If you’re traveling to Tuscaloosa for the Alabama / Auburn football game on Saturday, November 26, check out the details in the images below for Alabama Gameday info. For more information, you may also visit uagameday.com.

We hope that you enjoy your stay in Tuscaloosa and encourage you to come back and visit us again!

The ultimate gameday experience in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home to The University of Alabama and the Crimson Tide, offers one of the most electric atmospheres that college football has to offer. Sometimes called “The City of Champions,” Tuscaloosa is a vibrant community filled with local restaurants to satisfy every palate, a walkable downtown complete with live music, outdoor spaces to explore, and a destination that’s easily accessible – no matter what direction you’re coming from.

For a true taste of the game day experience, kick off the weekend with a trip to the Bryant Museum, where you’ll find exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia that traces the long history of The University of Alabama football. Once you’re done taking in the knowledge of Alabama Football’s legendary past, it’s time to enjoy the beautiful campus. From the museum, walk over to the Quad for what will become a tailgating experience you won’t soon forget. Hundreds of tents are filled with friends and family as they join in fellowship, indulge in great food and drinks, and cheer on other football teams across the nation as they await Alabama’s kickoff.

Bryant Museum

Another stop you won’t want to miss is the Walk of Champions and the Coaches Walk, located at the north end of Bryant Denny Stadium. The Walk of Champions includes granite tablets commemorating the school’s title seasons. But what makes it so special on game days takes place two hours and 15 minutes prior to kickoff. The Alabama team buses drop the players and coaches off at the walkway where thousands of fans greet them with smiles and roaring cheers to watch some of college football’s most elite walk to the locker room.

After cheering on the Tide, it’s time to experience the energetic nightlife in T-Town. While there are many options to select from, be sure to check out options located along The Strip, Downtown, or in Temerson Square, as well as a variety of other locations throughout the city. Many restaurants and bars feature live music, especially throughout game day weekends.

Downtown Tuscaloosa

Whether you arrived to town early or have time before returning home, consider exploring the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights Trail. This self-guided, 18-stop trail includes many stories to help you understand Tuscaloosa’s place in civil rights history, but most importantly, highlights the history of how Tuscaloosa’s color barrier was broken by the courageous efforts of many black and a few white foot soldiers.

When planning your trip, search visittuscaloosa.com for all things Tuscaloosa. We welcome you with open arms and know you’ll make legendary memories to last a lifetime while here. Roll Tide!

A Game Day Must: Don’t miss out on a Denny Dog (aka Stadium Dog). Quite possibly the next best thing outside of the game itself and sold in Bryant Denny!

Photo Credit: Alabama Athletics

Editor’s Note: Russell Jones of Coker, Alabama, is a USCG Certified Guide on the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa County, as part of the Alabama Guide Service. Tailrace fishing below Bankhead and Holt dams can be outstanding during certain times of the year because you can catch a wide variety of fish at night, as well as during the day. The success of tailrace fishing is dependent on how much current is being generated by the hydroelectric plants, the spillways and/or both. The amount of current and the color of the water in the tailraces will dictate how you should fish, and what lures you should use. You can contact Russell Jones at 205-454-7313; www.alabamaguideservices.com; and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AlabamaGuideService/.

During the summer months, some of the best tailrace fishing will be at night on the Black Warrior River. Fish often hold in the underwater structure in the tailraces, especially bass. Due to this, one of my favorite lures is a Bandit 200 crankbait that I’ll paint solid-black. I’ll reel it very slowly, try to get it down to the bottom and bounce it off the rocks because that time is usually when the bass will attack. The Bandit 200 is a small-profile bait, but it can really be effective at the dams at night, when the current’s not running. I’ll also use the Valiant jig – in brown or watermelon colors – and the shakyhead rig at night around the rock piles that I find with my depth finder.

