Family Fishing Opportunities

Check out Tennessee's Family Fishing Lakes

Looking for a fishing hole with a little peace and quiet? Somewhere to spend quality time with family and loved ones?

Then try one of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Fishing Lakes for solitude, relaxation and the chance to catch bass, sunfish, crappie, and catfish.

The lakes managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency are open year-round for fishing.

Designed and regulated especially for family fishing, these lakes prohibit alcoholic beverages, houseboats, inboard motors, water skiing, personal watercraft, and swimming.

Most lakes have wheelchair-accessible fishing piers, easy access to bank fishing, boat rentals, launching ramps, and picnic areas.

Some lakes offer conveniences such as bait, tackle, snacks, and drinks.

These lakes are managed to provide fishing opportunities while producing the best quality fishing possible at a minimal cost.

These lakes are managed to provide fishing opportunities while producing the best quality fishing possible at a minimal cost.

Ten of the lakes are located in West Tennessee and range from 87 acres to 560 acres in size.

The remaining eight lakes are located in Middle Tennessee and range from 12 acres to 325 acres in size.

One of the 4 lakes at Williamsport (Whippoorwill) is for youth-adult fishing only an embankment of Laurel Hill Lake is designated for youth-only fishing.

In addition to these, there are a couple of ponds totaling approximately 15 acres designated as youth fishing ponds located on the Bridgestone/Firestone Centennial Wilderness WMA in White County.

For more information about these ponds call the Region 3 TWRA office at 833-402-4698.

General Information

If the family wants to get away from it all, then consider one of these 18 Family Fishing Lakes to pursue your thoughts, and relinquish your worries to the tug of bluegill, bass, or catfish.

You might find something you've lost while enjoying an activity which is basic, simple and just plain fun and relaxing.

  • A $6.00 daily permit (available at most lakes) or a $48.00 annual permit is required to fish all of these lakes except for Garrett and Whiteville Lakes. The annual permit may be purchased at lakes with a concessionaire and is good at all lakes. For Coy Gaither/Bedford Lake the lake permit (type 65) should be purchased from a Tennessee Fishing License agent in the surrounding area before going to the lake.
  • Boats may be rented for $10.00 per day at most lakes on a seasonal basis. This permit may be purchased at the individual lake office.
  • Fishing is permitted seven days per week from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset (except Garrett Lake is open 24 hours a day).
  • The only tackle/gear that is legal is rod and reels, poles, hand-held lines, and jugs (with certain restrictions). All other gears are prohibited. See Fishing Regulation Guide for rules along with size and creel limits for each lake. 
  • Boats may not exceed the no-wake speed. Motors (except trolling motors) are prohibited on some lakes. Personal boats may not be left overnight.

Motorized vehicles are permitted only on designated roads

Lake Permit Requirements for Residents

  • Anglers under the age of 13, holders of a Lifetime Sportsman license, or an Annual Sportsman license do not need a lake permit.
  • Anglers born before March 1, 1926, do not need a license or lake permit.
  • Anglers who are age 65 and older need only a Permanent Senior Citizen license (type 166) and do not need a lake permit.
  • Anglers age 16 through 64 must have a Tennessee fishing license and an annual or daily lake permit.
  • Anglers ages 13-15 need only a Jr. Hunt/Fish/Trap license.

Lake Permit Requirements for Non-Residents

  • Anglers age 16 and over must have a Tennessee non-resident fishing license and a daily lake permit.
  • Anglers ages 13-15 must have a Tennessee non-resident fishing license but do not need a daily lake permit.

TWRA Family Fishing Lakes - Select the lake you wish to know more about.

Brown's Creek Lake

Location:

Henderson Country, Ten miles south of I-40 in Natchez Trace State Park.

From I-40: Take exit 116. Follow State Road 114 south to Brown's Creek Lake Road.

Lake Information:

731-423-5725

Size:

167 acres

Fishing Facilities:

Boat launching ramp - Fish attractors - Fishing pier - Rental boats

Other Facilities:

Restrooms - Picnic areas

Species Found:

Largemouth bass - crappie - bluegill - redear sunfish - blue & channel catfish

Fishing Tips:

  • Spinners baits are excellent for bass fishing.
  • Spinners come in one and two blade styles.
  • Fish single blades in deeper water and tandem blades in shallow water.
  • In dingy, murky water, use Colorado blades for more vibration in the water.
  • In lightly stained to clear water, use willow leaf blades for more reflection.
  • If the fish are not biting, try slowing your retrieve.

