Archive for the 'Wildlife' Category

Lake Martin Striped Bass Report – Fall 2015

Lake Martin, Alabama has awesome striped bass fishing in the fall.
Lake Martin striped bass

Here at Lake Martin we are proud to be one of the best freshwater fisheries for the Striped Bass in the USA. Fall is one of the best times to fish for them since the water temperatures cool down and the big boys come up from the depths. Above is a picture of a nice striper that one of my sons caught this time last year. We had a cold snap in the middle of last October and it was chilly, but the fishing was awesome!!

I continue to try and crack the code on how to reliably catch striped bass on Lake Martin with my fly rod. If anyone out there has any tips- please contact me here or call at the number at the top of the page and let me know!!

I recently found this article that gives some really good tips for fly fishing for saltwater stripes on inland lakes. Here’s another one (featuring none other than Dave Whitlock) that gives a plug for Lake Martin: Fly Fisherman Magazine. I also have discovered a ton of great fly tiers online – like Brandon Bailes of Panther Branch Bugs.

One great tip I have seen online is to hook up with and learn from the local guides, no matter their fishing method. The above saltwater striped bass was caught when I was being guided by David Hare of Alex City Guide Service. David fishes with bait most of the time, but he has an unparalleled knowledge of the stripers on Lake Martin. Therefore, I pay close attention to what he says! Here are his two most recent Lake Martin Striped Bass fishing reports. They tell you what to expect when fishing in November, and then October (because I was too slow to post it last month). If you have any questions, please contact David directly at:

Alex City Guide Service
Captain David Hare
[email protected]

Alex City Guide

Lake Martin Striped Bass November Report, By David Hare

Date Written: October 13, 2015

Water Levels 487.15 (490.00 full pool)
Clarity / Clear to very clear
Surface Temp: 70* – 74*

November starts my favorite time for big, big stripers! In fact for the next 8 months the day trips will be awesome!!!!! With water temps cooling down I will be focusing on the biggest of the big stripers by spending most of my time in shallower areas of Lake Martin, then the creek channels, and for sure not overlooking the river channel. Each day I will prepare my bait well with different size baits but making sure I load some of my largest shad I have.

Every year around this time I read articles that some say the bite slows down in the winter because of the fish’s metabolism! Well maybe for some but for the fish that I target (trophy stripers) my action and bites actually seem to get much better. It seems to never fail that we keep our taxidermist plenty of work through out the winter.

If you have trouble with boating stripers just try your luck with much bigger baits including much bigger artificial baits. Again, don’t rely on all big bait but as I fish 6 rods or baits at a time I will always have at least 4 of the 6 loaded with bigger size baits.

Until next time get off that couch and get on the water for a big fish!

As always call me for your trip of a lifetime.

Lake Martin Striped Bass October Report, By David Hare

Date Written: September 11, 2015
Water Level: 488.3 (full pool 490.00)
Very Clear on lower end to clear on upper end
Surface Temp 82*-85.5*

Sitting here on my deck next to the water, there’s a nice breeze coming across the water and feeling early fall in the air. Dressed with a long sleeve shirt on which actually feels good and makes me want to start my fall fishing pattern but I know I actually have several more days before the water temps get me or I should say get the fish in the fall pattern. By the time you’re reading this hopefully water temps have fallen and the stripers have once again started that transition to a new feeding pattern on Lake Martin. Every October, I burn more gas than any other month of the year just staying on these fast moving creatures. Each day can be a different location for catching so I always tell my clients patience as always is the key to landing these monsters and October can definitely test even the most patient fisherman. However, don’t worry! We still come to the docks most days with great catches just a little more gas burned, a little more patience used up and several more baits used up.

Do not overlook any area of the lake this month when fishing, this is one month you are liable to catch a striper anywhere and anytime of the day and yes night too! That’s right, not all stripers are going to switch to the day bite at the same time so if you’re a night owl get out there and boat yourself a night time monster!

All of our bass guides are excited because they say fall bass fishing is awesome here on Lake Martin and produces some very large bags of spotted bass. They will be spending a lot of time in the mouths of creeks in search of the amazing fish. Break out your spinner baits and go see what you can put in your boat. Be prepared for that monster strike from a striper while doing this because, yes, Lake Martin striped bass will blow up on a spinner bait. Just 3 years ago I was talking to a bass fisherman that had boated a 42 pound striper on a spinner bait that morning near the Wind Creek boat ramp area.

