Much of the J. Emmett Woods Public Fishing Lake’s 84 acres, also known as the Washington County Public Lake, are surrounded by mixed second-growth forest with dense underbrush. The lawn around the concession stand and fishing piers is a picnic area with mature hardwoods and pines to provide shade. The access road on the southeast side of the lake and well worn footpaths on the southwest provide excellent access for birding. Anhingas, wading birds, Ospreys, and Bald Eagles are regular visitors to the lake. Orchard Orioles, Purple Martins, and Barn Swallows nest in the picnic area. Brown-headed Nuthatches, Hooded Warblers, and Eastern Towhees are found in the pines and underbrush.
Access: Free to birders; open February through November, sunrise to sunset, closed on Monday.
GPS: N 31°37.335’ / W 88° 20.707’
Contact: ADCNR: J. Emmett Woods Public Fishing Lake
809 State Lake Rd.
Millry, AL 36558
Amenities: Restrooms, Handicap access, Potable water, Food (lake store), Parking, Camping (RV hook-ups), Canoeing, Boat access, Fishing, Picnic area, and Hiking trail.
Be sure to check website below for opening. Public Fishing Lakes are closed periodically for restocking and other reasons.
From the intersection of St. Stephens Fork Road and Washington County Road 34, go west on Washington 34 for 19.3 miles to the traffic light at the intersection with Alabama Highway 17 in Millry, turn left (south) on Alabama 17 and go 0.1 mile, then turn right (west) on Healing Springs Ave. (Monroe 34) and go 1.6 miles, then turn left (south) on State Lake Road and go 0.8 miles to the lake entrance. Park in the parking area located west of the lake store or if water levels permit, cross the spillway and go to the west end of the dam and park.
Extensive marsh in the east and southwest parts of the old quarry, now lake and cypress swamp southwest of the old quarry will be of particular interest to birders. Shore birds observed on the margins of the lake include Least Bitterns, Soras, Least …