I must admit that my favorite tailrace to fish is the one at the bottom of Bankhead Dam – also known as Lock 17 – at the head of Holt Lake. However, there are numbers of rock piles in this tailrace that will eat-up the lower unit of your motor. So, never run very fast when you start getting close to the dam. Normally, when I’m fishing the tailrace, I have my big motor kicked-up, so that if my boat hits a rock pile, it will ride over it. I’m also being very cautious with my trolling motor when I’m moving around in this tailrace, to keep from damaging my propeller or the shaft of my motor. I keep my depth finder on to continuously look for different rock piles and bottom structure that I may not have seen before.

If you’re fishing a tailrace at night, LiveScope sonar can be very effective at showing you the rock piles that you may run into in front of the boat or that are present in the slack water in the daytime. However, when the current’s running, and the water’s very turbulent, your LiveScope won’t be nearly as effective as in the slack water or when night fishing with no current. If you’re in the tailrace in the daytime and there’s hardly any current at all but plenty of slack water, a LiveScope can help you locate those underwater rock piles that the bass hold in and behind when the current’s running and mark them as waypoints so you can fish them in the daytime when the current’s running.

Fishing Black Warrior River Tailraces in Tuscaloosa County when the Spillways are Running

Editor’s Note: Russell Jones of Coker, Alabama, is a USCG Certified Guide on the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa County, as part of the Alabama Guide Service. Tailrace fishing below Bankhead and Holt dams can be outstanding during certain times of the year because you can catch a wide variety of fish at night, as well as during the day. The success of tailrace fishing is dependent on how much current is being generated by the hydroelectric plants, the spillways and/or both. The amount of current and the color of the water in the tailraces will dictate how you should fish, and what lures you should use. You can contact Russell Jones at 205-454-7313; www.alabamaguideservices.com; and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AlabamaGuideService/.

When the Warrior River starts to flood upstream of Bankhead Dam, often the spillways will be opened to allow some of that excess water to move downstream. Depending on how many of the spillways are open, this time can be dangerous to fish in the tailrace. However, if you can see slack water and stay there, you’ll catch a good number of fish.

Usually when the spillways are open, the water will be muddy. So, I’ll fish with bright-colored lures. I’ll be using a Rat-L-Trap, a spinner bait, brown – or green-colored Valiant jigs and an Alabama Rig with big white swimbaits on it. Then, I’ll try to cast it out and get it in the current. We’ll still be looking for the same type of fish that hold in the tailrace – spotted and largemouth bass, saltwater striped bass, hybrid striped bass, catfish, white bass, drum, skipjack (hickory shad) and any other fish that have come upriver to feed on the abundance of shad holding and feeding in that swift water.

Another tactic that I may use when there’s a lot of current coming from the spillways and/or the hydroelectric plant is I’ll cast topwater lures in the slack water just off the current. I’ll be using a walking bait like the Zara Spook, a popping bait and a buzzbait. Many times, some of the better-sized fish may be holding on that current seam between the slack water and the current from the dam. When those fish see activity on the surface, they’ll often attack.

Editor’s Note: Russell Jones of Coker, Alabama, is a USCG Certified Guide on the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa County, as part of the Alabama Guide Service. Tailrace fishing below Bankhead and Holt dams can be outstanding during certain times of the year because you can catch a wide variety of fish at night, as well as during the day. The success of tailrace fishing is dependent on how-much current is being generated by the hydroelectric plants, the spillways and/or both. The amount of current and the color of the water in the tailraces will dictate how you should fish, and what lures you should use. You can contact Russell Jones at 205-454-7313; www.alabamaguideservices.com; and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AlabamaGuideService/.

I like a big spinner bait when I fish in the tailrace to see what’s biting, and where the fish are holding. The current will decide what size spinner bait I use – either a 3/4- or a 1/8-ounce spinner bait. When I’m fishing a spinner bait in the tailrace, I don’t use a trailer. Some days I may use a trailer hook, but more than likely, I won’t. I like either a solid-white or a shad-colored spinner bait – like gray and white with sparkles in it. If the water’s muddy, I prefer a chartreuse-colored spinner bait and skirt. The blades on my spinner baits will be silver, double willow-leaf blades – one large and one small. The willow leaf seems to get the spinner bait down faster than the Colorado blade on a spinner bait does. I also like a 7’3” rod and usually will fish the spinner baits on fluorocarbon line – generally 17-20 pound test.

