Alabama Power stocks trout at Smith Lake Dam
by James Phillips
Nov 24, 2010 | 2978 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Fly fishing enthusiasts in north Alabama have a lot to be thankful for after more than 1,800 rainbow trout were released in the tailrace below Lewis Smith Dam Wednesday morning.

Alabama Power was responsible for the release as a part of the company’s new license with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to operate Smith Dam.

“This is one of many improvements Alabama Power is currently working on in relation to the trout fishing in this area,” said Jim Lochamy, Alabama Power environmental affairs supervisor.

Other projects under way to enhance the trout fishery below Smith Dam include adding public access sites on the Black Warrior River below the dam, the placement of fish habitat enhancement structures and a plan to increase the level of dissolved oxygen in turbine releases to enhance water quality.

Lochamy said the water outside the dam is one of only a few areas in Alabama that can sustain trout year-round. He said the fish typically stay in a 9-mile area between Smith Dam and the Mulberry Fork.

During the release, Alabama Power was assisted by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Jay Haffner, a district fisheries biologist with the group, said the fish were great quality.

“These rainbow trout are 10 inches to 16 inches, and they are some beautiful fish,” he said. “They will make for a great catch for recreational fishermen in the area.”

The stocking was the third this year by Alabama Power. Haffner said his department has also stocked the area seven times in 2010.

“The water here provides some great fishing,” he said. “This is all done to improve the recreational fishing in the tailrace area.”

The fish stocked on Wednesday were brought from more than 500 miles away by Westover Farms of Steelville, Mo.