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Wheeler Lake

Lake, River, or Waterfall
Alabama Bass Trail

Wheeler Lake is the second-largest lake on the Tennessee River in northern Alabama, second only to Guntersville Lake. The lake was constructed by the Tennessee Valley Authority just prior to World War II as a means of hydroelectric generation and flood control, as well as to facilitate navigation along the Tennessee River. The name of this impoundment comes from Civil War general Joseph 'Fightin' Joe Wheeler, who frequented the area during the war and later returned to the area to live in nearby Hillsboro.

Today the lake is mostly popular for fishing and recreational activities. Plenty of local fishing guides are available to take anglers to the hot spots any time of the year. Bass fishing, largemouth, smallmouth and spotted, is the most popular fishery in Wheeler Reservoir. Catfish fishing is also excellent here. William McKinley caught the previous world record blue catfish, 111 pounds, from Wheeler Reservoir on July 5, 1996. Bream and crappie are also popular with fishermen.

Wheeler Lake has played hosts to national fishing tournaments including Cabela King Cat, BASS Federation Nation and the prestigious Bassmaster Elite Series. An Alabama Bass Trail Lake, Wheeler Lake welcomes hundreds of amateur anglers from across the southeastern United States each year who travel to compete in the team-style tournament series. Wheeler Lake has been a regular tournament stop on the trail since it launched in 2014.

Several marinas and launch facilities are easily accessible to drop in your boat, canoe, kayak or jet ski and take off for a day of beautiful scenery and fun on the water.


Seasons Accessible

Available year-round.



Freshwater fishing license is required and may be purchased from