Unlocking the Secrets: Unveiling Tennessee’s Fishing Season Start Dates

When Does Fishing Season Start in Tennessee


Fishing is a popular recreational activity in Tennessee, attracting enthusiasts from all over the country. As an angler, it’s important to know when fishing season officially begins in order to make the most of your time on the water. In this blog post, we will discuss the opening dates for various fishing seasons in Tennessee and provide valuable information to help you plan your fishing trips accordingly.

Tennessee Fishing Seasons Overview

Tennessee boasts diverse fish populations and offers different fishing seasons throughout the year. The state has four distinct zones with specific regulations governing each zone’s fishing seasons: A, B, C, and D. To determine when fishing season starts, we’ll explore each zone individually:

Zone A

Spring/Summer Fishing Season

In Zone A of Tennessee (West Tennessee), the official start of spring/summer fishing season typically begins on March 1st. This exciting time marks prime opportunities for catching popular game fish such as bass (both largemouth and smallmouth), catfish, crappie, bream/bluegill species like sunfish or shellcracker.

Fall/Winter Fishing Season

The fall/winter season usually commences on November 1st in Zone A. During this period, anglers can enjoy targeting cool-water species such as sauger or walleye along with other cold-loving fish like trout that are stocked into select lakes across West Tennessee.

Zone B

Lake-Specific Regulations & Opening Dates

In Zone B (Middle Tennessee) encompassing numerous lakes including Old Hickory Lake and Percy Priest Lake among others – specific regulations come into play. Anglers should consult the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) website or contact local fishing authorities to get accurate information on opening dates and specific regulations for each lake in this region.

Zone C

Cumberland Plateau Region Fishing Season

In Zone C, which covers the Cumberland Plateau region of Tennessee, fishing season typically starts on March 1st. This area is home to several scenic rivers and lakes where anglers can target trout, bass, crappie, catfish, and various panfish species like bluegill.

Zone D

East Tennessee Fishing Season

Last but not least is Zone D – East Tennessee. In this zone covering areas such as Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cherokee National Forest, fishing season usually begins on April 1st. With its picturesque streams and abundance of cold-water fish species like trout (both rainbow and brown), East Tennessee offers a unique angling experience for enthusiasts.


Fishing season start dates vary across different zones in Tennessee due to climate variations and specific regulations implemented by the TWRA. By understanding these opening dates and adhering to state regulations regarding bag limits and size restrictions, you can maximize your chances of having a successful fishing trip while preserving our valuable aquatic resources. So mark your calendars accordingly! Whether you’re an experienced angler or just starting out, make sure to enjoy all that Tennessee’s diverse fisheries have to offer!