Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

TWRA's Region 4 - East Tennessee

Reservoir Fisheries Management Program

Henderson Island Nursery Pond


Henderson Island is a 300-acre TWRA management area located on Douglas Reservoir near the town of Dandridge. A 6-acre pond on the island has been used as a waterfowl refuge since 1990. The inspiration to modernize this pond so it could also be used for fingerling production came when natural crappie reproduction decreased in the late 1990's.

TWRA began the process of renovating the pond in 2001 following an initial agreement with TVA, the owner of the island. A plan was developed to determine how water levels would be maintained and the best method to deliver fingerlings from the pond to the lake.

It was initially believed two wells could supply sufficient water, but it was later determined that the aquifer under the island would not be large enough. The solution was to draw water from the lake over a 100-foot bluff using a large, electric pump. A diesel generator was required since no electricity was available.

A Memphis contractor began work on the intake system. A local contractor was later hired to complete the work since it had become more of a job than anticipated. TWRA employees provided additional labor and constructed a building to protect the generator and fuel tank. The pond's intake system is also used to irrigate an adjacent 2-acre wetland used by waterfowl. It takes approximately five days to fill the pond, and a few hours a day to maintain water levels.

A drainage system within the pond and a pipe extending to the lake were installed to enable the release of water and fingerlings into the reservoir when production is complete. A variety of habitat structures, including cypress trees and brush, have been placed adjacent to the release site to provide the small fish protection from predators.

The project was completed early in 2004 at a cost of $72,000. Sauger were raised during the first year because the renovations were not completed in time for crappie production. 100,000 fry from Eagle Bend were added to the pond and 45 days later, 20,000 fingerling sauger were released into the reservoir. Crappie and other species have been raised there over the past several years.

Henderson Island Pond
The 6-acre pond partially filled

Pump Intake Pipe
Intake pipe from Douglas to the pond

Pond Survey
Monitoring the progress of fingerling growth and survival

Pond Drain Pipe
Drain pipe from the pond to the reservoir

Releasing Fingerlings
Releasing fingerlings via the drain pipe