Dale Hollow Lake aerial shot

Catch Spring Fever at Dale Hollow Lake and Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park

Does spring fever have you in its grip? Consider a healthy dose of R & R in one of the beautiful cabins, chalets, houseboats or campgrounds on the shores of picturesque Dale Hollow Lake located about half way between Nashville and Knoxville on the Kentucky border.

Fifteen commercial marinas, cabin and chalet rentals as well as several campgrounds are located along its 620-mile shoreline.

Dale Hollow Lake aerial shot

Completed in 1943, Dale Hollow is one of Tennessee’s prettiest, most pristine lakes.

During one of our many trips to Dale Hollow, we started the day with a big breakfast at Sunset Marina’s floating restaurant before heading out in a houseboat rental that was a floating creature-comfort palace. Dinner at the marina is a special treat because it is served with a sunset view of the lake.

Dale Hollow Sunset

Dale Hollow Lake’s 27,000 surface acres amid densely forested slopes and numerous small coves and inlets provide ideal getaways for enjoying sunset views.

The full-service marina offers supplies, cottages, pontoon and ski boat rentals at the Obey River bridge on TN 111 south of Byrdstown and about 30 minutes north of I-40.

On another visit we stayed in one of the lovely waterfront chalets at Eagle Cove Resort which has also has houseboats, fishing and ski boat rentals. Our days were dedicated to fishing and canoeing, but evenings were devoted to relaxing in a hot tub on the deck overlooking the lake. They have pet friendly lodgings so next trip we’ll be bringing Jake, our golden retriever.

We were angling for Dale Hollow’s legendary smallmouth bass but knew we’d be equally happy with rainbow trout or walleye, both of which are gaining on the smallmouth’s reputation. Walleyes congregate in the headwaters during the cold months and move down in the lake as the water warms. Anglers catch trout year-round by trolling spoons at depths where the water temperature remains between 50 and 60 degrees.

Between mid-March and Memorial Day use deep diving crankbaits, small grubs and small jigs with pork to entice small mouth. After Memorial Day fish spinnerbaits with pork and jigs with pork on points and drop-offs at night. The lake’s water is so clear, a four- to six-pound-test line is essential.

Dale Hollow Fishing

Smallmouths abound but the mid-section of Dale Hollow from Mitchell Creek to the junction of the Wolf and the Obey Rivers is the best area to hang a trophy.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Obey River Recreation Area is adjacent to Sunset Marina and offers a boat ramp, swimming area, picnic areas, drinking water, flush toilets, dump station and 131 campsites, most with water and electric hookups. For information and reservations call 1-877-444-6777 or check out their website.

Less than five miles from the Obey River bridge, learn about contributions to world peace made by Tennessean Cordell Hull at Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park. A congressman from the fourth Tennessee district to the U.S. House of Representatives from 1907 until 1931, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1931. He resigned his senate seat in order to be Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Secretary of State from 1933 until 1944. During his tenure he guided the United States toward cooperation in international relations

Shortly after illness forced him to retire, Cordell Hull was awarded the 1945 Nobel Peace Prize for efforts leading to the establishment of the United Nations. During the Awards Ceremony the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Parliament presented the Peace Prize to him “for his long and indefatigable work for understanding between nations.”

In addition to a reconstructed log cabin, museum, library and archives, the park has a picnic area and a 2.5-mile roundtrip hiking trail leading through a mixed hardwood forest to Bunkum Cave. For more information call 931-864-3247 or visit the park’s website.

Cordell Hull Birth Place State Park

Cordell Hull, widely known as the “Father of the United Nations,” was born in the fall of 1871 in a log cabin on Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau.

Below the dam on the banks of the lower Obey River, the Dale Hollow Hatchery produces 1.5 million rainbow, brown and lake trout annually for distribution in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. The hatchery and visitor center are open to visitors daily from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

What are you favorite spring haunts in Tennessee? Share your picks in the comments! 

Hi there! I’m Vernon Summerlin. Like many, I came to Nashville to break into the music industry. After years of striving, I...Read on



    Marcia Engel

    I loved this site. My husband loves to fish but we are retired now down here in vonore, Tn. He is looking for a place to fish and this looks like the place. Please give us directions from Vonore, TN
    Thank You


    Vernon Summerlin

    I’m sure y’all will love Dale Hollow Lake. I suggest you fish the wind-blown points for smallmouth bass – if there’s breeze. Bream will be in the backs of creeks getting ready to spawn. I recommend the Willow Grove area. Ask at the marina for their recommendations for the species you’d like to catch.

    From Vonore go north on Hwy 72, then take Hwy 444 to connect with Hwy 321 just south of Lenoir City; stay on 321 until you can take I-40 west. Just before you reach Cookeville, turn north on Hwy 111, continue through Livingston on 111 for about 5 miles and turn west on Hwy 249. The road ends at Willow Grove. Visit http://www.willowgrove.com for info about accommodations and marina.
    Happy Hooking! Vern

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