TENNESSEE, USA — Fishing is one of Tennessee's oldest traditions, with spots across the entire state where people can set up their boats and cast a line, hoping to reel in a good time.
A new initiative is hoping to highlight some of the spots, and legendary fisherman Bill Dance is along for the ride. State officials announced the "Bill Dance Signature Lakes" initiative on Thursday, which will highlight lakeside tourism and show off premier fishing spots across the state.
"Every Tennessean should know where to find the very best fishing in each grand division," said Governor Bill Lee during a video with Bill Dance.
The initiative currently focuses on 18 lakes in all three regions of the state, touching 13 state parks and 39 counties. They include Douglas Lake, Norris Lake, Chickamauga Lake and many others.
The program will include infrastructure improvements above and below the water, according to its website. It will also develop locally managed reservoir access points with the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Army Corps of Engineers and other organizations.
The initiative will also improve the management of fisheries, to offer anglers of all skills and ages a unique fishing experience. Facilities are also expected to be improved as part of the initiative. Companies and private partners may also be engaged for sponsorship contributions, officials said.
The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission also met to learn more about the initiative. Officials said they hoped the program will bring more people to the state to experience its mountains, plains, lakes and other natural landmarks. Officials also said they hoped to make Tennessee known for its fishing opportunities.
"Nobody does it better than Tennessee when in taking a personality and turning that into a brand," said Mark Ezell from the Tennessee Department of Tourism during the meeting. "We can say people's names and people affiliate and associate that brand with something that draws people to Tennessee, and Bill Dance helps us do that."