Your web browser is out of date. Update your browser for more security, speed and the best experience on this site

Bountiful bluegill fishing on Tennessee’s Reelfoot Lake

By Bill Dance

Tennessee’s only natural lake offers beautiful scenic fishing for bluegill and more.

Fishing in Tennessee
Credit: Matthew McBrayer on Unsplash

Cast your line in Reelfoot Lake!

The 15,000-acre (6,000-hectare) lake is a beautiful scenic body of water that was formed by earthquakes in 1811-12, causing the Mississippi River to flow backwards. Because of this, Reelfoot is Tennessee’s only naturally-made lake.

Bluegill fishing at Reelfoot Lake is considered one of the best in Tennessee with the average size near 0.45 pounds (0.20 kg) and anglers harvesting between 1.5 and 2 fish per hour; the catch rates by anglers are around 2 fish per hour, so action is pretty steady. Larger bluegill in the half pound to three quarter pound (0.25-0.35kg) range are seen but not common.

Bank fishing is limited at Reelfoot Lake, although there are several piers on the south shoreline that provide bank fishing opportunities.

Reelfoot Lake has four distinct basins connected by channelized ditches and all four are considered good bluegill areas, with the lower two basins receiving the most pressure. Anglers utilize the dependable cricket, but also use the little grizzly (1/32 or 1/64) and my personal favorite, a Bass Pro Shops 1/16 oz. Marabou jig with a wax worm and slip float. Cypress tree fishing is common although many of the guides have identified bluegill beds in specific areas.

Water temperatures are typically in the upper 70s to lower 80s early to mid-June so take the time to enjoy the largest natural lake in the state of Tennessee.

For more information, contact guide Jackie Van Cleave 731-431-9700 on Reelfoot Lake. He’s one of the best and can give you the latest on what’s going on or even guide you on a trip you’ll never forget!