How to start fishing in Birmingham + where to go

fishing in Birmingham on Lake on Forever Wild Belcher Property
A great spot to fish at Oak Mountain State Park. (Pat Byington / Bham Now)

Want to start a new hobby? Try fishing—luckily, it’s so easy to do in Birmingham that it only requires three steps.
With great river basins and lakes nearby, we have all the info you need to start fishing in Birmingham.

1. Find a body of water

Now that’s a big fish. (Jacob Mark Mott)

There are plenty of places you can take your bait and tackle to fish, you just have to know the rights spots. Birmingham is geographically lucky because we’re surrounded by beautiful rivers including the Cahaba River Park.

Check out these fishing in Birmingham spots where fishing is easy to do:

FUN FACT: Birmingham Roebuck Springs habitat for the endangered Watercress darter to be restored.

2. Receive a freshwater fishing license

A couple of rules about fishing licenses. You can fish in your county of residence from the bank without a fishing license when using a cane pole, hook, and line. If you are fishing using a rod and reel, you will be required to have a resident fishing license. This is on public water. No license is required if you are fishing on a private lake or pond. 

Get your license online here from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

3. Be aware of fish consumption advisories

Testing the waters. (Coosa Riverkeeper)

What are Fish Consumption Advisories? When fish that you catch might be unsafe to eat, Alabama will put out warnings for local fishers. You can still catch the fish, but it’s best to toss them back into the water.

According to the Fish Advisories for Alabama in 2021, some local fish you’ll want to avoid eating include::

  • Spotted bass: Cahaba River in Bibb County
  • Spotted bass: Cahaba River in Perry County
  • Largemouth bass: Purdy Reservoir in Shelby County

Hopefully, you feel more confident now and can start fishing in Birmingham. We 💗 our waters and remember to leave no trace!

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Summer Guffey
Summer Guffey

Art enthusiast and expert on all things tea.

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