Editor’s Note: Russell Jones of Coker, Alabama, is a USCG Certified Guide on the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa County, as part of the Alabama Guide Service. When fishing on the Black Warrior River, Tailrace fishing below Bankhead and Holt dams can be outstanding during certain times of the year because you can catch a wide variety of fish at night, as well as during the day. The success of tailrace fishing is dependent on how much current is being generated by the hydroelectric plants, the spillways and/or both. The amount of current and the color of the water in the tailraces will dictate how you should fish, and what lures you should use. You can contact Russell Jones at 205-454-7313; www.alabamaguideservices.com; and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AlabamaGuideService/.

The Alabama Rig holds five jig heads with a soft, plastic swimbait attached to each jig head. In Alabama, you can use all five jig heads on your Alabama Rig. However, in other states, you only may be able to use two or three jig heads. I’ll place 1/4-ounce shaky head jigs on each one of the five wires of the Alabama Rig. Some anglers prefer a lighter jig head, but I like the 1/4-ounce to get the rig down quicker to where I think the fish are holding, as well as keeping it off the bottom, by reeling fairly fast. I use either 3.5 NetBait Little Spanky swimbaits on the jig heads or True Bass Hollow Body swimbaits. The True Bass swimbaits are tougher than the Little Spanky ones and somewhat more expensive. When I’m fishing with the Little Spanky ones, I like the bright, pearl-colored bodies. When the river’s water is clear, I like the True Bass colors that resemble a shad better than the Little Spanky ones.

I fish the Alabama Rig on a flipping stick big frog rod that’s either 7’6” or a 7’11” long. I use 50-pound-test braided line. Some people prefer to use a monofilament line, but I’m more comfortable using braided line, like Berkley’s Power Pro braid. The secret to catching fish on the Alabama Rig in the tailrace is to reel it fast enough to keep it from getting hung in the bottom, yet slowly enough to get it down close to the bottom. The first time I start throwing it, I may get hung-up a couple of times, but I usually can pop my line and get the rig off of whatever it’s hung. 

For instance, if I’m fishing a 20-foot bottom, I want the Alabama Rig to be between 15 – 20 feet deep, possibly 18 feet. If I’m fishing in 8-10 feet of water, I try to keep the Alabama Rig in 6-7 feet of water. The Alabama Rig also has blades on it that give the bait a lot of flash. Using this bait, I catch a wide variety of fish. I’ve caught 20-pound catfish, 15–20 pound stripers, hybrid striped bass – often two or three at a time – largemouth bass, spotted bass, drum and skipjacks (hickory shad). However, I’m really targeting spotted bass and have caught three spotted bass on one Alabama Rig before at the same time. The biggest was a 3-pounder, and the other two were 12-14 inches long. I’ve also caught two, 4-pound spotted bass on the same Alabama Rig at the same time.

Fish the Alabama Rig with Swimbaits in the Warrior River Tailraces with Russell Jones

Editor’s Note: Adam Hollingsworth is the president of the University of Alabama Fishing Team and explains, “I went back to college because I spent the first years of my life after high school in the military and as a police officer. I eventually want to be a U.S. Marshal. I currently have a degree in criminology and plan to start my master’s degree at the University of Alabama in the fall of 2022.” 

In the future, the City of Northport, Alabama, while working together with others, is hoping to build a facility where 200 boats can launch and have a bait shop, as well as offer many parking spaces.

Right now, several boat ramps are close together on the lower end of Holt Lake. Rock Quarry Boat Ramp (https://www.recreation.gov/activitypass/4baaca95-f6a4-11ea-ab86-ea94e31cc891) and Rocky Branch Launch (https://www.recreation.gov/activitypass/cb0dde80-f6a4-11ea-bc4c-a2c064eb4d04), that’s larger than Rock Quarry, are only one mile apart. Deerlick Creek Campground (https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/232571) is located in-between these marinas and isn’t as big. When you come out of Rock Quarry Boat Launch you’ll see Eagle Cove Marina (https://marinas.com/view/marina/7ecqx9v_Eagle_Cove_Marina_and_RV_Park_Cottondale_AL_United_States), which is where anglers generally will meet to start a tournament. When you combine the capabilities of all the marinas right now, 100 boats can be launched for a tournament.

