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Obey River Description

Obey River Description

The Obey River is a 48-mile-long tributary of the Cumberland River in northern middle Tennessee. It joins the Cumberland River near the town of Celina, which is considered to be the Cumberland’s head of navigation though it isn’t used much for commercial traffic.

Named for Obediah Terrill, its name has changed from Obed, to Obeds, and then to Obey. The Cherokee Indian name prior to this naming was Oocooahustehee, meaning good hunting.

About seven miles from it’s mouth, the Obey is impounded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Dale Hollow Reservoir,
site of a fish hatchery run by the federal government. This dam impounds the Obey for the majority of its entire length, causing slack water well up both major tributaries, the East and West Forks. This lake is relatively deep due to the height of the dam and the depth of the gorges through which the Obey and its tributaries flowed; the impoundment also enters Kentucky in its Wolf River and Sulphur Creek embayments.

Below the dam the stream makes two sharp bends before entering the Cumberland. The only major bridge on the Obey, on State Route 53, is located just below the second of these, Peterman Bend.*see below

Credit for Description above: Wikipedia

Wiki/Creative Commons License for description above only:http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
*adding to the wiki piece-Mark Martin/Localwaters May 2012
The Obey River and it’s impoundment Dale Hollow Lake is an especially clean and clear river and lake without much agriculture and no cities or industry upstream from it but the river above Dale Hollow was once so polluted by coal mining that it was virtually “dead”. For the story on the rehabilitation of the Obey River see this video from Tennessee’s Wild Side The shores of the Obey river and Dale Hollow lake are mostly shale rock and this results in clear water that makes it a favorite for scuba divers and swimmers alike. It’s also well know for it’s wide variety of fish with lake trout, musky, brown and rainbow trout in the lake itself. Dale Hollow produced the world record smallmouth bass and many large bass and walleye are caught here. The trout fishery shows much promise as TWRA works hard to establish a replacement to the Lake Trout that haven’t done very well. The East Fork of the Obey River is well known for it’s walleye run in the late Winter.


Please consider showing your appreciation of the Obey River by picking up some litter during your next visit, many hands make light work.

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