Normandy Reservoir in Tennessee
Normandy Reservoir is a 3,048-acre impoundment located in south-central Tennessee with a major portion in Coffee County. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) owns and operates Normandy Reservoir. Dam completion occurred in 1976. Full pool elevation is 875 feet – mean sea level and winter pool elevation is 864 feet – mean sea level. Daily water levels can be tracked on the TVA Lake information website (link) or the TVA app.
Four public boat access sites are available for use with no fees. These sites include Wards Chapel, Barton Springs, Boyds Branch, and Normandy Dam. Locations and descriptions of these access sites are listed on the TWRA website in the Where to Fish section (link).
Two public fishing piers are available at the Barton Springs boat access site. Bank fishing access is available at the Normandy Dam boat access site.
Barton Springs and Cedar Point campgrounds are managed by the TVA with opportunities described on their website (link).
Fish attractor data for Normandy Reservoir is available for you to upload into your fishfinder or other GPS devices, or view in free or online mapping applications (link). Thirty-five fish attractor sites are maintained on Normandy Reservoir by TWRA.
- Largemouth/Smallmouth/Spotted Bass: 5 per day in combination.
- Largemouth Bass: 15 inch minimum length limit.
- Smallmouth Bass: 18 inch minimum length limit.
- Spotted Bass: 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.
- White Bass: 15 per day, no 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.
Fish Species Overviews with Techniques and Fishing Locations
Largemouth Bass, Spotted Bass and Smallmouth Bass all contribute to the Normandy Reservoir black bass fishery. The black bass fishery is the most popular, accounting for 60 percent of the annual targeted angler effort. Largemouth Bass are the most abundant of these three species. Largemouth Bass abundance, size structure and condition are all indicative of a population providing good fishing opportunities. The 2019 spring electrofishing catch rate of harvestable size (≥ 15 inches) Largemouth Bass was high (28/hour) indicative of high relative abundance.
The creel limit for Largemouth Bass, Spotted Bass and Smallmouth Bass is 5 per day in combination. Size restrictions include a 15-inch minimum length limit for Largemouth Bass and an 18-inch minimum length limit for Smallmouth Bass. No size restrictions apply to Spotted Bass harvested from Normandy Reservoir.
Early spring, particularly April, is a great time to bass fish on Normandy Reservoir. Largemouth Bass have moved shallow and can be caught lake-wide on gently sloping banks with shallow running crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and soft plastics. During the summer months, Ned rigs, shaky heads, and wacky-rigged senkos on steep bluff walls can be productive. Fishing with live bait has also been a productive method for bass anglers on Normandy Reservoir. Live bait regulations are addressed in the Tennessee Fishing Guide (link).
Popular and productive fishing areas for Largemouth Bass include the back of the Riley Creek embayment, the long point at the mouth of Eoff Branch, and the point directly across from the river channel at the 4-mile marker. The many fish attractor sites maintained by the TWRA are also very productive spots for catching Largemouth Bass. Largemouth Bass use TWRA fish attractors year-round but especially from late November through April in 6-15 feet of water. One of the most popular is located approximately ½ mile upstream of the Bartons Spring Bridge on the right ascending bank. The Normandy Reservoir fish attractor sites can be viewed on the TWRA website (link).
Spotted Bass contribute significantly to Normandy’s black bass fishery. Fishing techniques for Spotted Bass are similar to those used for Largemouth Bass. Live bait, particularly crayfish, is extremely productive for Spotted Bass. Regulations for using crayfish as bait are addressed in the Tennessee Fishing Guide in the Live Bait section (link).
Popular and productive fishing areas for Spotted Bass include the Barton Springs and Wards Chapel Bridge abutments, the point directly across from the river channel at the 4-mile marker, and the flats encircling the islands near the water treatment plant’s intake structure.
Crappie fishing is the second most popular fishery on Normandy Reservoir accounting for 25 percent of the annual targeted angler effort. Blacknose Black Crappie accounts for 98 percent of the crappie catch. Both angler catch rates and average weights of harvested crappie are high. The average weight of Blacknose Black Crappie harvested from Normandy Reservoir is 1.0 pounds. Catches exceeding 2 pounds are not uncommon. Normandy Hatchery stocks Blacknose Black Crappie fingerlings annually at a high rate to maintain this consistently good fishery. Regulations for crappie are 15 per day in combination and a 10-inch minimum size limit.
Crappie fishing techniques utilize lead head jigs tipped with soft plastics, as well as live bait. Using the lightest jig possible to provide the slowest descent is a very productive presentation. Live bait rigs include slip floats that enable easier casting and fewer hang-ups. Fathead Minnows and Stonerollers are common live bait species (Link to the Tennessee Fishing Guide and the Live Bait section).
During the winter months, the most popular and productive fishing area for crappie is the lower reservoir section from Carroll Creek downstream to the dam. Crappie are caught at depths of 20 to 25 feet during this season. A shift occurs during the spring to the upper reservoir section from Wards Chapel Boat Access and upstream to the 7-mile marker. Crappie are caught at shallower depths during the spring season particularly once they begin to spawn. Crappie are distributed throughout the entire reservoir during the summer months. During the summer, many anglers will fish at night under a light source directed into the water to attract baitfish. A popular site is under the Barton Springs Bridge on the south side closest to the main river channel.
Crappie tend to orient to some type of underwater structure during each of these seasonal periods. TWRA fish attractor sites which include stake beds are also very productive fishing spots for crappie (link). Fish attractors are most productive for crappie from October through May in 6-12 feet of water.
Walleye fingerlings are stocked annually by Normandy Hatchery to provide a fishery. The walleye fishery accounts for 5 percent of the annual targeted angler effort on Normandy Reservoir. Growth rates are extremely fast reaching 16 inches during Age-1 and averaging 21 inches at Age-3. Regulations include a creel limit of 5 walleye per day, and the size restriction is a 16-inch minimum length limit.
Fishing methods for Walleye include trolling the traditional spinner worm harnesses, as well as jigging spoons. The summer months, when Normandy Reservoir has stratified, provide the most productive fishing period. Walleye will orient to the bottom of the thermocline (metalimnion) which provides the coolest water with acceptable concentrations of dissolved oxygen. This depth range usually occurs between 12 and 15 feet from the dam upstream to Barton Springs Bridge and ranges from 10 to 12 feet from Wards Chapel Boat Access and upstream. Another popular and productive method during the summer involves fishing at night. Lights are used to attract baitfish while fishing over the main river channel in the lower half of the reservoir with live bait such as Threadfin Shad and Gizzard Shad. A popular spot is under the Barton Springs Bridge on the south side closest to the main river channel. The walleye will be suspended at the 12 to 15 feet range.
Channel and Flathead Catfish are abundant in Normandy Reservoir and account for 5 percent of the annual targeted angler effort. The summer months are the most productive for fishermen. Like walleye, they occupy the summer thermocline at depths down to 15 feet in the lower reservoir section and down to 12 feet in the upper reservoir section. Distributing jugs or noodles with live or cut bait is a popular method. Each jug or noodle must be tagged with the owner’s name and address, or TWRA identification number. Sport anglers are limited to 50 jugs or noodles and each with only one hook (TN Fishing Guide link, page 20). There is no daily creel limit for catfish 34 inches and less in length, but only one catfish over 34 inches in length may be harvested per day.