One of the best bass-fishing locations as you come out of Rock Quarry Marina and go north toward the Lock 17 Dam, is Red Eye, found on the right-hand bank as you go upriver and only a 10-minute ride. You’ll go past a coal chute where coal is loaded on barges. Generally, barges are parked on the other side of Red Eye. Several sandbars come off of this spot, and one of them is very shallow. On the weekends, many pleasure-boat riders will park there and have a party. I’ve found that the outside edge is a good place to catch fish, and that the sandbar usually produces best when there’s a current coming through the lake. 

Hollingsworth reeling in bass at Holt Reservoir.

Editor’s Note: Adam Hollingsworth is the president of the University of Alabama Fishing Team and explains, “I went back to college because I spent the first years of my life after high school in the military and as a police officer. I eventually want to be a U.S. Marshal. I currently have a degree in criminology and plan to start my master’s degree at the University of Alabama in the fall of 2022. I love to fish for bass.” 

At night when the power plant at the Lock 17 isn’t running, I can catch bass there with either a buzzbait or a spinner bait. Some of the best tournaments in the hot months are held at night when the spillways aren’t running current. Also, you can dodge the heat of the day then, making bass fishing more fun. Most of the night tournaments begin just before dark and continue until after midnight.

My two favorite lures for fishing below Lock 17 at night are the Crusher Pro Buz buzzbait just before dark, and the Crusher Lures Moon Crusher spinner bait after dark. I prefer this spinner bait because the Moon Crusher increases my hook setting ratio. I also like its big thumper blade that triggers more bites when calling bass from long distances with the vibrations it gives off.

The two colors I like are black/hot pink and crushed tequila. I fish the Crusher Lures Moon Crusher on the edges of grass and over logs and other debris. I’ll fish this lure on a 7’ or a 7’3” iROD Lone Star Special in a medium-heavy action with a Lews Tournament Pro 7.5:1 gear ratio reel and PowerPro 20-pound-test braided line. 

Hollingsworth with caught bass.

Editor’s Note: 27-year-old Jalen Conner is a native of Tuscaloosa and has been fishing Tuscaloosa County’s Holt Reservoir for eight years. A criminal justice student at Tuscaloosa’s Stillman College, Conner fishes two bass tournament trails – the S.A.B.A and the Jim Austin.

I’m often asked, “Why aren’t more bass tournaments held on Holt and Oliver reservoirs?” I think many Alabamians don’t even know where Holt or Oliver are located and probably never have read about where we fish, and what lures we use for bassing there. We’re not like Guntersville Lake in North Alabama or Lake Eufaula in Southeast Alabama that have been publicized on TV and in magazines and social media. Holt and Oliver are like hidden gems on the Black Warrior River and are more community lakes that no one, except the community, knows about or fishes. Local anglers know about the great fishing available on the Warrior River in Tuscaloosa County at Holt and Oliver reservoirs. But, they don’t tell anyone else, although some club tournaments are conducted here.

Another reason I believe other tournaments don’t come to this section of the Black Warrior River is because most of our boat ramps are single or double. I realize that big tournaments generally are held in regions with at least five ramps and parking for 200 or more vehicles and trailers. I’d really like to see a fishing facility built here like the ones at Lake Guntersville and Lake Eufaula that bass fishermen could launch more than one or two boats from at a time and offer parking for spectators and participants. 

Conner with caught bass
Conner with caught bass

If I could create a fishing facility for Tuscaloosa County, I’d like a pavilion for contestants to bring their fish in their livewells on their boats to the weigh-in and then be able to drive their boats and vehicles to a parking lot with 200-300 parking spaces for boats and trailers. Also, I’d like to have access to restrooms near the boat launch and/or pavilion. In addition, there needs to be easy access to return the bass back into the water after each bag of fish is weighed. 

