By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterFebruary 22, 2018
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Taking to the waters with a rod and reel is a way that many choose to spend their leisure time, and Fort Rucker has plenty of watery real estate to keep anglers hooked on the popular pastime.
There are a total of five different lakes on Fort Rucker covering more than 700 acres that house a variety of different fish -- ranging from largemouth bass, hybrid bass, catfish, crappie and bream -- that people can test their skills against as they cast their lines, according to John Clancy, Fort Rucker Outdoor Recreation manager.
The first and most well-known of all the lakes is Lake Tholocco, which offers two different fishing piers -- one on East Beach and one on West Beach -- and shoreline fishing is also permitted.
People can catch largemouth bass, bream, catfish and crappie in Lake Tholocco's waters, and something many people don't know is that night fishing is allowed on the lake.
"Lake Tholocco is a 676.8-acre, well-stocked lake," said Clancy. "We sell bait, including worms, crickets, minnows; rods and reels; and all kinds of tackle.
"We also rent different types of boats that are geared up for fishing, (and also offer) cabins and campsites," he added. "It's guaranteed fun."
People operating the boats must first complete the boater's safety course before taking any boats out on the lake, he added.
Lake Tholocco is also the only lake on the installation that permits powerboats, according to Clancy. Boats on the other lakes on Fort Rucker must be self-propelled.
Although the lakes are full of fish, there is a limit to how many fish people can take home. There is a limit of five largemouth bass for less than 14 inches in length and only one for more than 18 inches at Lake Tholocco. Any largemouth bass caught between the sizes of 14-18 inches must be thrown back, according to Clancy.
There is a limit of 30 for bream, 15 for catfish and 30 for crappie longer than nine inches.
Although the other lakes on the installation don't compare in size to Lake Tholocco, the fishing experience is just as rich and available from sunup to sundown, Clancy said.
Parcours Lake is another popular fishing spot on Fort Rucker, but this particular spot is reserved for the installation's youth anglers, he said.
"Because of the size of the lake -- 4.1 acres -- and its proximity to the housing areas, it's only permitted for those ages 15 and younger," he said, adding that parents are allowed to assist their children in fishing, but children must reel in their own fish.
The lake, located on Farrel Road behind Lyster Army Health Clinic, is home to bream, catfish and largemouth bass.
Another hidden gem, more known for its trails than its fishing, is Beaver Lake.
This 7.7-acre lake is open to all ages for fishing from sun up to sun down and houses largemouth bass, bream, catfish and crappie. The fish limit at Beaver Lake is two largemouth bass larger than 16 inches, 10 bream of no size limit, unlimited catfish and up to 30 crappie with no size limit.
Beaver Lake is located just off Third Avenue across from the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Center's football field.
There are also a few lakes that are relatively unknown to most on the installation, but the fishing they provide is just as enjoyable as their more well-known counterparts, said Clancy.
Ech Lake is a 7.7-acre lake open to all ages and filled with largemouth bass, bream, catfish and crappie. To get to this hidden gem, turn from Christian Road onto Johnston Road and take the first unpaved road on the left and follow the posted signs.
The limits for the lake are no more than two largemouth bass 16 inches or larger, 10 bream with no size limit, unlimited catfish and up to 30 crappie with no size limit.
Buckhorn Lake is another lake that isn't very well known, but it's also one of the installation's most restricted lakes due to its location and proximity to training areas, said Clancy.
The lake is 13.2 acres and is home to largemouth bass, bream and crappie. Hours of operation vary from day to day.
Buckhorn Lake is located two miles past Silver Wings Golf Course on Hatch Road.
"The lake is only open about half the time, so people should call outdoor recreation before they head out to the lake to confirm the times," said the recreation assistant.
Beaver Pond is the smallest of all the lakes on Fort Rucker and is also the least developed, according to Clancy. Beaver Pond is open to all ages, and is located off of Andrews Avenue between Silver Wings Golf Course and the Ozark Gate.
People 16 and older must have a state fishing license and post fishing permit to fish on Fort Rucker, and everyone operating a boat, motorized or self-propelled, must complete the Fort Rucker Boating Safety Course. People can visit the outdoor recreation service center to obtain a license. To purchase the Fort Rucker post permit, visit www.fortruckerisportsman.net.
For more information, call 255-4305, or visit https://rucker.armymwr.com/us/rucker/programs/hunting-and-fishing/.