Fontana Lake is a reservoir impounded by Fontana Dam on the Little Tennessee. The lake forms part of the southern border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the northern border of part of the Nantahala National Forest. Depending on water levels, the lake is about 17 miles (27 km) long. The eastern end is the Tuckasegee River near Bryson City. The lake has many inlets into coves and islands created from former mountain peaks.
Short of a multi-day hike, Fontana Lake provides the only access into the most remote areas of the National Park. When the lake is at the normal summer level, a boat may be used to access remote trailheads such as Hazel Creek. From the observation tower on Clingmans Dome, on a clear day, the lake can be seen nearly a mile below.
The lake is used by avid fisherman, boaters, oaters, paddle boarders and at-water kayakers. Some say that Fontana Lake offers the best smallmouth bass fishing in the United States. Learn more about camping at Fontana Lake.
Check with North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission at www.ncwildlife.org for fishing regulations specific to this river.