Lake Shelby: Orange Beach's Wonder with Naturalist Kelly Reetz
Gulf Shores & Orange Beach
Editor's Note: Lake Shelby is one of the closest freshwater lakes to salt water along the Gulf of Mexico. Gulf State Park naturalist Kelly Reetz gives us an overview of the lake.
Lake Shelby is considered a freshwater lake, even though it has some saltwater intrusion and homes freshwater and saltwater fish. You can catch largemouth bass, bream, crappie, redfish, catfish, speckled trout, mullet, and blue crab there. But Lake Shelby constantly has had to battle for its survival. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan dumped a tremendous amount of salt water into Lake Shelby, killing fish. Once the water’s salinity was decreased, Alabama’s Freshwater Fisheries Division restocked the lake and then again after Hurricane Katrina’s saltwater intrusion into Lake Shelby.
Gulf State Park has three public fishing lakes – Lake Shelby, Middle Lake, and Little Lake – that make up 900 acres of very fishable waters for both freshwater and saltwater fish for only a $2 dollar per day permit and a freshwater fishing license. To fish for blue crab, you must have a saltwater fishing license.