Fort Loudoun Lake Information

Fort Loudoun Lake winds like a long snake through Blount, Knox, and Loudon Counties halfway between Knoxville, on the northeast, and Maryville, Tennessee, on the southeast, with Farragut, Tennessee, on the northwest. The Tennessee River feeds Fort Loudoun Lake, which is the uppermost lake, in a chain of nine Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) reservoirs that form a continuous navigable channel from Knoxville to Paducah, Kentucky, 652 miles away.

Fort Loudoun Lake is connected by a short canal to the Tellico Lake on the nearby Little Tennessee River. The TVA diverts water through this canal to Fort Loudoun for power production. Commercial barges access Tellico Lake through the canal without a lock. Fort Loudoun’s 60 by 360-foot lock raises and lowers watercraft about 70 feet between Fort Loudoun and Watts Bar Lake. Barges passing through the Fort Loudoun lock carry half a million tons of cargo a year. 

Fort Loudoun Lake covers 14,600 acres with 379 miles of shoreline and a maximum depth of 40 feet. The backdrop of the Smoky Mountains on the south frames Fort Loudoun Lake, which is known for great bass fishing and boating. Fort Loudoun Lake is located at the headwaters of the Tennessee River near Knoxville and extends 55 miles upstream from the dam to the confluence of the Holston and French Broad Rivers. Fort Loudoun’s Lake area population is 173,890.


Fort Loudoun Lake History

The TVA began construction of the Fort Loudoun Dam in 1940 and completed it in 1943. Fort Loudoun Reservoir takes its name from the 18th-century British fort built on a nearby site during the French and Indian War, which took its name from a British officer. 

Fort Loudoun was named for John Campbell, the fourth Earl of Loudoun, Commander of British forces in North America at the time. The Fort Loudoun State Historic Park houses the original British Fort. The British army constructed Ft. Loudoun between 1756 and 1757 with the purpose of fostering the Cherokee Nation’s support during the French and Indian War (Seven Years War) against the French. 

 In August 1760, the Cherokee captured Fort Loudoun and its garrison. The fort was not used again for military purposes after the British surrendered. Historians believe that when the British army marched away, the Cherokees destroyed the fort. Nature took over the fort, and only in 1917 did the Colonial Dames of America realize its significance and place a commemorative marker at the fort’s site. 

The Tennessee General Assembly purchased the site of Fort Loudoun in 1933 and created the Fort Loudoun Association to manage it. The Fort Loudoun Association operated the fort for 44 years until it reverted to Tennessee State Parks in 1977. The fort is 38 miles southwest of Knoxville. 

Knoxville is in Knox County, established in 1792, which was then known as the Territory South of the River Ohio, and named in honor of Henry Knox, an American Revolutionary War artillery commander, one of the founders of the Society of the Cincinnati, and the first U.S. secretary of war.

Fort Loudoun Lake and Knoxville lie near the center of the Great Valley of East Tennessee. The Cherokee Indians hunted in the valley before European settlement. The founder of Knoxville, James White, established his home there in 1786 as a fort with a cluster of cabins.

In the 1800s, Knoxville’s river access, railroad connections, and geographical location led the city to become one of the leading distribution centers in the south. Knoxville’s assets were a prize heavily fought over during the American Civil War. Knoxville and the rest of Tennessee were divided between the blue and the gray. Knoxville rebuilt its economy through commerce, industry, and natural resources that included lumber, coal, and marble after the war. 

Knoxville hosted a World's Fair and 11 million visitors in 1982. The fair’s theme, "Energy Turns the World," reflects the city's prominent role in technology. Today, Knoxville is known for pioneers in industry, leaders in the arts, and traditionalists working to preserve its cultural heritage. Visitors can explore Knoxville's culture and history in its 20 museums, numerous performing arts venues, and its historic neighborhoods. 


Fort Loudoun Lake Fishing

Predominant game species include largemouth, hybrid striped (Cherokee), smallmouth, spotted, and striped bass, bluegill, blue, channel, and flathead catfish, 15 species of crappie, paddlefish, sauger, redear sunfish, walleye, and warmouth. Fort Loudoun Lake features 17 boat ramps, and fishing from power boats is popular. Fort Loudoun Lake bass fishing is excellent.

