America’s Most Beloved Angler Bill Dance to Appear at the 2023 Bassmaster Classic in Knoxville

Anglers will see major improvements in Tennessee lakes this spring as part of the new Bill Dance Signature Lakes initiative, just as thousands make their trip to Knoxville for the annual Bassmaster Classic that begins March 24. Often referred to as the “Super Bowl of Bass Fishing,” the Classic brings anglers to Knoxville for the second time since 2019. Visitors can stop by the “Bill Dance Signature Lakes” at the Expo on Saturday, March 25 between 1:00 p.m. 00 pm and 6:00 pm for the opportunity to meet and greet legendary angler, Bill Dance, who serves as the inspiration behind the Signature Lakes program.

Since the program was announced in December 2021, much work has been done underwater in participating lakes, including stocking 935,000 fish in small lakes and 8.4 million fish in large reservoirs. Additional efforts are being made to improve habitat and fisheries management, as well as better fishing and boating access with new boat ramps, expanded parking, courtesy docks, and fishing piers.

Bill Dance Signature Lakes is a collaborative effort between the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Tennessee State Parks, and the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development to enhance and enhance Tennessee Lakes, increase visitation, and honor the legacy of Dance. The multi-agency partnership has committed more than $15 million for improvements, both above and below water, to lakes that bear Tennessee icon Bill Dance’s seal of approval.

Work on 14 lakes in Tennessee since 2020 includes:

  • More than 136,000 fish stocked in Fall Creek Falls Lake, 220 habitat structures installed, and eight fish feeders.
  • More than 160,000 fish were stocked in Herb Parsons Lake, 175 habitat structures were installed, and a new boat ramp was completed.
  • Over 159,000 fish stocked in Browns Creek Lake.
  • Over 412,000 fish stocked in Halford Lake and an additional 220 habitat structures.
  • Renovations to the boat ramp and parking area at Pickwick Reservoir, as well as the installation of a new courtesy dock.
  • More than 8.4 million fish stocked at Kentucky Lake, Reelfoot Lake, Chickamauga Reservoir, Douglas Reservoir, Old Hickory Reservoir, Tims Ford Reservoir, Norris Reservoir, Watauga Reservoir, and Dale Hollow Reservoir.

Tennessee is home to half a million acres of lakes and 1.84 million people who fish, according to the American Game Fishing Association. Fishing generates $1.3 billion in economic impact annually and supports 8,140 jobs statewide.

Each lake was selected by agency partners and Bill Dance for its ability to be a fishing destination and provide quality fishing fun for avid anglers and families. Backed by Bill Dance Outdoors, the projects are expected to be nearing completion by fall 2024.


Bill Dance, the first superstar of professional bass fishing, has taught generations to fish. Dance began competing in, and winning, bass tournaments in the early 1960s. With over 2,000 shows to his credit since 1968, he has educated millions of fishing enthusiasts as the host and producer of “Bill Dance Outdoors.” and “Bill Dance Saltwater”, which air respectively on the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel. From his production studio in Collierville, Tennessee, Dance oversees a fishing empire that includes his television shows, tackle endorsements, hands-on seminars and a series of popular “blooper” videos. Dance has written seven books and his articles have been published in sports away, field and current, bassists, outdoor life and more. Dance’s fishing achievements, techniques, and knowledge have been recognized through countless awards, including 23 BASS National Titles, a three-time BASS Angler of the Year, 40 top-ten finishes, and an eight-time Bassmaster Classic Qualifier. In 2021, Dance received her Honorary Doctorate from the University of Tennessee for her outstanding contributions to the sport. Country superstar Luke Bryan also celebrated the fishing legend in 2021 with the release of an ode titled “Bill Dance.” For more than five decades, Bill D.