North Alabama, also known as the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, formed in 1964 with the express purpose of developing North Alabama’s travel industry and marketing the region to the traveling public. We now serve sixteen counties with an ever-expanding membership base representing progressive travel-regulated businesses and associations as well as various levels of government.
The Cherokee County, Alabama Chamber of Commerce provides visitor information and business assistance, including Weiss Lake information and newcomer resources.
Weiss Lake, a 30,200 acre impoundment owned and operated by the Alabama Power Company, is fed by the Coosa, Chattooga and Little Rivers, and offers over 447 miles of shoreline and shallow flats, large coves, under-water drop offs and deep channels.
Lake Weiss (pronounced “Wice”) is an Alabama Power Company hydroelectric impoundment covering 30,200 acres in northeast Alabama on the Alabama – Georgia border. The Weiss Lake fishery is the major economic influence in Cherokee County, so the locals treat anglers very well. Four free public access areas and 37 privately run marinas service Lake Weiss. Campgrounds, motels and rental cabins dot the shoreline of the lake.
The lake known as the “Crappie Fishing Capital of the World” has other fish to boast about these days; largemouth and striped bass are making a name for themselves. The largemouth bass fishery has been a best-kept secret for several years. Data collected from tournament anglers and state fisheries personnel has shown that Weiss Lake is one of the better bass fisheries in the state.
The preferred starting point for birding Weiss Lake is the boat launch area on the west side of AL 68 in the middle of the Chattooga Bridge, which spans the main body of the lake. From this point, scan the waters for gulls – primarily Ring-billed, Bonaparte’s, Herring, and the occasional rarity, such as Glaucous or Lesser Black-backed, and even a few Franklin’s in November. In winter, a handful of Forster’s Terns, hordes of Double-crested Cormorants, American White Pelicans, and other wintering waterfowl may be visible. Common Loons, Horned Grebes, and a variety of dabbling and diving ducks occur here. The loons and Horned Grebes, as well as the “bay” ducks such as Buffleheads, Canvasbacks, Ruddy Ducks, Common Goldeneyes, Redheads, and the like are generally in the deeper, open water to the west, and across the highway on the east.
There is another public access point on the east side. The “marsh” ducks, such as American Black Ducks, American Wigeons, Northern Pintails, Northern Shovelers, Gadwalls, and similar species are more likely to occur in the shallows, swamps, and marshes on the southeast side of the bridge. Look for American Pipits and possibly Horned Larks on exposed mudflats. Similarly, watch for shorebirds in the shallows and mudflats. Sandpipers and plovers may be present here at any time of the year except June.
Canyon Mouth Park offers visitors one of the few opportunities to access the banks of the Little River by car. This is a good place to experience songbirds in the trees near the river, in the dense understory and woods beyond the picnic areas, and along the narrow path that follows the river upstream into the canyon. Soaring birds of prey are frequently seen in the skies above. Picnic tables, restrooms, and ample parking make this a good stopping place for a midday picnic, either before or after exploring the spectacular canyon rim.
The Little River Canyon Center, open since 2009, is a Jacksonville State University building located in Northeast Alabama that adjoins the Little River Canyon National Preserve in the city of Fort Payne, AL. With a portion leased to the National Park Service and the staff of the Little River Canyon National Preserve, the facility features a Grand Hall, HD movie theater, gift shop, natural history library, exhibits, classrooms, back deck, outdoor amphitheater and trails for both education and adventure. It is available to rent for meetings, social gatherings, corporate retreats and other special events.