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Moray

Retiring to Tennessee

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Even though it’s 4-5 years away my wife and I are starting to discuss where we want to live in retirement. We both want lakefront and have pretty much decided on eastern Tennessee. I was hoping to get some insight and advice on the lakes in that area. We are originally from the northeast and now living in SoCal. I have no experience with large lakes that have a winter drawdown. I love bass fishing of all types but really love smallmouth fishing so would like to end up on a lake with decent SM fishing. We want to start traveling to the area to check it out. Looking for suggestions as to lakes and areas on those lakes to checkout. Thanks Ray

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If you like smallmouth, dale hollow lake is an amazing smallmouth fishery. The world record smallmouth was caught there

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There’s a whole bunch of lakes just like you described in E TN. Like probably 12-15! They only draw down the Tennessee River lakes 5-8 feet in winter, they draw down the tributaries 30+\- feet for flood control (it rains A LOT) so lake front property may be thick mud front property for 8 months out of the year. Also the tributary lakes are drawn down starting sept 1 and the main river doesn’t go down until December 1. Good smallie lakes: south holston, watauga, Norris Cherokee, fort Loudoun, tellico, portions of Douglas, Boone, Melton hill, watts bar, portions of chickamauga. These are all big rivers with dams but there’s a ton of smaller free flowing rivers with big smallmouth as well. Then in you include the cumberland plateau you have center hill, dale hollow, Tim’s ford ..... there’s a lot of water and a lot of smallmouth. You may want to choose which lake to live on based on other factors like proximity to town, weather, etc. some places are quite remote with crazy weather 

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On 8/12/2019 at 7:37 PM, Moray said:

Even though it’s 4-5 years away my wife and I are starting to discuss where we want to live in retirement. We both want lakefront and have pretty much decided on eastern Tennessee. I was hoping to get some insight and advice on the lakes in that area. We are originally from the northeast and now living in SoCal. I have no experience with large lakes that have a winter drawdown. I love bass fishing of all types but really love smallmouth fishing so would like to end up on a lake with decent SM fishing. We want to start traveling to the area to check it out. Looking for suggestions as to lakes and areas on those lakes to checkout. Thanks Ray

There's a couple threads just like this.  My wife and I have made the same decision....based on climate, affordability of waterfront property, quality fishing, tax treatment of our retirement 'income', etc.

 

A few years ago we took a long weekend to checkout the TVA lakes.  We absolutely fell in love with Dandridge and decided then and there that we are going to live on Douglas.  I've been all over the country, and all over the world and I've never visited a place where the people were so friendly.  I'm still a little uneasy about the drawdowns...and we've expanded our search just a little to include TN River and Boone...The entire area holds a ton of appeal.

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TnRiver46, thanks for your reply. My wife has been looking at properties on Tellico. Is this a lake that would require us to be on main lake to not be left high and dry? If I buy water front I want there to be water!lol

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Thanks Choporoz. I will definitely start looking into Douglas lake area. Like you I’m a little nervous about the draw down issue. We are looking forward to exploring E Tennessee.

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2 hours ago, Choporoz said:

There's a couple threads just like this.  My wife and I have made the same decision....based on climate, affordability of waterfront property, quality fishing, tax treatment of our retirement 'income', etc.

 

A few years ago we took a long weekend to checkout the TVA lakes.  We absolutely fell in love with Dandridge and decided then and there that we are going to live on Douglas.  I've been all over the country, and all over the world and I've never visited a place where the people were so friendly.  I'm still a little uneasy about the drawdowns...and we've expanded our search just a little to include TN River and Boone...The entire area holds a ton of appeal.

Well Boone is down 30 feet for a leaky dam and has been for years. Might get a killer deal! Haha

1 hour ago, Moray said:

TnRiver46, thanks for your reply. My wife has been looking at properties on Tellico. Is this a lake that would require us to be on main lake to not be left high and dry? If I buy water front I want there to be water!lol

I have a house on tellico, they only drop it 5-6 feet. It's connected to fort Loudoun via canal so it's levels are identical. 

Also, the winter drawdowns are not necessarily aesthetically pleasing but the fishing is better . The tricky part about it is a boat dock.

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That's what we were thinking....been watching prices for a while....not seeing the killer deals we'd hoped for.

 

Pretty cool standing on the shore and looking up 40 feet at the bottom of boats still sitting on lifts

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21 hours ago, TnRiver46 said:

Well Boone is down 30 feet for a leaky dam and has been for years. Might get a killer deal! Haha

I have a house on tellico, they only drop it 5-6 feet. It's connected to fort Loudoun via canal so it's levels are identical. 

Also, the winter drawdowns are not necessarily aesthetically pleasing but the fishing is better . The tricky part about it is a boat dock.

