Alabama Power Company began their construction of the dam in the small town of Falls City. Although the land had been bought from prior occupants, many left their homes and belongings behind. In the depths of present-day Smith Lake, trees, barns, cars, and many other structures remain hidden. These underwater constructs often hold Smith Lake secrets. According to urban myth, catfish the size of men lurk in the depths near the dam. Search and rescue missions for boating accident victims prove to be difficult due to the lake’s magnitude. In some places, the lake is charted at 264 feet deep. The sudden drop off in depth is a part of what makes Smith Lake potentially dangerous. Yet today’s allure to Smith Lake is in its vast shoreline, rocky shores and cavernous depths.
Since the 1980’s, Smith Lake has been popular with Alabamians seeking outdoor recreation or looking to purchase a vacation home on its beautiful wooded and rocky shoreline. Because of its depth, Smith Lake proves to be an excellent habitat for a wide variety of fish. Several major professional fishing tournaments have been held at the lake. During the summer months, the lake is teeming with boaters, swimmers and campers. Smith Lake Dam is no longer used as a primary source of hydraulic power by Alabama Power. The amount of energy used from the dam now depends on seasonal rainfall, downstream business and consumer demand. Today, the value of Smith Lake is in its use for outdoor recreation, economic impact and rich ecological benefits.