Bass master

Bass master

August 19th, 2012 by Jim Tanner in Glimpse 2012-a

Recently renovated Lodge and Convention Center located at the Guntersville State Park

If you're looking for the hottest in bass fishing, Lake Guntersville in Northeast Alabama is one of the best bass lakes in the nation.

The lake hosts to fishing tournaments throughout the year, including stops by some of the top pro tours such as Bassmaster and the Walmart FLW Tour. The lake also plays host to a stop on the Tennessee Collegiate Bass Fishing Trail, and a series of tournaments hosted by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga that attracts some of the best college fishing teams in the Southeast.

While fishing is the main attraction for the Guntersville area, there are other activities to keep visitors busy on and off the lake.

- Compiled by staff writer Jim Tanner, jtanner@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6273.

BEST THINGS TO DO:

Lake Time

• Lake Guntersville is the largest lake in Alabama, running 75 miles from Nickajack Dam to Guntersville dam. The lake is almost 70,000 acres.

• While bass fishing is the what brings most anglers to the lake, sauger, catfish and bream can also be caught.

• The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has an online guide to fishing on Lake Guntersville at www.ourdooralabama.com along with information on fishing licenses, fish limits and other fishing regulations.

• In addition to fishing, there are plenty of other outdoor activities in the Lake Guntersville area. Lake Guntersville State Park has more than 6,000 acres of woodlands along the lake with hiking trails, boating and picnic areas. The park offers cottages, camping sites and a resort lodge on Taylor Mountain.

Shopping time

• The Alabama Antique Trail was started in 2009 to highlight some of the best antique shopping throughout the state. There are locations along Lake Guntersville in Scottsboro, Guntersville, and Arab, and plenty of other antique shops not on the trail. Go to www.alabamaantiquetrail.com for more on the trail.

• A bit farther up Lake Guntersville at Scottsboro is Unclaimed Baggage. Founded in 1970 by Doyle Owens, Unclaimed Baggage gives shoppers a chance to find treasures among lost luggage and unclaimed freight. The shop continues to grow, processing more than 20,000 items each day for bargain hunters.

Tee Time

• When you need a break from fishing and water, there are more than 10 golf courses in the Lake Guntersville area.

• The golfing in the area ranges from exclusive courses to well-maintained and enjoyable public courses. There are courses in Arab, Albertville, Guntersville, Scottsboro and Boaz, providing different challenges for golfers of all skill levels.

• Lake Guntersville State Park has an 18-hole championship course that is newly renovated for park guests.

Music everywhere

• Main Street Music Festival: This two-day event in early August in Albertville, Ala., features country and pop performances as well as athletic events, motorcycle displays and children's activities.

• Alabama Songwriters Festival: In late June, aspiring songwriters gather in Guntersville to compete against each other and impress judges with their songwriting skills.

• Art in the Park: Hosted by the Scottsboro Three Arts Club in September, this event features fine art, music and family entertainment. Artists present their works and are judges in different artistic mediums in an festival which benifits the club's artistic and educational programs.

Guntersville Basics

• Population: The city of Guntersville has a population of 8,197, and Marshall County has 93,019 residents

• Biggest employers: Poultry processing is the primary employer in the Lake Guntersville area, with Pilgrim's Pride, AlaTrade Foods, Tyson Foods Inc., and Wayne Farms being the top four employers in Marshall County.

• Number of miles from downtown Chattanooga: 88 miles to the town of Guntersville, but some sections of the lake are much closer.

• Landmarks or geographic feature: Lake Guntersville

• Date founded: Guntersville was founded in the early 1800s by German immigrant John Gunter, a salt mine owner.

• Historic info: John Gunter is the great-grandfather of noted humorist Will Rogers.

• Most famous resident(s): Jeff Cook, founding member of the famous country music group Alabama.

• Odd/unique traditions: At sunset, thousands of bats emerge from a cave near Lake Guntersville Lock and Dam that can be accessed only by boat. The annual Fourth of July celebration includes fireworks shot from the dam.

• Unique characteristics/fun fact: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Ricky Nelson played his last concert on Dec. 30, 1985, at P.J.'s Alley in Guntersville. Nelson, his fiancee, band and manager died the next day in a plane crash in DeKalb, Texas, after taking off from the Guntersville airport.

• Web site: The city of Guntersville has a website to help visitors plan their trip at www.guntersvilleal.org, and more information about the area can be found at the Marshall County Convention and Visitors Bureau site at www.marshallcountycvb.com.