Cheatham Lock And Dam
This project passes through Middle Tennessee and features a 2,700-acre waterfowl refuge and game management area. Cheatham is a "run-of-the-river" water resource project. The project meanders through Nashville and past Opryland. Lock Two and Riverfront Parks overlook the river in downtown Nashville. Excellent waterfowl hunting and lunker bass await the sportsman. Other activities available include camping, picnicking and water sports (swimming, water skiing).
The lake provides a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities for millions of visitors each year. Because of the temperate climate and relatively long recreation season, visitors have numerous activities from which to choose, including: fishing, hunting, camping, picnicking, boating, canoeing, hiking, and others.
Boating is an enjoyable and popular sport on Cheatham Lake. Runabouts, cruisers, personal watercraft, fishing boats, and commercial barge tows all share the public waters of the lake. The stately riverboats, the Delta Queen and the Mississippi Queen, occasionally transit the lake when they visit the Port of Nashville.
Visitors to Cheatham Lake may choose from two campgrounds: Lock A and Harpeth River Bridge. Camping is allowed only in these designated areas. Both are open from April to October on a first come, first-served basis.
Cheatham Lake offers great fishing opportunities for anglers of all ages and preferences. Lunker largemouth bass are but one of many species of fish that call the dingy waters of this lake home. Largemouth can be taken on a wide variety of artificial lures in the major tributaries of the lake. Two other popular game fish, sauger and white bass (stripe), are generally caught on spinners, jigs, minnows, or jig-minnow combinations in the tailwaters below the dam. Panfish, such as bream and crappie, are plentiful and make for great family fishing fun. They can be caught virtually anywhere in the lake or tailwaters.
In terms of larger catches, there are also rockfish (striped bass), which might weigh upwards of 30 pounds. These giants generally prowl the tailwaters and hit large jigs, lures, or live bait. Large catfish are also taken both above and below the dam on a wide variety of live and cut baits.
Take a jump back into the past on the Lock A Nature Trail. This trail, located in the Lock A Campground, gives visitors a sense of what it was like to live the life of a lockmaster. As visitors wander through the site of the old homestead, they are encouraged to inquire about what the river was like before the locks and dams of today. This property was used first by the workers constructing the old Lock A. It was then occupied by the lockmaster, his family and lock workers, during the years of operation of Lock A. Overall, the site has been a home to many people from 1895 through 1953, when the current lock replaced it permanently. The buildings consisted of living quarters, an icehouse, and several outbuildings. Several of the buildings' foundations are still visible today. Other remnants of the old lock and it's occupants are located throughout the campground, such as the road leading down from the living quarters, an old fire hydrant, mooring rings, steps, and water depth markers.
Excluding developed recreation areas, marinas, and designated safety zones, hunting is allowed on public property at Cheatham Lake, subject to state game laws and regulations. Except for a few small parks in Davidson County, the public lands on Cheatham Lake are located in Cheatham and Dickson Counties.
The best opportunities for public hunting can be found in Cheatham Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) has a license with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the active management of habitat on 2,796.31 acres of public lands and waters at Cheatham Lake. This includes most of the larger tracts of public land around the lake. TWRA also exercises hunting control rights on 2,502.5 additional acres of lands and waters.
The bottomlands of the Cheatham Lake WMA contain a mosaic of cultivated fields, woodlands, hardwood wetlands, marshes, and constructed waterfowl ponds. TWRA uses sharecrop agreements with local farmers to plant crops beneficial to waterfowl. Agency personnel also control water levels during the winter months to make these crops available to waterfowl. Competition is intense for the designated duck blinds in the WMA, and a drawing is held the first Saturday in August each year to allocate them to hunters.
There are picnic areas by the swimming beach.
Visitors may enjoy the water at the designated swimming area in Cheatham Dam Right Bank Recreation Area. This swimming area is off-limits to boaters of all kinds. However, no lifeguards are present, and swimming is at one's own risk. A spacious sand beach adjoins the swimming area, and restrooms are located nearby. Swimming is strictly prohibited at boat launching ramps and adjacent courtesy floats in the public recreation areas and access points on Cheatham Lake.
The campgrounds are closed from the end of October through April.
Located in the western Highland Rim and Central Basin Regions of Kentucky. From Nashville, 32 mi W on TN 12.