Wiregrass | Pike | Best Seasons: Fall | Spring | Winter
The 45-acre Pike County Public Fishing Lake is quiet and peaceful, with low levels of noise and disturbance to the lake and its encircling woods.
There is a wooden fishing pier on the lake’s north bank that seems to be in good repair and what remains of a picnic area on the clay banks above the pier. That is about the limit of the amenities, apart from the clay road that travels along the northern and eastern boundaries of the water. About the road: after heavy rains and heavy trucks pass through, the road on the (lower) eastern side of the lake can become deeply rutted, to the point that a high ground-clearance vehicle or 4-wheel drive may be necessary to pass. This is not a huge impediment to progress though, as the property is compact enough to be easily traversed on foot. Road and other maintenance here seem to be at most occasional events. On the other hand, the lack of obsessive mowing around the lake leaves decent cover for wildlife, and the birds do respond positively to the vegetation left standing at the lake’s edge. To wit: Bobwhites and Wild Turkeys are regular sights in the grassy edges near the lake.
The woods here are mixed pines and hardwoods, and are all-age in character. You will find Prairie Warblers, Yellowthroats, Chats, Red-eyed Vireos, Gnatcatchers, and Summer Tanagers in the proper season. There are many Northern Parulas and Yellow-throated and Pine warblers, as well as Brown-headed Nuthatches in the large pines closest to the lake; in the thicker woods to the south of the lake, Wood Thrushes, Catbirds, Hooded Warblers, and White-eyed Vireos are common in the appropriate season. Look for Eastern Kingbirds, Pewees, Great Crested Flycatchers, and a few Phoebes here. Swallows are primarily Barn, Rough-winged, and a few Cliff, plus Purple Martins during the breeding season, with Tree and Bank seen in migration.
Green Herons appear to breed in the surrounding trees, and Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets are permanent residents. Look for Little Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets, White Ibises, and a few night herons, particularly from late spring through October.
Small rafts of waterfowl drop in for the winter – most are dabbling ducks such as Gadwalls and Mallards, but a few diving ducks like Ring-neckeds and Ruddies may also be seen here. You may also spot a few Coots and Pied-billed Grebes.
Common raptors include Red-tailed (entrance road), Red-shouldered, Cooper’s, and Broad-winged (April to September). Barred and Great Horned Owls and Eastern Screech-Owls may be found here as well.
GPS: 31.7522847 -85.9950293
Pike County Public Fishing Lake
173 County Road 68
Troy, AL 36079
From US-231 in Troy (Pike County, all visitor services available) take AL-87 (Elba Hwy) south for 2.8 miles, turning right (east) onto County Lake Rd at the sign for the public lake. Turn left at the sign for the lake to follow County Lake Rd the final .7 mile to the lake itself.