Catching a trophy musky, or any size for that matter, can be an incredible angling experience. The Cumberland and Tennessee River Basins provide exciting and unique opportunities for Tennessee musky anglers. Parksville Reservoir is the latest water within the historic musky range, to be targeted for establishing a fishery. In October, TWRA stocked 600 musky in Parksville Reservoir with the average size of 13 inches. Musky have the potential to live relatively long lives and achieve large weights as adults.
The current state record musky was caught on Melton Hill Reservoir on March 2, 2017 and weighed 43 lbs. 14 oz. TWRA restoration efforts for this native fish have been in existence since the 1980’s.
Stocked fish were obtained from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. Kentucky muskies are the sub-species that once occurred throughout tributaries of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. Musky in Parksville Reservoir will be managed under the statewide regulation of one fish per day creel limit and a 36 inch minimum length limit (MLL). Musky in Parksville will likely reach the 36 inch MLL in three to six years. Musky tend to target sucker and shad species as food, which are available in Parksville. Parksville provides good habitat (e.g. laydowns, woody debris, river flow) which will further ensure the success of this musky stocking project. Parksville Reservoir was created in 1911 by the creation of Parksville Dam on the Ocoee River and is operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). This reservoir encompasses an area of 1,930 acres and is located within the Cherokee National Forest in southeast Tennessee.
The musky is not the only species TWRA is actively stocking in Parksville. The agency is also stocking black-nose black crappie, walleye, redear sunfish, bluegill and trout. Unfortunately Parksville reservoir has also been the recipient of unsanctioned introductions of non-native fish such as Alabama bass and blueback herring. These non-native fish have a negative impact on native fish that inhabit Parksville such as largemouth bass.
Some anglers have voiced concerns that top predators like musky will impact other game fish; but this has not been the case in other waters where musky fisheries are managed. Dale Hollow Reservoir is a great example. Musky have been present since the 1950’s, yet there is great fishing for smallmouth and largemouth bass, walleye and crappie. Other Region 3 reservoirs such as Center Hill, Great Falls and Watts Bar also have successful musky fisheries. The TWRA Region 3 Reservoir Fisheries crew monitors sport fish populations in Parksville Reservoir annually and will be tracking the progress of this restoration project.