Fishing Opportunities at J. Percy Priest Lake

Fishing is one of the most popular recreational activities at J. Percy Priest Lake.  The primary responsibility for fishery management rests with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), in conjunction with the lake's Resource Management Office.  The most popular species include largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, striped bass, Cherokee bass, and white bass.  Other species such as catfish, bluegill, bream, and trout provide excellent opportunities for young anglers.

A valid Tennessee state fishing license is required to fish on J. Percy Priest Lake, and anglers are encouraged to obtain a current copy of Tennessee Fishing regulations for information pertaining to license requirements and creel and size limits.

Jug fishing, limb lines and trotlines are legal. Gill nets are not permitted. No commercial fishing is allowed on J. Percy Priest Lake. Jugs, limb lines and trotlines must be tagged and marked with the owner’s name and address within 5’ feet of the bank or on the floats. They must be checked at least once per day.

Daily Fishing Information

The J. Percy Priest Fishing Update Web Page provides weekday updates of fishing information, lake elevations, and fishing conditions at (615) 369-7555.  Additional fishing information and regulations can be found at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Fishing web page.  Additional lake and water release information can be obtained by calling the TVA Lake Information Line at 1-800-238-2264. Enter 48 for J. Percy Priest information.


Bank Fishing

Enhanced bank fishing areas are developed at Stewart Creek, Vivrett Creek, J. Percy Priest Overlook, and Cook Recreation Areas to provide bank fishing opportunities for anglers who do not have a boat. Accessible fishing opportunities are also provided at these locations for our physically challenged visitors who wish to enjoy this sport.

Fish Attractors

permit (PDF format) is required for individuals to place fish attractors in J. Percy Priest Lake, and information is available regarding placement, approved materials, and locations for attractors.  Please contact the Resource Manager's Office at 615-889-1975 with any questions regarding the fish attractor permit process.

J. Percy Priest Lake Record Fish

Anglers who may have a lake record fish should contact the J. Percy Priest Resource Manager’s Office at (615) 889-1975.

Species  Weight  Location  Caught By   Method of Catch  Date

 Largemouth Bass

 10 lbs. 6 oz.  Smith Springs  R. F. Frankenbach  Deep Wee-R  June 5, 1978

 Smallmouth Bass

 7 lbs. 8 oz.  Four Corners  Jerry McClure, Jr.  Depp Wee-R  March 31, 1979

 Kentucky Bass

 5 lbs. 2.08 oz.  Four Corners  Steve Heath  Pig and Jig Combo  July 10, 2006
 White Bass  2 lbs. 6 oz.  Not Available  Howard Harlan  Not Available  March 29, 1977

 Striped Bass


 47 lbs. 11.2 oz.

 Old Hickory

Ramp Area

 Bill Stoney  Stump Jumper  March 29, 1998

 Cherokee Bass



 20 lbs. 10 oz.

Old Hickory Cove

 David Lawrence  Fluke  April 6, 2016
 Yellow Bass  2 lbs. 5 oz.  Schoolhouse Cove  Tim Norris  Shiner  March 19, 2005
 Walleye  7 lbs. 10.5 oz.  Elm Hill  Charles Davis  Not Available  May 10, 1980
Rainbow Trout  1 lb. 15 oz.  West Fork  Tim Pat Tidwell  Float & Fly  Jan. 20, 2002
 Saugeye  6 lbs. 8 oz.  West Fork  Mike Medlock

 White Bandit Crankbait

 Nov. 18, 1998
 Bluegill  15 oz.  Hermitage Landing  Tyrone A. Smith  Worm  June 7, 1983

 Flathead Catfish

 57 lbs. 2 oz.  Hobson Pike Area  Darrell Wardlaw  Noodle Jug  June 25, 2005

 Channel Catfish

 25 lbs. 8 oz.  Hamilton Creek  Jim Pat Tidwell  Cabela Jig  Feb. 23, 1990
 Blue Catfish  76 lbs. 1 oz.  Elm Hill  Irvin Leaver  Plastic Lizard  May 22, 2010

 Bigmouth Buffalo

 52 lbs. 2 oz.  Not Available  Greg Megibben  Not Available  April 6, 2001
 Black Buffalo  54 lbs. 8 oz.  Anderson Road  Marion J. Lovell  Deep Wee-R  May 24, 1997

 Smallmouth Buffalo

 62 lbs. 7 oz.  Not Available  Jerry W. Young  Not Available  April 28, 2001
 Gar  15 lb.s 12 oz.  Poole Knobs  Robert L. Singer  Not Available  Oct. 12 , 1977
 Black Crappie  2 lbs. 14 oz.  J. Percy Priest Dam Area  Jim Pat Tidwell  Minnow  June 9, 2005
 White Crappie  2 lbs. 12 oz.  Bryant Grove  James C. Blair, Jr.  Texas Minnow  April 15, 1992
 Carp  29 lbs. 12 oz.  Four Corners  Todd Thompson  Worm  Sept. 9, 1978


J. Percy Priest Tailwater Record Fish


 Species Weight  Location Caught By 

Method of


 Rock Bass  2 lbs. 8 oz.  Stones River  Bill Sanford  Not Available  1958
 Rockfish  42 lbs.  Tailwaters  Joe Wood  Doll Fly  April 29, 1984
 Cherokee Bass  23 lbs. 3 oz.**  Stones River  Ray Pelfrey  Not Available  April 17, 1998
 Walleye  10 lbs. 8 oz.  Tailwaters  Haskel Sadler  Natural Bait  Feb. 1977
 Brown Trout  2.6 oz.  Tailwaters  Edward Escue  Minnow  March 19, 1987

** Designates that this weight is also a State Record.

If you think that you have caught a fish that is a rival to one of the ones listed, then print the following record application, fill it out and contact the J. Percy Priest Lake Resource Manager’s Office at (615) 889-1975.

Record Fish Application Form