Departmental Reports




Bayne, D., Lawrence, J. and H. Blackstone

Date: 1973

Funding Agency: U. S. Corps of Engineers

Keywords: reservoir, jones bluff, alabama, fisheries, management

Category: Domestic Funded Research Report

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Jones Bluff Lake is a run-of-the-river impoundment
with a surface area of

12,300 acres, a length of 69 river miles, an average depth of 28.8 feet, and a

drainage area of 16,300 square miles. At normal pool elevation of 125 feet msl

the reservoir is retained within the banks of the
old river channel and tributary


The impoundment is subject to flooding one or more
times each winter and

early spring. The degree of turbidity depends upon
upstream storage and the river

basin producing the greatest runoff. If the Tallapoosa is the major
source of

runoff the tl1rbidity is greater due to the red clay
soils in the drainage, whereas

if the Coosa is the major source of floodwaters the
turbidity is less. Water quality in the upper reach of the Alabama River was
poor for many

years, but about the time Jones Bluff Lake was
flooded steps were taken to clean

up some of the major pollution sources. Water
conditions have improved enough

to meet the standards of the Water Improvement
Commission most of the time,

but corrective measures are still being taken to
improve treatment of domestic

and industrial effluents. One notable water quality
problem exists on the Coosa

River just above its mouth. The tremendous amount of
silt created by gravel

dredging combined with the low dissolved oxygen
concentration in waters released

from Bouldin Canal produce an unfavorable habitat
for the production of fish and

fish-food organisms.

The proposed construction of a nuclear power plant
on Lake Jordan should

not create any water quality problems in Jones Bluff
Lake. No heated water will

will be released since cooling towers are to be
used. No problems of contamination

with radioactive wastes are anticipated since these
wastes are all collected

and shipped off-site for storage.

Due to the relatively steep banks along the
shoreline of Jones Bluff Lake

the development of growths of aquatic weeds have
been limited to some scattered

marginal infestations of alligatorweed, and some
infestations of coontail in

shallow embayments. The spread of alligatorweed is
anticipated to increase,

but should not become a problem. Whenever the growth
becomes adequate, it

is recommended that the Argentine flea beetle be
introduced for biological control

of alligatorweed. The coontail infestation will be
limited by the lack of suitable

shallow water habitats for its growth.

The fish population of Jones Bluff Lake consists of
those species present in

the Alabama River at the time Jones Bluff Dam was
closed in 1971. The population

of striped bass in this lake has been enhanced by
stocking 475 advanced fingerlings

in 1969; 25,000 fingerlings + 500,000 fry in 1972; and 55,189
fingerlings in 1973..

To date, a limited number of these stocked striped
bass have been removed by

fishermen. It is
too early to determine if
this stocking
program will provide a

breeding population of striped bass in Jones Bluff
Lake. It is pointed out that

the Tallassee rapids on the Tallapoosa River exist
in the same condition as they

were prior to the formation of Jones Bluff Lake, but
the Wetumpka rapids have

been altered by the construction of the Bouldin
Canal and diversion of the Jordan

Dam discharge to Bouldin Dam and Canal. Sport
fishing pressure on Jones Bluff Lake has been limited due to a lack of

adequate numbers of public access boat ramps. When
such ramps are available,

the fishing pressure will be limited to those
fishermen who prefer flowing water

(river) fishing conditions. The success of the
striped bass fishery will play a

significant part in the future popularity of this
lake as a sport fishery.

Commercial fishing is still practiced by some of the
old river fishermen.

There are no data on the quantity or kinds of fish
they removed.

Data on the availability of game fish, mainly
largemouth bass and bream,

collected in 1972 and 1973, indicated that a
majority of the habitat within this

lake was unsuitable for the production of bream.
Bass, on the other hand, had

sufficient spaces where they could spawn and an
adequate supply of food in the

form of shad. Due to the type of sampling gear used
in these studies, no information

on the catfish and other river species was obtained.

The relative condition of all of the game fish
examined in these surveys

indicated they were better than average for fishes
in all Alabama rivers and

imponndments. This situation exists because bream
reproduction was limited,

and the piscivorous species (bass, crappie, and
pickerel) were present in sufficient

numbers to keep the numbers of bream thinned to a
point where they could

utilize the available food for growth.

To adequately evaluate the present status of the
Jones Bluff Lake fishery

it would be necessary to have a very reliable
estimate of the total catch of fish.

Such information is obtained by a creel census, and
for this information to be reliable for management purposes the census must be
conducted for two or more

years. Due to the limited use of this area at the
present, it is not recommended

that such a survey be initiated in the immediate
future. If
the striped bass

does develop in this lake, then it might be
desirable to reconsider the need for a

creel census. This decision should be coordinated
with the Fisheries Division of

the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural

It is recommended that a fisheries biologist be
assigned to Jones Bluff Lake

(to be shared by Dannelly Reservoir and Claiborne
Lake). This biologist could

be effective in public relations, and particularly
in observing fishery conditions

on Jones Bluff Lake. His knowledge of the lake
fishery could be shared with the

State of Alabama and jointly they could plan future
management procedures for

Jones Bluff Lake.

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