ATHENS, Ala. – As part of Alabama Free Fishing Day, the city of Athens has a few events that should be an easy catch for the entire family.
Alabama Free Fishing Day encourages residents and visitors all across Alabama to fish at public lakes and rivers free of charge.
As a reminder, some lakes may still require a fee for access and permits to fish, private landowners still retain their rights; fishers must ask permission to fish in those areas, and state harvest laws still apply.
At Wheeler Lake this season, fish have been breaking some records and nearly breaking others.
During the 2019 Cabela King Kat Tournament, a pair of anglers from Ohio landed a 114.96-pound catfish, the largest ever at any King Kat Tournament. The previous record was 95 pounds during a previous King Kat Tournament on the lake.
A 105-pound fish was reeled in during practice rounds of the 2015 Alabama Catfish Trail tournament but didn’t go to the scale or record books.
Other records on the lake include largemouth bass – nine pounds, eight ounces in 2017 and spotted bass – six pounds, three ounces in 2008.
Anglers on Wheeler Lake and the Elk River may encounter sauger, hybrid striped bass, striped bass, white bass, Redear sunfish, white crappie, black crappie, blue catfish, channel catfish, spotted bass, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass.
A couple of events for the kids are happening in and around Athens on Saturday as well.
Kids ages five-15 can take part in the Kids Fishing Rodeo at the Limestone County Sportsman’s Club from 9 a.m.-noon. The event is free and open to the public, but children must be accompanied by an adult and bring their own bait and tackle. Prizes will be awarded by age group. For more information, contact Ron or Carol Mulack at (256) 233-3634.
The Larry Mitchell Memorial Youth Fishing Rodeo is also set for Saturday. Registration opens at 8 a.m. at Joe Wheeler State Park with a monetary donation of the fisher’s choosing. Weigh-in is at 11 a.m. Trophies will be awarded for the biggest fish and largest stringer in four different age groups: zero-six years, seven-nine years, 10-12 years, and 13-14 years. All process from the Rodeo will benefit the Larry Mitchell Memorial Scholarship, which will be awarded next spring.
For more information about Athens-Limestone Alabama events, fishing, lodging and more, visit the Athens-Limestone Visitor’s Center at 100 North Beaty Street in Athens, call the center at (256) 232-5411 or visit the website.