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Kentucky Reservoir

Photo of kentucky reservoir at sundown with trees in background

Kentucky Dam is 22 miles upstream from the confluence of the Tennessee River with the Ohio. The dam is the longest in the TVA system, and the reservoir, which stretches for 184 miles across the states of Kentucky and Tennessee, is the largest in the eastern U.S.

Kentucky Reservoir is home to many varieties of fish, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, catfish, bluegill, sauger, and crappie. Numerous boat docks and launching ramps dot the coves of Kentucky’s shoreline.

Located on Kentucky’s shores are the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, four state parks, the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge, numerous public access areas, and two state wildlife management areas. There are resorts and campsites, areas for swimming and picnicking, and a back-country area for off-road vehicles.

Water skiing, sailing, and windsurfing are popular, as well as bicycling, horseback riding, hunting, and fishing.

TVA utilizes the reservoir’s strategic location and vast storage capacity to help reduce flood crests on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Kentucky Dam is also a major producer of hydroelectric power.

The filling of Kentucky Reservoir in 1945 opened the Tennessee River to year-round navigation and linked the Tennessee Valley with the nation’s Inland Waterway System.

Visitor Center

The visitor center at Kentucky was refurbished in 2013. The center provides information about the history of TVA, the development of the Kentucky Dam, TVA's current activities and natural resource management in the area. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., in April and November; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., from May through October except for major holidays and in times of severe weather. The center is closed for major holidays and in times of severe weather.

Directions from Paducah:

Take 1-24 to exit 27 for US-62 toward Kentucky Dam; turn right onto US-62E and you will see Kentucky Dam on the right.

Directions from Nashville:

Take I-24W and follow signs for Clarksville; take exit 31 for KY-453 toward Grand Rivers; turn left onto KY453S/Dover Road; take ramp to US-62W/US-641S then turn right. The destination will be on your right.

More information on Kentucky Reservoir

Operating guide

Daily reservoir operation information

Sportfish survey results

Sportfish ratings

Ecological health ratings

Tailwater improvements

Recreation facilities



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