Parksville Reservoir Fishing in Tennessee
Parksville Reservoir is a small impoundment on the Ocoee River that was created by the Tennessee Electric Power Company with the creation of Ocoee Dam #1 in 1911. TVA purchased this facility in 1939. Parksville has 1,930 surface acres and is in Polk County, in the southeastern portion of Tennessee.
Parksville Reservoir has been greatly impacted early in its life span by copper mines and deforestation practices within the Ocoee River drainage area. The dynamics within Parksville have greatly changed within the past decade in regard to increased aquatic vegetation abundance and aquatic species composition with the introduction of non-native invasive species like Alabama bass, blueback herring, and hydrilla.
Parksville Reservoir contains various types of warmwater fish species. Parksville has been stocked by TWRA with bluegill, redear sunfish, black crappie, muskie, walleye, and trout.
- Largemouth/Smallmouth Bass: 5 per day in combination.
- Largemouth Bass: 15 inch minimum length limit.
- Smallmouth Bass: 18 inch minimum length limit.
- Spotted Bass/ Alabama Bass: no creel or length limit.
- Crappie (all species): 15 per day in combination, 10 inch minimum length limit
- Catfish (all species): No creel limit for fish 34 inches and less in length; only one fish over 34 inches in length may be harvested per day.
- Muskellunge: 1 per day, 36 inch minimum length limit.
- Rock Bass: 20 per day, no length limit.
- Redear Sunfish: 20 per day, no length limit.
- Bluegill/Warmouth and other sunfishes: no creel or length limit.
- Trout: 7 per day, no length limit
- Yellow Perch: 15 per day, no length limit
Largemouth bass have historically been the dominant species of black bass in Parksville Reservoir and are still well represented there. However, because of the invasive Alabama bass, they are now in second place, with Alabama bass consistently making up over 50% of the black bass presence according to TWRA spring electrofishing surveys. Parksville has a variety of habitat to suit largemouth bass such as laydowns, rocky points, stumps, and aquatic vegetation. Parksville does not have an abundance of shad and other forage species as can be found in Tennessee River reservoirs. TWRA has stocked bluegill and redear sunfish through the years to boost this forage base for gamefish species in Parksville. Largemouth bass spawn over several weeks in the spring (March-May) when water temperatures are in the 68-72-degree range.
Target Areas and Techniques (Largemouth Bass)
Much of the success for fishing for largemouth bass comes from the upper end of Parksville Reservoir. In the spring, when largemouth bass move shallow to spawn, focus on visible cover in shallow water including rocks, stumps, grass, and laydowns. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jigs, and a variety of soft plastics will catch fish. Later in the spring and into the summer, largemouth bass will transition to areas with more depth. Fish can be caught on banks adjacent to deep water, points, and offshore structure. Topwater baits, crankbaits, and soft plastic worms are great options. In the fall, focus on creeks with high bait presence and the largemouth bass should be nearby. In the winter try steep banks with jerkbaits, flat sided crankbaits, and swimbaits.
In 2001, a small representation of what TWRA fisheries biologists thought were spotted bass (2 fish) were observed during the bi-annual spring electrofishing surveys on Parksville Reservoir. Since 2001, other fish that looked like spotted bass have been collected in Parksville, and all have proven to be Alabama bass according to genetic tests. To date, these Alabama bass have been very prolific within the waters of Parksville, as has been evident from spring electrofishing surveys conducted by TWRA.
In 2008, the largest Alabama bass ever caught and recorded in Tennessee (5 lb. 14 oz.) was caught at Parksville. Since that record, two new record Alabama bass have been caught in TN waters in or adjoining to Parksville Reservoir. The next record, weighing 6 lbs. 07 oz., was caught a short distance below Parksville Dam (Ocoee River, tributary to Chickamauga Reservoir) in 2010. The current record Alabama bass for TN, weighing 7 pounds even, is once again from Parksville Reservoir and was caught on March 10, 2014. All record Alabama bass were confirmed by genetic tests. Alabama bass continue to expand within this reservoir and beyond (e.g. Chickamauga and Watts Bar reservoirs). The population of Alabama bass in Parksville is unfortunately expected to remain stable or continue to increase. It is foreseen that Alabama bass will continue to negatively impact the native LMB population at Parksville Reservoir. Alabama bass have consistently comprised around 60% of the black bass population at Parksville over the past several years. The average weight of Alabama bass caught from the latest creel survey conducted there was 1.29 lb. Currently there is no minimum length limit or creel limit on Alabama bass at Parksville, so that anglers will be encouraged to harvest these invasive fish. Alabama bass should never be stocked into any reservoirs or other public waters by anglers. It is also illegal to stock fish into public waters.
