Chilhowee Reservoir in Tennessee
Chilhowee is a small, 1,747-acre, cool water reservoir located within Blount and Monroe Counties in east Tennessee along U.S. Highway 129. The dam was completed in 1957 and impounds the Little Tennessee River.
Much of the reservoir is bordered by the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and the Cherokee National Forest. The primary game fish are Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, trout, Yellow Perch, Walleye, crappie, and Rock Bass. Trout are stocked on an annual basis and thrive in the cool clear water. Yellow Perch are abundant, and many anglers target this species.
- Largemouth/Smallmouth Bass: 5 per day in combination, only one may be smallmouth bass June 1 through Oct. 15.
- Largemouth Bass: 15 inch minimum length limit
- Smallmouth Bass: 18 inch minimum length limit
- Spotted Bass: 15 per day, no 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.
- Sauger: 10 per day, 15 inch minimum length limit.
- Walleye: 5 per day, 16 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, only two may be lake trout.
- Yellow Perch: 15 per day, no length limit.
Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass are fairly abundant, especially within the few small shallow coves. The cool water limits the growth rates of these popular species, but there is a surprising number of the quality-size bass present.
There is a five-fish daily creel limit for Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass in any combination. The minimum length limit is 14 inches for largemouth and 18 inches for smallmouth. There is a 15-fish creel limit with no length limit for Spotted Bass.
Largemouth Bass – The highest catch occurs in March and April when the water warms and bass move to shallow water to spawn. Some popular tackle is Silver Buddies, Carolina-rigged plastic lizards, 4-inch plastic worms, crankbaits, Shad Raps, Rapalas, Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits, and buzz baits.
Smallmouth Bass – They can be found in large rocky and gravel areas in the spring. Fish live bait on the bottom, Carolina-rigged lizards, or cast Firetiger or shad-colored Shad Raps, Rapalas, and Rebels.
The TWRA stocks trout on a regular basis. Lake Trout have been stocked in the past, but not recently, so anglers should not expect to catch a Lake Trout. The cool water and good dissolved oxygen levels create an ideal habitat for these popular game fish. There is no size limit on trout and the daily creel limit is seven trout in any combination, except only two can be Lake Trout.
Bank fishing with corn, salmon eggs, or other live bait is productive when the water is cool. Also, troll spoons in the main channel. When the surface temperature is above 70, fish are suspended or near the bottom below 20 feet.
Recently, Yellow Perch has become a popular fish for anglers because good numbers of Yellow Perch are present in the reservoir. These slow-growing fish are well suited to the conditions of the reservoir and are seen regularly in anglers’ creel. There is no size or creel limit for Yellow Perch.
Utilize live bait with a small hook and split shot, suspended or near the bottom around weed lines or gravel. During the warmer months, they can be located from 15 to 30 feet and move much shallower in the winter and early spring.
Crappie is present in limited numbers but is popular with local anglers. There is a 10-inch length limit and a 15-fish daily limit for crappie.
Fish in downed trees in the early spring or late fall. Small minnows, plastic grubs, flies tipped with minnows, and small crankbaits work best.
There are a fair number of Walleye present in the reservoir and anglers occasionally catch them. The creel limit is 10 per day in combination with Sauger with a 15-inch minimum length limit.
Jig doll flies tipped with minnows, or cast plugs such as Sparkle Tails, L&S Shiners, Rapalas, and Shad Raps. Trolling with spinner-and-worm or with deep-running Long-Billed Rebels and Mod. 911 Redfins is popular.