Douglas Lake is very fertile and green in color. Water clarity is greatest near the dam, while the upper sections of the lake are usually stained. In general, the lake stains easily following heavy rains due to the muddy bottom. Thermal stratification (thermocline) usually develops in the summer months. Dissolved oxygen becomes depleted below the thermocline during late summer (July and August), making fishing tough until cooler fall weather arrives.
Size and Depth: 30,400 acres with a maximum depth of 140 feet. The lake extends 43.1 miles upstream from the Douglas Dam.
Shoreline: Only about 17 percent of the shoreline is developed; the remainder is controlled by the TVA. Rolling hills of farmland and residential areas surround the lake.
Cover: The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has placed many fish attractors in the lake, mainly in the backs of hollows where they are marked by signs or buoys. At full pool, downed trees along the bank offer cover for game fish. In winter or spring, before the lake rises, cover is scarce and fish are found on channel drop-offs and rock outcroppings. Timber was cut prior to flooding, leaving numerous stump-covered flats. Due to the large draw down, aquatic vegetation is lacking.
Bottom: Mostly silt and clay with some areas of rock outcroppings and bluffs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are they permitted? Yes
Can you swim in the lake? Yes
Great. Straight from the Smoky Mountains
Average water level variance? 20'
Are they permitted? Yes
Are they permitted? Yes
Depth of Lake:
125 ft +
Knoxville, TN. 40 miles
Inspiration Point Fish Camp
865-397-2116, 2527 Inspiration Pt,
Dandridge, TN 37725-6645
Featured Species: Largemouth Bass, White Crappie, Black Crappie, Bluegill.
Other Species: White Bass (Stripes), Spotted Bass, Walleye, Sauger, Blue Catfish, Channel Catfish, Flathead Catfish, Redhorse, Redbreast Sunfish.
Douglas Lake is considered one of the most productive waters in east Tennessee. Its quality fishery is attracting increased attention from anglers every year, and its use by tournament fishermen is considered substantial. Largemouth are by far the dominant black bass species in Douglas, accounting for 98 percent of all bass caught. Spotted bass are a distant second; smallmouth are rarely caught. Length distributions for largemouth bass appear excellent, with almost 25 percent of the population exceeding 15 inches. It has been noted in recent years that moderate harvest of bass less than 12 inches should be encouraged to reduce competition for available forage. Catfish are targeted by both sportfishermen and commercial fishermen. Commercial fishermen take the majority, especially blue catfish. A modest number of flathead and channel catfish are also caught by anglers. White bass numbers appear to be solid with a large number of fish in the 10-to 14-inch range. Whites have had strong natural reproduction in Douglas, promising good fishing in future years. Crappie abundance in recent years has been as high as ever, providing good fishing for both the white and black varieties. Black crappie numbers have increased during the past few years and comprise about 30 to 50 percent of the total crappie population. Recent surveys have shown good numbers of black crappie in the 9-to 10-inch range and whites in the 8-to 10-inch class. Douglas Lake enjoys a relatively stable crappie fishery, unlike the cyclic populations of most other Tennessee lakes. Bluegill are the most common sunfish in the lake. Excellent spawning success in recent years is expected to produce good panfishing in the future as well as provide ample forage for larger gamefish. Douglas Lake is not considered prime walleye or sauger water, but numbers are improving. The stretch from the I-40 bridge to the confluence of the Nolichucky and French Broad rivers holds the most fish. A few saugeye, a hybrid cross between a walleye and sauger, occur naturally in Douglas Lake.
Forage: Gizzard shad, threadfin shad, juvenile panfish, goldfish, bullhead minnow, various shiners and other minnows.
Crappie: Beginning in February, pre-spawn crappie stage along drop-offs adjacent to brush-or stump-covered flats. The best spots are usually near the mouths of large creeks, such as Nina, Douglas, Muddy and Flat. Troll these locations with small Sparkle Tails, A.C. Shiners, sinking Rapalas, or doll flies tipped with minnows. When crappie move into the shallows to spawn, work small or medium tuffies, or 1/32-ounce popeye flies under small floats. Concentrate on submergent shoreline cover, like flooded button bush or black willow. Large stump beds should also be fished. Try Stumpy Cove and the north side of the island at Shady Grove Dock. Water levels must be consistent within creeks and shallow coves for good spring action to occur. Summertime crappie are found relatively shallow, since deep water is usually devoid of oxygen. Target depths that range from 6 to 15 feet and offer some type of cover, such as fish attractors or stumps. Trolling is a popular method to cover large areas of water when searching for schools of active fish. Small vibrating lures like the 1/4-ounce Cordell Rattlin' Spot or Hot Shot are favored. Night fishing with lanterns or floating lights can be quite productive for summer crappie. Work depths of 10 to 15 feet, and use small minnows or jigs. Fall crappie relate to points, such as those near Swann's Dock, Douglas Creek, and Nina Creek. Also try the main channel under the I-40 bridge. Begin by working depths of 18 to 24 feet and move progressively shallower. During the winter months, fishing remains good as crappie suspend and chase schools of minnows in deeper water. Small plastic grubs on 1/16- or 1/8-ounce jigs work well.
Largemouth Bass: Largemouth bass fishing begins to pick up during late March and early April in the warmer waters of the creek arms. Jig/plastic combinations (worms or lizards) are effective during this period. Shallow-running Bandit crankbaits and the deep-running Bagley D-20 are also good for spring bass. Work the submerged roadbeds of Muddy and Flat creeks; and also check Koontz, Rimmer, and Goose creeks on the lake's north side. Once water temperatures rise in late spring, largemouth move into areas of the main channels to chase schools of threadfin shad. Topwater presentations, like Pop R's, Tiny Torpedos and Zara Pups, are effective during this period. During the early part of summer, largemouth move to deep water (as deep as 50 to 60 feet) and can be taken on jigging spoons like a Hopkins or blade baits like a Silver Buddie. Bass will stay at these depths until the thermocline develops and oxygen becomes depleted in deep water. Summer bass are found in shallow water and will respond to spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and topwater lures. However, bass fishing tends to slow down during the heat of summer, particularly during the day. The best summer bass action occurs after dark, prompting most serious bass anglers to fish after sunset. The favored approach is to cast a large, dark-colored spinnerbait along the edges of rocky bluffs and ledges or near brushy cover.
Walleye/Sauger: The upper end of the lake, from the junction of the French Broad and Nolichucky rivers downstream to the I-40 bridge, offers the best opportunities for walleye and sauger anglers. A creek chub rigged on a plain wire hook or a doll fly tipped with a minnow are effective presentations. Work depths of 15 to 20 feet, and be sure to keep the bait tight to bottom. The best catches are taken during winter and spring.
Bluegill: Spring bluegill anglers should concentrate on brush piles or coves in depths of 3 to 10 feet, especially in April. Rock bluffs, shoreline brush piles and fish attractors are favorite summer bluegill haunts. Depths of 4 to 5 feet are best in summer.
Smoky Mountain Lake Rentals at Gator Point Marina
800-839-LAKE, 1808 Gator Point Road, Sevierville, TN
865-397-2182, 2515 Swanns Marina, Dandridge, TN
Dandridge Boat Dock
865-397-3321, 122 Boat Dock Dr, Dandridge, TN 37725-6502