Exploring Tennessee’s Abundant Fishing Opportunities: A Comprehensive Guide

What Can I Fish for in Tennessee?

If you’re a fishing enthusiast or looking to try your hand at angling in the beautiful state of Tennessee, you’ll be delighted to know that there is an abundance of fish species waiting to be caught. With its diverse waterways and rich aquatic resources, Tennessee provides excellent opportunities for both recreational and sport fishing.

Hitting the Waters: A Brief Overview

Tennessee boasts numerous lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and streams that are teeming with various fish species. From small creeks winding through picturesque valleys to vast lakes surrounded by stunning landscapes, you’ll find an array of fishing locations throughout the state.

Tennessee River System: Home to Trophy Fish

The Tennessee River system is undoubtedly one of the most popular destinations for anglers seeking trophy-sized catches. This expansive river network stretches across much of western and middle Tennessee, offering remarkable fishing experiences. The two main sections worth exploring are:

Cumberland River

The Cumberland River is famous for its exceptional trout population and offers fantastic opportunities for fly-fishing enthusiasts. Brown trout thrive here thanks to consistent cold water releases from Lake Cumberland Reservoir in neighboring Kentucky.

Moreover, this river serves as a popular spawning ground for striped bass during their annual migration from April through June. Anglers flock here seeking thrilling battles with these powerful predators.

Tellico River

Situated in southeastern Tennessee within Cherokee National Forest lies Tellico River – a paradise for those eager to hook a variety of freshwater gamefish such as rainbow trout and brown trout. Its pristine waters flow through scenic mountainous terrain enhancing the overall angling experience.

Lakes: Cast Your Line into Bounty

Tennessee’s lakes are a haven for anglers, promising an abundance of fish species and picturesque surroundings. Here are a few notable ones:

Kentucky Lake

As one of the largest man-made lakes in the United States, Kentucky Lake is renowned for its diverse fish population. This vast reservoir offers excellent fishing opportunities for crappie, catfish, sauger, largemouth bass, white bass, and bluegill.

Dale Hollow Lake

Famous for its clear waters and breathtaking beauty nestled within Tennessee’s Highland Rim Mountains lies Dale Hollow Lake. Anglers flock here to catch smallmouth bass – considered some of the largest in the country – as well as walleye and musky.

The Tailwaters: Pristine Fishing Grounds

Tailwaters refer to river sections just below dams where water is released from reservoirs. These areas are known for their consistent water temperatures all year round and provide exceptional habitat conditions that support various fish populations.

Norris Dam Tailwater

If you’re looking to reel in trout or striped bass throughout the year, Norris Dam Tailwater on the Clinch River should be on your list. This tailwater is regularly stocked with rainbow trout making it an ideal destination for fly-fishing enthusiasts too.

Clinch River Below Melton Hill Dam

Another popular spot among fishermen seeking trophy-sized brown trout is Clinch River below Melton Hill Dam near Oak Ridge. The plentiful insect life attracts these impressive gamefish providing ample excitement to avid anglers who cast their lines here.


No matter what type of fishing experience you seek – whether it’s testing your skills against trophy-sized catches or simply enjoying a relaxing day on the water – Tennessee has something for everyone. The vast array of fish species and diverse fishing locations make it a top destination for anglers from all over the country.

So pack your gear, get your fishing license, and head to Tennessee to explore its bountiful waters and create unforgettable angling memories!