Fishing For The Unique Tallapoosa Redeye Bass

While Lake Martin is well known for its fishing, and is a hotspot for spotted, largemouth, and striped bass, a very special fishing experience awaits in the water that feeds Lake Martin, the Tallapoosa River.  Here you can find the unique Tallapoosa Redeye Bass.  As a matter of fact, the Tallapoosa River Watershed is the only place that you will find this specific fish.  Any of the locals will tell you that this is one fish you want to put on your fishing bucket list.  They are very aggressive and pound for pound, put up a very hard fight. 

What Makes The Redeye Bass Special

redeye baas

These bass are different from other bass because they thrive in water with current, and inhabit the rocky shoals more so than other black bass species. They also have very unique markings that make them look quite different than other black basses, including a turquoise coloration that is especially vibrant in the spring. These bass only survive in cool, clean, free flowing water which makes them especially sensitive to habitat loss and sedimentation. 

In Alabama, redeye bass are endemic to the Mobile Basin and thrive in the piedmont streams and creeks above the geographic fall line. You can find them in the Tallapoosa River, Coosa River, Cahaba River, and Black Warrior River.  Yes, there are other types of redeye bass in other rivers.  However, biologists have determined that each river system in the Mobile Basin has its own unique type of redeye bass…meaning redeye bass from different rivers are genetically different. Biologists have even begun to differentiate redeye bass by naming them by their respective river- Tallapoosa Bass, Coosa Bass, Cahaba Bass, Warrior Bass, etc. So technically speaking, the Tallapoosa is the only river to catch a Tallapoosa Redeye Bass. What makes the Tallapoosa so special is that because the main stem is so clean, these fish live in the main stem of the river. This isn’t always the case in other river systems where they generally only inhabit the feeder streams.

Fishing For Tallapoosa Redeye Bass

fishing on the tallapoosa river

Best Time Of Year To Fish For Tallapoosa Redeye Bass: March-October is the prime time to fish for Tallapoosa Redeye Bass.  However, April-June is a really cool time to fish for them because the fish tend to be really colorful during this time.

Lures For Fishing For Tallapoosa Redeye Bass: Their diet consists of small terrestrial insects, baitfish, and crayfish, so fly fishing for them is relatively easy to do. In fact, many trout flies also work for redeye bass. Topwater poppers are also a favorite with local anglers. However, if for some reason they aren’t biting topwater, any small streamer that looks like a baifish or crayfish will work.

Best Spot To Fish For Tallapoosa Redeye Bass: Horseshoe Bend to Jaybird Creek is a really popular and easy stretch of the Tallapoosa River.  It is about a 6 mile stretch with relatively little paddling. The take out is actually in the extreme upper portion of Lake Martin where the river becomes a lake. You can download a map of the river here or contact Lake Martin Tourism Association to request that a free map be mailed to you.

How To Get Out On The Tallapoosa River:  You can rent kayaks from Tallapoosa Wilds, and they make it so easy to get on the river.  You meet them at the river at the Horseshoe Bend access point, they deliver your boats, and they then pick you up at Jaybird and shuttle you back to your car.  Inflatable kayaks can also be rented and picked up at Float Alabama, although they do not offer shuttle service. 

Guided Fishing Trips On The Tallapoosa River

fly fishing on the tallapoosa river

One of our favorite ways to fish for the Tallapoosa Redeye Bass is by going out with one of the local fishing guides from East Alabama Fly Fishing.  If you want to enjoy a unique, yet truly authentic Tallapoosa River fishing trip, and fish like the locals, you will want to check this out.  They use raft style drift boats that provide access to water that is hard to get to on your own in a canoe or kayak.  It also happens to be a really stable fishing platform that lets you focus on fishing, while they focus on maneuvering the raft.  We also think it is the most convenient way to hit the water, because it is all inclusive.  They will provide food, water, and all of the gear-although you are also welcome to bring your own if you prefer. 

Another great thing about going out with East Alabama Fly Fishing is that they really customize the trip based on your desires, skill level, etc.  No matter if you are a veteran angler, or if it is your first time fishing, these guys have made hundreds of fishing trips on the Tallapoosa River, and are able to put together the perfect trip for you.  They can also accommodate a variety of group sizes.  Each raft holds two anglers and a guide.  However, with advance notice, multiple boats can be booked to go out together. 

About The Tallapoosa River 

cahaba lilies

The Tallapoosa River is a really unique place, with special fish, interesting geology, and beautiful foliage.  As a matter of fact, if you plan your trip between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, you will also get to see the Cahaba Lilies in bloom, which is another pretty special treat of being on the Tallapoosa River. 


We absolutely, positively love fishing the Tallapoosa River.  However, catching fish is often just a cherry on top.  It is such a beautiful river, and although it is not too far off the beaten path and is easily accessible to those staying in the Lake Martin area, once you are out there you will feel what a wild and scenic place it is.