Lake Isom National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region
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Frequently Asked Questions


Are there bald eagles still nesting at Lake Isom?

Yes. The bald eagle nest at Lake Isom was the last documented nest in Tennessee during the eagle's sad past. However, today, there are several eagles' nests in the Reelfoot Lake area and the nest at Lake Isom has produced young for the past several years.

Has the refuge considered having an archery deer hunt at Lake Isom?

Yes. In 1997, the Southeastern Cooperative Research Unit from the University of Georgia was asked to perform a herd health check on the Lake Isom NWR deer herd. The herd was determined to be healthy and could support an archery deer hunt. The refuge opened for archery deer hunting in the fall of 1998.

When is Lake Isom open to fishing?

The lake is open to sport fishing from March 15 through October 15. Fishermen may use legally registered motorboats, but the use of outboard motors over 10 horsepower is prohibited.

Do I need a permit to hunt Lake Isom?

Yes. The refuge requires a refuge permit, free of charge to the sportsman, to hunt at Lake Isom. The permit/public use brochure provides pertinent public use information and when signed by the sportsman, becomes his/hers refuge permite. In addition to the refuge permite, appropriate state licenses are required.

Does the water from the "grudge ditch" ever get into Lake Isom?

Rarely. The colloquial term for the man-made waterway from Reelfoot Lake to the Obion River is the "grudge ditch". The waterway runs along the eastern boundary of Lake Isom, and a large levee separates the lake from the waterway. Only during periods of extremely high water does water from the "grudge ditch" top the levee and spill over into Lake Isom.

Last updated: April 11, 2014