All About Dale Hollow Lake in Tennessee
Scenic Dale Hollow lake is located in Tennessee near Celina and expands past Kentucky’s southern border. It has more than 27,700 surface acres of clear water and 620 miles of beautiful shoreline. Its vast waters cover portions of Clay, Pickett, Overton, and Fentress Counties in Tennessee, as well as Clinton and Cumberland Counties in Southern Kentucky. It’s an impressive lake for many reasons, not due to its size alone. Dale Hollow Lake is known as one of the cleanest lakes in the United States, so it's great for family vacations and experiences. It is also ideal for those who have a healthy fear of murky bodies of water.
Millions of visitors come to visit every year to experience fishing tournaments, boating, water skiing, and so much more. Throughout summer in Tennessee, many weekend mornings on the lake are christened by fishermen eager to set the annual record for their Bass fish catch. It's also known as the Smallmouth Bass Capital of the World! Many in hopes of breaking the record-holding smallmouth bass weighing 11 lbs 15 oz caught in 1955. The aquatic ecosystem is ideal for fish with richly oxygenated water. Because of that, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife developed a fish hatchery program where over 1.5 million rainbow, brown, and lake trout are annually stocked into the lake.
Dale Hollow’s crystal clear water makes it a popular destination for scuba divers. The clear, clean water is only one of many reasons why divers from all over come to explore this lake. Many come to Dale Hollow due to the several hidden treasures beneath its surface. Willow Grove is the historical underwater town where Dale Hollow Lake is located on. The Dam and Reservoir were completed in 1943 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and it resulted in the submerging of Willow Grove. A full, abandoned town sits right underwater and it makes for a magnificent scuba diving experience. This “town that drowned” was not a small one complete with churches, a school, a general store, and a grist mill. Willow Grove was named after the Willow trees that grew along its shores. During the fall, the foundation of the school can be seen with the naked eye due to the purity of the water. There are copious amounts of folklore surrounding the town and the legends of the people that lived there live on through oral history tellers and books alike.
One of Dale Hollow Lake’s twelve marinas is lovingly named after Willow Grove. For those seeking a more leisurely vacation, Willow Grove Marina offers a variety of relaxing activities. Bird watchers from all over love viewing the Purple Martins that live in their elaborate birdhouses. More notably, American Bald Eagle watching is also a popular winter activity. If you can’t make it to the lake itself there are even live cameras that document several nesting sites so people around the world can experience the rich biodiversity Dale Hollow Lake has to offer. There are several paths close to the resort for any avid hikers looking to explore.
Sunset Marina is another popular marina on Dale Hollow lake and one of our favorites. They have a variety of boats available to rent, from houseboats to jetskis! They have lodging available for 2-14 guests on the secluded lakeside. The marina is named a “Clean Marina” by the Army Corps of Engineers in recognition of their commitment to keeping Dale Hollow’s recognition as one of the cleanest lakes in the United States. Be sure to keep an eye out for an American Bald Eagle, they nest all over the area!
The Steel Coop is a restaurant located at Sunset Marina. The menu has a variety of options such as steaks, seafood, sides, burgers, sandwiches, appetizers, drinks, and more. It is a climate-controlled and child-friendly restaurant and the ideal destination for a special evening out!
Mitchell Creek Marina is a full-service marina that makes life easy for those staying at or visiting Dale Hollow Lake. There are more than 300 boat slips, watercraft rentals, and a first-class restaurant. Bring as many (or as few) people that you want to Mitchell Creek Marina. You have the choice to stay in houseboats or cabin rentals. Wake up early and enjoy the beautiful view of the sun rising over the Eastern Highland Rim.
When you are finished exploring the Marinas, start making your bucket list of things to see and do around the lake. The Dale Hollow Dam is a historic place to see during your stay. It was completed in 1943 for the purpose of flood control, hydroelectric power production, and improving water quality for domestic and industrial use. Bald Eagles call Dale Hollow Lake home. There is a pair of nesting Eagles close to Mitchell Creek Marina that visitors are likely to see. Be sure to have your camera ready! Bald Eagles aren’t the only animal that calls this lake home. Butternuts the Goat lives on a small island on Dale Hollow Lake. He’s so popular, he even has his own Facebook page! People from all over come to see Butternuts. You can’t miss him! Horseback riding is another popular activity on Dale Hollow Lake. There are 18 miles of trails, many of which are also suitable for hikers and bird watchers.