Target Areas and Techniques (Alabama Bass)
Alabama bass are abundant in Parksville and many anglers pursue them with great success. The lower portions of the reservoir support more Alabama bass than the upper end. In the spring focus on steep rock banks with crankbaits, jerkbaits, and the float’n fly method. Later in the spring, Alabama bass can be caught in the creeks and gradual sloping banks with topwater lures, plastic worms, and jigs. During the summer months, fishing plastic worms and crankbaits on steep banks, points, and deep structure is very effective. As temperatures cool during the fall Alabama bass can again be found in shallow water. Look for baitfish in the backs of creeks. This is a great time to fish topwater in the early morning and evening hours. A variety of other reaction baits, such as crankbaits and jerkbaits that match the natural forage, will be effective as well. During the winter many anglers use the float’n fly technique on steep banks with success.
Parksville Reservoir does not rival other nearby reservoirs (ex. Chickamauga Reservoir) regarding crappie fishing success. However, it does offer fair opportunities for those pursuing crappie. Because of the notable clarity in this reservoir, it is better suited to black crappie than white crappie. Fishing for crappie on Parksville will provide mixed success according to electrofishing surveys and recent creel surveys conducted by TWRA. No consistency regarding high catch rates can be expected. In hopes of increasing the crappie populations at Parksville, both black and blacknose crappie were stocked annually by TWRA between 2013 and 2018. Evaluations of this stocking project have not been favorable, and no crappie stockings have taken place since 2018. Crappie in Parksville will find a variety of habitat available such as laydowns, woody debris, rocky areas, and aquatic vegetation.
Target Areas and Techniques (Crappie)
In the spring crappie begin to move shallow to spawn; concentrate on the creeks and coves with jigs and minnows. Crappie can be caught trolling or spider rigging these baits in shallow water, as well as casting or vertically jigging around shallow brush and cover. During the summer, crappie are usually caught in deeper water. Trolling or spider rigging with jigs and minnows in deep coves around offshore structure is effective. Crappie can be caught shallow again in the fall around laydowns and brush. Look for baitfish in the creeks. Start at the mouth of the creek and work your way back when trolling or casting. When you start catching fish take note of how far back in the creek and at what depth the crappie are positioned. This can be replicated in other creeks throughout the reservoir. During the winter, crappie can again be caught in deep water.
Redear sunfish have been stocked collectively with bluegill in Parksville Reservoir on different occasions throughout the past several years. Redear sunfish were first stocked into Parksville in 2007 in hopes of supplying a forage base while also offering increased angling opportunities. Several stockings of redear sunfish and bluegill have taken place since the initial stocking.
Bluegill typically exhibit a consistent presence in Parksville Reservoir. Bluegill were stocked in 2007 in conjunction with redear sunfish to help promote and sustain a forage base for gamefish at Parksville, and have been stocked multiple times in following years. For example, TWRA stocked 49,956 bluegill in Parksville in 2018. According to limited fishing reports, anglers enjoy good success of bluegill angling there during peak opportunistic times. Fair success should be expected at the current time.
Target Areas and Techniques (Bluegill & Redear Sunfish)
Bluegill and redear sunfish (shellcrackers) can be caught shallow in the backs of creeks and coves in the spring. Look for signs of panfish bedding areas. You will see groups of round depressions on the lake bottom with a layer of gravel or shell covering the floor of each bed. Fish these areas with small jigs, worms, grubs, or crickets. Later in the summer bluegill and redear can still be caught shallow, but deep water will be nearby. Try a worm or cricket under a float during this time. As water temps cool in the fall and into the winter, focus on deep rocky banks in 10 to 15 feet of water. Fish along the bottom with a split shot, hook, and worm or float a jig and worm just off the bottom.
