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Fishing at Watauga Lake in Tennessee

Fishing at Watauga Lake in Tennessee

Warmer weather not only lures people out of winter hiding, but also fish! Each year at Watauga Lake in Tennessee, the Walleye Pike make their way up the river when the water reaches 50ºF, and continues for about 3 weeks in late March and early April, yielding outstanding fishing conditions. A typical April day in the Mountains of Tennessee includes visitors from miles around to test their luck with the giant Walleyes. With all this excitement, it is no wonder people feel this is the perfect place to visit for a fun family day or a solitary escape!

The Walleye is a type of Pickerel that has been found in Watauga Lake since 1954. The environment of the reservoir creates a prime environment for the fish to grow, making 8 pound Walleyes not unusual. Many refer to the Walleye as the southern version of the Northern Pike, due to their similar full-grown length and classification in the Pike family. The Walleye, however, make for a much better meal, especially when put in a stew.

Watauga Lake, a hidden gem based in the mountains of Tennessee, is the perfect destination for your next adventure, due to its lack of commercialization and inherent charm. The lake was constructed from 1947-1949 by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and consumed almost 11 million man hours. Before the lake was constructed, the Cherokee Nation used the area as a winter haven, because of its abundant wildlife and plentiful fish reserves. The lake covers about 10 square miles over two Tennessee counties. At its deepest point around the dam, the lake is almost 300 feet deep. The dam at Watauga Lake is one of the largest earthen structures in the United States, boasting 350 million cubic yards of materials. In 1972 the TVA drained the lake in order to do some work on the dam, and ever since, when the locals have trouble catching fish, they just blame the TVA for letting out all the fish. Don’t let this playful myth deter you from visiting because Watauga Lake still claims some of the best fishing spots in all of Tennessee.

To add convenience to your visit, you might choose to stay at a local lodge. The colorful history and local folklore conceive the perfect mix of antiquity and excitement. So bring your lines, lures, and yourself, and get ready for a truly great adventure in fishing!