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Posted 11/06/2022 in Informational

Tims Ford Lake Rules and Regulations for Boating and Fishing

Tims Ford Lake Rules and Regulations for Boating and Fishing

Boating and Fishing on Tims Ford Lake

** Note that we do our best to provide a summary of the regulations (but we could be incorrect), but please ensure you reference the actual laws with TWRA or other TN entities to ensure you have the latest information.**

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Boating on Tims Ford LakeBoating and Fishing on Tims Ford Lake

Can You Drink Alcohol on Tims Ford Lake?

Please do not drink alcohol while on the lake as it is the #1 reason how people get hurt or killed on Tennessee lakes.

What that being said, you can drink alcohol on Tims Ford Lake though the rules that apply to driving and alcohol also apply to boating while drinking.  You can get a BUI (Boating under the influence) if the driver's blood alcohol content is 0.08 or above.

Penalties may include fines, jail time, boat impoundment and the loss of boat-driving privileges.  Also, penalties stack -- meaning that if you got a BUI, then a DUI -- that's your second offence for DUI (not first).

Who Manages the Regulations for Boating in Tennessee

TWRA or Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency manages the rules and regulations for boating and fishing in Tennessee.  They have a website called Boating in Tennessee that has links to most thing you would need for boating on one of the many Tennessee lakes.

What Are the Age Requirements for Operating a Boat or Jet Ski on Tims Ford Lake?

  • Drivers of motorized watercraft in Tennessee must have a Tennessee safety certificate to legally be able to operate the watercraft if you were born on/after Jan 1, 1989.

  • These rules apply in order to operate a boat that has more than 8.5 horsepower (all PWC, Jet Skis, and most motorized boats are over 8.5hp)

  • If you are a resident of Tennessee and were born on or after January 1, 1989, you must complete the TWRA Boaters Safety Exam and carry on board the Boating Safety Education Certificate issued by TWRA when operating a vessel on Tennessee waters.

  • If you are a non-resident, and were born on or after January 1, 1989, you must show proof of successful completion of the NASBLA (Nasional Association of State Boating Law Administrators) -- approved boaters safety course.

Tims Ford Lake BoatingTims Ford Lake Boating

Is There A Tennessee Boating Handbook?

The Tennessee Boating Handbook covers all of the rules and regulations for operating a boat in Tennessee and Tims Ford Lake.

Who Must Wear a Life Preserver?

All children who are 12 and younger must wear a personal flotation device (PFD) / life preserver while on Tims Ford Lake.  And all PFDs must be Coast Guard approved.

Tims Ford Lake Fishing and Regulations

Tims Ford Lake is a wonderful fishing destination. The Tims Ford Lake Fishing regulations are all listed at this link.  

There is also an  interactive fishing map from TWRA 

The primary fish that people catch on Tims Ford Lake include (details from the TWRA Website)

  • Black Bass on Tims Ford Lake

    • Both Largemouth Bass and Smallmouth Bass contribute significantly to the Tims Ford Reservoir black bass fishery.  Bass fishing accounts for 75 percent of the targeted angler effort.  The creel limit for Largemouth Bass, Spotted Bass, and Smallmouth Bass is 5 per day in combination.  Size restrictions include a 15-inch minimum length limit for Largemouth Bass and an 18-inch minimum length limit for Smallmouth Bass.  No size restriction applies to Spotted Bass.

      Black bass on Tims Ford Lake
      Black bass on Tims Ford Lake

  • Crappie on Tims Ford Lake

    • Both White and Black Crappie contribute to the Tims Ford crappie fishery.  Blacknose Black Crappie are stocked annually by Normandy Fish Hatchery to provide a consistently good fishery and 80 percent of the crappie catch.  Angler crappie catch rate is high at 1.0/hour.  The creel limit for White and Black Crappies is 15 per day in combination, and the minimum size limit is 10-inches.

      Tims Ford Lake Crappie
      Crappie Fishing on Tims Ford Lake

  • Hybrid Stiped Bass and Striped Bass

    • Hybrid Striped Bass (hybrids) and Striped Bass provide a big fish component to this fishery.  The average weight of harvested striped bass was 10 pounds and for hybrids was 9 pounds.  Striped Bass in the 20 – 30-pound range are caught each year.  Striped Bass and hybrid striped bass fingerlings are stocked annually By TWRA hatcheries to provide these fisheries.  The creel limit is 2 per day in combination, and the size restriction for both is a 15- inch minimum length limit.

      Stripped Bass on Tims Ford Lake
      Stripped Bass on Tims Ford Lake

  • Wallye

    • Walleye fingerlings are stocked annually by Normandy Hatchery to provide a fishery.  The walleye fishery accounts for 5 percent of the annual targeted angler effort on Tims Ford Reservoir.  Growth rates are extremely fast reaching 16 inches during Age-1 and averaging 21 inches during Age-3.  The creel limit is 5 walleye per day, and the size restriction is a 16-inch minimum length limit.

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