Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

TWRA's Region 4 - East Tennessee

Reservoir Fisheries Management Program

Chilhowee Reservoir - General Information

TWRA Region IV Office
3030 Wildlife Way Morristown, TN 37814
(423) 587-7037 or (800) 332-0900
Updated - July 2013

 

GENERAL:

Chilhowee is a small, 1,747-acre reservoir located within Blount and Monroe Counties in east Tennessee along U.S. Highway 129. The dam was completed in 1957 and impounds the Little Tennessee River. This is one of two dams in Tennessee that is owned by Brookfield Smoky Mountain Hydropower.

The Smoky Mountain National Park and the Cherokee National Forest border this shallow, 10-mile long, cool water reservoir. Calderwood Reservoir is upstream of Chilhowee and Tellico Reservoir is downstream.

The primary game fish are largemouth and smallmouth bass, trout, and various sunfish. Trout are stocked on an annual basis and thrive in the cool clear water.

There are not any fish consumption advisories issued for the reservoir. Three public boat ramps are available (Scona Lodge Ferry and Gravel Pile are closed) and a campground is located on the Monroe County side of the dam. Two fishing decks that can be easily accessed by the disabled were constructed in 2007. They are located about mid-reservoir along U.S. Highway 129 at the former site of the "gravel pile" ramp. Anglers may wish to view the map of the reservoir found on this site.

BLACK BASS:

Smallmouth and largemouth bass are fairly abundant, especially within Abrams Creek and the upper reservoir. The cool water limits the growth rates of these popular species, but there is a surprising number of quality-size bass present.

There is a five-fish daily creel limit for largemouth and smallmouth bass in any combination. The minimum length limits increased to 14-inches for largemouth and 18-inches for smallmouth bass in 2008.

RAINBOW and LAKE TROUT:

The TWRA stocks lake and rainbow trout on a regular basis. The cool water and good dissolved oxygen levels create an ideal habitat for these popular game fish.

The daily creel limit is seven trout in any combination, except only two can be lake trout. There is no minimum size limit for rainbow, lake, and brown trout, but there is a 6-inch minimum length limit for brook trout. More than one rod may be fished.

CRAPPIE:

Crappie are present in limited numbers and are popular with local anglers. There is a 10-inch, 15-fish daily creel limit for crappie.

SUNFISH:

Redbreast, rock bass (redeye), and other sunfish are present in fair numbers. They grow surprisingly well in Chilhowee's cool water. There is a 20-fish daily creel with no size limit for rockbass.


FISHING TIPS:

Largemouth bass - The highest catch occurs in March and April when the water warms and bass move to shallow water to spawn. Some popular tackle are Silver Buddies, Carolina-rigged plastic lizards, 4-inch plastic worms, crankbaits, Shad Raps, Rapalas, Rat-L-Traps, spinner baits, buzz baits, and many more.

Smallmouth bass - They move to clay and gravel points in the spring. Fish live bait on the bottom, Carolina-rigged lizards, or cast firetiger or shad-colored Shad Raps, Rapalas, and Rebels.

Crappie - 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 - Bank fishing with corn or salmon eggs is productive or troll spoons in the main channel.

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