Creel limits are in place for most of the above fish except bluegill, catfish, and warmouth. Anglers fish from canoes, kayaks, and all types of fishing boats. Miles of creek channels, ledges, humps and points provide excellent holding areas for schooling fish when they move out of the shallows in summer and winter. Dock and shoreline fishing also provide productive catches.

In spring, find largemouths in Creek points and channels, in summer focus on the river channel points and humps, and in fall, check out creek mouths and river channel points. For smallmouths, look in creek mouths and river channel points in spring, river channel points and humps in summer, and river channels in fall. Concentrate on  bridge riprap and rocky areas for spotted bass.

Fort Loudoun produces crappie in good numbers and sizes. The majority of the fishery is comprised of white crappie, although black crappie are productive. Crappie are typically harvested when they reach the minimum size limit. Catfishing is also excellent on Fort Loudoun Lake. The state record is a 130-pound blue catfish that was taken by commercial gear from Fort Loudoun Lake in 1976. 

Sauger fishing in Fort Loudoun reservoir is productive in the late winter and early spring in a section of the reservoir locally known as the “forks of the river” created by the confluence of the Holston and French Broad rivers that form the Tennessee River and the headwaters of Fort Loudoun Lake. 

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) issued health advisories against the consumption of catfish and largemouth bass over two pounds and any largemouth bass from the Little Tennessee River Embayment, which includes parts of Fort Loudoun Lake, are in effect. These advisories are due to PCB and mercury contamination.

Creel Limits

  • Largemouth bass: 5 per day, 14 inch minimum.
  • Hybrid striped bass: 2 per day, 15 inch minimum.
  • Rock bass: 20 per day, no minimum length. 
  • Smallmouth bass: 5 per day, 18 inch minimum.
  • Spotted bass: 15 per day, no minimum length. 
  • Striped bass: 2 per day, 15 inch minimum.
  • White bass: 15 per day, no minimum length. 
  • Bluegill/Warmouth: no creel limits. 
  • Catfish: No daily limit for fish under 34 inches, 1 per day over 34 inches.
  • Crappie: 15 per day, 10 inch minimum, any combination.
  • Paddlefish: 2 per day, no minimum length, season is April 24 to May 31. 
  • Redear Sunfish: 20 per day, no minimum length.
  • Sauger: 10 per day, 15 inch limit. 
  • Walleye: 5 per day, 16 inch limit. 

Several Fort Loudoun Lake fishing guides are ready to take you on a rewarding fishing adventure, but with so many water bodies in East Tennessee, the possibility of finding a charter service is multiplied because regional guides work several lakes and rivers in East Tennessee. 

Check out experienced local pro guides on our Fort Loudoun Lake Fishing Guides page.


Boating Fort Loudoun Lake

A short canal connects the Tellico Lake downstream on the Little Tennessee River to Fort Loudoun Lake for power production and commercial barge access. The confluence of the Holston and French Broad Rivers is located slightly east of downtown Knoxville, and this area marks the beginning of the Tennessee River. This area offers both river and lake access to boaters. A lock at Fort Loudoun raises and lowers boats by about 70 feet between the lake and Watts Bar Lake, which is the second lake in the series of reservoirs on the Tennessee River.

Boaters also can gain access to Fort Loudon Lake through 17 boat ramps located in parks, marinas, and on creeks surrounding the lake. Twelve marinas call Fort Loudoun Lake their home. They offer a wide variety of amenities and services like boat clubs, dry storage, rentals, ramps, repairs, restaurants, restrooms, sales, and slips, overnight parking, pump out services, restaurants, ship’s stores, and towing services. Wi-Fi is iffy at some of them, but six of the marinas are on Knoxville city’s western edge, along with boat-up restaurants. 

Fort Loudoun Lake’s shores are lined with homes and businesses, plus the lake is home to the “University of Tennessee’s Volunteer Navy”, which navigates it way up to Volunteer Landing located nearby to Neyland Stadium, home of the University of Tennessee Volunteers during football season. Fort Loudoun Lake and Knoxville are also home to the largest fireworks show in the nation, Boombs Day. 

Fort Loudoun Lake feeds into Tellico Lake and a quick boat ride through the Fort Loudon dam puts you on beautiful Watts Bar Lake. During the warmer months, many waterfront events take place all along Fort Loudoun Lake. At the marinas in Knoxville, you can just hop of your boat, eat great food, and enjoy a shopping or sightseeing trip. 


Fort Loudoun Lake Real Estate

Fort Loudoun Lake homes for sale comprise the fourth largest market for lake homes and lake lots in Tennessee. Generally, 200 lake homes are for sale on Fort Loudoun Lake at any time. Fort Loudoun Lake will typically have about 180 lake lots and land for sale. Fort Loudoun Lake homes sell for an average list price of $858,000, with many great homes at higher and lower prices. 

Fort Loudon Dam is located just 30 minutes from Knoxville's McGhee Tyson Airport, and 28 miles from the heart of downtown Knoxville via I-75. The reservoir stretches across Blount and Knox Counties, with nearby towns including Farragut, Lenoir City, Loudon, Louisville, and Maryville. Fort Loudoun Lake is the perfect lake to enjoy the best of nature colliding with the best of city conveniences. 

Fort Loudoun Lake winds like a snake for 55 miles southwest of Knoxville following the Tennessee River. If you buy a home further downstream on the lake, it is a bit further to commute to Knoxville, but on either side of the lake, there are plenty of cities offering most of the same conveniences. Knoxville school districts serve educational needs at Fort Loudon Lake in Alcoa, Knoxville, Lenoir, Loudon, and Maryville, Tennessee. 

Check out our Fort Loudoun Real Estate page.


Fort Loudoun Lake Cabin Rentals

If you want to experience a vacation home at Fort Loudoun Lake, check out vrbo.com and airbnb.com. Even though Fort Loudoun Lake is lined with homes and businesses, its market is limited for vacation home rentals. It is the same with Fort Loudoun Lake cabin rentals; they are barely existent. If you do find a cabin rental, it will probably be near the lower river channel of Fort Loudoun Lake, but not on the lake. Plan and book early for a indoor experience with an outdoor sabbatical away from city life. 

Check out our Fort Loudoun Cabin Rentals page.


Fort Loudoun Lake Camping

There are few camping options at Fort Loudoun Lake. There are three camping options for the public, the Poland Creek Camp Ground, Soaring Eagle Campground, and Yarberry Campground. The East Tennessee District Church of the Nazarene owns the Foothills Camp and Retreat Center. There are a few more Fort Loudoun RV parks than campgrounds. Fort Loudoun Lake leans more toward an urban lifestyle.

The Poland Creek Campground and recreational facility is located on Lowes Ferry Road in Louisville. This campground offers 34 campsites and 24 sites providing electricity with lakefront and lake view campsites. This park leases sites daily and monthly. Tent sites are available first come first serve basis. The Poland Creek Campground is wildly popular and frequently completely occupied with no availability.

The Yarberry Campground hosts 13 tent and RV campsites. It offers 15, 20, 30, and 50-amp electrical hookups and is pet-friendly with bank fishing, big rig access, a camp store, daily RV pumping services via a honey wagon, showers and restrooms, and a swim beach. This camp ground offers a wonderful camping experience, but it is not a quiet campground at times due to the activity of boats and businesses operating on the lake.

The Soaring Eagle Campground 

The Soaring Eagle Campground has 38 tent campsites with electric, 12 primitive campsites right on the Clinch River, and 77 RV sites with 20, 30 and 50-amp hookups. Each camp site has a picnic table and a fire pit, separated from the RV Sites. Amenities include heated and air conditioned bathhouses and laundry facilities, a boat ramp, boat and RV storage, a dock, a general store, horseshoe pits, pet-friendly, picnic areas, a picnic shelter, RV sites with sewer, and water hookups, a swimming pool, a volleyball court, and free Wi-Fi at most campsites. Reservations are recommended. 

It is located at 3152 Butter Milk Road, West Lenoir City, Tennessee. 

The Yarberry Campground offers a good mix of sun and shade at its 97 campsites with fire pits, grills, and picnic tables. Amenities include two air conditioned and heated bathhouses. Boat rentals available at its office include pontoon boats, paddleboards, paddleboats, and kayaks. 

The Yarberry Campground is located at 4825 Yarberry Road, Lenoir City, Tennessee.

Check out our Fort Loudoun Campgrounds page.


Hiking Fort Loudoun Lake

The Fort Loudoun Historical State Park Trails

The Fort Loudoun Historical State Park has five miles of moderately rated trails that loop around the park. Trail maps are available at the park office, on its website, and on its mobile app. 

Ridge Top Trail Loop: 1.55-mile, rated moderate. It offers beautiful views of the mountains and valley through meadow and along the river and then up the ridge. The scenic overlook at the top offers spectacular views of the lake with the Smoky Mountains in the background.

Meadow Loop: 2.50-mile, rated moderate. Beginning at the picnic area, this trail wanders through meadows of native grasses that provide excellent habitat for quail and other birds.

Lost Shoe Loop: 0.4-mile, rated moderate. This trail is a short spur trail off the Meadow Loop Trail.

River Gate Trail: 0.10-mile, rated moderate. This trail takes you on a short walk around the Fort’s bastion and to the river.

The Fort Loudoun Loop: 3.9-mile loop, rated moderately challenging. A loop around the borders of Fort Loudoun Historic State Park touches both sides of the peninsula it sits on. 

Other Fort Loudoun Lake Trails

The East Lakeshore Trail System, also known as the East Tellico Hiking Trail,  provides a recreational and educational experience, and is recognized by the U.S. Department of the Interior as a National Recreation Trail. Its 31-mile trail system consists of ten segments available for public use year round. Access to the trail is at eight trailheads with vehicle parking for 15 to 20 vehicles and kiosks with maps and other information. Two boat landings are available for easy access by boaters who want to hike northern parts of the trail.

The Baker Hollow Branch is a 3.2-mile, easy, out-and-back trail near Lenoir City, Tennessee. It is a popular trail for hiking, running, and walking. 

The Davis Ferry Branch Trail is a 3.3-mile, moderately easy, out-and-back trail near Lenoir City, Tennessee and is great for hiking and running. 

The Canal Branch Trail, at 1.5-miles, offers lake views, and the Canal Branch junctions with the Baker Hollow Branch at the Mizell Trailhead. 

The Glendale Shortcut Trail, at 2.8-miles, intersects with the Powerline Point Loop, which is 2.2-miles and goes from the trailhead to Powerline Point Loop and returns via the Glendale Shortcut Trail.

The Coytee Loop Branch, at 2.4-miles, extends north from the Coytee Trailhead and includes a 1.2 mile self-guided interpretive loop trail. It incorporates eight learning sites marked by lettered posts along the trail.

Other trails in this system include the Jackson Bend Trail at 5.1 miles, Lotterdale Trail at 3.8 miles, Morganton Trail at 3.1 miles, Sinking Creek Trail at 4.5-miles, and Wildcat Ridge Spur Trail at 1 mile.

The Dog Park in Lenoir City near the Fort Loudoun Marina has a big dog side and a small dog side with plenty of shade, a pond, a small pavilion, and a hose to rinse off muddy paws. 


Fort Loudoun Things to Do

The City of Knoxville and its nearby Fort Loudoun Lake area reportedly have more restaurants per capita than any city in the U.S. with many accessible by boat. They offer traditional bar-and-grill fare with menus ranging from barbecue to burgers, pasta, and pizza, and unique Tennessee cuisine. The Fort Loudoun Lake region hosts endless festivals year round. 

For fun-seekers looking for more structured activities, tours abound, from the chocolate and wine tour, to garden tours, riverboat tours, brewery tours, and the Civil War Trail tour. Festivals and fishing tournaments are also popular, and during college football season, there’s nothing like catching a University of Tennessee home game with the Volunteer Navy. Neyland Stadium is accessible by boat, and up to 200 vessels and their pigskin-crazed passengers turn out to tailgate here before and after games.

Steeped in history, Knoxville, Tennessee, has so much to offer visitors and residents at Fort Loudoun Lake. The Fort Loudoun Historical State Park, located at 338 Fort Loudoun Road, Vonore, Tennessee, sits atop of 1,200-acres. It is one of the earliest British fortifications on the western frontier, built in 1756. Today, the reconstructed fort and the ruins of the 1794 Tellico Blockhouse overlook TVA’s Tellico Reservoir. 

Fort Loudoun Lake is a major recreation attraction for Tennessee residents and out-of-state visitors who love bass fishing and bird watching, which includes herons, gulls, osprey, kingfishers and bald eagles, or boat camping in mind. Prater’s Flat, the Fort Loudoun Lake’s “party cove” is the place to be on a sunny weekend, while rafted up with hundreds of other party-going boaters. Ziplining adventures await just south of the lake in the Smoky Mountains. 

Things to must-see off of Fort Loudoun Lake include the Ijams Nature Center, the Knoxville Zoo, World’s Fair Park, Racheff Park and Gardens, W. T. Toms Memorial Gardens, and Market Square. Knoxville is rich with museums. Its museums tell the story of the culture and heritage of East Tennessee’s region.  A diverse community of artists call Knoxville home, with arts organizations and cultural institutions in the concentrated area of its Arts District along Gay Street.

Fort Loudoun Lake is the ideal lake for boaters. When boaters tire of the lake, they pull right up to Knoxville’s western shores, hop off their boats, and run right into an exciting city with an incredible vibrancy to offer. Boaters have access to the Tellico Lake, the Little River, the Tennessee River, and Watts Bar Lake where nature and city life blend into a wonderland of adventure.  

Plan your perfect day trip or vacation on our Things to Do at Fort Loudoun Lake page.


Fort Loudoun Lake Zip Codes

37701, 37724, 37737, 37742, 37772, 37801, 37801, 37853, 37885, 37918, 37920, 37920, 37922, 37923, 37934. 


Fort Loudoun Lake Weather & Climate

Fort Loudoun Lake sees an average of 53 inches of rain per year, with six inches of snow and 205 days of sunshine. The winter low in January is 29 degrees and a summer high in July of 88 degrees. May, September, and October are the most comfortable months for this region. January and December are the least comfortable months. 

Keep your eyes on the skies with our Fort Loudoun Lake Weather Forecast page. 


Fort Loudoun Flora and Fauna

Knoxville is located right in the middle of migration routes for many species of birds. Combined with the mild climate, hilly to mountainous terrain, and many lakes and streams, the tailwater area immediately below the Fort Loudoun Dam is an excellent site for viewing a variety of water birds, including herons, cormorants, sea gulls, osprey, and bald eagles.

East Tennessee is golden with wildlife. These elusive animals are there at Fort Loudoun Lake, but may be hard to sight, like black bears, bobcats, and cougars. You will more commonly witness badgers, American beavers, brown bats, elks, American minks, turkeys, white-tailed deer, and woodchucks around Fort Loudoun Lake at play. The raccoon is the official wild animal of Tennessee. 

Native East Tennessee trees which surround the lake will capture your attention, especially in the fall season, at Fort Loudoun Lake include blackgums, dogwoods, red, silver, and sugar maples, redbuds, river birches, sycamores, and tulip poplars. Tulip poplars are Tennessee’s state tree. 

Fort Loudoun Lake Email Updates


 

Fort Loudoun Lake Current Weather Alerts

There are no active watches, warnings or advisories.

 

Fort Loudoun Lake Weather Forecast

Monday

Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 79

Monday Night

Thunderstorms Likely

Lo: 63

Tuesday

Rain Showers Likely

Hi: 82

Tuesday Night

Rain Showers Likely

Lo: 66

Wednesday

Rain Showers Likely

Hi: 82

Wednesday Night

Rain Showers

Lo: 67

Thursday

Rain Showers Likely

Hi: 79

Thursday Night

Chance Rain Showers

Lo: 57


Fort Loudoun Lake Water Level (last 30 days)


Water Level on 9/21: 42.34 (-770.66)