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Anyone on here live, ski, or surf on Smith Lake, Alabama?

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  • Anyone on here live, ski, or surf on Smith Lake, Alabama?

    Have a friend who lives down in Alabama who says Smith Lake is as clean as any lake in the US, and is a great watersport community. Just curious if anyone here wants to share their thoughts on the lake.

  • #2
    I'd agree with what he said. Smith Lake is between Huntsville and Birmingham so it gets a good bit of traffic. Smith and Martin are the 2 biggest watersports lakes in Alabama.
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    • #3
      Smith Lake is a very nice, clean and deep lake. Lake Martin is more "popular" with Birmingham folks, which is a plus for Smith. It is 45 miles north of Birmingham right off of I-65 and is easy to get to. The lake fluctuates, and combined with its depth, requires a floating dock and lift. Not a big deal. I don't know of any bad things to say about Smith. It doesn't have the restaurants that other lakes offer, but I don't go to the lake to go out to eat.

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      • #4
        Thanks dpb and JJ. We know we are looking for the more relaxed, rural area of Smith Lake as well. This will be the almost ready to retire and then enjoy retirement with the kids and grandkids behind the boat

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        • #5
          Originally posted by rbuss4 View Post
          Thanks dpb and JJ. We know we are looking for the more relaxed, rural area of Smith Lake as well. This will be the almost ready to retire and then enjoy retirement with the kids and grandkids behind the boat
          It's a big lake, you should be able to find what you want. If you want REALLY quiet, look at Weiss or Wedowee.
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          • #6
            Hey, we rented a house for a week last summer. Water is awesome! Lots of fingers off the main channel to wakesurf. The Duncan Bridge marina is chaos, but they will let you store your trailer there for a fee. Gas is very expensive, recommend filling up prior to arriving. There are some secluded areas towards the north with places to jump off cliffs. Some camp grounds right on the water as well. The small store in Arley has just about everything you need. Some great places to eat as well in the area. Big grocery stores are 30 minutes away.

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            • #7
              The only negative about Smith is it's an unrestricted lake as far as boat size and speed goes. Martin, Wedowee, and Weiss don't allow houseboats, boats over 30' or speedboats over 26'11" (I think) that go over 60mph. For that reason a lot of people with those types of boats go to Smith.
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              • #8
                Haven't been down there yet, but everything we've read and friends down in AL have told us is Smith has a lot of things going for it
                • Deep, Clean water
                • more rural area
                • more bang/land for the $$ than other AL, SC, GA lakes
                • lots on "big water" actually still available
                • Lots of Mastercrafts in videos we have seen

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                • #9
                  If you're looking for property there make sure you understand the seasonal water draw down schedule. You don't want to be disappointed in the dates you'll have water.

                  http://www.smithlake.info/Level/

                  Personally, I think a drawn down lake in my backyard beats most alternatives
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dpb185 View Post
                    If you're looking for property there make sure you understand the seasonal water draw down schedule. You don't want to be disappointed in the dates you'll have water.

                    http://www.smithlake.info/Level/

                    Personally, I think a drawn down lake in my backyard beats most alternatives
                    Absolutely! Never knew what draw downs were until we started looking at lake property in the southeast. We don't have that up here in WI. The part of Smith we are looking at is said to have year-round deep water. Again, not going to be down there for a month or two too look in person

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rbuss4 View Post

                      Absolutely! Never knew what draw downs were until we started looking at lake property in the southeast. We don't have that up here in WI. The part of Smith we are looking at is said to have year-round deep water. Again, not going to be down there for a month or two too look in person
                      My wife and I have been looking at lake houses. We keep going back and forth on whether year round water really matters to us. Wife is cold when it's below 70 degrees, we'd have to pull the boat out around Thanksgiving to winterize anyway, we're not sure it really matters to us. Plus year round water tends to be on the main channels where it's less private and you have to deal with waves hitting your dock all the time. We change our minds about every 6 weeks or so. We'll keep looking ...
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                      • #12
                        Smith is awesome. Some of our Nashville neighbors have or have had places on Smiths. rbuss, another option if you like rural is Centerhill in TN, only downside is no private docs, but it keeps traffic down substantially. Additionally, TN does not have a state income tax if you are looking for a retirement address for tax purposes
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SteveO View Post
                          Smith is awesome. Some of our Nashville neighbors have or have had places on Smiths. rbuss, another option if you like rural is Centerhill in TN, only downside is no private docs, but it keeps traffic down substantially. Additionally, TN does not have a state income tax if you are looking for a retirement address for tax purposes
                          Gotta have my own dock. That's the retirement dream. Seeing the pair of MasterCrafts on lifts looking out my window, and for far longer a time period than boating season here in WI. Have looked at a number of beautiful lakes in SC and GA, but there are no reasonably priced, dockable waterfront lots available that are not diagonal pieces of pie with 30 feet of frontage on 1.5 feet of mucky crap water.
                          That is part of the intrigue and the question here about Smith Lake.

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                          • #14
                            Smith is an Alabama Power lake as well so you wouldn't have to deal with the Corp of Engineers. Big plus if you aren't familiar with the difference.
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                            • #15
                              We had a place on Smith for a couple of years. Beautiful lake, clean clear water. Just like with any popular lake it can be busy on the weekends. One downside is that there are a lot of narrow areas. If you end up buying in an area with lots of passing boat traffic it can get pretty rough. Our place was back in a cove and it was great. The lake is generally pretty deep and deep water can be found back in some of the sloughs. Our dock was sitting in 40 feet of water at full pool. Nearly all docks are floating, so if they are getting beat up every weekend, they end up needing a fair amount of maintenance.

                              During winter water levels can fluctuate a good bit. There has been some flooding the past 10 years or so. If I was buying a lot I'd make sure that you can build well above the flood plain.

                              Another issue is that a lot of it is still fairly rural. Lots of mom and pop grocery stores, but in general if you are used to specialty type grocery stores, or bigger stores like Kroger or Publix, you may find that you have to drive for a bit.

                              When we were there (2016 ish), there wasn't a lot of dining options on the water. I think there has been a couple of restaurants added but that may be something to look at if its important to you.

                              A lot of the counties surrounding the lake are dry. I never found this to be a huge problem, but Ive heard of people having their coolers confiscated out on the water.

                              Overall, I loved it there. We live in Birmingham and have the option of Smith, Martin, and Wedowee among others. If you have any questions about the area please feel free to pm me. We are on Martin currently. Good Luck!

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