Fishing in East Tennessee

Fishing is a popular sport year round, with seven lakes and many rivers and streams embracing and enhancing the valley of East Tennessee, including Cherokee Lake, Douglas Lake,Ft. Loudon Lake, Melton Hill Lake, Norris Lake, Tellico Lake, and Watts Bar Lake.

Water covers more than 220,000 acres of East Tennessee.  From Chattanooga to Tri-Cities, TVA’s system of rivers and reservoirs drain more than 20,000 square miles in East Tennessee.  Together these bodies of water offer more than 4,500 miles of shore line and unlimited recreational opportunities.  The Tennessee Valley has more than 1,000 square miles of water surface and 11,000 miles of public shoreline across the Tennessee Valley.  TVA protects a million acres of public land to support wildlife, outdoor recreation and water quality.

Fishing is permitted all year in TVA Lakes, with best catches generally reported in the spring and late fall.  Principle game fish are largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, white and striped bass; crappie; walleye; sauger and sunfish.  Rainbow trout are present in several of the deep tributary lakes and below some of the dams.  Mountain streams offering the best in trout fishing including some 300 miles of streams with some 70 species of fish. 

Fishing Licenses go on sale March 1 each year, the beginning of prime fishing, and are valid through the last day of February.  You can purchase any license, except Sportsman’s License, Lifetime Sportsman’s License and the Lifetime Senior Citizens License, from most county court clerks, sporting goods stores, hardware stores, boat docks and all Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency regional offices.   You can also order your license by mail.  Send name address, date of birth, physical features (height, weight, and eye and hair color), and enclose the correct fee to: 

TWRA/Information Section
Ellington Agricultural Center
P.O. Box 40747
Nashville, TN  37204