Do you keep a boat in the water year round at your place on Tellico or do you have to remove it during drawdown? Are there any areas on Tellico you would recommend for us to look at?

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2 hours ago, Moray said:

Do you keep a boat in the water year round at your place on Tellico or do you have to remove it during drawdown? Are there any areas on Tellico you would recommend for us to look at?

I don’t keep a boat there ever except kayaks laying up on dry land. The boat traffic will beat a boat to death if you don’t have a lift, which I don’t. My boat slip dries up in winter but there is still water close to end of the dock. I might could keep a boat tied up on a long rope in winter but The water can fluctuate several inches each day so I don’t risk dry docking it. Tellico is more of a pleasure boat lake with some fishermen. Tellico village is the most popular (and massive) retirement community on the lake 

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I live around the corner from Norris Lake about 2 minutes and 2 left turns from where I put in at.

They drop the water 20 feet every year. It is like having several different lakes throughout the year.

My in-laws live on the water and have a covered dock they move with the water dropping/rising to a point.

They keep their Sea Ray in the dock all summer.

 

There are 2 small towns about 20 minutes away from me and I'm about an hour outside of Knoxville.

My area is more rural but being on the lake means that May-Sept is busy.

 

My mom moved to Hampton TN, which is right near Watauga lake and an Appalachian trailhead.

South Holston lake isn't too far from there and both are gorgeous lakes.

The further east you go it becomes more mountainous.

 

 

On 8/14/2019 at 9:09 AM, Choporoz said:

There's a couple threads just like this.  My wife and I have made the same decision....based on climate, affordability of waterfront property, quality fishing, tax treatment of our retirement 'income', etc.

 

A few years ago we took a long weekend to checkout the TVA lakes.  We absolutely fell in love with Dandridge and decided then and there that we are going to live on Douglas.  I've been all over the country, and all over the world and I've never visited a place where the people were so friendly.  I'm still a little uneasy about the drawdowns...and we've expanded our search just a little to include TN River and Boone...The entire area holds a ton of appeal.

Dandridge is a very nice town and Douglas is a great lake.

I agree with the people being nice as can be.

 

 

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Depending on the lay of the land you could have steep drop offs during draw down

 

image.png.2b0c833bfdb81e24f2adbb7f7f83d096.png

 

image.png.b5bf82b3fe356c7c6e43a9ce509b4d26.png

 

 

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9 hours ago, TnRiver46 said:

I don’t keep a boat there ever except kayaks laying up on dry land. The boat traffic will beat a boat to death if you don’t have a lift, which I don’t. My boat slip dries up in winter but there is still water close to end of the dock. I might could keep a boat tied up on a long rope in winter but The water can fluctuate several inches each day so I don’t risk dry docking it. Tellico is more of a pleasure boat lake with some fishermen. Tellico village is the most popular (and massive) retirement community on the lake 

Thanks for the info. Is Douglas a better fishing lake or the same as Tellico?

6 hours ago, BassNJake said:

Depending on the lay of the land you could have steep drop offs during draw down

 

image.png.2b0c833bfdb81e24f2adbb7f7f83d096.png

 

image.png.b5bf82b3fe356c7c6e43a9ce509b4d26.png

 

 

Wow!

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6 hours ago, BassNJake said:

I live around the corner from Norris Lake about 2 minutes and 2 left turns from where I put in at.

They drop the water 20 feet every year. It is like having several different lakes throughout the year.

My in-laws live on the water and have a covered dock they move with the water dropping/rising to a point.

They keep their Sea Ray in the dock all summer.

 

There are 2 small towns about 20 minutes away from me and I'm about an hour outside of Knoxville.

My area is more rural but being on the lake means that May-Sept is busy.

 

My mom moved to Hampton TN, which is right near Watauga lake and an Appalachian trailhead.

South Holston lake isn't too far from there and both are gorgeous lakes.

The further east you go it becomes more mountainous.

 

 

Dandridge is a very nice town and Douglas is a great lake.

I agree with the people being nice as can be.

 

 

Are Watauga and Holston both lakes with drawdown?

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Check out tva.gov , select a lake and click operating guide. It will tell you exsct yearly elevation and flow for each one . I believe most would consider Douglas better for fishing than tellico. The crowds will back me up on that, there can be several hundred bass boats on Douglas at any time and the amount of crappie fisherman there is a sight to behold 

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I preferred Tellico to Douglas for fishing, as you can head up the Little T arm to Chilhowie and onward. It’s also a flatter topography to deal with and less severe as far as drawdowns. (Great golf courses there too)

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Tellico is also generally less crowded than Ft London or Douglas, as he said above. Personal opinion but I think if you’re looking for small use it’s upper reaches are the best big lake in that area, unless you want to do one of the mountain lakes like Hiwassee or the like.

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