 

Carroll Lake 

Location:

Carroll County, On State Highway 22 between McKenzie and Huntingdon (4 miles east of McKenzie).From I-40: Take exit 108 (Highway 22). Approximately 20 miles north

Lake Information:

731-423-5725

Size:

100 acres

Fishing Facilities:

Boat launching ramp - Fish attractors - Fishing pier - Rental boats

Other Facilities:

Picnic area - Restrooms

Species Found:

Largemouth bass - crappie - bluegill - redear sunfish - blue & channel catfish - walleye

Fishing Tips:

  • Plastic worms worked slowly are usually effective for bass when the water temperature is below 55 degrees.
  • When water temperatures warm to above 55 degrees, try small crayfish colored Rat-L-Traps to fish shallow water in early mornings and late afternoons.
  • Fish deeper and around cover during the midday hours.

 

 

Coy Gaithers/Bedford Lake mamp

Coy Gaithers / Bedford Lake

Location:

Bedford County, Approximately 14 miles east of Wartrace and Shelbyville

From I-24: Take Exit 105 (U.S. 41) toward Manchester .4 miles. Right on 16th Model Road 5.9 miles to Bedford Lake Road. 2.5 miles to lake entrance.

Lake Information:

(615) 781-6622

Size:

47 acres

Fishing Facilities:

Boat launching ramp - Fishing pier - Fish attractors
PLEASE NOTE - A daily lake permit should be purchased from a license agent in the surrounding area before going to the lake

Other Facilities:

Picnic area

Species Found:

Largemouth bass - crappie - bluegill - redear sunfish - blue & channel catfish

Fishing Tips:

  • Early mornings and late afternoons are the best times for bass fishing, especially with top-water lures, and some of the best bass fishing occurs in rainy weather.
  • Use surface lures that make lots of noise.
Davy Crockett Lake map

Davy Crockett Lake

Location:

Crockett County, Approximately 4 miles west of Humboldt off State Highway 152.

From I-40: Take exit 80B (U.S. Highway 45) north to Humboldt. Stay on bypass west of Humboldt. Turn right on State Highway 152W.

Lake Information:

(731) 784-3889

Size:

87 acres

Fishing Facilities:

Boat launching ramp - Fishing pier - Boat rentals

Other Facilities:

Picnic areas - Restrooms

Species Found:

Largemouth bass - bluegill - crappie - redear sunfish - blue, channel & flathead catfish

Fishing Tips:

  • Most catfish are caught with the familiar hook, line and sinker method, but try jug fishing for catfish.
  • Use a Number 1 hook baited with chicken livers, catalpa worms or nightcrawlers.
  • Fasten the line to a sealed plastic jug and watch out!
Garrett Lake map

Garrett Lake

Location:

Weakley County, Approximately 7 miles east of Dresden off State Highway 54. Take State Highway 190 north off Highway 54. Right at split and follow directional signs to lake.

Lake Information:

(731) 423-5725

Size:

183 acres

Fishing Facilities:

Boat launching ramp - Fishing pier

Other Facilities:

Picnic area - Picnic pavilion

Species Found:

Largemouth bass - crappie - bluegill - blue & channel catfish - redear sunfish

Fishing Tips:

  • If a top water bait doesn't work, try a spinner blade fished at a medium level or a plastic worm, crawfish or lizard fished on the bottom.
  • Since fish move from level to level depending on lake conditions, the time of day and the time of year, catching fish is a matter of fishing the right bait at the right level.
Gibson County Lake map

Gibson County Lake

Location:

Gibson County, Approximately 5 miles east of Trenton off Vaughns Grove Rd.

Lake Information:

(731) 855-2990

Size:

560 acres

Fishing Facilities:

Boat launching ramp - Fish attractors - Fishing pier - Bait & tackle - Rental boats

Other Facilities:

Fishing licenses - Concessions - Picnic area

Species Found:

Largemouth bass - Florida bass - crappie - bluegill - redear sunfish - blue & channel catfish

Glenn Springs Lake Map

Glenn Springs Lake

Location:

Tipton County, On Glenn Springs Road 12 miles northeast of Millington.

From Memphis: Take U.S. Highway 51N to Millington. Turn left on Wilkinsville Road. At the end of Wilkinsville Road, turn left on Drummonds Road, right on Glenn Springs Road, then right on Grimes Road.

