Fishing Report and Lake Information
Daily fishing information on Old Hickory Lake as well as elevation, water temperature and water release schedules can be obtained by visiting Old Hickory Lake's Facebook page. To obtain Old Hickory Dam's generation schedule, visit the TVA Lake Information Page or call the TVA lake information line at 1-800-238-2264 to obtain the latest changes to this schedule and the weekend shedules. When calling, select the number "4" on your phone's keypad. The code for Old Hickory Lake is "38." After the CFS report begins, push the "#" key and stay on the line for the latest generation schedule.
Please remember, this schedule is subject to change at any time and without notice or warning.
Bank Fishing Areas
Bank fishing areas with accessible fishing piers exist at Rockland, Sanders Ferry, Shutes Branch, and Bledsoe Creek State Park. These piers can be accessed from parking areas via paved paths. Fish attractors are maintained in close proximity to these structures.
Fishing Attractor Sites
Eighteen fish attractor sites designated with marked buoys are maintained by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). Cedar trees are suspended to attract and concentrate fish for anglers. These sites are very popular and productive for bass and crappie fishing. To install a fish attractor please submit this fish attractor permit application.
Please visit our Maps page to view the Lake, Road and Wildlife Area Maps for the Upper and Lower Sections of Old Hickory Lake. Both maps identify fish attractor sites.
Fishing Information and Tips
Black Bass - The three black bass species (largemouth, smallmouth and spotted) provide the most popular fishery in Old Hickory Lake accounting for 45 percent of angling effort. Five fish in any species combination may be harvested per person per day. There is a 14-inch length limit on largemouth bass, an 18-inch minimum length on smallmouth bass, and no length limit on spotted bass. Fish for bass in close proximity to submerged cover and fish attractor sites.
Catfish - The three species of catfish found on Old Hickory Lake are the blue catfish, channel catfish, and flathead catfish. Most catfish are bottom feeders; therefore, they will most likely be found on the bottom of the lake. There is no harvest limit for catfish fewer than 34 inches in length; only one fish over 34 inches in length may be harvested per day.
Crappie - The prime time for crappie fishing begins in spring, with the best catches coming in April. Most anglers target areas near boat docks, fish attractors and brush piles. Minnows and small plastic grubs are preferred baits. This fishery accounts for 10 percent of the angling effort. The minimum length limit is 10 inches and daily creel limit is 30 per person. White crappie is the predominant crappie species in Old Hickory Lake.
Paddlefish - The paddlefish can be distinguished by its large mouth and its elongated snout called a rostrum (bill). These spatula-like snouts comprise half the length of their entire body. There is a 2 per day limit on paddlefish and the season is open from the end of April through the end of May. Culling (the releasing of harvested fish) is prohibited.
Sauger - Fish on the bottom with lead head jigs tipped with threadfin shad or large minnows. Also try fishing the mouths of creeks and the main river channel in the upper half of the reservoir near the Cordell Hull Dam tailrace. Best sauger fishing occurs from January through April. There is a limit of 10 per day and they must have a minimum length of 15 inches.
Striped Bass - There is a 15-inch minimum size limit and a creel limit of 2 striped bass harvested per day. A trophy striped bass fishery exists providing an excellent opportunity to catch a fish exceeding 30 pounds. Fish with large live baits (gizzard shad and skipjack herring) or artificial lures in the cooler riverine habitat upstream of Highway 231 during the spring, summer, and fall. Large striped bass concentrate in the Cordell Hull tailwater during the spring months. Fish the Gallatin Steam Plant discharge area during the winter months. This area provides warmer water, which attracts baitfish and striped bass.
Walleye - Old Hickory produced the world record walleye in 1960. Caught by Mabry Harper, it weighed 25 pounds and measured 41 inches. There is a creel limit of 5 walleye per day and a 16-inch minimum length limit.
White Bass - The average fish ranges from 10 to 16 inches in length, and usually weighs from 1 to 4 pounds, though larger ones are sometimes taken. There is a creel limit of 15 per day and they have no minimum length limit. Conventional panfish tackle or fly fishing tackle is used in angling the white bass. The fish tend to move in schools and prefer to swim in clear water. Some anglers enjoy eating fresh white bass; others avoid it, as it can tend on occasion to have oily flesh.
Yellow Bass - The yellow bass is often confused with the white bass, but if you look closely the belly will take on a yellow color. Yellow bass are often found in schools and may be caught using spoons, spinners, or live minnows. There is no creel or length limit on yellow bass.