I believe that realistically, this dream of mine and other Tuscaloosa County fishermen could come true in the next three or four years. The City of Northport is working to try and find enough available land to build a fishing facility like I’ve described and to work with the appropriate individuals or organizations that help secure the funds to build this type of facility. The facility will be for Tuscaloosa County residents and also attract larger bass-tournament trails to come here, fish in our waters, stay in our hotels and motels, eat some of the finest Southern food anywhere and meet some of the friendliest people in the world. Regardless of whether the actual site is, a fishing facility like this will help all of Tuscaloosa County.

Conner with caught bass
Conner with caught bass

Fishing in Tuscaloosa County

Editor’s Note: 27-year-old Jalen Conner is a native of Tuscaloosa and has been fishing in Tuscaloosa County’s Holt Reservoir for eight years. A criminal justice student at Tuscaloosa’s Stillman College, Conner fishes two tournament trails – the S.A.B.A and the Jim Austin.

I like to fish the lower end of Oliver Lake during football season, when the University of Alabama plays its home games because the water in that section of the Black Warrior River tends to be a little-more stained at that time of the year. When most people are either at Alabama football games or deer hunting here in Alabama, my fishing coach and I can catch spotted bass all day long at Oliver. We may be the only boat on that section of the river at that time of the year.

We like to fish the creek mouths in the Moundville section of the Black Warrior River. When currents coming through Oliver Lake in the fall, bass like to hold in the creek mouths at that time of the year. They’ll be feeding on shad and worms being brought to them by the upriver current. We can consistently catch 2–3-pound spotted bass and often even bigger spotted bass in the fall at Oliver.

Conner holding his spotted bass that he caught. Fishing in Tuscaloosa County.
Conner holding his spotted bass that he caught.

Fishing in Tuscaloosa County

Editor’s Note: 34-year-old Adam Hollingsworth is the President of the University of Alabama Fishing Team and explains, “I went back to college because I spent the first years of my life after high school in the military and as a police officer and eventually wanted to become a U.S. Marshal. I currently have a degree in criminology and plan to start my master’s degree at the University of Alabama in the fall of 2022.” 

When it comes to fishing in Tuscaloosa County, to catch summertime bass at Tuscaloosa County’s Holt Reservoir, my primary lure is a Megabass Ito Vision 110+1 Jerkbait in a GP Pro Blue II color that I keep on my rod almost all year long. I’ll be constantly casting and retrieving. This jerkbait runs about 10-15 feet deep, and I’ll use a jerk-jerk-pause type of retrieve and keep the bait moving, until I get a strike. That tells me what cadence the bass want and whether they’ll attack while the lure is moving or sitting still. I’ll work this lure on an iRod Genesis II jerkbait-exclusive rod that’s a medium-action 6’10” long rod. It has a soft tip that helps give the bass a little more of the lure when the bass is jumping and shaking the bait. My reel is a Lew’s HyperMag reel with an 8.3:1 gear ratio, and my line is 10-pound Seaguar Tatsu.

Hollingsworth with caught bass
Hollingsworth with caught bass

Another of my favorite lures is the Jackal Gavacho in a gill pattern. Since the bluegill are spawning during the summertime in shallow water, you’ll see this bait I’m holding has numbers of bass teeth marks on it. I’ll fish this lure with an iRod Croaker Crusher series, a technique-specific rod, 7’8” long that’s heavy action. I’ll pair that with Lew’s HyperMag 7.5:1 gear ratio reel. So, if I hook into a 5-pound bass, I can winch it out of the cover. I’ll fish with 50-pound test Power Pro braided line and tie the braid straight to the lure. I don’t use a fluorocarbon leader.

