Houseboatin’ on Dale Hollow Lake

James Yarnell-22 shooting off the front deck of houseboat
Shooting a .22 off the front deck of the houseboat

By James Yarnall

Whoever coined the phrase “all good things must come to an end” is an idiot.  I mean, seriously. I never want good things to come to an end, and I’m certainly not going to promote the fact that this does indeed happen.  I won’t waste your time ranting and raving over the fact that unfortunately good things do tend to come to an end, but nonetheless, my good time at Dale Hollow Lake on the Kentucky/Tennessee border has come to an end.  I got the chance to spend an entire week, that’s right seven whole days, on Dale Hollow Lake.  I wasn’t puttin’ around in any ol’ little john boat. No sir. I was on a 74’ flagship houseboat we named the S.S.  Goodtime!  Okay, we really didn’t name it that, but boy did we have a good time.

The lake sits right on the border of Tennessee and Kentucky and has multiple access points.  We entered the lake right outside of Byrdstown, TN and spent our week navigating up and down the lake.  We set sail, figuratively speaking since it wasn’t actually a sailboat, each morning in search of our next “home” for the evening.

We found our resting spots in coves hidden throughout Dale Hollow Lake, tying the boat to shore and getting to enjoy the wilderness of coves or, in many cases, small islands.  The evenings were filled with campfires, laughter, and the occasional gunshot to cap the evening off.

It wouldn’t be a redneck vacation without a few firearms!  You would think we were expecting a run-in with pirates with all the guns we had on board, all legal of course.  You really did have your pick of weapons from a Glock 9mm, to a Sig Sauer P226 .357.  Perhaps you wanted to shoot a Colt 1911 .40, short barreled 12 gauge Mossberg (home defense edition), or one of three of .22 caliber rifles.  If I would’ve known what I was getting myself into, I would’ve brought my Remington 870 Express Super Magnum, a hand clay-pigeon thrower, and plenty of shells so we could shoot some clay birds off the top of the boat!  You will be happy to hear that we have already provisioned the necessary sporting clay equipment for next year. I won’t make that mistake twice.  The days were spent fishing, relaxing, shooting stuff off the bow of the boat, and of course some pickin’ and grinnin’.

James Yarnell-riding along the houseboat trying to find a place to dock for the day
Riding along the houseboat trying to find a place to dock for the day.
James Yarnell-picture of the houseboat - excuse the fishing rods in the picture
Picture of the houseboat – excuse the fishing rods in the picture.

We didn’t have much luck fishing, mainly due to how active the lake was during the day since the season was winding down.  We did manage to catch some fish, none of which were keepers though.  This trip wasn’t about who caught the biggest fish, or the most, but more about spending quality time with the people you love and call friends.  There is actually a pretty interesting story behind Dale Hollow Lake, a long story that I won’t attempt to re-write here but worth some research in your free time.  Let’s just say that beneath the water lie towns that once thrived pre-1942 but now lay dormant at the bottom of the beautiful lake.  I’m not a man that takes many vacations. Heck, I can’t even remember the last vacation I was on, but I will tell you that if you love the outdoors and love to get away, a trip to Dale Hollow Lake should be in your future.  I am in no way endorsed or paid by the marinas surrounding this lake. I’m simply an outdoor enthusiast who had an amazing experience there.  If your idea of a vacation is sitting on the couch watching tv, sitting around drinking beer (or soda), or just sitting there twiddling your thumbs….why not do it on a houseboat?!  Just think, whatever you can do sitting around the house can be done on a houseboat. Not to mention, you can walk outside and cast a line wherever you want, with the appropriate license of course….don’t want good ol’ G.W. (Game Warden) paying you a visit.  Happy Vacationing everyone!

– Your West Virginia Waterfowler

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