Where the Fish Are

An Inside Guide for Successful Fishing in the Tennessee Valley

  • TVA prides itself on keeping its reservoir waters healthy, oxygenated and viable enough to support a variety of wildlife.
  • That includes a variety of sport fish, including black bass, black crappie, channel catfish and spotted, largemouth and smallmout bass
  • These fish are ranked by reservoir on a scale from 20 (poor) to 60 (excellent).
  • Some reservoirs are excellent for certain kinds of fish—use TVA's sport fish surveys to get an accurate count of what is biting where

TVA strives to keep its waters oxygenated and healthy so that wildlife, including sport fish, can thrive in them. Sport fish have done so well that the region has become known as a fisherman’s paradise.

Yearly aquatic health surveys at each reservoir help TVA track fonditions in the water and keep an eye on all kinds of critters, including some sport fish.

Here’s a little cheat sheet for goal-oriented fishermen. TVA ranks fish populations in ranges between 20 (very poor) and 60 (excellent). Here are the best numbers for the fish you may be angling for—and the reservoir where you have the best odds of successfully finding them:

Black Bass 52 Melton Hill
Black Crappie 48 Guntersville
Channel Catfish 46 South Holston
Spotted Bass 50 (tie) Chatuge
Spotted Bass 50 (tie) Bear Creek
Largemouth Bass 52 Old Hickory
Smallmouth Bass 42 Tims Ford
Walleye 50 (tie) Beech
Walleye 50 (tie) South Holston
White Bass 50 Wheeler
White Crappie 50 Barkley

Locate Your Launch Point

Find the reservoir you’re heading out for on our comprehensive TVA Recreation Map. It will show you every boat launch and marina around the reservoir you’re aiming for.

Contact Us

Contact the Public Land Information Center with questions or requests for more information. Email us or call (800) 882-5263 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday.