Best Lakes for Fishing in Tennessee

Best Lakes for Fishing in Tennessee

Tennessee is a beautiful state that houses numerous streams, rivers, and lakes that are ideal for fishing. The best lakes for fishing in Tennessee include the Reelfoot Lake, Kentucky Lake, Douglas Lake, and many more. 

It is estimated that nearly 2% of the state’s surface in square mileage area is covered in water. Tennessee is also native to about 280 species of fish. As you’ve already guessed it, the state is a fisherman’s dream come true. However, with over 1000 lakes to choose from, selecting the perfect one for yourself might be difficult. This article will help you narrow down your dream fishing lake in Tennesee. 

Although Tenessee has numerous water bodies, there are a few that definitely stand out. These scenic lakes that are packed full of native freshwater fish are especially famous in the fishing community. So if you’re looking for a good fishing experience, Tennessee’s lakes can guarantee you just that. All you need is a fishing rod and some patience to find a great catch and spend a relaxing evening at one of the state’s beautiful lakes.

1. Reelfoot Lake

Reelfoot Lake is located in the Northwest region of Tennesee. It happens to be the largest lake of natural origins in the state. The lake itself is filled with mystery, history, some folklore, and plenty of fish. In 1811 a series of geological events known as “fluvial tsunami” caused a large lake to be formed along the fault line of New Madrid. 

The shallow swamp-like lake makes for the perfect fishing spot to catch a variety of fish. These include panfish like crappie and bluegill, carp, largemouth bass, and freshwater catfish. The lake is a tourist hotspot because of its picturesque location and has some of the best local cuisines you will find in the country. 

2. Kentucky Lake

One of the largest manmade lakes along the Tenessee River, Kentucky Lake encompasses a massive 160,309 acres of water. This vast and beautiful lake is speckled with yellow flowers and shallow bushes. It is famous among the fishing community because of its sheer beauty and many family-friendly activities that it hosts all year round. 

Whether you’re going on a solo fishing trip or for recreation with your family, this lake has something for everyone. It is also home to a wide variety of fish that include smallmouth and largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill, sauger, and crappie. You can easily find some heavyweight bass as well as can be seen by the numerous large bass caught in recent competitions held at the lake. 

3. Chickamauga Reservoir

Ranked by Bassmaster as second best in the world, this magnificent lake spans over 36,240 acres of water. The Chickamauga lake has an array of plants and flowers, including the likes of eelgrass, milfoil, and hydrilla alongside some nearby docks and shallow woods. The lake is especially popular with ledger fishermen due to the numerous natural ledges that allow anglers to look for their next large catch. 

However, the lake remains a favorite with all freshwater anglers due to its dense population of fish. The lake’s forte happens to be the largemouth bass, with which it broke the state record in 2015. Other fish found in the lake include striped bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, crappie, and bluegill.

4. Dale Hollow Reservoir

The Dale Hollow Lake is popular among the fishing community because of its trophy-winning smallmouth. The lake is spread out on 27,700 acres of fishable water and has established itself as the best bass fishing spot in the country. Three of the largest smallmouth fish that were ever caught have come from this lake. 

The world record for the biggest smallmouth bass was broken here in 1955 with a smallmouth that weighed 11 lb and 12 oz. The second-largest smallmouth weighed about 10 lb and 8 oz. As can be seen, this lake is one of the premium breeding grounds for smallmouth bass and is a must-visit location for bass anglers. 

5. Douglas Lake

The Douglas Lake is a fishing hole created because of the impoundment in the East Tennessee region by the French Broad River. Due to its short distance from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg, this lake is a tourist hotspot. 

douglas lake fishing

The lake overlooks the breathtaking misty mountains and is resplendent with nature. It also has a dense population of fish, making it a favorite with fishermen as well. The Douglas Lake covers around 30,600 acres of fishable water and has a complex and a fairly large shoreline of 555 miles. The lake contains numerous types of fish, including the crappie, largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill, white bass, walleye, and sauger. 

6. Percy Priest Lake

The Percy Priest Lake is a manmade lake that spans over is 14,200 acres of fishable water. The lake was formed in about 1967 after the construction of the Percy Priest dam. It is a fun spot for families and features numerous recreational activities and even has a marina and waterpark. But, the lake is mostly known for its excellent fishing capacity. 

Percy Priest Lake is famous in the fishing community because it is home to almost all native Tennessee fish species, especially the freshwater bass. This brilliant feat can be credited solely to the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency’s continuous efforts. The one thing fishermen must keep in mind while fishing here, though, is the creel and size limitations imposed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency. 


Tennessee is one of the most beautiful states in the United States. It has numerous lakes for both leisure and fishing activities. However, there are some lakes here that are a must-see for people who take their fishing seriously. 

These lakes are densely populated with all the native species of Tennessee freshwater fish and serve as the perfect place for freshwater anglers to spend their evenings. So whether you’re in search of a great catch or just want to enjoy scenic beauty, rest assured that you will find the lake of your dreams in Tennessee. 

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