Watauga Lake Named One of Bill Dance’s 18 Iconic Lakes Across the State – www.elizabethton.com

BY NIC MILLER

STAR STAFF

Hampton’s Watauga Lake now has the prestigious honor of being named Bill Dance Signature Lake.

“This is great news for Carter County,” Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby said. She joined state officials, local business owners and other local lakeside leaders on Wednesday to celebrate her inclusion as one of the state’s 18 Bill Dance Signature Lakes.

The State of Tennessee classified them as state lakes and named them after the famous fisherman. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has committed $15 million to “improve and enhance Tennessee’s lakes” and honor the dance.

The move comes after Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced that TWRA and the state would invest $15 million to “improve and improve Tennessee’s lakes” and to honor the dance.

The Signature Lakes are divided into two groups, with nine of the 18 being smaller lakes across the state and the other half being larger lakes.

Watauga Lake is the only lake to make the Northeast Tennessee list, while others in the eastern third of the state include Chickamauga, Norris, and Douglas.

During the meeting, Woodby told Dennis Tumlin of the state Department of Tourism Development that hosting a fishing tournament in Watauga was something many people had been trying to do for a long time.

Tumlin, who is the client manager for the state’s Department of Tourism Development, said Dance is also excited about the program to develop quality fishing spots across the state.

“If it wasn’t for Bill Dance lending his name, we wouldn’t be here,” Tumlin said. “His vision is for moms, dads and kids across the state to enjoy fishing.”

Watauga Lake renovations will include underwater and surface improvements, including stocking walleye in the lake and renovating the Rat Branch access point, adding “adequate lighting and well-paved parking” .

Signage is also a key part of the renovation, with a logo soon to be released and placed on large wayfinding signs at each Signature Lake.

Tumlin said the rise in popularity of fishing across the state is one of the reasons that led to the Bill Dance Signature Lakes concept, as over the past three years the sport has grown tremendously.

There are still discussions to be had on the project, with further steps in the process moving forward later this year.

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