Destination Dale Hollow
Excerpts from May 2011
Greg Little's article CBJ editor
Dale Hollow Lake is crucial economic driver for the Upper Cumberland.
It is certainly one of the most well known lakes in this part of the world - and is known throughout the country, for that matter.
Dale Hollow Lake is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Upper Cumberland Region.
This massive lake stretches from the Gainesboro area in the west to Byrdstown area in the east, and to the North well into Kentucky. There are 14 commercial marinas located around the lake, seven U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreation areas and two state parks.
Dale Hollow Dam and Lake are under the jurisdiction of the Corps of Engineers. The project was completed in 1943, its main purpose being flood control, hydroelectric power production and to improve water quality for domestic and individual use.
Of course, there is much more. One of the highlights for anyone using the lake is fishing. It it well know for having trophy smallmouth bass. It's the lake linked with Billy Westmoreland, famed smallmouth angler from Celina. Smallmouth in the range of 14 to 18 inches are common with a large number of fish in the four to six inch range available. Larger trophy fish are quite possible for anglers.
Other fish at the lake include largemouth bass, walleye, muskie, lake and rainbow trout, crappie as well as channel and flathead catfish.
The Obey River below the dam provides a year-round, cold-water habitat for rainbow and brown trout.
Another very crucial use of the lake is recreation, including houseboat rentals. These popular rentals attract families and groups from all around the country who spend time on the lake.
Other available rentals include pontoons, jet skis, bass boats, runabouts, fishing boats and more.
There are also a number of cabin rentals businesses as well has hotels scattered around the lake. Persons can find vacation home rentals, restaurants and a wide variety of other options while visiting the area.
Another interesting part of the lake is the Dale Hollow Lake National Fish Hatchery in Celina. The hatchery is operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and was established in 1965.
Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery was established to mitigate for fishery resources which were lost due to the construction of federal water development projects in the Southeast. This is accomplished by stocking rainbow, brown, lake and book trout in waters impacted by federal dams.
Stocking trout in public waters supports a significant recreational fishery which generates a substantial amount of economic activity for local and regional economies. This facility is also involved in the conservation of imperiled freshwater, non-game fishes.
There is a visitor's center in Celina which includes a tour of the facilities as well as an aquarium, nature area and a public fishing area. Around 50,000 people visit the facility each year. The hatchery has an annual budget of approximately $1 million.
Camping is another crucial part of the economic picture for the Dale Hollow Lake area.
There are a wide variety of camping opportunities, from primitive to full service RV hookup sites.
There are close to 40 different camping areas around the lake.
As for the lake itself, it features 620 miles of shoreline.
Most of the shoreline is heavily wooded and rock outcroppings are common. Development is restricted to marinas and day-use areas. That feature is one of the reasons the primitive nature of the lake makes it so popular among visitors.
The clear water, too, is a major attraction of the lake. The remote location and lack of development keeps the water quality of the lake very high. In fact, it is common to find weed growth as deep as 30 feet because the water is so clear.
All of these factors, and many more, are what make Dale Hollow Lake a top destination for visitors as well as people from the region.
Long, warm summers with mild winters provide a host of outdoor activities
that enthusiasts can enjoy year-round which include:
- Nature Walks
- Bird Watching