For you laid back fisherman that don’t care what bites as long as something is pulling on the line I would suggest trolling some crank baits that run several different depths. By doing this trolling method you are liable to catch big stripe, white bass, crappie and yes, spotted bass! If I didn’t have a umbrella rig I would go purchase a couple to put out while I was trolling. Better yet, put one big rig and one Alabama rig out (much smaller) at the same time to increase your chances, I think you will be pleased at the results. In October, the best trolling speeds is 2.5 mph to 3.5 mph.

As always folks, wear a PFD (life jacket), show respect for fellow fishermen, and be a defensive driver. Constantly watch out for other boaters and for sure this time of year the shallow spots that you do not have in the summer.

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Live With Bears In Shady Bay

Have you ever thought, “Lake Martin is almost perfect, but what if it were a little more like the Smoky Mountains?”

lake martin alabama BEARS

Photo Credit: Alex City Outlook

If so, your dream may have come true. Black bears have been spotted around Lake Martin. See this article in the Alex City Outlook. I must admit that I often have wished Lake Martin could be more Smoky like, but it has to do mainly with wild trout. If some mad plan could be hatched so that the Tallapoosa below Martin Dam could sustain trout, maybe we could become the next South Holston.

Back to reality, this story reminds me that I have many waterfront lots for sale in Shady Bay. They range in price from $57,000 (Lot 23 Ph I) to $190,000 (lot 5 Ph II). If you would like to see the entire list, see Shady Bay Lots For Sale. Or, if you would like to learn about Shady Bay real estate in general, see the Shady Bay neighborhood page.

Since the black bear article first appeared, the sightings have decreased. Maybe the bears have moved on, or maybe they are getting camera shy.

But one thing’s for certain – Shady Bay on Lake Martin is a great spot to build your waterfront home. There are homes underway on lots 9 – 14, and they are going to be some really nice ones!

If you have any questions about the lots in Shady Bay, or anywhere else, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I can put you in contact with builders and architects to answer your design and construction questions, if you would like me to do so.


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How to Catch Striped Bass On A Paddle Board

I continue my quest to learn how to consistently catch striped bass on Lake Martin from my paddle board, with my fly rod.
Fly fishing setup for striped bassI wish I had a lot of success to report. I have not, but I am looking forward to getting after it again in the spring.  I think it’s because I am trying to learn four disciplines at one time: cast a 9 wt, maneuver a paddle board, catch stripes, not fall off. I can’t really do any of these very well right now and when you combine all four it’s pretty comical to watch.

I have learned a little from my setup to know what I need and don’t need:

  • Paddle – I have an adjustable paddle. It’s not optimal for racing or touring but I am glad I have it when I flyfish from my paddle board.  I wish it broke down even shorter.  Most of the time when I am paddling it is small quick maneuvers when I am sitting down, trying to get in position so you really don’t need a long paddle. I guess if you are paddling a long way to your fishing spot then the adjustable would be nice.
  • Line catchers – if I thought fly fishing from a boat was line grabby, I am telling you that there are tons of things that can grab your fly line on a paddle board.
  • Stripping basket – I need to buy one of these. I think the bucket I sit on can double as this but then I would lose my seat and I would have to change back and forth in between spots. Plus I found that after I have stripped all my line in and am readying for another cast, the line is all over the place, in the water, etc. I think it would just be a lot simpler to have a stripping basket or bucket. I am considering a DIY project here.

Go with the wind – you might as well plan on going on a windy day. That way if it’s not as windy as you expected it is a positive. Every time I have been out, gale forces kick up. So I have tried to not fight it, I just paddle like a dog upwind and then drift back and fish with the wind. Of course, this entails keeping at the proper angle so I don’t catch myself with a 1/0 hook in my scalp. Some SUP boards have built in anchors but my Bote does not. I guess I could rope in to some structure. I am up to suggestions here.

