Family, Community, And Houseboating At Dale Hollow Lake

June 2015 Feature Jeffrey V. Shirts

Houseboating is more than a hobby or a passing fad; houseboating is a way of life that adds a sense of community and family. Houseboating is more than being out on the water and living aboard the boat while at the marina; it is about connecting with your slip-mates, your marina, and immersing yourself into the boating lifestyle and lake.

In August, we asked our Facebook friends and fans which lake was their favorite, and Dale Hollow Lake on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee won. Dale Hollow Lake is known throughout the nation as one of the cleanest and most environmentally protected lakes, providing clean water, great fishing, and Southern hospitality to all those who visit and frequent its waters. Covering 28,000 acres, Dale Hollow Lake is one of the top three cleanest lakes in the United States known for its clear waters, multiple waterfalls, creeks, rivers, and fresh springs.

Dale Hollow Lake is also known for the wide variety of recreational activities, most notably smallmouth bass fishing. Water sports, such as tubing, wakeboarding, and, of course, swimming, are popular as well. Aside from the richness of the water, the local shoreline offers the opportunity to hike and picnic.

Fishing is a significant aspect of any lake, and Dale Hollow Lake is no exception to this rule. The different fish breeds available in the lake include smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, muskie, crappie, and pan-fish. In 2008 David Hayes caught the largest smallmouth bass recorded, at 11 pounds and 15 ounces.

Simply put, everything about Dale Hollow Lake welcomes vacationers and travels to its open waters, clean environment, and most importantly, the friendly community.

Mitchell Creek Marina

Located on the southern shoreline of Dale Hollow Lake, the Mitchell Creek Marina is known throughout the area as one of the busiest hotspots and resorts. Purchased in 2006, Mitchell Creek Marina has grown with the supportive houseboat and greater boating community, becoming one of the icons of Dale Hollow Lake and one of the most recognized marinas and resorts on the lake.

Featuring a restaurant, snack bar, and most importantly to houseboaters, a general store, the Mitchell Creek Marina has everything needed to ensure that guests to Dale Hollow Lake have everything they need without having to leave the marina and return to town.

Mitchell Creek Marina also works diligently to provide activities and events to their guests. Events include regular fishing tournaments, float-in movie nights, and a pirate-themed kids’ day.

With nearly 300 slips, Mitchell Creek Marina is well-equipped to house and hold any boat, especially houseboats, for which they have more than ample space. As a full-service marina, everything a houseboat needs for a quick visit to long-term renting is available.

Speaking with April Smith, she remarked the sense of family and community is what really separates Dale Hollow Lake and Mitchell Creek Marina from other lakes and marinas. Every year, old friends and new guests come to the marina to enjoy the clear, placid waters of Dale Hollow, and every year Mitchell Creek Marina grows and expands.

Looking to the future, Mitchell Creek Marina plans to add a new dock, as well as new amenities and activities for returning guests. Smith is especially excited about the working float-in movie theater and movie nights Mitchell Creek Marina will begin hosting regularly. Mitchell Creek Marina also sponsors and supports the local high school fishing club and tournaments—which is just part of what they give back to the community that means so much to them.


Kacey Williams is the daughter of avid houseboaters and Dale Hollow Lake vacationers Kenny and Carolyn Emmert. Kenny and Carolyn own a 2001 Sumerset houseboat named Spoiledrotten. For years the Emmert and Williams family has visited and enjoyed Dale Hollow Lake, making the most of their time and experience in and around the lake.

Kacey shared pictures and her experiences at Dale Hollow Lake make the lake so special to her, her family, and to everyone else that visits:

“From the beautiful sunsets, to the sound of our children enjoying the lake. Making memories that we will always cherish. Who says tubing is only for the kiddos? And exactly how many houseboats can we get in that cove? As there’s always room for one more. Firing up the grill for an afternoon dinner cruise. Or on those hot summer days gathering in the water, taking a break from the horseshoe games. Breakfast on the bank. The kids love going to the waterfall. What’s not to love about Dale Hollow Lake?

“We have been calling Holley Creek at Dale Hollow Lake home for more than 15 years. Many, many memories have been made, and lots of friends that have become family.”


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