Boating and trophy fishing are top attractions of Lay Lake. Best known for its spotted and largemouth bass fishing, Lay is a top choice for anglers year-round.


Locate fishing spots, boat launches and other points of interest.


Lay Lake Office

(205) 755-4420


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Lake Levels

Lake elevations are always subject to change, depending on conditions. Individuals who recreate below our dams and those with boats and water-related equipment on our lakes and facilities should always stay alert to changing conditions and be prepared to take the necessary steps to protect their property.

Water Level

395 ft 8 in

  • 398
  • 397
  • 396
  • 395
  • 394
  • 393
  • 392

About Lake Levels

Ever wondered why the water at your favorite lake is often higher or lower than when you last visited?

APC operates two kinds of lakes: 1) Run of River, and 2) Storage. Lay, Mitchell and Jordan lakes on the Coosa River, Yates and Thurlow lakes on the Tallapoosa River, and Bankhead and Holt lakes (owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) on the Warrior River are called “run-of-river” projects that discharge essentially the same amount of water that flows into them. This type of operation gives them a fairly consistent lake level year round. These lakes were not designed with flood control as a specific project purpose. Alternatively, “storage” projects like Weiss, Henry, and Logan Martin lakes on the Coosa River, Harris and Martin lakes on the Tallapoosa River, and Smith lake on the Warrior (Sipsey) River provide seasonal storage, having different summer and winter pool levels, and are drawn down late fall into the winter to provide a means of managing and storing winter/spring rains. These operations provide a measure of protection against downstream flooding during high flow events. These storage projects normally have their levels returned to summer pool levels during the spring timeframe. Water stored in these storage lakes can also help mitigate some impacts of drought by providing a limited source of water for use when it is scarce, such as during drought periods.

The need for water in summer and fall can often exceed the natural supply. Most big lakes also operate for many other reasons – hydropower, recreation, navigation and the environment. Each of these purposes can factor into whether water is released, causing a fall in lake levels particularly during the late summer and fall periods.

Floods are normally the cause of the greatest and quickest changes in lake levels. Heavy rains produce floods that can raise a lake level several feet overnight. When floods are over, it is important to get the lake ready to store water from the next flood that may come along, and that is done by returning the lake to its normal level.

Operating Guide

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers help determine the operating curves, called a Guide, for the storage lakes managed by Alabama Power, which is the maximum elevation at which Alabama Power may maintain the reservoir under normal conditions. The operating Guide begins in January at a winter pool elevation and then rises during the late winter into early spring to summer pool elevation. The Guide remains the same throughout the summer months, which supports recreation use on the lakes. In fall and early winter, the Guide declines to make room for normal winter and spring flood flows. In general, the operating guide provides the guidance needed for both flood control operations and daily water management decisions.

Lake Updates

Lake Conditions Message

Lay spillway release is 0 cfs. Total discharge is 0 cfs. Lake elevations are always subject to change, depending on conditions.

Last updated: September 18, 2019, 12:56 am

Special Operations Message

Individuals should always stay alert to changing conditions and be prepared to take the necessary steps to protect their property.

Last updated: July 5, 2018, 10:34 am

Seasonal Level Data


Weather Clear

  • Air Temp 78°F

  • Humidity 66%

Renew Our Rivers

Trash Removed 483,700 LBS

Volunteers 3,175

Tentative Operating Schedules

We at Alabama Power are pleased to provide you information and hope you will safely enjoy the many benefits of our lakes. Please be aware that the generation schedule and subsequent water releases from the dams are subject to change without notice. Please understand that you alone are responsible for your safety on the lakes and rivers. Areas below the dams are considered hazardous because of turbulent water conditions.

Start Time Generators  
12:00 AM 0  
11:00 AM 2  
7:00 PM 0  
12:00 AM 0  
11:00 AM 2  
7:00 PM 0  
12:00 AM 0  
12:00 PM 2  
7:00 PM 0  

Captain William Patrick Lay organized Alabama Power on December 4, 1906. Soon thereafter he received authorization from Congress to construct the company's first dam and electric generating plant on the Coosa River — the Lock 12 dam.

On a cold November day in 1929, with the Goodyear blimp circling overhead, members of the board of directors and other dignitaries gathered at the Lock 12 dam to carry out the board's recent resolution, to rename the dam in recognition of Captain Lay's service to the company and to the public.

The story of Lay Dam and Lay Lake began as a story of energy. It continues today as a story of flood control, recreation and economic opportunity, irrigation and drinking water, and fish and wildlife habitats. Power was just the beginning.

Lay Reservoir Facts:
Elevation above sea level: 396 feet
Area: 12,000 acres
Shoreline: 289 miles
Length: 48.2 miles
Maximum depth at dam: 88 feet
Area of watershed draining into reservoir: 9,087 square miles

Lay Dam
Hazardous Zones
  1. Swirling water and strong underwater currents at powerhouse intakes.
  2. Strong unpredictable currents, presence of submerged hazards and low visibility upstream of dam spillways and trash gates.
  3. Turbulent discharges from automatically operated turbines.
  4. Cascading spillway discharges, strong unpredictable currents below dam and presence of debris passing over or through dam.
  5. Strong upstream currents in surface waters (reverse flow).
  6. Swift, turbulent waters below spillway gates.
  7. Slippery surfaces on shoreline.
  8. Submerged hazards and rapidly rising waters from turbine or spillway discharge.

Lay Dam Facts:
In service: 04/12/1914
Capacity: Six generators, rating 29,500 kilowatts each
Type: Gravity concrete
Length: 2,260 feet
Maximum height: 129.6 feet

Hydro Relicensing

Alabama Power’s operating licenses for its projects are issued for a period ranging from 30-50 years and must be renewed for the company to continue operating its existing hydroelectric developments.

Learn more about the “hydro relicensing process”.


Use the information below to find the best fishing spots and learn about the species you’ll find in our lakes.

Top Fishing Spots
Fishing Spots

View or download coordinates that will help you find a great fishing spot.

View Map

Fishing Scene

Fish Species

  • Bluegill

  • Largemouth Bass

    Largemouth Bass
  • Striped Bass

    Striped Bass
  • Crappie

  • Catfish


Parks & Facilities

Each year, Alabama Power welcomes thousands of visitors to its five day-use parks and more than 45 public access sites on the Coosa, Tallapoosa and Black Warrior rivers.

Alabama Power and its state and local partners operate and maintain dozens of boat ramps and bank fishing access sites along the shoreline. The company also maintains thousands of acres of natural and undeveloped land along the lakes for use by hikers, bird-watchers and primitive campers.

View Map

Park Scene


Shorelines Blog

Lack of rain means lower lakes levels on Tallapoosa

You may have noticed how the lack of meaningful rainfall this summer on the Tallapoosa River has resulted in steadily declining reservoir levels.   Alabama Power has been ...

Read More

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