Percy Priest Lake, Fate Sanders Marina
Site Directions: From I-24, take exit 66, Sam Ridley Parkway, east for 4.5 miles and turn left on Weakley Lane. Travel approximately 3.4 miles north on Weakley Lane, crossing over a bridge across Percy Priest Lake and the entrance to the marina is on the left only 100 yards after crossing the bridge.
Lat-Long: 36.042697, -86.495
Hours: day light hours
Seasonality: year round
Site Description: The main attraction is the lake views from the end of the marina. Follow the paved round past the marina proper to a parking lot where fisherman park their trucks and trailers.
The shoreline and lake can be scanned from several points around the end of the peninsula and can be walked when the water is low. An island off the northwest side of the marina is exposed during lower water levels, typically in winter, and may have roosting birds.
Wildlife to Watch: Birding is optimal in fall through spring when the lake is lower and shoreline is exposed. However, gulls and waterfowl are present in on the lake in the cooler months regardless of water levels.
Pied-billed Grebes, Common Loon, and Mallards are usually present, while Horned Grebe make periodic appearances in winter, however Northern Shovelers, both species of Scaup, Green-winged Teal, among other waterfowl may occur. When the water is down, shorebirds may be present on the rocks and muddy areas.
Bonaparte’s Gulls favor feeding in this part of the lake and are common in winter. Ring-billed Gulls fly over the marina in the morning heading south to a feeding site in Murfreesboro and are seen flying back north late in the day towards a traditional roost site in the widest part of the lake off Anderson Rd Recreation Area and Cook Recreation Area.
Other areas to visit near Fate Sanders Marina:
Stewart’s Creek Boat Ramp- Lat-Long: 36.032911, -86.494506, boat ramp where trail goes through the woods.
Scanning the lake and coves from Stewart’s Creek Boat Ramp can also be productive, especially from October through April.
The boat ramp is on the west side of Weakley Lane only 0.7 miles south of the bridge over Percy Priest Lake. Park in the upper parking area of the lot at the boat ramp and walk the small trail through the woods above the boat ramp proper to scan the lake from the opposite edge of the woods.
You can see some of the same waters as seen from Fate Sanders, but viewing here provides additional waters, coves, and good views of rocks and mud when the lake is low.
Lamar Hill Boat Ramp, Lat-Long: 36.037474,-86.474382, boat ramp
Travel past the entrance to Fate Sanders Marina on Weakley Lane and turn right on Rockdale Fellowship Rd, following a sign to Lamar Hill Boat Ramp. At the “T” in 0.5 miles, make a right onto N. Lamar Rd and travel 1.1 miles to a right turn onto Victory Lane. Travel past some houses on the right to the boat ramp.
Black-crowned Night-Herons may be found in the area year round. American Pipets may be found on the rocky shoreline when the water is down. In the last hour of daylight, gulls often stream north past the boat ramp towards a traditional winter night roost on the lake.