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Nickajack Lake

Nickajack Lake is the fourth reservoir located downstream from Knoxville along the Tennessee River. It is located between Chickamauga Lake and Dam on the north side of Chattanooga, and Guntersville Dam and Lake in Alabama. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) built the dam that impounded this lake in 1964 to replace the old Hales Bar Dam located about six miles upstream. The lake opened to the public in 1967, and it stretches 46 miles from Nickajack Dam to Chickamauga Dam.

This lake offers spectacular scenery in an area known as the "Grand Canyon of Tennessee," where the river once flowed through a treacherous stretch of the Tennessee River Gorge. This now placid and scenic backdrop overlooks a variety of lake activities, including accommodations for boating, fishing, water skiing, jet skiing, swimming, camping, public parks, public access areas, and picnic areas.


Anglers can expect to find catfish, bluegill, smallmouth and largemouth bass, spotted and white bass, and some striped bass in Nickajack Lake. No state record fish have been recorded here yet.


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    Nickajack Lake Tennessee Coordinates:
35.0042N -85.6194W
Map It:
Lake Type:
Surface Area:
10,370 acres
Maximum Depth:
145 ft
620 ft
Normal Water Clarity:
3-6 ft
Major City:


The public can enjoy fishing berms located on both sides of the river below the dam, as well as a concrete fishing pier that has foot bridges and a wheelchair ramp.


Nickajack Lake is located about 25 miles from Cloudland Canyon State Park, which offers two-bedroom cottages and tent and RV sites as well as backcountry campsites. Camping also is available on the lake, on I-24 at exit 161. This campground offers cabins and tent and RV sites.

Since this lake is located just twenty miles from the heart of Chattanooga, visitors also can enjoy a wider variety of lodging from hotels and motels to inns and resorts.

Review the Lake Resource Guide for additional lodging.


Nickajack Lake is located in Marion County, Tennessee, about 30 minutes from Chattanooga via I-24. Nearby cities include New Hope, Rankin Cover, Ladds, Kimball, and South Pittsburg. One point on the lake reaches near two other state lines -- Georgia and Alabama. I-24 passes over the lake just a few miles to the north of Nickajack Dam. State Highway 156 also crosses the lake near the three state borders to and from South Pittsburg, Tennessee. This is the last reservoir in Tennessee along the Tennessee River before it meanders into Alabama.

Fun times at Nickajack Lake  Nickajack Lake

  Nickajack Lake  Nickajack Lake

Average Temperatures Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg. High  48 Avg. High  54 Avg. High  63 Avg. High  72 Avg. High  79 Avg. High  86 Avg. High  89 Avg. High  88 Avg. High  82 Avg. High  72 Avg. High  62 Avg. High  51
Avg. Low  28 Avg. Low  32 Avg. Low  38 Avg. Low  46 Avg. Low  55 Avg. Low  63 Avg. Low  67 Avg. Low  66 Avg. Low  59 Avg. Low  47 Avg. Low  38 Avg. Low  30