Skip to main content Skip to main content

Coosa River Alabama

Coosa River Alabama

The Coosa River, flowing through central Alabama, is interrupted by a series of hydroelectric dams that form lakes Weiss, Neely Henry, Lay, Logan Martin, and Jordan. The scenic lakes provide Alabamians with electricity and some great fishing. When I asked expert bass angler Randall Tharp where he wanted to go for great February/March fishing, he replied, "Coosa River, and we're fishing for spots. These lakes all offer the best spotted bass fishing in the country; a 7 pounder is 'just another' good fish. The bass are pre-spawn in in February and March, and all the Coosa River lakes fish about the same this time of year."

Author's note: The Coosa River lakes are renown for big spotted bass. Recent scientific advances have found that the bass in the Coosa River are actually a different species of black bass, formally named the Alabama bass. They look almost identical to spotted bass elsewhere, but they are a different species and they grow much larger than spotted bass.

Tharp is a fan of "keep it simple." Under any weather conditions, big Alabama bass congregate in the dam tailwaters gorging on big shad. Crankbaits and ¾ or 1 ounce spinnerbaits with #5 willow leaf blades to mimic the lakes' abundant large shad will catch fish. Tharp likes to get his boat right in the flow and drift downstream dragging a football jig. He upsizes or downsizes his jig so it is just bumping along the bottom.

A warming trend and sunshine will push the Alabama bass shallow. Head for the shoreline-growing water willow (aka "gator grass"). Where the water willow is open, fish a ½ ounce big-blade spinnerbait or a crankbait. Where the grass thickens and forms mats, flip a ½ ounce jig. These mats might be little spots 2 to 4 feet in diameter, or they might be long stretches. Pitch to the edges and every hole you can find. Under clear-water conditions, Tharp favors green pumpkin jigs; stained water calls for black/blue jigs and trailers.


A winner of the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup and 2016 Bassmaster Classic contender, Tharp has come a long way up the bass fishing ladder in a short period of time. Whether competing or fishing for fun, Tharp always challenges himself to become a better angler.


//www.in-fisherman.com/files/2016/03/tharp-1.jpg
Tharp's thought for the day: fishing different waters and for different species is a great way to improve your fishing skills.

Contacts: Coosa Riverkeeper, Reeds Guide Service, Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources

[navionics zoom="7" long="-86.4" lat="32.8"]

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the In-Fisherman App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top In-Fisherman stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All In-Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now