Calderwood Lake in Tennessee

Lake Description                           

Calderwood is a small, 541-acre reservoir located within Blount and Monroe Counties in East Tennessee along U.S.  Highway 129. The dam was completed in 1930 and impounds the Little Tennessee River. While most of the reservoir is located in TN, the only boat access is located in North Carolina, due to restraints with federal property and terrain.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee National Forest border this deep, 8-mile long, cold water reservoir. Cheoah Reservoir is upstream of Calderwood and Chilhowee Reservoir is downstream. A reciprocal licensing agreement between Tennessee and North Carolina allows anglers licensed by either state to fish by boat and in that portion of Slickrock Creek which constitutes the boundary between the two states.

Those wishing to bank fish must possess a valid license from the state land they are fishing from. This is especially important to anglers bank fishing from the primitive campground located in North Carolina where they must have a valid North Carolina license.

The primary game fish are trout, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass, Black Crappie and Rock Bass. Trout are stocked on an annual basis and thrive in the cold, clear water. Anglers should also be aware that the use of limblines and trotlines is prohibited.

  • Largemouth/Smallmouth/Spotted Bass: 5 per day in combination, Only 2 less than 14 inches 
  • Crappie (all species): 20 per day in combination, 8 inch minimum length limit
  • Catfish (all species):  No creel, no length limit
  • Walleye: 8 per day, no length limit. 
  • Sauger: 8 per day, 15 inch minimum length limit.
  • Rock Bass: No creel, no length limit. 
  • Redear Sunfish: no creel, no length limit. 
  • Bluegill/Warmouth and other sunfishes: no creel or length limit.
  • Trout: 7 per day, no length limit
  • White Bass: 10 per day, 14 inch minimum length limit.
  • Muskellunge: 1 per day, 42 inch minimum length limit.


Black Bass

Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass are present, but the cold water limits the growth rates of these popular species as well as the number of them in the reservoir.  The daily creel limit for all black bass species is five in any combination, but only two of them may be less than 14 inches.

Fishing Tips:

Largemouth Bass - Some popular tackle is Silver Buddies, Carolina-rigged plastic lizards, 4-inch plastic worms, crankbaits, Shad Raps, Rapalas, Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits,  buzz baits, and many more.

Smallmouth Bass - Fish live bait on the bottom, Carolina-rigged lizards, or cast firetiger or shad colored Shad Raps, Rapalas, and Rebels. 

Rock Bass

Other than trout, Rock Bass are the most abundant game fish in the reservoir and there is no creel or size limit.

Fishing Tips:

Fish in rocky areas with small flies and plastic grubs, small spinners, and small live bait.  They will also readily take fly rod tackle as well.


Crappie is present in very limited numbers. There is a 20-fish daily creel limit with an 8-inch minimum size limit.

Fishing Tips:

Fish in downed trees in the early spring or late fall. Small minnows, plastic grubs, flies tipped with minnows, and small crankbaits work best.


Trout are stocked on an annual basis and do well all year in the cold, oxygenated water.  The current creel limit is seven trout per day in any combination, except only two can be Lake Trout. There is no minimum size limit for trout but there is a daily creel limit of 7.

Fishing Tips:

Bank fishing with corn, salmon eggs, or small live bait can be productive or use terrestrial fly patterns and tiny topwater plugs.

Contact Information

Region 4 Office: 423-587-7037
Toll-Free:  1-800-332-0900
E-mail the office

Interactive Map of Calderwood Reservoir
Fishing Regulations
Buy a license link