Tennessee has striped bass and hybrid striped bass, which are also known as Cherokee bass. Striped bass are large, predatory fish. They are easily identified by their size, and they have a distinctively split tooth patch on their tongue. A striped bass has stripes running along its body from the head to the tail. It is mostly white and silver, and has a brown/bronze coloring on the pectoral fins and head. The hybrid striped bass is significantly smaller, although it's still a large fish. The hybrid is a cross between a striped bass and a white bass, and is lighter in color than the striped bass.
There is a total creel limit of two striped bass or hybrid striped bass per day. This may be in any combination. Anglers may keep any striped bass or hybrid striped bass that is greater than 15 inches in length. Fish that are smaller than 15 inches must be released immediately. All anglers between the ages of 13 and 63 must have a valid fishing license issued by the state of Tennessee.
Most of the fishing areas in Tennessee follow the state guidelines for striped bass and hybrid striped bass. There are exceptions in certain areas, and it's a good idea to check with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) to be aware of any emergency regulations before you set out to fish. Reservoirs in particular are subject to special rules to protect the water quality. State wildlife management areas are closed to fishing during big-game hunting seasons.
Where to Fish
Tennessee has four reservoir regions in addition to TWRA lakes, state park lakes and streams, and small impound lakes. The larger bodies of water are best suited for striped bass and hybrid striped bass, as these are large, heavy-bodied fish that like moving water. You will not find striped bass in small, shallow lakes and ponds.
Striped Bass Records
Ralph H. Dallas caught a 65-lb., 6-oz. striped bass on May 1, 2000, at the Cordell Hull Reservoir. This is the current state record for Tennessee. The record for hybrid striped bass is held by Ralph Pelfrey. He caught a 23-lb., 3-oz. hybrid striped bass in Stones River on April 17, 1998. Record fish should be measured, photographed, and weighed. The state has a form that should be filled out and submitted. Contact the TWRA at 615-781-6575 for more information about the State Record and Trophy Fish program.