Print friendly logo

Old Hickory Lake


Old Hickory Lake

Town(s): Gallatin TN, Lebanon TN, Old Hickory TN, Mount Juliet TN, Hendersonville TN

Size: 22500 acres
Average Depth: 22 feet
Maximum Depth: 65 feet

Boating Allowed: Kayaks, Canoes, Sail Boats, Electric Motor Boats, Power Boats, Jet-skis, State & Local Rules & Regulations Apply
Boating Comments: Old Hickory Lake provides boaters with a wide variety of opportunities to enjoy their respective recreational interests. Pleasure boats, sailboats, personal watercraft, and fishing boats all share the waters on Old Hickory Lake. Boaters are urged to wear approved personal flotation devices, maintain all equipment and practice appropriate rules of the road while operating on the lake. Personal flotation devices are required for persons operating personal watercraft and all children under the age of 12.
Swimming: Swimming Allowed, No Restrictions

Click to visit this lake's association site!

Click to get more information about this lake!

Check out this lake's Facebook page!

Click to watch a video about this lake!

Find Old Hickory Lake Vacation Rentals courtesy of!

Old Hickory Lake is one of the most popular recreational lakes in Tennessee.  Old Hickory Lake is very popular for fishing, camping, and recreational boating.  There are many wonderful parks surrounding the lake.  You can also find plenty of full service marinas around the lake.  Whatever your outdoor interest may be, you can find something fun to do at Old Hickory Lake, Tennessee.

Located in north central Tennessee, Old Hickory Lake is a reservoir formed by Old Hickory Lock and Dam. It is located on the Cumberland River at mile 216.2 in Davidson and Sumner counties. Its location is about 25 miles upstream from Nashville. It is the mainstream storage impoundment found on the Cumberland River.

The town of Old Hickory, which is part of the Nashville metro area, is on the lake’s southern side while Hendersonville is on the northern side of the lake. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under the leadership of the District Engineer of Nashville, built the dam, lock and powerhouse in a two-year timeframe, from January 1952 to June 1954. The U.S. Corps of Army Engineers still operate and supervise the facilities.

Old Hickory Lake spans 22,500 acres while extending 97.3 river miles. The lake is at an elevation of 445 feet above sea level. It has a minimal pool elevation of 442 feet. Many public facilities are located on the lake. There are 41 access sites for boats, two campgrounds operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and four marinas.

The lake spans across five counties, Davidson, Sumner, Wilson, Trousdale and Smith counties. Old Hickory Lake is slightly more than 97 miles upstream of Cordell Hull Lock and Dam, which is in Carthage, Tennessee. Old Hickory is a popular reservoir for fishing, boating, jet skiing, sailing, paddle boarding, kayaking and swimming.

Old Hickory Lake is affected by pollutants; however, the murkiness of the water is due to unsettled sediment carried by runoff and erosion, not pollution or bacteria. On average water takes only 11 days to pass through Old Hickory Lake, which not only keeps fresh water coming in, but carried any undetected pollutants out. Although the murkiness is unattractive, it poses no hazard to human health and supports aquatic life.

With a nickname like “Ole Muddy”, you would think the water quality of Old Hickory Lake would be poor at best; however, despite its murky appearance, Old Hickory Lake is one of the cleanest lakes in Tennessee. Old Hickory Lake not only provides quality recreational opportunities to millions of people each year, but it also provides vital habitat to fish, wildlife, and plants.

More information on boating rules and regulations are available at the following web sites:

US Coast Guard Office of boating safety

US Coast Guard Regulations and publications

TWRA Boating in Tennessee

TWRA Boating Regulations

Safe Boating Council

Vegetation Growth: Minimal
Non-native Species: Unknown

Fishing Comments: Over 440 miles of shoreline provides ample opportunity for anglers to drop a line. Much of the lake is surrounded by residential homes. However, there are parks and other areas allowing places for fishing from the bank. Fishing boats, kayaks and canoes allow anglers to cover more water and improve the odds of locating schools of fish. The lake has a wide array of fish species swimming in its waters. Bass, crappie, catfish, walleye, striped bass, sunfish and other species reside here, and for the most part are here in bragging size and quantity. As a general rule, fish shallow in spring and fall. During summer and winter the fish may be more inclined to hang around deeper creek channels, submerged humps, points and ledges.
Fish Species: Flathead Catfish, White Bass, Crappie, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Channel Catfish, Sunfish, Bluegill, Walleye

Boat Access: Access for Power and Non-power Boats
Ramp Comments:
Parking Spaces: More than 40

Directions: Located on the Cumberland River at mile 216.2 in Sumner and Davidson Counties, approximately 25 miles upstream from Nashville
Shoreline Development: 50-75%