Water quality advisories from the State of Tennessee make it clear: there are lakes, rivers and creeks where you should not swim or fish because of potentially dangerous pollutants and bacteria. 

But do you know whether your family's swimming hole or fishing spot is safe? 

Here are the specific advisories--broken down by body of water--from the state, as of March 2019. You can see the latest list on the Department of Environment and Conservation's website here

Be sure to also check out our full story examining what's in the water here.

Beech Branch (Sevier) 

Entire stream (1.0 mile)

Polluted by: Improper connections to storm sewers, leaking sewers, and failing septic tanks.

The presence of pathogens, disease-causing organisms, affects the public’s ability to safely swim, wade, and fish in streams and reservoirs. Pathogen sources include failing septic tanks, collection system failure, failing animal waste systems, or urban runoff.

Coal Creek (Anderson)

From STP to Clinch R. (4.7 miles) (Lake City STP.)

The presence of pathogens, disease-causing organisms, affects the public’s ability to safely swim, wade, and fish in streams and reservoirs. Pathogen sources include failing septic tanks, collection system failure, failing animal waste systems, or urban runoff.

Dudley Creek (Sevier)

Entire stream (5.7 miles) 

Polluted by: Improper connections to storm sewers, leaking sewers, and failing septic tanks.

The presence of pathogens, disease-causing organisms, affects the public’s ability to safely swim, wade, and fish in streams and reservoirs. Pathogen sources include failing septic tanks, collection system failure, failing animal waste systems, or urban runoff.

Emory River (Roane, Morgan)

From Highway 27 near Harriman (Mile 12.4) upstream to Camp Austin Road Bridge (Mile 21.8)

Polluted with Mercury.

First Creek (Knox)

From Topeka Street to Ashwood Place (Mile 0.2 to 1.5)

Polluted with: Knoxville urban runoff.

The presence of pathogens, disease-causing organisms, affects the public’s ability to safely swim, wade, and fish in streams and reservoirs. Pathogen sources include failing septic tanks, collection system failure, failing animal waste systems, or urban runoff.

Fort Loudoun Reservoir (Loudon, Blount)

Polluted with: PCBs Mercury (upper portion only)

Commercial fishing for catfish prohibited by TWRA. No catfish or largemouth bass over two pounds should be eaten. Do not eat largemouth bass from the Little River embayment. Due to mercury, precautionary advisory for any sized largemouth bass from Highway 129 to the confluence of Holston and French Broad Rivers. 

A precautionary advisory means children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers should not consume the fish species named. All others should limit consumption of the named species to one meal per month.

French Broad River (Cocke)

From Rankin Bridge (Mile 71.4) to Hwy 321 near Newport (Mile 77.5)

Polluted with: Mercury 

Precautionary advisory for largemouth bass. 

A precautionary advisory means children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers should not consume the fish species named. All others should limit consumption of the named species to one meal per month.

Goose Creek (Knox)

Entire Stream (4.0 miles) 

Polluted with: Knoxville urban runoff

The presence of pathogens, disease-causing organisms, affects the public’s ability to safely swim, wade, and fish in streams and reservoirs. Pathogen sources include failing septic tanks, collection system failure, failing animal waste systems, or urban runoff.

Pigeon River (Cocke) 

From mouth upstream to Vinson Island at Interstate 40 crossing (mile 12.4).

Polluted with: Mercury 

Precautionary advisory for smallmouth bass and channel catfish. 

A precautionary advisory means children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers should not consume the fish species named. All others should limit consumption of the named species to one meal per month.

Poplar Creek (Anderson, Roane)

Includes East Fork of Poplar Creek, Poplar Creek embayment and Bear Creek. Oak Ridge area. 

Polluted with Mercury, PCBs. 

Fish should not be eaten. 

The presence of pathogens, disease-causing organisms, affects the public’s ability to safely swim, wade, and fish in streams and reservoirs. Pathogen sources include failing septic tanks, collection system failure, failing animal waste systems, or urban runoff.

Nolichucky River (Cocke, Hamblen)

From mouth upstream to Bent Creek (mile 14.9).

Polluted with: Mercury 

Precautionary advisory for smallmouth bass and channel catfish. 

A precautionary advisory means children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers should not consume the fish species named. All others should limit consumption of the named species to one meal per month.

Melton Hill Reservoir (Knox, Anderson) 

Polluted with: PCBs 

Catfish should not be eaten.

Norris Reservoir (Campbell, Anderson, Union, Claiborne, Grainger)

Clinch River portion (Powell River embayment not included in advisory)

Polluted with: Mercury

Precautionary advisory for largemouth bass, striped bass, smallmouth bass, and sauger.

A precautionary advisory means children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers should not consume the fish species named. All others should limit consumption of the named species to one meal per month.

Second Creek (Knox)

From Mouth to headwaters (2.9 miles) 

Polluted with: Knoxville urban runoff

The presence of pathogens, disease-causing organisms, affects the public’s ability to safely swim, wade, and fish in streams and reservoirs. Pathogen sources include failing septic tanks, collection system failure, failing animal waste systems, or urban runoff.

Tellico Reservoir (Loudon, Monroe)

Polluted with: PCBs 

Precautionary advisory for catfish.

A precautionary advisory means children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers should not consume the fish species named. All others should limit consumption of the named species to one meal per month.

Third Creek (Knox)

From Fort Loudoun Reservoir to East Fork (Mile 0.0 to 1.4), at Highway 40 (Mile 3.3) Also East fork from Third Creek to Middlebrook Pike (Mile 0.0 to 0.8)

Polluted with: Knoxville urban runoff.

The presence of pathogens, disease-causing organisms, affects the public’s ability to safely swim, wade, and fish in streams and reservoirs. Pathogen sources include failing septic tanks, collection system failure, failing animal waste systems, or urban runoff.

Turkey Creek (Hamblen)

From Mouth to Henry Street (Mile 0.0 to 5.3) 

Polluted by: Morristown collection system.

The presence of pathogens, disease-causing organisms, affects the public’s ability to safely swim, wade, and fish in streams and reservoirs. Pathogen sources include failing septic tanks, collection system failure, failing animal waste systems, or urban runoff.

Watts Bar Reservoir (Roane, Anderson)

Clinch River Arm 

Polluted with: PCBs

Striped bass should not be eaten. Precautionary advisory for catfish and sauger.

A precautionary advisory means children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers should not consume the fish species named. All others should limit consumption of the named species to one meal per month.

Watts Bar Reservoir (Roane, Meigs, Rhea, Loudon)

Tennessee River portion

Polluted with: PCBs

Catfish, striped bass, & hybrid (striped bass-white bass) should not be eaten.

Precautionary advisory for white bass, sauger, carp, smallmouth buffalo and largemouth bass.

A precautionary advisory means children, pregnant women, and nursing mothers should not consume the fish species named. All others should limit consumption of the named species to one meal per month.