Tailwater Pursuits

TVA dam tailwater releases create world-class trout fishing and mild whitewater paddling opportunities for kayakers and rafters. Here’s a guide to when and where to find them.

Motorboating, bass fishing and skiing are still the most popular types of recreation on TVA lakes. But more and more, people are getting interested in the world of tailwater sports—such as kayaking, rafting and trout fishing—that can happen in the water below the TVA dams.

To support these recreation activities, TVA provides scheduled releases for TVA dams so that paddlers will know when they can count on mild water flows perfect for kayaking and rafting. (For wild whitewater flows, see our Ocoee River Gorge page.)

Conversely, trout fishers will know when they have the best odds at calmer flowing water that's suitable for wade or drift fishing. Use the links below to view daily water release schedules for these dams.

Warning! Flood events, unexpected generating unit outages and other conditions can cause water release schedules to change with little or no notice. Get the latest information on current and predicted releases for the next two days on our Lake Levels page.

Locate Your Reservoir

View our all-new recreation map to find the reservoir you want to target for tailwater.

Boating Safety for Paddlers

Whitewater and kayaking are fun, but safety is paramount. Here’s some advice that could safe a life:

  • Wear a helmet and a personal floatation device.
  • Paddle water appropriate to your skills.
  • Dress to prevent hypothermia.
  • Watch for fallen tree limbs, barbed wire, bridge piers and other hazards.
  • Don’t paddle alone.
  • Don’t paddle in rivers in flood stage after a heavy rain.
  • Never fish, wade or paddle too close to the face of a dam.

Keep Your Distance

Playing downstream from a dam is fun, but get too close and bad things can happen. Take extra care to keep a safe distance, follow basic safety precautions and mind all posted warnings on TVA's dam sites

The Tug is the Drug

Trout fishing is good in the Tennessee Valley—particularly at South Holston Reservoir, which can match any fishery in the nation for monster trout. Learn more about it, as well as other Valley hot spots, along with our best advice for making a big catch. Click here for trout secrets you won't soon forget.