KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Hold on to your polarized sunglasses, anglers and Tennessee lake goers, a new initiative launched in partnership with fishing icon Bill Dance and state agencies will soon bring improvements to lakes across the state. East Tennessee’s Douglas Lake and Norris Lake will benefit from Bill’s bill.

The state announced Friday that the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and the State of Tennessee will invest $15 million in improvements both above and below the water at 18 lakes that bear fishing legend Dance’s stamp of approval. The initiative is called the Bill Dance Signature Lakes. Each lake was selected by agency partners and Bill Dance for its ability to be a destination fishing location and provide quality fishing fun for avid anglers as well as families.

The Bill Dance Signature Lakes at launch are as follows:

  • 1000 Acre Lake, Huntington, TN (Carroll County)
  • Brown’s Creek Lake, Natchez Trace (Henderson County)
  • Chickamauga Lake, Harrison Bay State Park & Chester Frost Park (Hamilton, Rhea, Meigs, McMinn and Bradley Counties)
  • Dale Hollow Lake, North Central TN (Clay, Pickett, Fentress and Overton Counties)
  • Douglas Lake, East TN (Jefferson, Sevier and Cocke Counties)
  • Fall Creek Falls Lake, Fall Creek Falls State Park (Van Buren County)
  • Herb Parsons Lake (Fayette County)
  • Kentucky Lake, Paris Landing State Park (Henry, Stewart, Houston, Benton, Decatur, Perry and Humphreys Counties)
  • Lake Acorn, Montgomery Bell State Park (Dickson County)
  • Lake Woodhaven, Montgomery Bell State Park (Dickson County)
  • Norris Lake, Northeast TN (Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Grainger and Union Counties)
  • Old Hickory Lake, Middle TN (Sumner and Davidson Counties)
  • Pickwick Lake, Pickwick Landing State Park (Hardin County)
  • Pin Oak Lake, Natchez Trace State Park (Henderson County)
  • Reelfoot Lake, Reelfoot Lake State Park (Lake and Obion Counties)
  • Tim’s Ford Lake, Tim’s Ford State Park (Franklin and Moore Counties)
  • Travis McNatt Lake, Big Hill Pond State Park (McNairy County)
  • Watauga Lake, Northeast TN (Johnson and Carter Counties)

Endorsed by Bill Dance Outdoors, the improvement projects are slated to begin in 2022 and near completion by fall of 2024. Tennesseans will benefit from increased stocking, habitat and fisheries management, as well as improved access for fishing and boating.

The collaborative effort between Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Tennessee State Parks and Tennessee Department of Tourist Development seeks to solidify Tennessee as the heart of fishing in the southeast and drive economic activity across the state.

A few fishing & waterways facts about Tennessee:

  • Tennessee is home to half a million acres of lakes
  • 1.7 million people fish on Tennessee waters, according to the American Sportfishing Association
  • Fishing generates $1.2 billion in economic impact annually and supports 7,480 jobs across the state

The state also says this initiative to improve public facilities and habitat at lakes across Tennessee comes at an important time as many of the state’s lakeside communities were devastated by severe weather over the weekend.