Lake Information:

(731) 318-2283

Size:

310 acres

Fishing Facilities:

Boat launching ramp - Fish attractors -Fishing pier - Bait & tackle - Boat & trolling motor rentals

Other Facilities:

Fishing Licenses - Picnic areas - Restrooms - Concessions

Species Found:

Largemouth bass - bluegill - crappie - catfish

Fishing Tips:

  • Use darker colored crank baits in early morning or in cloudy, low light conditions. 
  • On sunny days try chrome or light colored crank baits that reflect light and draw the fish's attention.

 

Herb Parsons Lake map

Herb Parsons Lake

Location:

Fayette County, Fifteen miles north of Collierville on Fisherville Lake Road.

From Collierville, follow Hwy. 205 (Collierville -Arlington Rd.) to Monterey lake Road, turn right, go to Fisherville Lake Road, then turn left to the entrance.

From I-40, take Exit 25 (Hwy. 205) south to Hwy. 193. Turn left on Hwy. 193, then turn right on Fisherville Lake Road to the entrance.

Lake Information:

(901) 860-3880

Size:

177 acres

Fishing Facilities:

Boat launching ramp - Fish attractors - Fishing pier - Bait & tackle - Rental boats

Other Facilities:

Fishing licenses - Picnic area - Restrooms - Concessions

Species Found:

Largemouth bass - bluegill - crappie - redear sunfish - blue, channel & bullhead catfish - yellow bass

Fishing Tips:

  • Catfishing is best after the dogwoods bloom in spring until cold weather.
  • Try fresh chicken livers or large catalpa worms.
  • Crappie fishing is best during the spawning season with small minnows and jigs in shallow water.
Lake Graham map

Lake Graham

Location:

Approximately 9 miles east of Jackson on Cotton Grove Road.

I-40 from Nashville: Take Exit 93 to U.S. Highway 412. Follow Hwy. 412 to Cotton Grove Road.

I-40 from Memphis: Take Exit 85. Turn right to Parkway, left on Bendix, left on Cotton Grove Road, then follow signs.

Lake Information:

(731) 424-4800

Size:

500 acres

Fishing Facilities:

Boat launching ramps - Fish attractors - Fishing pier - Bait & tackle - Boat & trolling motor rentals

Other Facilities:

Fishing licenses - Picnic area - Restrooms - Concessions

Species Found:

Largemouth bass - crappie - bluegill - redear sunfish - blue & channel catfish

Fishing Tips:

In calm water, use top-water lures that make very little noise or disturbance in the water. In windy or choppy water use lures that do make noise.

Laurel Hill Lake

Location:

Lawrence County, Approximately 15 miles west of Lawrenceburg.

Take Peter Cave Road off U.S. 64 to lake entrance. From the Natchez Trace Parkway, take the Laurel Hill Lake exit (Brush Creek Road) to lake entrance.

Lake Information:

(931) 762-7200

Size:

325 acres

Fishing Facilities:

Fishing licenses - Fish attractors - Fishing pier - Bait & tackle - Boat launching ramp - Boat rentals

Other Facilities:

Picnic areas - Restrooms - Grills - Vending machines - Primitive camping area - A "youth-only" fishing area is located near the office/concession building. (Youths 16 and under may fish in this area)

Species Found:

Largemouth bass - crappie - bluegill - redear sunfish - blue & channel catfish

Fishing Tips:

  • Bluegill fishing with worms, crickets and meal worms is most productive in the spring in shallow spawning areas. 
  • Look for bluegill on or near the bottom in deeper water in the hot temperatures of mid-summer.
Maples Creek Lake map

Maples Creek Lake

Location:

Approximately 4 miles north of I-40 in Natchez Trace State Park.

From I-40: Take exit 116 (State Highway 114) to Maples Lake Road.

Lake Information:

(731) 423-5725

Size:

90 acres

Fishing Facilities:

Boat launching ramp - Rental boats - Fishing pier

Other Facilities:

Picnic area - Restrooms

Species Found:

Largemouth bass - crappie - bluegill - redear sunfish - blue & channel catfish

Fishing Tips:

  • Fresh chicken livers, catalpa worms and large night crawlers are almost always good baits for bottom feeding catfish. 
  • May through November are good fishing times. 
  • Catfish feed heavily during the May pre-spawn time and in November as they prepare for the winter months.
Marrowbone Lake map

Marrowbone Lake

Location:

Davidson County, On Marrowbone Lake Road near Joelton 15 miles north of Nashville.

From Nashville: Take U.S. Highway 41A (Clarksville Highway). Left on Eatons Creek Road. Right on Grays Point Road.

