Home » Attractions

This Useful Graphic Will Help You Identify Fish in Douglas Lake

Rainbow Trout

In Douglas Lake, you can find rainbow trout (pictured) along with crappie, bluegill and more (photo by Rob/stock.adobe.com)

Please note, that TheSmokies.com may receive commissions for links in this article that lead to purchases from third-party vendors.

Local talks about what kind of fish you can find in Douglas Lake in TN

Douglas Lake – created when the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) built the Douglas Dam in less than a year during the height of World War II – has a 43-mile long reservoir fed by the French Broad and its tributaries, the Nolichucky and Pigeon Rivers. The lake is teeming with wildlife, from the waterfowl that rest on its waters to the deer and bears that explore its shorelines to the variety of fish that live within. Douglas Lake is popular with anglers like me as it offers excellent fishing opportunities.


Subscribe to our newsletter for area news, coupons and discounts

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Please wait...

Thank you for sign up!

graphic with types of fish
(graphic by TheSmokies.com)

What kind of fish are in Douglas Lake?

Most of the common types of fish are pictured above. At Douglas Lake, you can expect to find the following:

  • Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Bullhead
  • Carp
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Drum
  • Gar
  • Minnow
  • Pickerel
  • Shad
  • Shiner
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • Warmouth

A full identification chart can be found here.

Where can you fish at Douglas Lake?

You can fish Douglas Lake from its many miles of shoreline. If you’re camping on the lake or just finding an accessible spot from one of the many pull-offs or boat ramps surrounding the lake, you can have success if you’re willing to walk or hike to popular spots. I prefer, however, to rent a watercraft. I usually recommend Swann’s Marina for rentals. 

small bluegill on fishing line
Bluegill like this one are commonly found in Douglas Lake (photo by Chad Robertson/stock.adobe.com)

Where is the best place to find fish in Douglas Lake?

Douglas isn’t a gigantic lake, but the best habitats are frequently better accessible by boat. The TVA draws down the lake water level after Labor Day, resulting in a shoreline that is ringed in some level of barren mud throughout the summer. That means a lot of the best habitat is farther offshore than in a natural lake. But really, I think finding fish depends on multiple factors including time, weather and the type of fish you’re targeting. Douglas Lake is blessed with many coves and inlets for you to explore. There have been efforts made to improve habitats including brush piles and stake beds constructed over the years that are inhabited by crappie and other varieties of the most popular game fish. Smartweed, a naturally occurring plant, has also been transplanted in many areas to present a long-lasting environment and place for fish to thrive.

Before you venture out to fish, remember that nearly everyone over the age of 12 must have a license to fish in Tennessee. These licenses are easily obtainable online through the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency. However, there are many different types of licenses for residents and non-residents. Take a few extra minutes to make sure you’re getting the right one. Also, some of the fish in Douglas Lake come with size and number limits. The TWRA offers an “Angler’s Guide to Tennessee Fish” free online.

Have you been fishing in Douglas Lake? What did you catch? Let me know in the comments.

Have a question or comment about something in this article? Contact our staff here. You may also contact our editorial team at editor@thesmokies.com (preferred) or call 865-505-0648.

Leave a Comment