I’ll also fish in Tuscaloosa County in the summer at Holt with a Megabass Uoze Swim Jig with a 3/8-ounce head. If I’m fishing another lake somewhere with bigger bass, I’ll use a 1/2-ounce head. I put a Rattlin’ Chunk from Googan Squad and sometimes a Googan Squad Krackin’ Craw as a trailer on this lure. I like the iRod Genesis III that’s a stone-cold swim-and-vibrating jig rod. At Holt, I’ve caught bass weighing 5+ pounds, while using this set-up. My line is 20-pound-test Seaguar Tatsu, and my reel is a Lew’s HyperMag with a 7.5:1 gear ratio. I fish lures in a bluegill pattern, since bluegills are spawning in the shallows during the summer months. I’ll cast the Megabass Uoze Swim Jig right up against the bank in the summer. If the grass is scattered, I’ll do what’s called an “Alabama Shake,” as I retrieve the bait. I’ll also use this same lure on a steady retrieve because the lure has legs that kick as you retrieve it. This lure has a spinner on it, and I’ve caught bass with and without the spinner.

Rapla DT 8
Rapala DT 8

When I’m fishing in Tuscaloosa County deep in the summertime, I’ll use the Rapala DT 8 that goes down further than 8-feet deep – sometimes to 12 feet when I fish it on 12-pound test Yozuri Hybrid Copolymer line. The color pattern is the Ike’s Custom Penguin color. My rod will be the KVD 7’4” long, medium-heavy, moderate-action, made by Lew’s. I also like Lew’s Tournament MP Baitcasting Reel with a 6.8:1 gear ratio. 

I like the shakey head jig and the drop shot rig that I fish on a medium-action, 7’1” iRod Genesis III Finesse fishing rod. I’ll also fish a Zoom Baby Brush Hog and dip the tail in chartreuse dye with garlic in it. Sometimes I’ll fish the Baby Brush Hog with a steady retrieve, and other times I’ll let it fall to the bottom and use a steady retrieve, while waiting for the bass to grab hold of it. I feel like I always can pick up this lure and start catching bass with it.

Reaction Innovation Kinky Beaver
Reaction Innovation Kinky Beaver

Editor’s Note: D.J. McEachern and his wife, Emily are working toward their PhDs in chemistry at the University of Alabama. D.J. has been bass fishing for 20 years and just recently joined the University of Alabama’s Fishing Team. He’s been fishing in Tuscaloosa County Holt Reservoir on the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa, Ala., for the last three years and catches bass from below Lock 17 all the way down to Holt Lock and Dam. He primarily likes to fish grass in the summertime for bass because grass will give bass good ambush points, shade and oxygen.

While discussing lures, McEachern shared: “I create my own 1/2-ounce jigs. I buy my jig heads online. I keep combining different colors of skirt material I like, until I get the color of jig I want. The jig in this picture is similar to one that Dirty Jigs makes named Dirty Craws. But I put more-brown strands in my skirt with some watermelon-colored strands. Strike King’s Rodent in green pumpkin is my favorite flipping bait. I use 3/0 Owner Jungle Hooks with a 5/8-ounce tungsten weight in front of the bait. I like to use this lure when I’m flipping willow grass, and there’s a lot of it on this lake. 

Photo of the lure that McEachern creates
Strike King Rodent Lure
Image of the Strike King Rodent Lure

Another lure I like is the Jackall Gavacho Frog. In addition, I like a swim jig made by Strike King that I attach a Speed Craw trailer to with its legs dyed chartreuse. I also like a Berkley Bullet Pop in the ghost gill color. 

I mainly fish using the flipping technique because my rod, reel and line have the power to pull a big bass out of the grass, and I’m comfortable flipping. I even flip the Gavacho Frog in the open grass. Flipping is the only technique that I’ve won a tournament with while fishing with the University of Alabama Fishing Team. I won that tournament on Lay Lake. Because bass are cold blooded, when the air temperature is hot on the lake, then the shallow water is also warm, which speeds-up the bass’s metabolism and requires them to eat more than bass holding in cool, deep water.”

If you’re looking to fish in Tuscaloosa County during the summer months, there are always bass to be caught at Holt – shallow and deep – regardless of where you’re fishing on the lake!