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47.8 Miles

Camp, Fish, Canoe and Kayak

The Obey River is a 47.8-mile-long tributary of the Cumberland River in Tennessee.

It joins the Cumberland River on the western edge of the town of Celina. Through the Cumberland and Ohio rivers, the Obey River is part of the Mississippi River watershed.

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The Obey was impounded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to form Dale Hollow Reservoir, site of the Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery, which stocks the Obey River and many other rivers and lakes around the Southeast with rainbow trout. The Obey serves as a camping, fishing, kayaking and canoeing destination for local residents and visitors.

The Corps of Engineers operates a very popular campground right beside the Obey River, located only about four miles from Celina. The campground has almost everything a camper could want. It stays filled to capacity during most of the vacation season.

“People come to the campground to fish,” said Paul Boyce, Friends of Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery support group.

An outlet stream leading directly from the hatchery into the Obey River runs through the campground area.

There are dozens of camping spots, bathroom facilities, a fish-cleaning station, a laundry facility and a walking and bike trail. In addition, it’s located adjacent to the national fish hatchery. Also, there’s the popular fishing stream that runs between the hatchery and the river.

“It’s one of the heaviest-fished streams in the state,” fish hatchery manager Andrew Currie said. “We stock the Obey every Friday. This little stream between the hatchery and the river sells more fishing licenses and trout stamps than any other one like it in Tennessee.”

A very popular kids’ fishing rodeo is held on the stream on Free Fishing Day in Tennessee, always held very early in June.