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Pickwick Lake

Pickwick Lake is just one of many steps along the Tennessee River created by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). This reservoir extends from the Wilson Dam in Florence, Alabama and creates part of the boundary between Alabama and Georgia before it ends in Tennessee with the Pickwick Dam at Pickwick Landing. Pickwick Lake covers 43,000 surface acres, and it serves as the designated north end of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, as it provides a water route to Mobile, Alabama and the Gulf of Mexico.


TVA completed the PickWick Landing Dam in 1938 mainly for hydroelectric power, but anglers in this part of the lake can enjoy year-round access to crappie, bluegill, white bass, stipers, and sauger. Bassmaster lists Pickwick Lake as one of the best 100 bass fishing lakes in the country, and Pickwick Landing area offers several tournaments per year. Record fish caught across this lake include a seven-pound, 6-ounce sauger in 1973, a one-pound, nine-ounce river carpsucker in 1980, and a 1.6-ounce Atlantic needlefish in 2008. Other game fish include crappie, blue and channel catfish, and largemouth bass.

Another noted fishing spot is located in Alabama at the Colbert Fossil Plant discharge basin west of Sheffield. The warm water discharge from that plant attracts fish during cold weather. Anglers also favor the Wilson Dam tailwaters at the upper end of the lake for its record-producing smallmouth bass and catfish.


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    Pickwick Lake Alabama Coordinates:
34.8008N -87.6258W
Map It:
Lake Type:
Surface Area:
43,000 acres
Maximum Depth:
59 ft
413 ft
Normal Water Clarity:
3-6 ft
Major City:


Boat access to Pickwick Lake in Alabama includes ramps located in Colbert and Lauderdale Counties. The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (AWFF), in cooperation with counties and cities in the area, provides eight boat ramps across both counties. Additionally, private concerns also have access to the lake, such as marinas and the City of Florence.

Bear Creek Reservoir is a system of dams and lakes built by the TVA, and it is located along the Alabama and Mississippi state lines on the south side of Pickwick Lake. Popular for all types of boating and fishing, the Bear Creek area also provides the Lower Bear Creek Canoe Trail that runs 34 miles from below Bear Creek dam to Pickwick Landing Dam in Tennessee.


If you want to stay in the Alabama portion of Pickwick Lake, you can find plenty of accommodations. Four parks are within an hour's drive of the Wilson Dam area, including Bankhead National Forest, Joe Wheeler State Park (the closest camp site at 22 miles), and JP Coleman State Park in Mississippi. If you stay at Joe Wheeler State Park, you can put in at their ramp and lock through to Pickwick Lake at Wilson Dam. All these parks offer a variety of camping, from backcountry to RV. Additionally, Depending upon which side of the river you like the most, Florence and Muscle Shoals both offer a wide range of lodging possibilities from private campgrounds to resorts.

Review the Lake Resource Guide for additional lodging.


Located in Colbert and Lauderdale Counties in Alabama, Pickwick Lake is convenient to cities, parks, and other activities via a number of county and state roads. If you fly into Huntsville, you can reach this area by I-565. You can either cross the river where that Interstate ends to head to Muscle Shoals, or veer west along the north shores of the river to reach Florence. Delta also flies into the North West AL Regional Airport in Muscle Shoals. Other towns along the route from Huntsville include Decatur, Moulton, and Rogersville. Joe Wheeler State Park is located near Rogersville. Once in Florence or Muscle Shoals, you have convenient access to either place by three bridges that cross the river between the two towns.

Fun times at Pickwick Lake  Pickwick Lake

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Average Temperatures Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
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Avg. Low  31 Avg. Low  35 Avg. Low  42 Avg. Low  50 Avg. Low  59 Avg. Low  66 Avg. Low  70 Avg. Low  69 Avg. Low  62 Avg. Low  50 Avg. Low  41 Avg. Low  34