Nashville District
Published Jan. 10, 2024

Fishing Information

“Planning where to go for the best in Tennessee fishing is like getting paid to eat candy,” says author and fisherman Vernon Summerlin in his Tennessee Sportsman article, “Tennessee 12-month Angling Planner.”  “Like a candy store,” says Summerlin, “Tennessee’s variety of fishing makes anglers drool.” 

*Used by permission of author.  Vernon Summerlin is the co-author with Doug Markham of The Complete Tennessee Angler, available autographed, post-paid from Vernon Summerlin, 5550 Boy Scout Road, Franklin, TN 37064

Generating Schedules are subject to change without notice. For Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) generating schedules, call: 1-800-238-2264.


Fishing Phone Hotlines

 Fishing Information 24 Hours a Day
Lake Barkley
Grand Rivers, Ky.
 (270) 362-8430
Lake Cumberland
Somerset, Ky.
 (606) 678-8697
Laurel River Lake
London, Ky.
 (606) 878-9298
Martins Fork Lake
Smith, Ky.
 (606) 573-7655
Dale Hollow Lake
Celina, Tenn.
 (931) 243-3408
Center Hill Lake
Lancaster, Tenn.
 (931) 858-4366
Cheatham Lake
Ashland City, Tenn.
 (615) 792-2190
Cordell Hull Lake
Carthage, Tenn.
 (615) 735-1050
J. Percy Priest Lake
Nashville, Tenn.
 (615) 883-2351
Old Hickory Lake
Hendersonville, Tenn.
 (615) 824-7766


Tennessee’s 12-Month Fishing Calendar


Smallmouth -- Upper Center Hill Lake 

Tips: Cast to the bluffs and slowly swim 1/9 ounce leadheads with a white or chartreuse curlytail after letting it fall about 10 feet.


Smallmouth & Walleye -- Watauga Lake

Crappie -- Bedford Lake   




Cherokee Bass -- Boone Lake

Tips: During the day, fishing the midsection of the lake.  Start casting at the mouths of the feeder creeks and work the shallows with a slow retrieve.


Walleye -- Tims Ford

Smallmouth -- Norris Lake




True Bass -- Pickwick Tailwaters   

Tips: Troll crankbaits with the current from the dam downstream for 500 yards.  For more fun, troll streamers on a flyrod from downriggers.


Crappie -- Reelfoot Lake

Largemouth Bass -- J. Percy Priest Lake   




Crappie -- Kentucky Lake 

Tips: Use a strong pole with a 14-pound-test line and light wire, No. 1 hook.  Stout line will bend your hook and pull free.  Pliers will reshape your hook.


Smallmouth Bass -- Dale Hollow Lake

Largemouth Bass -- Williamsport Lake   




Largemouth Bass -- Cumberland River  

Tips: Experts suggest using mono instead of braided line because mono catches more fish when identical cranks are trolled. They think it may be the different sounds the mono makes.


Bream -- Kentucky Lake.

Cherokee Bass -- Cherokee Lake. 




Black Bass -- Nickajack Lake    

Tips: Look for the rocky valleys and ridges of the river bottom for smallmouth in June, using electronics to help find and pattern fish on structure.


Bream -- Browns Creek Lake

Rainbow Trout -- Chilhowee Lake 




Catfish -- French Broad River   

Tips: Fish in deep holes and along channel drops.  If you don’t get a bite within 20 minutes, move.  It doesn’t take long for cats to smell and find your offering.


Smallmouth Bass -- Dale Hollow Lake

Striper -- Old Hickory Lake 




Striper -- Old Hickory Tailwaters 

Tips: Drift 5-inch skipjack on a 3/0-circle hook on a three-way or Carolina rig from the boils down stream to the boat ramp.  The current will determine how much weight you need.


Largemouth Bass -- Herb Parsons Lake

Largemouth Bass -- Watts Bar Lake 




Smallmouth Bass -- Watauga Lake 

Tips: Above Butler Bridge, vertically jig brightly colored spoons over humps that have steep and gentle slopes or creek channels beside them.


Rainbow Trout -- Holsten River

Smallmouth River -- Nolichucky River 




Blue Catfish -- Cumberland & Tennessee Rivers  

Tips: Drift the edge of a drop with night crawlers on a three-way rig from a creek mouth downstream 100 yards, or anchor and set rods with worms or cut bait.


Wild Trout -- Smoky Mountain Streams

Crappie -- Normandy Lake 




Largemouth Bass -- Reelfoot Lake    

Tips: There must be some baitfish activity in the area for bass to be active.  Find the bait and cast a spinnerbait, covering all breaks and cuts in the vegetation.


Muskies -- Great Falls Lake

Crappie -- Chickamauga Lake 




Crappie -- Lake Barkley    

Tips: Begin fishing with 1/8-ounce chartreuse jigs in the lock and drift with the current downstream.  Once you find crappie, fish similar cover and/or structure.


Smallmouth Bass -- Fort Loudoun Lake

Sauger -- Melton Hill Lake