Yellow perch have been collected during spring black bass electrofishing surveys in Parksville over the past several years. TWRA data surveys currently show a good density of yellow perch in Parksville and therefore good angling opportunities exist. However, yellow perch populations are known to be cyclic with several factors influencing the number of fish in a reservoir, such as available forage and abundance of aquatic vegetation. Both factors are everchanging at Parksville. Future electrofishing surveys conducted by TWRA should provide valuable information for the ongoing evaluation of this yellow perch fishery. Although varying reports are received regarding angling success for yellow perch at Parksville, not many observations of yellow perch harvest were observed in the 2019 roving creel survey there. On March 26, 2019 a new state record yellow perch, weighing 2 lbs., 5 oz., was caught upstream from Parksville in Ocoee #3, which is a smaller impoundment than Parksville. It is very probable that the density of yellow perch in Ocoee#3 will have a direct effect on the yellow perch population in Parksville (Ocoee #1) downriver. Yellow perch spawn when water temperatures are in the 45-50-degree range around habitat like aquatic vegetation, which is needed to lay the eggs on.
Target Areas and Techniques (Yellow Perch)
Yellow perch can be caught anywhere in Parksville Reservoir, but the upper end around Greasy Creek provides the best opportunity. Anglers can catch yellow perch all year long on a variety of baits and techniques. Worms and minnows are popular live bait options, while jigs and small crankbaits are great artificial options. Live bait can be fished vertically with jigs or dragged on the bottom with a split shot and small hood. Generally, yellow perch school up in large groups, and many fish can be caught in one area. Look for perch near the bottom with electronics. Once fish are located anchor down and use the techniques described above.
Walleye, which are native to the Parksville Reservoir drainage, were first stocked into this reservoir by TWRA in 2016. Prior to this initial stocking no walleye were observed or reported from Parksville Reservoir. There were 20,726 walleye fingerlings stocked initially, followed by another 19,575 in 2017, 27,723 in 2018, and 16,502 in 2019. Hopefully a walleye fishery will be established in Parksville. Future data surveys will evaluate this project and determine its longevity.
Target Areas and Techniques (Walleye)
Since walleye are relatively new to Parksville there is not much information specific to the reservoir on the best techniques to catch them. However, similar tactics to steep sided reservoirs should work. This would include trolling for walleye down the main river channel. They have also been observed congregating in the Ocoee River upstream from Parksville Reservoir during Feb-April at peak spawning times. Peak walleye spawning occurs when water temps are in the 42-50-degree range. Use baits that resemble shad and bluegill as they are the most prominent species of forage available in Parksville.
In the fall of 2017 603 muskie were stocked into Parksville Reservoir by TWRA. The muskie averaged13 inches long and came from sources in Kentucky. These muskie fingerlings were stocked by TWRA reservoir personnel using boats to distribute the fish across the reservoir and into preferred habitat, such as laydowns and aquatic vegetation beds. Another 1,000 juvenile muskie were stocked in 2019 at Parksville in various areas of the reservoir. The native range of the muskie would have included Parksville Reservoir, but muskie have long been non-existent in this river system and adjoining ones (Ocoee and Hiwassee river drainages). Future stockings of muskie are planned as they become available from outside hatchery sources. The TWRA reservoir crew will monitor this project in the years to come, specifically for abundance, natural reproduction documentation, and growth rate analysis. Several reports and photos of muskie being caught at Parksville have been shared by anglers which exhibited great growth rates.
Target Areas and Techniques (Muskie)
In Parksville Reservoir muskie are generally caught incidentally by bass anglers. However, as the word and excitement about muskie opportunities at Parksville grow, it is expected that anglers pursuing muskie will be more common. Muskie can be caught anywhere in the reservoir, but most anglers have success in the upper portions. Another area to try is Sylco Creek. Focus efforts in the winter, spring, and fall when the water temperatures are cool with larger swimbaits, spinnerbaits, and rooster tails. Good habitat to look for muskie are along vegetation beds and large laydowns where muskie will hide to ambush prey.