About Dale Hollow
Dale Hollow is one of the nation's premier smallmouth bass fisheries. In addition to its famous bass, it is known for its ultra-clear water, high water quality and undeveloped, pristine shorelines. Dale Hollow is the current record holder for smallmouth bass. Other achievements include a Tennessee state record for lake trout (12 pounds, 13 ounces).
The Obey River below Dale Hollow Dam produced a state record rainbow trout (14 pounds, 8 ounces) and brown trout (26 pounds, 2 ounces). Finally, the lake also holds the Kentucky muskie title at 43 pounds. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uses the clear, cold water from Dale Hollow to operate a fish hatchery. This large facility has recently been renovated and enlarged to increase trout production. Dale Hollow Dam and Lake are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project was completed in 1943 for the purposes of flood control, hydroelectric power production and to improve water quality for domestic and industrial use. A number of day-use facilities and campgrounds are located around the lake. A camping permit is required for all designated primitive campsites. If restrooms are not available at primitive campsites, campers are required to have portable sanitation facilities. A number of informational signs and buoys are found throughout the lake marking hazards, creek arms and fish attractors. At the present time, there is no reciprocal fishing agreement between Kentucky and Tennessee; a separate license is required for each state's waters.
Size and Depth
Minimum pool elevation is 631 feet above mean sea level (msl) (21,880 acres), normal pool elevation is 651 feet msl (27,700 acres) and maximum flood control pool is 663 feet msl (30,990 acres). Water fluctuations of 10 to 20 feet can occur throughout the year. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers controls water levels.
The entire shoreline is under the jurisdiction of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. The length is 620 miles at normal summer pool. Most of the shoreline is heavily wooded, and rock outcroppings are common. Development is restricted to marinas and day-use areas.
Broken rock, boulders, gravel and sand are the primary bottom materials. Extensive areas of bedrock outcroppings are found along the shoreline.
Water clarity varies throughout the lake, ranging from extremely clear by the dam to light green in the creek arms. Summer secchi disc readings average between 18 and 20 feet. Dale Hollow is fairly infertile, and there is adequate dissolved oxygen throughout the water column. The remote location and lack of development keeps the water quality quite high.
Primarily submergent varieties, which include chara (sandgrass), coontail and several varieties of pondweed. Due to the clear water, it is not uncommon to find weed growth at the 30-foot level. Recently, Eurasian water milfoil has made an appearance in limited areas. The steep drop-offs and winter drawdown limit the development of emergent and floating vegetation. Fishing licenses are required in both Kentucky and Tennessee. A reciprocal fishing agreement provides for sport fishing licenses from either state to be valid in the Wolf River, including Illwill Creek, beginning at the state line as it crosses the Wolf River at its mouth where it joins the Obey River. Creel limits and other regulations of the state where the license was issued will apply. Special permits are required in each state for trout fishing. Check state laws for complete information. Licenses may be purchased at County Clerk's offices, marinas and many other commercial establishments in each state.