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Chickamauga Lake

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) began construction on the Chickamauga Dam in 1936 and completed it in 1940, impounding the Tennessee River. This reservoir is the third out of nine going downstream from Knoxville, after Fort Loudoun and Watt's Bar Lakes. Boaters, swimmers, water skiers, campers, jet skiers, and anglers use Chickamauga Lake (also known as Chickamauga Reservoir) all along its 36,000-plus acres of water and 784 miles of shoreline. The southern end of the lake is more active, since that end of the lake is located in a highly populated area.

A lock at Chickamauga Dam allows commercial barges and tugboats to enter both the Chickamauga and the Nickajack Reservoirs.


The lake features largemouth and white bass, channel catfish, sauger, white crappie, and bluegill. Chickamauga Lake holds records for several fish, including a brown bullhead catfish at 2.14 pounds in 1980, a yellow bullhead catfish at 4.8 pounds in 1979, and a smallmouth buffalo at 34.4 pounds in 1986.


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    Chickamauga Lake Tennessee Coordinates:
35.1039N -85.2294W
Map It:
Lake Type:
Surface Area:
36,240 acres
Maximum Depth:
72 ft
677 ft
Normal Water Clarity:
3-6 ft
Major City:


Boaters can find numerous access points from any direction along this lake. If you want to avoid the more populated lower portion of the lake, you can find more than twenty boat ramps on both shores north of Middle Valley and the Harrison Bay State Park. Approximately 12 commercial marinas supply everything a visitor would need from groceries to overnight lodging and camping.


Harrison Bay State Park offers 128 camp sites with water and hookups and a few sites that can accommodate RVs up to 65 feet. This is just one camping area around the lake, as TVA manages eight recreation areas as well. For those who want more sheltered accommodations, Chattanooga and its suburbs offer everything from hotels and motels to suites, inns, and B&Bs.

If visitors want to avoid Chattanooga, other lodging opportunities exist in Cleveland to the east, and in the northern part of the lake at Dayton.

Review the Lake Resource Guide for additional lodging.


Chickamauga Lake extends into Meigs, Rhea, and Hamilton Counties, and the southern end of the lake is located near the heavily populated Chattanooga suburbs. Located upstream from Nickajack Lake, two bridges cross Chickamauga Lake at State Highway 60 (Hiwassee Highway) and Highway 30. These roads offer easy access to other towns north and east of the lake.

Other towns in the lake region include Cleveland, Dayton, Sale Creek, Soddy-Daisy, Middle Valley, Hixson, and Harrison.

Fun times at Chickamauga Lake  Chickamauga Lake

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Average Temperatures Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg. High  50 Avg. High  55 Avg. High  64 Avg. High  73 Avg. High  80 Avg. High  87 Avg. High  90 Avg. High  90 Avg. High  83 Avg. High  73 Avg. High  62 Avg. High  52
Avg. Low  31 Avg. Low  34 Avg. Low  41 Avg. Low  48 Avg. Low  57 Avg. Low  66 Avg. Low  70 Avg. Low  69 Avg. Low  62 Avg. Low  50 Avg. Low  40 Avg. Low  33