Fishhound.com has declared that Chickamauga Lake is the 13th-best catfishing lake in the United States. Watts Bar Lake was listed as the ninth-best in the nation.
Fishhound.com is a membership-based online community that "leverages the viral nature of social media to create a platform where anglers, manufacturers, lodges, tackle shops and a variety of fishing-related businesses interact with one another."
In a recent news release, the group compiled the 50 best list for catfish. Although Chickamauga and Watts Bar lakes made the list, there was no mention of Nickajack Lake (or Chickamauga Dam tailwaters), although local anglers know the two are quite comparable.
Earlier this year, Fishhound declared Chickamauga the 14th-best crappie lake in the nation.
“Catfish are among the most popular game fish targeted by U.S. anglers, and they inhabit countless bodies of water across the nation,” said Rick Patri, Fishhound’s vice president, operations. “Our goal was to narrow things down to a list of the 50 top locations—lakes and rivers that offer anglers plenty of action and a shot at some trophy-size, maybe even record-breaking, cats.”
The current blue catfish IGFA all-tackle record stands at 143 pounds, a fish caught at Virginia’s Kerr Reservoir in June 2011. The official all-tackle record for flathead catfish is 123 pounds (May 1998, Elk City Reservoir, Kansas), while the channel cat all-tackle record is 58 pounds (July 1964, Santee-Cooper Reservoir, South Carolina).
The Tennessee State record blue catfish taken on rod and reel weighed 112 pounds and was taken from the Cumberland River in 1998. The Tennessee blue catfish record taken in commercial fishing gear weighed 130 pounds, taken from Ft. Loudon Lake in 1976.
Click here for the 50 lakes and rivers that made Fishhound’s 50 best list for catfish.
Richard Simms is a contributing writer, focusing on outdoor sports.