Coolers and weight- all of the SUP fly anglers I see in magazines and online have a really nice cooler strapped in with them, and it doubles as their seat. At this point I cannot imagine adding a lot more weight to my already heavy rig but I would really like to have a cooler also. I don’t know, but I don’t think it would drag me down too much.

My setup- just FYI I list my setup for fly fishing for striped bass from a paddle board. If you have any better ideas for substitutions or additions, please let me know. I clearly don’t know what I am doing:

Fly fishing related:
Sage 3 piece 9 weight RPLXi
Lamson Konic reel
Simms fanny pack
Flies tied by BaileBr3

Paddle Board related (purchased at Lake Martin Dock):
Board – Bote HD – 12‘ (love it but if I bought another I would upgrade to the brand new Rackham)
Paddle – Rave adjustable paddle
Tackle Rac – Bote makes this, it helps store gear on the board

Also, I recently read a great article on the subject, by a much more accomplished angler than I:

Top 5 Must Have Items for SUP Fishing

He has an interesting use for 5 gallon buckets: wind anchors.

At any rate, I hope to be more successful in the future!

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We’re All About That Bass


My family is all about that bass.

Striped Bass, that is. No tilapia.

It might be too cold to fish on Lake Martin today (16 degrees) but it’s not too cold to eat fish. We caught these striped bass back in November on a fishing trip with David Hare with Alex City Guide Service. It was a mere 38 degrees that day, and thanks to David, we slayed ’em.

We fileted them and have had them twice, and both times they were excellent. The first batch we cooked a day after we caught them. We blackened them in the cast iron skillet and they were awesome. This particular batch we froze in a Ziplock bag water after thoroughly cleaning them. We thawed them out and then broiled them in the oven.

My sons helped out, their job was prep the fish. They just put salt, pepper, and chili powder on them. That’s it! My wife made the fresh fruit top – she cut out sections of oranges, grapefruit, and sprinkled in cilantro. It was really good!

One of the hugest part of our latest Lake Martin fishing adventures is that it has converted my wife into a wild game eater, just based on its pure organic nature. It doesn’t get any more “real food” than eating a wild animal. No preservatives, no nothing. Now, I would not say she is making her own rabbit hash or roasting wild boars over the spit, but for her, eating something we caught is a big step.

It helps that the fish tastes incredible and is easy to prep!

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A Peek at Spring on Lake Martin

If you’re not able to be here in person, rest assured that spring has come to Lake Martin and it is beautiful.  It doesn’t feel quite as spring-y as I write this post today (April 15, 47 degrees) as it did last week when I took these pictures, but summer will be here soon, no matter.  And it is still beautiful!

I took the pictures below near the Russell Forest Trails.  Hiking is a great spring activity at Lake Martin, and there are really good trails all around the lake.  The Russell Forest Trails allow horses and bikes, as do the trails at Wind Creek State Park.  If you’re looking for more of an Appalachian Mountain hiking experience, try some the the Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail Association’s trails on the eastern and southern sides of the lake.  These include high, woodsy paths and waterfront trails.  I’ve written about the Chimney Rock and Little Smith Mountain trails several times.

If spring has Lake Martin real estate on your mind, give me a call.  I’d love to talk to you about the homes, lots, condos and town homes that are nestled over our 770 miles of shoreline.  Call 334 221  5862 or click here to contact me.

Lake Martin in the Spring 2014 IMG_6643 Spring at Lake Martin Alrip 2014 - 05 Spring at Lake Martin Alrip 2014 - 10 Spring at Lake Martin Alrip 2014 - 12 Spring at Lake Martin Alrip 2014 - 13

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Walls of Blooms Near Chimney Rock

It’s hot now and summer at Lake Martin is on.  But back in the spring I took these pictures, so I’m winding back the clock for a minute to share them with you.   Before my gig as a Lake Martin realtor, I rarely got in the boat before the middle of May.  Since I’m blessed to get to see it year round, now, I thought I’d share a little bit of April on the water with you.

