts at 8:00AM with monetary donation of your choosing. Weigh-in will be at 11:00AM at the Marina pavilion. Trophies for Biggest Fish and Largest Stringer in groups: 0-6 years, 7-9 years, 10-12 years and 13-14 years. All proceeds benefit Larry Mitchell Memorial Scholarship awarded in the Spring of 2020.