Surrounded by gentle, rolling farmland, Cherokee Lake covers 30,300 acres at full pool, is 59 miles long, and has 463 miles of winding shoreline. Pictorial farmlands near the lake enhance this peaceful landscape. Towering above the lake to the northwest are the impressive Clinch Mountain Range. If you're traveling to the lake via Hwy 25-E, as you approach the summit of Clinch Mountain, there will be a lookout point that provides a breathtaking view of Cherokee Lake. Named for the tribe of Native Americans who once inhabited the area, the basin now filled by the reservoir, historically was a great Indian warpath followed by Daniel Boone. Constructed in 1940's by TVA, the dam is 175 feet high and stretches 6,760 feet, or well over a mile, from one end to the other. In a year with normal rainfall, the water level in Cherokee Reservoir varies about 30 feet from summer to winter to provide seasonal flood storage.
Now a popular recreation destination, Cherokee Lake's shoreline is populated by anglers, it's waters by paddlers. Campers can enjoy the many tent and trailer sites at the Cherokee Dam Campground. Amenities include restrooms with heated showers, playground, picnic tables and grills, group pavilion, swimming beach, boat ramps above dam and below dam, lake and river fishing, paved walking trail, and plenty of bird-watching. On the shores of the lake, Panther Creek State Park offers a great trail system for hikers, runners, mountain bikers and equestrians in addition to camping, boating, fishing and swimming.
Fishing: There is a prolific forage base of threadfin shad, gizzard shad, and alewife. The primary game fish species are the three black bass species, striped bass, hybrid striped bass, crappie, walleye, sauger, sunfish, white bass, and catfish. Fishing around the dam will produce striped bass in the summer months. During fall and spring, stripers run upstream to the John Sevier steam plant discharge. During the winter when the water level drops, largemouth bass can be caught amongst the rock outcroppings. Along the large creek embayment, there is excellent crappie fishing. more information
Paddling: Contour the shoreline or explore one of the many islands where you can take-out and enjoy stretching your legs along with a picnic lunch.
Trails: For those that want to get out and stretch their legs, there are several TVA trails, including one paved trail near the dam. Trail Map
A section of the lake abuts Panther Creek State Park which features 30 plus miles of trail. See Panther Creek State Park Trails.
TVA - Cherokee Dam
TWRA Fishing Resource
Cherokee Dam Access
Panther Creek State Park
Public Boat Ramps
State Park Campground