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Melton Hill Reservoir, also known as Melton Hill Lake, is an impoundment of the Clinch River. Located near Oak Ridge, TN, the reservoir extends 57 miles upstream from Melton Hill Dam to Norris Dam. With over 5,000 acres of water, there is plenty of room to explore, and anglers will find abundant fish populations to challenge them.
Construction on Melton Hill Dam started in 1960 and was finished in 1963. Both the dam and Melton Hill Reservoir are named after a high knob two miles away. Established in 1884, the hill has a US Coast and Geodetic Survey Station used for mapping the area. Owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority, the dam was built primarily for power generation and not flood control, so water levels in Melton Hill Reservoir only fluctuate about four feet annually. It is the only TVA dam on a tributary stream that has a navigation lock. The lock lifts barge traffic 60 feet from Watts Bar Lake and opens the Clinch River all the way to Clinton, TN promoting industry in the area.
Most of the Northwest shore of Melton Hill Reservoir is owned by the US Department of Energy and the opposing shore is privately owned so access to the lake is some what limited. The TVA maintains a campground, however, and there are public boat ramps with access to both Melton Hill Reservoir and Watts Bar Reservoir. The Melton Hill Dam Trail is about a mile from the dam to the lakeshore meandering through the hardwood forest and wildflowers. The reservoir has a nationally recognized rowing course and has hosted a number of national championships. It is used as a spring training site for collegiate teams from all over the Eastern United States.
Melton Hill Reservoir is narrow and riverine with just a few coves making fishing by boat the best choice. The reservoir has healthy populations of Northern pike, skipjack, and herring and is stocked by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency with musky. Melton Hill Reservoir holds three current state records for yellow perch, saugeye, and brown trout, and until recently it also held the world record for landlocked striped bass at 60.5 pounds.
Its beautiful water, boating, waterskiing, and abundant fish populations are sure to make Melton Hill Reservoir a popular designation for anglers and non-anglers alike.
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