Lake Information:

(615) 876-6012

Size:

60 acres

Fishing Facilities:

Boat launching ramp - Fishing pier - Bait & tackle

Other Facilities:

Fishing licenses - Restrooms - Picnic area - Concessions

Species Found:

Largemouth bass - crappie - bluegill - redear sunfish - blue & channel catfish

Fishing Tips:

  • Bluegill can be taken on worms and crickets. 
  • Look for bluegill beds in shallow water. 
  • Catfish can be taken on worms and liver in May through November. 
  • Crappie are usually found close to the bank during late April and early May spawning time. 
  • Try bass fishing early and late during warm weather near any type of cover.
VFW Lake map

VFW Lake

Location:

Lawrence County, Twelve miles west of Lawrenceburg off U.S. Highway 64. Take State Highway 241 off U.S. 64 to VFW Lake Road just past the State Highway 240 junction. The lake may also be reached from the Natchez Trace Parkway. Take the Napier Road exit. (Hwy. 241)

Lake Information:

(931) 762-7200

Size:

22 acres

Fishing Facilities:

Boat launching ramp - Fishing pier - Rental boats

Other Facilities:

Restrooms - Picnic area - Vending machines

Species Found:

Largemouth bass - crappie - bluegill - redear sunfish - blue & channel catfish

Fishing Tips:

  • Minnows and crayfish are a major natural food source for bass. 
  • Artificial lures with these colors and actions are usually most productive.
Whiteville Lake map

Whiteville Lake

Location:

Two miles south of Whiteville on U.S. Highway 64, off Old U.S. Highway 64, to Whiteville Lake Lane.

Lake Information:

(731) 423-5725

Size:

158 acres

Fishing Facilities:

Boat launching ramp - Fishing pier

Other Facilities:

Picnic area

Species Found:

Largemouth bass - bluegill - crappie - redear sunfish - blue & channel catfish.

Fishing Tips:

  • Try bluegill fishing with worms and crickets. 
  • Look for bream beds in shallow water. 
  • They will appear as indentations about two feet in diameter in the bottom 12 to 18 inches under water.
Williamsport Lakes map

Williamsport Lakes

Location:

Maury County, On Highway 50 approximately ten miles northwest of Columbia, just past the Duck River or two miles east of the Natchez Trace Parkway, at the junction of Highways 50 and 247.

Lake Information:

(931) 583-2477

Size:

Whippoorwill ("only youths 16 & under & accompanying adult may fish") - 25 acres
Blue Cat - 80 acres
Goldeneye - 13 acres
Shellcracker - 46 acres

Fishing Facilities:

Boat launching ramp - Fishing piers - Bait & tackle - Boat rental

Other Facilities:

Fishing licenses - Picnic area - Restrooms - Concessions

Species Found:

Largemouth bass - Florida bass - bluegill - redear sunfish - blue & channel catfish - Hybrid Striped bass

Fishing Tips:

  • These lakes are managed for large bass, so appropriate weight tackle is advised. 
  • Bass are most active early and late during warm weather and will usually be found near cover. 
  • Bluegill can be taken on crickets and worms. 
  • Catfish can be taken on worms and liver.

Fee Fishing Ponds in Tennessee

There are numerous private ponds and small lakes throughout the state that charge either a fee to fish, a fee per pound of fish or a fee only if you catch fish.   These lakes, known as catch-out facilities or pay lakes, are usually kept stocked on a regular basis and offer a good opportunity as a place to take children because fish are more easily caught.

Since many of these areas may be opened seasonally and some information is subject to change, please call ahead before traveling to the place in question.

These lakes are being provided as a convenience to the public that may choose to fish these private waters.   The information is offered with the understanding that no discrimination is intended as there may be other fee fishing areas that do not appear here.  No endorsements are implied.   Inclusion of sites or locations does not imply Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency's approval of their product or service to the exclusion of others that may be similar, nor does it guarantee or warrant the standard of the products or services offered.

Fee Fishing Pond Operator/Owner Information

If you operate a Fee Fishing Area and would like to be included in future issues of this directory, or there are corrections to be made, please contact:

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
Fisheries Management Division
5107 Edmondson Pike
Ellington Agricultural Center
Nashville, TN 37211
615-781-6575

or Email Us

Tennessee State Park Fishing Lakes

man and boy fishing

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation operates approximately fifty-four state parks/natural areas, and many offer fishing opportunities at reservoirs, lakes, ponds and trout streams.

In fact, a park is within 50 miles of every citizen in the state, so a good fishing spot is closer than you think. For more information about these fishing opportunities, call them at 1-888- 867-2757 or visit them at: http://tnstateparks.com/activities/fishing