With 381 miles of shoreline and 22 boat-launching ramps, Cordell Hull Lake offers a fishing opportunity for anyone with or without a boat.  Cordell Hull Lake provides a desirable cold and warm water fishery.  Adequate cold water is present year-round; this water is discharged from the hypolimnion of Lake Cumberland and Dale Hollow Lake.  Roaring River and its tributaries provide the lake with adequate warm water.  Roaring River and its tributaries, Blackburn Fork and Spring Creek are excellent smallmouth bass and rock bass streams.

The most popular species in the lake include:

  • White bass:  White bass provide excellent fishing during spring spawning season, and in the summertime.

  • Hybrid Rockfish (Stripes):  This fish is a cross between the white bass and the rockfish.  The hybrid rockfish is one of the most popular species fished for on the lake.

  • Rockfish (Striped bass):  The rockfish is the most successful species ever stocked and is one of the most popular game fish in Cordell Hull Lake.  This species is actively stocked and managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

  • Largemouth bass:  The tributaries contribute an excellent population of largemouth, one of the most popular species of bass caught by anglers.  These fish spawn during the months of May through June in gravel and roots.  The desired water temperatures are 63 degrees to 75 degrees.

  • Catfish:  Several species of this family are taken by sport fishing techniques and trotlines.  Catfish spawn in May through June in warm water in areas such as under rocks and log jams.  Desired water temperatures are 70 degrees to 85 degrees.

  • Crappie:  Both white and black crappie exist in moderate numbers and are one of the preferred game fish in early spring.  Both species of crappie spawn during March through July.  White crappie prefer brush, stumps, rocks, and plant material for locations to spawn and water temperatures of 64 degrees to 68 degrees.  Black crappies on the other hand, prefer gravel areas and water temperatures of 58 degrees to 64 degrees.

  • Gizzard Shad:  This species is an important forage fish and is the most abundant species in Cordell Hull Lake.  This fish spawns in the spring in vegetative bottoms at a water temperature of approximately 65 degrees.  Compared with other lakes and rivers in the South, Cordell Hull Lake has a relatively fast-growing population of gizzard shad for the first year of life, with a growing rate becoming lower than average in later years.


Fishing information, lake elevations and generation schedules for Cordell Hull Lake can be obtained by calling 1-800-238-2264 or visiting the web at:  https://www.tva.com/environment/lake-levels/cordell-hull

Additional fishing information and regulations can be found at: https://www.tn.gov/twra/fishing.html.

 A valid Tennessee state fishing license is required to fish on Cordell Hull Lake, and anglers are encouraged to obtain a current copy of Tennessee fishing regulations for information pertaining to license requirements.

Practice good angler ethics at Cordell Hull Lake and learn hot to protect and serve our natural resources.  It is important to practice catch-and-release and selective harvesting concepts.  It is important for every angler to know project-specific creel and size limits for each species of fish.

Conservation Biologist, Kenny Claywell, set wooden tepee fish attractors in Buffalo Creek Cordell Hull Lake.Jug fishing, limb lines and trotlines are a legal method of catching fish on Cordell Hull.  Gill nets are not a legal method of catching fish at Cordell Hull Lake.  No commercial fishing is permitted at Cordell Hull Lake.  Jugs, limb lines, and trotlines must be clearly marked with the owner’s name and address within 5’ of the bank or on the floats.  They must be checked once a day.  Jugs, limblines, and trotlines must be removed when not in use.

With 381 miles of shoreline bank fishing is very popular at Cordell Hull.  We have 2 developed fishing piers at the Defeated Creek Recreation area.  Accessible fishing opportunities are provided at one of these piers for our physically challenged visitors who wish to enjoy this sport.

Fish attractors are permitted at Cordell Hull Lake.  A free permit must be obtained from the Resource Manager’s Office before the installation of any such attractor.