Anglers from Around the World Travel to Tennessee for it Excellent Natural Resources and Premier Fishing Spots
Bill Dance Signature Lakes will connect the world’s most-loved angler with some of Tennessee’s most excellent natural resources – its lakes. Already known for its premier fishing spots, this program will make Tennessee a best-in-class destination for anglers worldwide – beginners, experts and every skill level in between.
With the new initiative’s goal to improve and enhance Tennessee lakes, increase visitation and honor Dance’s legacy, TWRA and the State of Tennessee will invest $15 million in improvements above and below the water at 18 lakes that bear fishing legend Dance’s stamp of approval. Tennesseans will benefit from increased stocking, habitat and fisheries management and improved access for fishing and boating. The collaborative effort between Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Tennessee State Parks and Tennessee Department of Tourist Development seeks to solidify Tennessee as the heart of fishing in the southeast and drive economic activity across the state.
“I’m unbelievably humbled and excited to be involved in such a helpful project that will benefit so many people and our natural resources in my great home state of Tennessee,” said Bill Dance. “You can bet your favorite lure this project will have a ripple effect for a mighty long time, not only giving the weekend fisherman but tournament anglers a wonderful fishery as well, thanks to the great state of Tennessee and my friends at TWRA.”
“Bill Dance is a tremendous advocate for our Tennessee rural communities, and we are thrilled to partner with him,” said Gov. Lee. “The Bill Dance Signature Lakes highlights the importance of lakeside tourism with premier fishing opportunities.”
Including 500,000 acres of lakes and 1.7 million people who fish in Tennessee, Bill Dance Signature Lakes touches 39 counties, including 22 at-risk or economically distressed counties, and is an essential step in helping those communities create new revenue streams through increased visitation. Fishing generates $1.2 billion in economic impact annually and supports 7,480 jobs across the state.
“We have over a million anglers that visit Tennessee waters every year, so we try to give back and make it exciting for anglers to keep coming to Tennessee,” said Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency Executive Director Bobbie Wilson. “By investing this money into the Bill Dance Signature Lakes, we are going to bring people to our lakes and communities not only from within our state but across the borders as well. This means that we will have more people visit our communities, visit the restaurants, visit the stores and buy goods in the area, which all will help our local communities.”
Nine large reservoirs will feature Bill Dance Signature Lake access points constructed to a standard of excellence endorsed and designed by Bill Dance Outdoors in collaboration with Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. These nine reservoirs include “Bill Dance Signature Lake access areas” with new or improved assets driving economic activity year-round for each surrounding community.
In addition, nine “small venue” lakes entice anglers of all ages and experience levels to enjoy the outdoors while experiencing an above-average catch rate.
Bill Dance Signature Lakes includes nine large reservoirs with a proven track record for quality fishing for a variety of fish. In partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority, reservoirs will receive new or upgraded best-in-class ramps to improve public access for both recreational and tournament anglers. Each of the 18 lakes will see such above-water upgrades as courtesy docks, ample parking, additional access points, fishing piers and signage, to name a few. Several smaller lakes, many which are located within Tennessee State Parks, will be managed intensively by TWRA for Bill Dance approved family fishing with regular stocking to ensure the best chance for success.
“Good fish management makes fishing special in Tennessee,” said Director Wilson. “We have such a diversity of fisheries. We have the Mississippi River all the way to the Smoky Mountains area and a diversity of fish species.”
Agency partners and Bill Dance selected each lake for its ability to be a destination fishing location and provide quality fishing fun for avid anglers and families. Endorsed by Bill Dance Outdoors, projects are slated to begin in 2022 and near completion by the fall of 2024.
The Bill Dance Signature Lakes at launch are as follows:
• 1000 Acre Lake, Huntington, TN (Carroll County)
• Brown’s Creek Lake, Natchez Trace (Henderson County)
• Chickamauga Lake, Harrison Bay State Park & Chester Frost Park (Hamilton, Rhea, Meigs, McMinn and Bradley Counties)
• Dale Hollow Lake, North Central TN (Clay, Pickett, Fentress and Overton Counties)
• Douglas Lake, East TN (Jefferson, Sevier and Cocke Counties)
• Fall Creek Falls Lake, Fall Creek Falls State Park (Van Buren County)
• Herb Parsons Lake (Fayette County)
• Kentucky Lake, Paris Landing State Park (Henry, Stewart, Houston, Benton, Decatur, Perry and Humphreys Counties)
• Lake Acorn, Montgomery Bell State Park (Dickson County)
• Lake Woodhaven, Montgomery Bell State Park (Dickson County)
• Norris Lake, Northeast TN (Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Grainger and Union Counties)
• Old Hickory Lake, Middle TN (Sumner and Davidson Counties)
• Pickwick Lake, Pickwick Landing State Park (Hardin County)
• Pin Oak Lake, Natchez Trace State Park (Henderson County)
• Reelfoot Lake, Reelfoot Lake State Park (Lake and Obion Counties)
• Tim’s Ford Lake, Tim’s Ford State Park (Franklin and Moore Counties)
• Travis McNatt Lake, Big Hill Pond State Park (McNairy County)
• Watauga Lake, Northeast TN (Johnson and Carter Counties)