Tennessee is home to some of the largest muskies in North America, and contains some of the best fisheries south of the Mason-Dixon line. Muskies are voracious predators and one of our largest and fastest-growing fish. The 42 lb. 8 oz. Tennessee state record was caught from Norris Reservoir in 1983.
Muskies are native to Tennessee, the Ohio River drainage, upper Mississippi River drainage, Great Lakes, southern Hudson Bay tributaries, and some northern Atlantic Coastal drainages. They have been widely propagated and stocked elsewhere in the US for recreational sport fishing.
Native Tennessee muskies originally occurred in both the Cumberland and Tennessee watersheds. Impoundments have destroyed most of these native populations, but some may persist in streams of the Big South Fork and Obed River systems.
The TWRA has stocked 50,204 muskies into Melton Hill since 1998 at an average rate of 0.59 fish per acre, per year. These fish originated from either the Pymatuning fish hatchery in Pennsylvania, Indiana DNR, Iowa, or the Minor Clark Fish Hatchery in Kentucky. Some small muskie fingerlings were stocked prior to 1998 (1965-1990), but not on a consistent basis as they are now.
Anglers are having increased success catching muskies and the TWRA routinely collects them while electrofishing. Since the population is limited and no natural spawning has been documented, anglers are encouraged to practice catch and release when possible. Substantial harvest of this species would negatively impact the quality of the fishery as it develops. A Tennessee State record muskie surpassing 42.5 pounds would likely have to be a heavy 53- to 54-inch fish.
Learn more about TVMA’s favorite muskie waters by clicking their links below: