Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

TWRA's Region 4 - East Tennessee

Reservoir Fisheries Management Program

Fort Patrick Henry Reservoir - General Information

TWRA Region IV Office
3030 Wildlife Way Morristown, TN 37814
(423) 587-7037 or (800) 332-0900
Updated - October 2016



Fort Patrick Henry is a small, 872-acre, TVA managed reservoir located within Sullivan County in northeast Tennessee near Kingsport. The dam was completed in 1953 and impounds the South Fork of the Holston River.

This 10-mile long reservoir contains 37-miles of shoreline and features steep bluffs and only a few coves. The reservoir is primarily used to generate hydroelectric power, but also provides a reliable water supply to the John Sevier Fossil Fuel Plant and local industry. Water levels fluctuate from 1,263-feet (full pool) to 1,258-feet (minimum pool) depending on rainfall and downstream needs.

All of the water that passes through the Watauga, South Holston, and Boone Dams also flows through this small, narrow reservoir. Therefore, water moves relatively swiftly through Fort Patrick Henry when compared to other TVA reservoirs. The average hydraulic retention time is only a few days.

The primary game fish are largemouth and smallmouth bass, but there are also a number of rock bass, trout, walleye and striped bass present. Striped bass are not stocked in Fort Patrick Henry, but are stocked upstream in Boone Reservoir. A number of young stripers are able to pass through Boone Dam into Fort Patrick Henry on an annual basis. Since Fort Patrick Henry has very good dissolved oxygen levels and cool water, striped bass grow to exceptional size.

There are not, nor have there ever been, any fish flesh contaminant advisories issued for the reservoir. Only one commercial boat dock and two public boat launching ramps are available. A handicapped accessible fishing pier and boat launching ramp are located within Warrior’s Path State Park that adjoins the reservoir.


A variety of fish attractors have been constructed over the years in an attempt to provide nesting habitat and to concentrate fish for anglers. These fish attractors must be refurbished occasionally to maintain their effectiveness.

There are only 11 approved fish attractor sites located in small coves in and around Warrior’s Path State Park. Most were constructed using cedar and Christmas trees. Two sites contain approximately 20 smallmouth bass spawning benches.


Smallmouth and largemouth are both fairly abundant. Although the cool water limits the growth rates of these popular species, there is a good number of large bass present. The daily creel limit for largemouth and smallmouth bass is five in any combination. There is no minimum length limit for largemouth, but there is an 18-inch limit imposed on smallmouth bass.

Spotted bass were first documented in TWRA's 2011 electrofishing sample and anglers have reported catching this newly, unauthorized, introduced species. Unlike largemouth and smallmouth bass, spotted bass rarely reach quality size in any east Tennessee reservoir. They also utilize the same habitat and compete with the more quality-sized smallmouth bass. As a result, anglers are encouraged to keep these fish for the table. There is no size limit for the species and anglers are allowed to harvest 15 spotted bass per day.


Striped bass are present in limited numbers as the result of downstream migration from Boone Reservoir. They provide an excellent angling opportunity to those interested in quality-size fish. The current creel limit is two, 15-inch striped bass per day.


Crappie are present in limited numbers and are popular with local anglers. There is a 10-inch, 15-fish daily creel limit for crappie.


The TWRA stocks the lake with rainbow trout on an annual basis. The cool water and good dissolved oxygen levels create an ideal habitat for this popular game fish. The current creel limit is seven trout in any combination, with no minimum length limit.


The TWRA has begun stocking Fort Patrick Henry with native, "southern strain" walleye obtained from the Rockcastle River in Kentucky. These fish are thought to be identical to our native walleye which have likely disappeared from the State as a result of dam construction, water quality issues, and genetic mixing with non-native strains.

This stocking effort will provide walleye anglers an additional fishing opportunity and generate broodfish to be used in our hatcheries to help re-establish native walleye runs in various Tennessee river systems.

There is a five-fish per day, 18-inch minimum length limit imposed for walleye.


Striped bass - Live shad or large shiners with single hook, sinker, and greater than 15 lb. test monofilament is a well-used method. One-ounce white doll flies with 6-inch plastic trailer, Red Fins or Little Mac plugs, Sassy Shads on 1-oz. lead head, Zara Spooks, white Slug-gos, and jigging spoons are also used.

Largemouth bass - The highest catch occurs in March and April when the water warms and bass move to shallow water to spawn. Some popular tackle are Silver Buddies, Carolina-rigged plastic lizards, 4-inch plastic worms, crankbaits, Shad Raps, Rapalas, Rat-L-Traps, spinner baits, buzz baits, and many more.

Smallmouth bass - They move to clay and gravel points in the spring. Fish live bait on the bottom, Carolina-rigged lizards, or cast firetiger or shad-colored Shad Raps, Rapalas, and Rebels.

Crappie - Fish in downed trees in the early spring or late fall. Small minnows, plastic grubs, flies tipped with minnows, and small crankbaits work best.

Trout - Spring: Bank fishing with corn or salmon eggs is productive. Summer: Troll spoons.


Fort patrick Length at Age