Bassmaster Classic, Bill Dance call attention to Tennessee lake improvements
Anglers will see major improvements across Tennessee lakes this spring as part of the new Bill Dance Signature Lakes initiative, just as thousands make their trek to Knoxville for the annual Bassmaster Classic beginning March 24. Often dubbed the "Super Bowl of Bass Fishing," the Classic brings anglers to Knoxville for the second time since 2019. Visitors can stop by the "Bill Dance Signature Lakes" booth at the Expo on Saturday, March 25 between 1:00 and 6:00 p.m. for a chance to meet and greet the legendary fisherman, Bill Dance, who serves as the inspiration behind the Signature Lakes program.
Bill Dance, professional bass fishing’s first superstar, has taught generations to fish. For more than five decades, Bill Dance has served as an ambassador to the state of Tennessee. The Bill Dance Signature Lakes is a collaborative effort between Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Tennessee State Parks and Tennessee Department of Tourist Development to improve and enhance Tennessee Lakes, increase visitation and honor Dance’s legacy.
Since the program was announced in December 2021, much work has taken place under the water in participating lakes, including the stocking of 935,000 fish in small lakes and 8.4 million fish in large reservoirs. Additional efforts are underway to improve habitat and fisheries management, as well as improved access for fishing and boating with new boat ramps, expanded parking, courtesy docks and fishing piers.
Bill Dance Signature Lakes is a collaborative effort between Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Tennessee State Parks and Tennessee Department of Tourist Development to improve and enhance Tennessee Lakes, increase visitation and honor Dance's legacy. The multi-agency partnership has committed more than $15 million to improvements — both above and below the water — at lakes bearing Tennessee icon Bill Dance's stamp of approval.
Work at 14 lakes across Tennessee since 2020 includes:
More than 136,000 fish stocked at Fall Creek Falls Lake, 220 habitat structures installed and eight fish feeders.
More than 160,000 fish stocked at Herb Parsons Lake, 175 habitat structures installed and new boat ramp completed.
More than 159,000 fish stocked at Browns Creek Lake.
More than 412,000 fish stocked at Lake Halford and 220 additional habitat structures.
Renovations to boat ramp and parking area at Pickwick Reservoir, as well as installation of new courtesy dock.
More than 8.4 million fish stocked at Kentucky Lake, Reelfoot Lake, Chickamauga Reservoir, Douglas Reservoir, Old Hickory Reservoir, Tims Ford Reservoir, Norris Reservoir, Watauga Reservoir and Dale Hollow Reservoir.
Tennessee is home to half-a-million acres of lakes and 1.84 million people who fish, according to the American Sportfishing Association. Fishing generates $1.3 billion in economic impact annually and supports 8,140 jobs across the state.
Each lake was selected by agency partners and Bill Dance for its ability to be a destination fishing location and provide quality fishing fun for avid anglers as well as families. Endorsed by Bill Dance Outdoors, projects are expected to near completion by fall 2024.
Note: Bill Dance, professional bass fishing's first superstar, has taught generations to fish. Dance began competing – and winning – in bass tournaments in the early 1960s. With over 2,000 shows under his belt since 1968, he has educated millions of fishing enthusiasts as host and producer of "Bill Dance Outdoors" and "Bill Dance Saltwater," airing respectively on the Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel.