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Chilhowee Lake Reopens

leah kirk

BLOUNT COUNTY, Tenn. --- Following a nearly two-year closure, Chilhowee Lake has reopened. Brookfield Renewable, which owns and operates Chilhowee Dam, began draining the reservoir in September 2015 for dam inspection and repairs.  Brookfield reports that the work is complete, the reservoir has been re-flooded and is open to the public.

In the late 1970s Breecher Whitehead canoed John Doty and me to the headwaters of Chilhowee Lake where he revealed his then secret method of using big terrestrial flies to fly fishing the trash lines below Caulderwood Dam. Stretching from shore to shore, these 10-feet wide debris lines resemble rungs on a cheap motel bathtub. Big rainbow trout patrol just under surface taking whatever passes through the surface. Big fun.

Andy Davis, Brookfield Renewable Director of Stakeholder Relations in North America, released a statement: “We are extremely appreciative of the patience and understanding that was exhibited by the public as we undertook this large project to proactively fix issues at the Chilhowee Dam. While this project is complete, and water levels are back to the point where we feel comfortable allowing access for recreation, we do urge extreme caution to boaters and those utilizing the reservoir for recreation to watch out for floating debris that may be present, as the water was drawn down for quite some time, as well as changing water levels that are ever present in and around dams.

The lake is being restocking several fish species into the reservoir this fall including crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, and redear sunfish.  This winter, trout stockings will resume in Chilhowee as their allotment was diverted to Calderwood and Tellico lakes in order to provide angling opportunities in the same general area. Next spring, there the plan is to stock walleye and smallmouth bass.