I was passing by Chimney Rock to do some filming near Shady Bay on the eastern side of the lake.  I wish these pictures had turned out better, but I had never noticed what I think are wild azaleas blooming on the cliffs south of Acapulco and Chimney Rocks.  They’re gone before Memorial Day, and I had always missed them.  It’s humbling to be surprised by the beauty of nature:

Flowers Blooming on Rocks Across from Chimney Rock - 9Chimney Rock bloomsLake Martin Blooms Chimney RockFlowers Blooming on Rocks Across from Chimney Rock - 3Lake Martin is definitely evolving from a summer-only to a year round vacation destination.  Businesses, restaurants, and other service providers are stepping up to meet the demand of a market that is moving from a 4 month season to a 12 month season.  I predict that many homeowners (or future homeowners) will begin to take in these off season sights with me in the future.

If you’re looking for a waterfront home, townhouse, condo, or lot at Lake Martin, give me a call at (334) 221-5862, or click here to email me.  I sell Lake Martin all day, year round, and I’d love to be your realtor.

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Little Smith Mountain Hiking Trail at Lake Martin

 If you’re not on the water at Lake Martin, hiking is another activity that’s a lot of fun.  I’ve posted several times on the Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail Association’s (CRATA) hiking trails that branch off of the Scenic Overlook on the south side of the lake.  CRATA is responsible for the explosion is quality hiking trails at the lake – these are not the wide red-clay and gravel hiking trails (that are more like roads) that you find on the western side of the lake.  These are amazing alpine trails that instantly transport you to real mountain hiking vistas, combined with large swaths of waterfront footage.

My family hiked the Chimney Rock Loop over spring break, and as we were leaving, we ran into CRATA guru, Jimmy Lanier.  Mr. Lanier told us about a new trail they were currently constructing on Smith Mountain (eastern side of Lake Martin).  There is already a Smith Mountain Alpine Trail that begins at the base of Smith Mountains and ascends to the Smith Mountain Fire Tower.  If you haven’t climbed the restored Smith Mountain fire tower, put it on you 2013 Lake Martin To-Do List.  The views are incredible.

Mr. Lanier said that CRATA is creating another new trail there – The Little Smith Mountain Trail – and volunteers were needed to, literally, pave the way.  Two weeks later I spent the morning with a group of volunteers digging out a portion of this new trail.  The trail’s route was already marked, so we used the yellow tools you see in a picture below to dig up the ground and make the trail flat and hike-able.  It’s not a technical job, but there is a little artistry involved.  The other volunteers knew what they were doing and helped me refine my craft – although I was a good bit slower than the rest of the crowd.

I’m not sure if this new trail is open to the public yet, but when it does open, I’m there.  For more info on hiking at Lake Martin, go to CRATA’s website.  They have some beautiful pictures they’ve taken along their trails, histories of these trails, and info for hikers wanting to check them out in person.

Our crew heading out to dig:

Little Smith Mountain Trail 3

  Little Smith Mountain Trail 2Little Smith Mountain Trail 5

These are the tools we used to dig the trails:

Little Smith Mountain Trail 4

Little Smith Mountain TrailI’m not a professional trail blazer, just a Lake Martin realtor who likes to hike, so I’d love for you to call me with questions about waterfront real estate.  (334( 221-5862)

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StillWaters: A Lake Martin Neighborhood of Diversity

Wildlife diversity, for sure!

Every time I head to StillWaters to show a home or condo for sale, my “web staff” knows I’m coming back with new wildlife photos.  To date, I’ve captured lots of deer, ducks, and herons.  In fact, I have a wildlife photo file on my computer just for StillWaters.

I was in StillWaters twice last week, and both times I saw turkeys on the golf course.  The first time, it was this crowd below:  two jakes (immature males), and one mature long beard.

Turkeys in StillWaters April 2013 - 19

 This guy was definitely the boss. He was standing by the road, and let his minions above walk ahead of him to clear the way and make sure there were no dangerous golfers around. For those of you unfamiliar with turkeys, I will let you know, the length of his beard (that straw looking hair poking out of his chest) is pretty impressive. I tried to get a little closer, but this was the best I could do from 100 yards with a 300 mm lens:

Turkeys in StillWaters April 2013 - 14

A week later I was leaving a listing appointment in StillWaters. I got to almost the same bend in the road and noticed another turkey was standing with one foot in the road, gobbling his head off. A car passed him, he took three steps back, then stepped back out and double gobbled. As an avid turkey hunter, I was amazed. This was a week into May, and turkey season was over on April 30. It just goes to show you that, even in the wilds of StillWaters, the primal procreative drive of nature does not hew to man’s law. I eased my car up to him, and he walked back into the woods. This was the best shot I got of him, below. Maybe he was the same boss I saw a week earlier:

Turkey Gobbling in StillWaters

So many people come to Lake Martin because of its natural setting; wildlife sightings are just a normal part of the day.  It’s different than some other popular getaways in the South – it’s a place to slow down and enjoy people, the water, wildlife, and the peace and quiet.  You can bring your kids and they may actually hang out with you!

That reminds me of a favorite Lake Martin testimonial I shot while at a school function a few years ago that sort of goes along with this theme.  See if you don’t agree . . .

If this is the kind of vacation spot you’ve been looking for, check us out at Lake Martin!  I’d love for you to use this website to explore the neighborhoods, the people, the events, and the waterfront properties.  Check out my Lake Martin Voice Realty YouTube Channel where I have over 300 Lake Martin videos divided into five playlists (Community Info, Neighborhoods, How to Use the MLS, Home Tours, and Client Testimonials).

And if you’d like to talk Lake Martin real estate, give me a call at (334) 221-5862 or click here to email me.  I’d love to be your realtor!

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You Never Know What You’ll See on Lake Martin

It was March 28th, our inaugural boat ride of 2013.  We had come under the power lines and made the turn south so we could see the dam. Goat Island was on our right, and Ghost Hollow and the Overlook were on our left.

Just then we spotted a strange looking duck swimming madly on the water’s surface.  As we got closer we realized it was not a duck at all, but the head of a deer.  Her body, obviously, was under the water, and she was swimming faster than Michael Phelps toward Goat Island.  Seeing a deer swimming is not that uncommon this time of year, but still – it was a sight to behold.

Deer in Lake Martin 3

We then spotted two more deer swimming behind her in hot pursuit.  But these deer turned out to be dogs, and suddenly it all made sense.  The dogs must have chased the deer into the water off of Ghost Hollow and she was swimming across to the safety of Goat Island.  We lost her for a little while, but then we spotted her climbing onto dry land at the end of Dopson Point Road.

Deer in Lake Martin 4

Deer in Lake Martin 1Deer in Lake Martin 2

What about you?  Have you taken your first Lake Martin boat ride of the year?  See anything interesting?  Let me know; I’d love to post your pictures or let you retell your tale.

And if you need help with Lake Martin real estate, you know I’d love to hear from you, too!  (334) 221-5862 or CLICK HERE to email me.

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A Typical StillWaters Neighbor at Lake Martin

I take Lake Martin wildlife pictures all over the lake, but I need to create a specific photo file for “Wildlife I Have Seen in StillWaters.”  Lake Martin is a rural area, so animals coexist with lake lovers on all sides.  StillWaters is a huge gated golf/lake community with on and off the water homes, townhouses and condos, and it seems that wildlife like the deer I spotted last week call it home, too.

StillWaters Button Buck Feb 2013 - 04

This one was grazing on the side of the road as I drove to a new listing of mine in StillWaters, 100 Harbor Point Place Unit 613.  If you look closely you can see the early formation of his antlers.  It’s amazing how deer were created to blend in so well with their environment.  You can barely see his back in the photo below:

StillWaters Button Buck Feb 2013 - 02

If you like the idea of being in an established, gated golf  and waterfront community, and enjoy neighbors of all kinds, StillWaters might be a good fit.  If you’d like access to all StillWaters’ amenities, but prefer to leave the yard work and home maintenance to someone else, check out my listing, 100 Harbor Pointe Place Unit 613.  It’s a 2 bed/2 bath off-the-water condo with a deeded boat slip, and it’s right across the street from Harbor Pointe Marina.

It’s currently listed for $131K – a great deal when you consider its location within StillWaters and all of the amenities owners can access.

Here’s one more parting shot of our friend and StillWaters neighbor.  If you’re interested in homes or condos in StillWaters, or real estate anywhere on Lake Martin, give me a call at (334) 221-5862, or contact me by CLICKING HERE.  I’d love to be your realtor.

StillWaters Button Buck Feb 2013 - 07

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