About Dale Hollow Lake

They say theres history in these waters, and that is true. Beneath the calm, clean waters of Dale Hollow Lake are the remains of farms and towns raised from the wilderness by early settlers to these hills and valleys. 

Since the flooding and building of the Dale Hollow Dam in 1943, the Lake has become part of history and welcomes those who are writing their own. Explorers and adventurers still seek the place. Some ride horses on trails laced into the challenging terrain of the Highland Rim.

Others hunt the primordial forests or fish the clear depths of the lake. Birdwatchers, hikers, spelunkers and archeologists may find bald eagles, waterfalls, caves and shale-rock fossils on the Lakes banks.

There isn’t just history in the waters of Dale Hollow Lake – theres promise, too. The promise of memories, and fun. Catching the fish that beats a world record smallmouth bass once pulled from Dale Hollow Lake, houseboating with friends, teaching the kids to ski, diving to explore the ruins of a community, watching an eagle take flight, or floating through the reflection of the setting sun on the Lake.

Theres a future in these waters, and that future is yours to claim. Explore Dale Hollow Lake from Mitchell Creek Marina.


History and Facts

Dale Hollow Dam and Lake was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938 and the River and Harbor Act of 1943. Power generating units were added in 1948, 1949 and 1953. The project was designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and built by private contractors under the supervision of he Corps. For more on the history of Dale Hollow Lake, click here or here.

To see the dam under construction, watch this video on YouTube: Video

The dam, power-plant and reservoir are operated by the Nashville District of the Corps of Engineers. The Corp of Engineers page about Dale Hollow Lake, including numerous resources about fishing and water activities are included here.

Dale Hollow Dam is located approximately three miles East of Celina, Tenn., on the Obey River, 7.3 miles above its juncture with the Cumberland River at river mile 380.9. Dale Hollow Lake covers portions of Clay, Pickett, Overton and Fentress Counties in Tennessee and Clinton and Cumberland Counties in Kentucky. The project consists of 27,700 surface acres of water and 24,842 acres of surrounding land.

Minimum pool elevation is 631 feet above mean sea level (msl) (21,880 acres), normal pool elevation is 651 feet msl (27,700 acres) and maximum flood control pool is 663 feet msl (30,990 acres). Water fluctuations of 10 to 20 feet can occur throughout the year. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers controls water levels.

The entire shoreline is under the jurisdiction of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. The length is 620 miles at normal summer pool. Most of the shoreline is heavily wooded, and rock outcroppings are common. Development is restricted to marinas and day-use areas.

Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery

The excellent water quality of Dale Hollow Lake is important to the operation of the Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery located just below Dale Hollow Dam. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service operates the hatchery on 40 acres of land leased from the Corps of Engineers. Built in 1965 and expanded in 1994, the Dale Hollow Hatchery is the largest Federal trout hatchery East of the Mississippi producing 1.5 million trout annually – and average production of 300,000 pounds – for distribution in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. The hatchery is open to visitors every day from 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. It is a wonderful day trip for visitors to Mitchell Creek Marina.

The lake abounds with fish and wildlife and is the home of one of the largest wintering Bald Eagle populations in the area. The magnificent birds are generally seen from mid-December through mid-February.


SCUBA Diving and Boating

Dale Hollow’s crystal clear waters makes scuba diving a popular pastime. Divers must display a “Diver Down” flag in the area where they are diving. Boaters should be alert to the “Diver Down” flag and keep a safe distance away. For more information on scuba diving and boating regulations, contact the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency 1-800-262-6704.

For maps, brochures, information about things to do and more about relocating to the Dale Hollow Lake area permanently, visit the Clay County Chamber of Commerce.

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