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Old     (BKinSoCal)      Join Date: Oct 2011       03-22-2012, 9:50 AM Reply   
So I have a buddy who's moving to TN, near Old Hickory Lake. He's a casual boater, so he had no info on the lake when I asked for details.

Is it a good lake?
Clean water?
Good areas for riding?
He said something about a locks. I've never been on a lake or any other waterway with locks. How do they work and what's the point of them?

Any details would be appreciated.
Old     (tn_rider)      Join Date: Dec 2009       03-22-2012, 9:56 AM Reply   
I've only been a few times to board bonanza fun lake!! If he is ever in north west Tennessee around the Paris landing area tell him to give me a shout!
Old     (jsmilez321)      Join Date: Sep 2011       03-22-2012, 10:37 AM Reply   
Hey man I'm about 45 minutes away from there... It's ok at best.. pretty small
The Cumberland river feeds it an it can get pretty shallow. There is also Percy priest lake which is very shallow and sketchy poles and stuff everywhere on the bottom. I know the lake can get crowded because it's so close to Nashville and to ride you have to stay within the buoys... The lake to go to around there is Center Hill Lake it's about an hour east of Nashville and its amazing one of the best lakes in TN. It's the lake of choice in middle TN. Also check out the river it's another hidden secret. Here in Clarksville thats all we ride. It's plenty deep and always find glass.. The water can get trashy but usually just fine. Water can be cold but by June it's very comfy. Don't listen to everyone who says the river is gross. I ride in it three to four times a weekend never have gotten sick or hit anything... Good luck hit me up when he gets down there catch a few sets!
Old     (jsmilez321)      Join Date: Sep 2011       03-22-2012, 10:43 AM Reply   
Oh yea about the locks there all over the cumbeland river... The army core of engineers run all of the locks ( dams) and they are used for electricity and to measure the river height.
Old     (wakesetter_WW)      Join Date: Jul 2010       03-22-2012, 11:32 AM Reply   
I've only ridden on Old Hickory a couple of times so don't know much about it. I ride on Center Hill lake that Jacob mentioned. Always able to find good water to ride on and depth is never an issue (typically 50-100ft). Also stay away from Percy Priest lake unless you go with someone who knows it really well or you're likely to run into some really sketchy stuff.
Old     (bhyatt_ohp)      Join Date: Oct 2007       03-22-2012, 1:36 PM Reply   
I am 5 minutes from 3 boat ramps on Old Hickory. It is the lake I'm on 90% of the time, year round, as I fish as well. Old Hickory is part of the Cumberland River system and does have a dam with lock. You can actually lock thru in a wake boat and make a 15 mile trip to downtown Nashville on the Cumberland River which is pretty cool. The lock also means barge traffic which hauls sand and coal from downtown Nashville up to the Gallatin Steam plant.

Is it a good lake? - I think it is a great lake, but others that are accustomed to deep, clear water highland lakes don't tend to agree.
Clean water? The water is always stained, visibility is about 2-3ft on the best of days. As far as water quality, it tests excellent, there are no alerts to contaminants in fish and its a river system lake, so the water is always getting flushed out.
Crowded?Yes, especially in the heat of summer. The best riding can be had past the hwy 109 bridge up river of the Gallatin Steam Plant in the summer.
Deep? The main river channel stays 40-70ft deep throughout, but there are tons of sandbars, mud flats and log lay downs that will destroy the bottom of a boat if you get outside of the river and creek channels. Creek channel depths probably average 15ft deep
Safe? Its about as safe of a lake as any if you stay in the channels. There is barge traffic in the main lake channel as well as big yachts/cruisers that can be hazardous to a smaller boat out in the channel. Just use common sense and invest in a good lake map your fine
Good areas for riding? Drakes Creek, Spence Creek, Station Camp Creek are all great places off the channel to find good water. Past hwy 109 bridge is the best in the heat of the summer. Don't go before May or June though because the water will be freezing up that way.
Old     (bhyatt_ohp)      Join Date: Oct 2007       03-22-2012, 1:42 PM Reply   
Parker mentioned Percy Priest, also 20 minutes outside of Nashville. Priest is a good lake too, but instead of being forgiving with sand/mud bottom, it is entirely rock bottom, with much clearer water, but also just as crowded. Old Hickory and Percy Priest are both lakes you do not want to venture out on without a lake map or nautical GPS of some sort. Percy Priest is a non river system lake and does not have barge traffic or a lock.
Old     (wakesetter_WW)      Join Date: Jul 2010       03-22-2012, 2:05 PM Reply   
Bhyatt, can you PM me some info on going through the lock to downtown Nashville sometime. I don't know anything about the area like where to launch, etc... Sounds like fun though and something I'd like to do this year sometime for a change from the normal scene. Thanks
Old     (BKinSoCal)      Join Date: Oct 2011       03-26-2012, 7:30 AM Reply   
Thanks for the info guys. I passed this on to my buddy and he was very appreciative. I anticipate I'll be out there at some point this summer so I am hopeful I'll get to experience the lakes in TN for myself.


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