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Welcome-to-tennesseeFishing in Tennessee

With its innumerable lakes, ponds, reservoirs and the most productive rivers in the country like the Watunga and the South Holston., the state of Tennessee makes a wonderful destination for fishing.

Hot Places to Fish

Nolichucky River

Nolichucky River


Apalachia, Nolichucky, cedar, Nottely, Ocoee, Pine, Chatuge, Boone, Bear Creek, Pin Oak, Norris, Blue Ridge, Cherokee, Normandy, Cedar Creek, Beaver Creek, Fontana, Douglas, Watts Bar, Wheeler, Little Bear Creek, Fort Loudoun, Kentucky, Hiwassee, Wilbur, Upper Bear Creek, Tellico, Sycamore, Lost Creek, Great Falls, etc. are some of the major reservoirs in the state which offer great enjoyable fishing.

fishingPonds and Small Lakes

The state has over 200,000 ponds and small lakes which offer over 100,000 acres of potential fishing waters. Butcher, Bedford, Gaither, Cortner, Bomar, Davis, Catfish, Elaine, Dan Madox, Fox, Horse, Hamilton, Slag Pile, Bee Tree, Bill Smith, Camp Slough, Doris Irvin, etc. are some of the ponds and lakes spread in Tennessee’s different counties. These provide fisheries of catfish, crappie, bass, bluegill,

fishingRivers and Streams

There are about 17,000 miles of warmwater streams and rivers, across Tennessee which offer fishery for black bass, rock bass, bream and catfish. Tailwaters like Elk, Duck, Caney Fork, Stones, Obey, Hiwassee, Ocoee, Clinch, South Holston, and Watunga provide quality fishing for rainbow trout and brown trout. The Mississippi River runs 167 miles long through Tennessee giving a handsome catch of catfish, striped bass, white bass, and sauger. Its side channels and backwater areas are also productive of catfish, bass and panfish.

fishingFee Fishing

There are innumerable private ponds and small lakes across the state, which charge either a fee to fish, a fee per pound of fish or a fee only if you catch a fish. They are known as catch-out facilities or pay lakes, and are normally kept stocked regularly and offer great fishing sites for families and especially children as fish are easily caught. These are open seasonally, so if you want to visit them, you will have to first enquire with them. Bedford, Carton, Gibson, Hamblen, Hawkins, Hickman etc. are some pay lakes.


While planning to fish in private ponds and lakes, it is good to remember certain rules to make your fishing enjoyable. Do not ask permission at the last minute, make it in advance. Better to visit the landowner in person, preferably with your child, instead of calling on phone, so that the landowner could see you and give you the permission. After obtaining permission, be sure to follow the requests made by the landowner. Some pond owners allow some harvest, while some allow catch and release only. Observe cleanliness before leaving the place. If you catch some fish, offer some or all of them to the owner. Offer some favor in return of the permission, e.g. offer to help in the repair of a broken gate etc. Do not take it for granted that a permission of one time means you have permission for all the times. You should ask for the permission again the next time, politely. These things will make you gain some wonderful fishing.


You can catch good catfish on liver, night crawlers, and stink baits. Bass fishing is excellent with crankbaits and large plastic worms. Crappies are caught on small minnows, while bluegills are caught on worms and crickets.

First Fish Award

To celebrate the moment in the young anglers’ life of catching his or her first fish, Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency has designed the First Fish Award containing a farmable certificate which can be obtained online or through mail, without any bearing for the size of the fish and age of the angler.


The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency sell the hunting and fishing licenses on 18th February every year, which are valid until the last day of the next year’s month of February. There are different kinds of licenses in addition to the regular fishing licenses, like sportsman and lifetime sportsman licenses and annual trout fishing license. While a one-day fishing license costs $5.50, the annual fishing and hunting license costs $28 and the lifetime sportsman licenses range from $200 to $1620.

So now when will you be planning to go for fishing in Tennessee?