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Gainesville Lake is a long riverine 40-mile lake in Alabama's bustling Metropolitan region. It is in a prime location surrounded by the wooded green of rural localities but just a short drive from sites like the prehistoric mounds of Moundville and the dynamic city of Tuscaloosa.
The lake is part of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, built by the US Army Corps of Engineers, which comprises ten lakes. The waterway, popularly called the Tenn-Tom, connects the Tennessee and Tombigbee Rivers and cuts through northeast Mississippi and western Alabama. The Tenn-Tom provides recreation, wildlife enhancement, flood control and a navigational shortcut from the interior to the Gulf of Mexico. Gainesville Lake was impounded in 1978 by the Howell Heflin Lock and Dam and spans 6,400 surface acres. The lock and dam is the last on the entire Tenn-Tom project.
Fishery is great on Gainesville Lake, generally for largemouth bass and crappie fishing. From summer to fall, fishing for bream becomes especially good and catfish, striped bass, and freshwater drum are abundant. Recreation areas on the lake include hot showers, grills, fire rings, restrooms, playgrounds, picnic shelters and more serving a host of activities. Camping, boating, hunting, birding and fishing are some popular enterprises. Hunting lands and birding trails are situated along and around the Tenn-Tom providing habitat for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, several species of waterfowl, a plenitude of migratory bird species and hundreds of other species of native Alabama flora and fauna. If you are lucky, you might sight one of the majestic Southern bald eagles being restored to the region.
Northeast of Gainesville Reservoir, in Aliceville, Pickens County, be sure to stop by the Aliceville Museum where relics of a World War II German POW camp are housed. The surrounding towns offer hundreds of other historic sites and architectural attractions such as courthouses, 19th century and plantation houses, churches, cemeteries and historic districts. Eutaw, is home of the Black Belt Folk Roots Festival held each year on the fourth weekend of August. The festival will intrigue any lover of blues, gospel and down south traditions. Quilts, baskets, crafts, soul food, dancing, drumming and storytelling are some of the festival's most attractive features.
Gainesville Lake offers an easy vacation in the calm and pleasant environs of small town culture. There you can experience the rich heritage of down south, nab some fish in Gainesville's fertile waters and rest your troubles if just for a little while in the easy-rocking of your boat.
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