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Little Bear Creek Reservoir, located 13 miles southwest of Russellville in Franklin County in the Mountains Region of northwestern Alabama, is a 1,560-acre reservoir popular for boating, fishing, swimming and other recreational pursuits. In the late 1960s, the Tennessee Valley Authority began construction on what is known as the Bear Creek Water Control Project. The project is now controlled by the Bear Creek Development Authority. Little Bear Creek Reservoir is one of four reservoirs operated by the Bear Creek Development Authority.
Little Bear Creek Reservoir was impounded in 1976 mostly for flood control and drinking water purposes, but has become one of the area's most-loved vacation destinations. Along with Little Bear Creek, the Bear Creek Development Authority oversees Cedar Creek, Upper Bear and Bear Creek Reservoirs. Together, all four lakes offer nearly 9,000 acres of wonderful fishing, boating, sand beaches, swimming, hunting, camping, miniature golf, picnicking and hiking. A 30-mile canoe float stream is located between Upper Bear and Big Bear Reservoirs. There are five campgrounds open Mid-March through Mid-October, and the lakes are open year round. Little Bear Creek Reservoir is often considered the prettiest of the lakes due to its limestone bluffs, tree lined shores, and clear blue water.
There are a small number of private homes along the 45 miles of shoreline of Little Bear Creek Reservoir, but camping and fishing are the main pastimes for the area. There are three public access areas to the lake: Elliot Branch, McAffee Landing, and Williams Hollow, and two campgrounds located at Elliot Branch and Williams Hollow. Most of the campsites offer full access for RVs, campers and trailers. Vacation rentals are also available on a peninsula of the reservoir.
Fishing on Little Bear Creek Reservoir can be exciting and promising. A Bear Creek Development Authority fishing permit is required in addition to an Alabama state fishing license. Little Bear Creek Reservoir is known best for its bass: largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted. Crappie, catfish, bream, and bluegill fishing are good too. There is a 13-16 inch protective limit on largemouth bass. Bass anglers are encouraged to harvest all largemouth bass less than 13 inches in length. Larger and faster growing bass will be the result. Smallmouth bass and spotted bass have no protective length limit. The reservoir was stocked with a Florida strain largemouth bass in 1981 in an attempt to incorporate the Florida bass genetics into the population. Channel catfish were also stocked into the reservoir in 2001 and 2004.
Boat rentals are available on Little Bear Creek Reservoir, or launch your own boat as you set out for a day of fun. Pack a picnic lunch and eat on the lake, or drop anchor and swim or row into one the campgrounds and enjoy your meal at one of the many picnic areas. Enjoying a meal while watching the water is a wonderful way to relax.
Tired of the lakes? Head into nearby Russellville for the Watermelon Festival. The annual event is held in August in downtown and is a carnival-type event sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. The King drive-in theater is located just north of Russellville on Highway 43. It is one of the only drive-in movie theaters still operating in Alabama. The theater features old style speakers that hang off the window of your car, or you can tune in through you FM radio.
After your day of fishing, swimming, boating or hiking around Little Bear Creek Reservoir, sit back and relax in your rental cabin or campsite and be sure to catch a famed Alabama sunset as you reflect on the day's activities.
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