Woods Reservoir, Tennessee, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Woods Reservoir — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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All About Woods Reservoir

Located on Arnold Air Force Base between Nashville and Chattanooga in Tullahoma, Tennessee, Woods Reservoir is a fantastic place to fish. Its unique surroundings make it a great place to explore.

In 1951 President Truman dedicated the Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC). Named in honor of General “Hap” Arnold, “the Father of the Air Force,” AEDC was created to promote and support all aspects of flight. In 1952 the United States Army Corps of Engineers built Elk Dam on the Elk River for the United States Air Force. The dam created Woods Reservoir to supply cooling water for AEDC and for drinking water and flood protection for the surrounding area.

Woods Reservoir has minimal shoreline development and only one marina. It is completely surrounded by Arnold Air Force Base. The base is 40,000 acres, 30,000 of which are Wildlife Management Area including the almost 4,000 acre Woods Reservoir. Both the wildlife area and the reservoir are managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). The TWRA stocks the reservoir with walleye and has rated it one of the top three crappie lakes in the state based on per-acre production. There are also good populations of large and small mouth bass, muskie and catfish although the public is warned not to eat the catfish because of increased levels of PCB’s.

Water levels on the lake are relatively stable with a winter drawdown of about three feet, and the water clarity is highest in the summer and fall. Because of its location, Woods Reservoir is a quiet place to canoe or kayak especially around Elder Island. There is duck hunting around the reservoir both with and without blinds, but some areas have been designated as waterfowl refuge.

In addition to being home for Woods Reservoir, Arnold Air Force Base is also home to the AEDC and the University of Tennessee Space Institute. Today the AEDC is the largest and most advanced complex of flight simulation test facilities in the world. AEDC includes wind tunnels, space chambers, and ballistic ranges allowing engineers to simulate flight conditions from sea level to 1,000 miles in altitude and velocities exceeding Mach 2. The AEDC has been instrumental in every US space flight and provides support for NASA. Entry to the facility is restricted but with advanced notice, tours can be arranged for groups of between 15 to 35 people. The University of Tennessee Space Institute on a peninsula surrounded by Woods Reservoir, has post graduate study in aerospace engineering and benefits from its proximity to AEDC.

With its fascinating location, quiet water and fantastic fishing, Woods Reservoir is sure to become a favorite destination.

Things to Do at Woods Reservoir

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing

Fish Species Found at Woods Reservoir

  • Bass
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Muskellunge
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Walleye

Find Places to Stay at Woods Reservoir

If you’re considering a Woods Reservoir lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Woods Reservoir Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Woods Reservoir lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Woods Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: United States Air Force

Surface Area: 3,980 acres

Shoreline Length: 75 miles

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 960 feet

Maximum Depth: 50 feet

Water Volume: 77,915 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1952

Lake Area-Population: 18,000

Drainage Area: 263 sq. miles

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