It’s no wonder that East Tennessee is called The Great Lakes of the South. Seven large lakes and many rivers enhance the valley of East Tennessee, including Fort Loudon, Tellico, Watts Bar, Melton Hill, Norris, Cherokee and Douglas. Water covers more than 220,000 acres of East Tennessee. From Chattanooga to Tri-Cities, TVA’s system of rivers and reservoirs drains more than 20,000 square miles in East Tennessee. Together these bodies of water offer more than 4,500 miles of shoreline and unlimited recreational opportunities. The Tennessee Valley has more than 1,000 square miles of water surface and 11,000 miles of public shoreline. TVA protects a million acres of public land to support wildlife, outdoor recreation and water quality. A wide range of recreation opportunities is available on the lakes of East Tennessee. Recreation activities include boating, fishing, swimming, camping, hunting, hiking, nature study and photography. Facilities to accommodate these activities are managed by national, state and local agencies. Private interests operate many boat docks, marinas, and resorts.

Search Cherokee Lake Listings – Cherokee Lake is a reservoir lake Northeast of Knoxville.  Morristown and Jefferson City are cities along the shoreline of the lake.

Search Douglas Lake Listings – Douglas Lake is a reservoir lake near Sevierville and Dandridge.  Interstate 40 and 81 pass along it shoreline.

Search Fort Loudon Lake Listings – Ft Loudon Lake is a main channel lake lying between Knoxville and Maryville. The navigable lock system allows boaters access to the Gulf of Mexico. Ft Loudon Lake is a haven for water sports enthusiasts and a gathering spot for the Vol Navy when the University of Tennessee football season is in full swing.

Fort Loudon Lake – YouTube

Search Melton Hill Lake Listings – Melton Hill Lake is Northwest of Knoxville. Clinton, Oak Ridge and Knox County are along the shore of the lake. The navigable lake is an extension of the Clinch River.

Search Norris Lake Listings – Norris Lake is a deep mountain reservoir Northeast of Knoxville.  Rocky Top, Norris, and La Follette are towns along the shoreline of the lake.

Search Tellico Lake Listings -Tellico Lake is a pristine lake in the foothills of the Cherokee National Park. Lenoir City, Vonore, and Tellico Village are towns along the shoreline of the lake.

Tellico Lake – YouTube

Search Watts Bar Lake Listings – Watts Bar Lake is a main channel lake on the Tennessee River.  Kingston and Spring City are towns along the shoreline of the lake.

Camping:  Recreation on area lakes with camping facilities are available. Lakes where camping is permitted are shown on individual TVA lake recreation maps which may be requested from TVA Maps, Haney Building 1A, 1101 Market Street, Chattanooga TN 37402-2801.

Camping information from TVA

Trails:  Many reservoirs have one or more trails for backpacking, hiking, jogging, and bicycling, as well as quiet paths for restful walking and nature study. A Trail Guide to the Great Lakes of the South is available from TVA Map Sales, Haney Building 1A, 1101 Market Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402-2801.

Fishing and Hunting:  Tennesseans love to fish and we do it all year; fishing is permitted year-round in TVA lakes. Best catches are generally reported in the spring and late fall. Each state sets its own creel limits and establishes its license requirements. Fishing and hunting licenses are issued by each state and are sold at many boat docks. Principal 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.

Fishing Licenses go on sale March 1 each year, the beginning of prime fishing, and are valid though the last day of February. You can purchase any license – except Sportman’s License, Lifetime Sportman’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. Just send your name, address (and zip code), date of birth, physical features (height, weight, eye and hair color), and enclose the correct fee to: TWRA/Information Section/Ellington Agricultural Center/P.O Box 40747 Nashville, TN 37204.

For Additional Information, Boat Registration, Boating Safety, Licenses and Wildlife Division, Contact:

Tennessee Valley Resources Agency Central Office, Ellington Agricultural Center
P.O Box 40627
Nashville, TN 37204

Boating & Water Safety:  Boating is a popular pastime of TVA reservoirs, and encourages the public to practice water safety procedures. Significant water use hazards exist above and below TVA dams where waters often rush over spillways and through gates, lock culverts, and turbines. Many of these operations are automatic and occur without warning. Recreational boats may go through the navigation locks at dams. This service is free. Additional information in the interest of safe boating is available by contacting the U.S Coast Guard Boating Safety, Washington D.C. at (202) 372-1062 or RBSInfo@uscg.mil.