Lewis Smith Lake is an Alabama Power Company Hydro-Electric Watershed. Smith Lake, as it is commonly known, is 35 miles long and has 642 miles of shoreline. The maximum depth at the dam is 264 feet and up to 300 feet deep in places on the lake. Since the 1980s, residential and commercial development resulting from the lake’s beauty and its recreational attractions has increased dramatically. The reservoir’s location near interstates 65 &amp; 22 as well as the cities of Birmingham and Huntsville make the lake popular among second-home buyers.
In recent years buyers from Tennessee, Georgia and Mississippi have increased dramatically. The lake is well- known for its deep, clear water and for its good sport fishing. In recent years, it has served as the site of several major professional bass fishing tournaments. Largemouth, striped, white and spotted bass; black and white crappie; bluegill, long ear and red ear sunfish; flathead and channel catfish may be found in the lake. Public-use areas, including boat launch facilities, are located at numerous sites around the reservoir. The lake and surrounding lands, including the adjoining William Bankhead National Forest and Sipsey Wilderness Area, also provide habitat for an abundance of other wildlife and threatened or endangered species, including the bald eagle. Construction of Smith Dam began Nov. 25, 1957. The $29 million project was formally dedicated on May 23,1961 and named for Alabama Power Company president Lewis M. Smith, who had been closely involved in its planning and design. The earth- and rock-filled dam is 2,200 feet long and 300 feet tall, one of the largest dams of its type in the eastern United States. The dam’s base is a quarter-mile wide. A high-water emergency spillway was built on the west bank to accommodate heavy floods that were predicted to occur once every 50 years, but as of 2008, water in the lake has never risen high enough to flow into the spillway. (Encyclopedia of Alabama).