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Notice of inspection law: It is the duty of every person participating in the privileges of taking or possessing wildlife to permit agency officers to ascertain whether the requirements of this title are being faithfully complied with, including the possession of a proper license. It is a violation of law to refuse such inspection or to interfere with an officer attempting such inspection. TCA 70-6-101(b)(1)

  • » Basic Laws and Definitions
  • Stocking of any fish into public waters is strictly prohibited.
  • Explosives, chemicals and electrical shocking devices are strictly forbidden, and their use carries heavy penalties.
  • Shooting in the water with any type of firearm or air gun to injure or take fish or turtles is prohibited.
  • All boaters and passengers must wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket within the area designated and appropriately marked as a hazardous area below any dam and/or lock.
  • It is illegal to take any fish or turtle that is listed as endangered, threatened or in-need-of-management.
  • It is illegal to sell or offer to sell fish or turtles without a commercial fishing license.

Bait: Any living or dead organism, or prepared substance designed to attract fish by taste or odor. For the purpose of this proclamation bait includes, but is not limited to, fish, fish eggs, crayfish, worms, grubs, crickets, corn, cheese, bread, pork rinds, putty or paste-type products, and flavors or scents applied to or impregnated into artificial lures.

Culling: The removal of a fish from the creel limit and replacing it with another fish of the same species. The released fish must be a live, healthy specimen which should be expected to survive once it is returned to its natural environment.

Gigging: The taking of fish by means of a hand-held pole or spear with a tip consisting of a single, sharpened point or one or more sharpened barbed points. This includes, but is not limited to gear known as the Hawaiian sling.

Single hook: A hook with only one point.

Spear gun: Any device designed to propel a spear through water and is drawn or held by a mechanical device.

Reciprocal Agreements

Tennessee has several reciprocal agreements with adjacent states. These agreements have been arranged so that any fishing license from either Tennessee or the corresponding state is valid in the following waters.

  • » Alabama/Mississippi

Pickwick Lake: Applies to anyone with a valid Sport Fishing License from Tennessee, Alabama or Mississippi. Resident anglers of the three states may fish without purchasing a nonresident license anywhere within the boundaries covered by the agreement. The reciprocal area includes all impounded water from Pickwick Dam upstream to Tennessee River Mile 224.8 at the mouth of Bear Creek but does not include Bear Creek and does not include that portion of Yellow Creek above the Hwy. 25 Bridge. Sport fishing license holders shall abide by the regulations of the state in whose waters they are fishing.

  • » Arkansas

This state agrees to honor either license on the flowing waters of the Mississippi River, adjacent sloughs, bayous and old river runs, which are accessible by boat from the river proper, and the old river chutes forming a common boundary, excluding all wildlife management areas established by either state and the Wolf, Loosahatchie, Hatchie, Forked Deer and Obion rivers. The following common regulations apply:

  • Black bass: creel limit 10, no length limit
  • Bream: creel limit 50, no length limit
  • Catfish: no creel limit, only one per day over 34 inches
  • Crappie: creel limit 50, no length limit
  • Striped bass and Hybrid striped bass: creel limit 6, no length limit
  • Sauger: creel limit 6, no length limit
  • White bass: creel limit 30, no length limit

All anglers must follow Arkansas regulations governing creel and size limits, trotlines, and other equipment requirements on Ikes Chute, Hopefield Chute, Mosquito Lake, Mound City Lake, Island 40 Chute and Lake Neark.

  • » Kentucky

Dale Hollow Lake: Sportfishing licenses from either state are recognized in Wolf River including Illwill Creek, beginning at a line crossing the Wolf River at its mouth where it joins the Obey River. Creel limits and other regulations of the state where the license was issued apply.

Big South Fork of the Cumberland River: Sportfishing licenses from either state are recognized from Leatherwood Ford Bridge (Hwy. 279) in Tennessee, downstream to the Hwy. 92 bridge at Yamacraw, Kentucky. Creel limits and other regulations of the state where the license was issued apply.

Kentucky Lake: Each state will recognize the sport fishing licenses for the other state on the portion of Kentucky Lake south of the Eggners Ferry Bridge (US 68 & Hwy. 80) in Kentucky and north of the Governor Ned McWherter Bridge (US 79 & Hwy. 76) in Tennessee. This includes all embayments and tributaries within this portion of Kentucky Lake except the Blood River embayment. Blood River embayment shall be defined as a straight line between opposite points where the embayment connects to the main body of Kentucky Lake. A sport fishing license holder from either state may fish from the bank or attach legal sport fishing trot or limb lines in this described portion of Kentucky Lake. Sport fishing license holders shall abide by the regulations of the state in whose waters they are fishing. Wildlife enforcement officials in either state shall have the right to inspect the licenses, permits, catches and equipment of any person on this portion of Kentucky Lake subject to the laws of either state.

  • » Missouri

Persons possessing a valid sportfishing license in either state may fish in the Mississippi River and its backwaters within the boundaries of the other state and any oxbow lakes through which the Missouri-Tennessee boundary passes. They may fish from or attach any device or equipment to land under the jurisdiction of the other state. Persons licensed in only one state may not fish in the Mississippi River tributaries of the other state. Anglers must comply with the fishing regulations of the state where they are fishing and when fishing where they are not licensed will comply with the most restrictive state’s regulation. Persons legally exempted from license requirements of either state are entitled to these privileges and provisions.

Except where it is shown to be elsewhere, the center of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers navigation channel will be the boundary between Tennessee and Missouri.

  • » North Carolina

Sportfishing licenses from either state are recognized in all of Calderwood Reservoirwhile fishing from a boat and in that portion of Slickrock Creek which constitutes the boundary between the two states. See Region 4 Reservoir Regulations and Trout Regulations for regulations on Calderwood Reservoir and Slickrock Creek, respectively.

  • » Virginia

South Holston Reservoir: Tennessee residents may purchase an annual South Holston Reservoir License (Type 063) to fish the VA portion of South Holston Reservoir. Virginia residents can purchase a similar license from VDGIF to fish the TN portion of the reservoir. Anglers that are not TN or VA residents must abide by the state boundary line unless they purchase other appropriate fishing licenses from both states.

A South Holston Reservoir License is valid for all impounded portions of the reservoir below full pool elevation of 1,730 feet, including the confluence of the Middle Fork and South Fork Holston Rivers and the South Fork Holston upstream to the Route 710 Bridge at Alvarado, VA.

In addition to the South Holston Reservoir License, an angler must have whatever licenses that are required to fish in their home state. A valid resident TN trout fishing license or a valid resident VA trout fishing license is required to fish for trout. All anglers shall abide by the laws of the state in which they are fishing as to manner and means of taking fish. Length and creel limits are listed under Region 4 Reservoir Regulations.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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