Kay Donaldson, executive director of the Alabama Bass Trail, served as the feature speaker during the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County’s annual breakfast meeting. Donaldson said her experience with Smith Lake and Walker County has been nothing but positive.
“This community loves the sport of bass fishing,” she said. “I am so excited to have partners who are so eager to make this trail a success, and the chamber here and the people of Walker County have been wonderful. I’m already hooked on Smith Lake, but we want people from outside this area to come here and get hooked on Smith Lake and the 10 other spots on the Alabama Bass Trail.”
Donaldson said Smith Lake met three criteria elements officials used to select trail sites: a tourism-minded community, a quality fishery and a history of hosting major fishing tournaments.
“People want to fish where the pros fish,” she said. “They want to see if they can catch a fish in a lake that they’ve seen on television. Smith Lake is one of those lakes.”
Several professional anglers also attended Thursday’s breakfast, including Greg Pugh, Jamie Horton and David Kilgore.
Linda Lewis, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County, said fishing is an important tourism industry for the area.
“We appreciate Kay and these guys being here,” she said. “The tournaments that we host are a good boost to our economy, and we feel being a part of the Alabama Bass Trail is going to provide an even bigger boost for years to come.”
The Alabama Bass Trail features 11 premier bass-fishing areas and is a cooperative effort between the governor’s office, the Alabama Tourism Department, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association. The 10 other areas included in the trail are Lake Guntersville, Wheeler Lake, Pickwick Lake, Neely Henry Lake, Logan Martin Lake, Lay Lake, Lake Jordan, the Alabama River, Lake Eufaula and the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta.
In other action at the breakfast meeting:
•Todd Potter, vice president of Journal Communications, unveiled the Chamber’s 2012 magazine, “Images.”
•Bert Hendrix was honored as past chairman of the chamber.
•Brian Alexander was honored as the chamber’s volunteer of the year.