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Saugeye, Sauger & Walleye Fishing In Tennessee

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Guide To Walleye, Sauger & Saugeye Fishing

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Walleye fishing in Tennessee

Tennessee offers excellent walleye fishing opportunities, attracting anglers with the chance to catch these prized game fish. The state is known for its populations of walleye, as well as related species such as sauger and saugeye, which provide exciting angling experiences in both lakes and rivers. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about walleye, saugeye and sauger fishing and identify popular walleye waters in the state.

Watch this video for walleye tips and tactics.

Tennessee's major lakes, such as Cherokee Lake, Norris Lake, and Watts Bar Lake, are renowned for their walleye fishing. These lakes have healthy walleye populations, with anglers often targeting them during the cooler months when walleye are more active and feeding near the surface. Trolling with crankbaits or casting with jigs and live bait are popular techniques for catching walleye in these lakes. These large bodies of water provide ample space for anglers to explore and find their preferred fishing spots.

Tennessee's rivers, particularly the Cumberland River, also offer productive walleye fishing. The Cumberland River is known for its excellent walleye and sauger populations. Anglers can target these species by drifting with jigs or casting along the riverbanks. Spring and fall are prime seasons for walleye and sauger fishing on the Cumberland River, as the fish move into shallower waters to spawn and feed.

Tennessee is also home to the hybrid species saugeye, a crossbreed between walleye and sauger. Saugeye are stocked in various lakes and reservoirs, including Melton Hill Lake and J. Percy Priest Lake. These fish combine the characteristics of their parent species, offering anglers the chance to experience the fight and feeding habits of both walleye and sauger. Saugeye can be targeted using similar techniques to walleye, with trolling and casting being effective methods.

Tennessee's state records for walleye, sauger, and saugeye demonstrate the potential for impressive catches in the state. These records reflect the quality of the walleye fishing available and highlight the opportunity for anglers to land trophy-sized fish.

Whether casting a line in Tennessee's lakes or rivers, walleye enthusiasts will find a variety of fishing opportunities. With the potential for trophy-sized catches and the scenic beauty surrounding these fisheries, Tennessee provides an ideal setting for walleye fishing adventures. Anglers can enjoy the challenge of targeting these elusive fish and the satisfaction of landing a prized walleye or related species.

Walleye Lakes In TN

Tennessee anglers are fortunate to have big lakes with quality walleye populations. These lakes include Calderwood Reservoir, Center Hill Lake, Cheatham Lake, Cherokee Lake, Chickamauga Lake, Chilhowee Lake, Cordell Hull Lake, Dale Hollow Reservoir, Douglas Lake, Fort Loudoun Lake, Great Falls Lake, J Percy Priest Lake, Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley, Melton Hill Lake, Nickajack Lake, Normandy Lake, Norris Lake, Old Hickory Lake, Percy Priest Lake, Pickwick Lake, South Holston Lake, Tellico Reservoir, Tims Ford Lake, Watauga Lake, Watts Bar Lake and Woods Reservoir. Rivers flowing into and out of these lakes are likely to hold a few walleye as well.

Fishing Boats For Rent In TN

Fishing for walleye in Tennessee



World record: 25 lbs 0 oz*

State Record: 25 lbs 0 oz*



World record: 17 lbs 7 oz

State Record: 7 lbs 6 oz



World record: 15 lbs 6 oz

State Record: 10 lbs 12 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

Top lures for walleye in Tennessee

Jigs with a variety of trailers and bait work well in virtually any depth water. When walleyes are shallow, spinnerbaits, small crankbaits and rip baits are the often very productive. As they move deeper, spoons are ideal for active walleye. Understanding the seasonal movements of walleyes improves your odds of selecting the right lures for conditions on local waters.

Old Hickory Reservoir turned out the state record walleye, which is also the current world record as well. The state record sauger came from Kentucky Reservoir, and Melton Hill Reservoir was home to the state record saugeye.

Fishing For Walleye

This toothy fish will eat virtually anything it can catch and get in its mouth. They prefer small fish and will eat crustaceans, worms and insects. They tend to be somewhat wary and prefer the safety of deeper darker water. Trolling for walleye with deep diving crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinners and live bait provides a way to cover vast areas and locate concentrations of fish. Use of planer boards allows anglers to cover water out both sides of the boat while trolling. Try fishing for walleye from sundown to midnight, particularly during the heat of summer.

Walleye spawn in spring and when they have the option will choose to migrate from the lake up into feeder streams to spawn. If this option is not available they seek out shallow bars or shoals with clean bottom surfaces near deep water.

Fishing For Sauger

Closely related to the walleye and similar in appearance, sauger are generally smaller than walleye, reaching 4 to 5 pounds (or more) and up to about 20 inches. Often found in muddier rivers, it thrives in larger, silty lakes. They spawn in the shallows at night, without creating or guarding specific nests.

Fishing For Saugeye

This hybrid is created by mating sauger with walleye. The walleye influence allows the hybrids to grow larger than sauger, often to sizes equaling walleye. Saugeye tend to survive best in turbid/silty water and are caught in the same general areas and habitat populated by walleye and sauger.

Walleye Resources

In-Fisherman - Walleye
U.S. Fish & Wildlife - Walleye
The National Wildlife Federation - Walleye


Also find information about walleye, sauger or saugeye fishing in these states.

AL Walleye Fishing AR Walleye Fishing AZ Walleye Fishing CO Walleye Fishing CT Walleye Fishing DE Walleye Fishing GA Walleye Fishing IA Walleye Fishing ID Walleye Fishing IL Walleye Fishing IN Walleye Fishing
KS Walleye Fishing KY Walleye Fishing MA Walleye Fishing MD Walleye Fishing MI Walleye Fishing MN Walleye Fishing MO Walleye Fishing MS Walleye Fishing MT Walleye Fishing NC Walleye Fishing ND Walleye Fishing
NE Walleye Fishing NH Walleye Fishing NJ Walleye Fishing NM Walleye Fishing NV Walleye Fishing NY Walleye Fishing OH Walleye Fishing OK Walleye Fishing OR Walleye Fishing PA Walleye Fishing SC Walleye Fishing
SD Walleye Fishing TN Walleye Fishing TX Walleye Fishing UT Walleye Fishing VA Walleye Fishing VT Walleye Fishing WA Walleye Fishing WI Walleye Fishing WV Walleye Fishing WY Walleye Fishing

Learn the migration patterns of walleye

Walleye become active in spring and begin the spawning process in medium-depth water. As summer arrives they move to deeper, cooler water. In fall walleye migrate into shallower water again and feed aggressively preparing for their move to deeper water where they will spend winter.