• Surface Area: 15,500 Acres
Reelfoot Lake is a shallow natural lake located in the northwest portion of Tennessee. Much of it is more of a swamp, with bayou-like ditches connecting basins, the largest of which is called Blue Basin. Reelfoot Lake is noted for its bald cypress trees and its nesting pairs of bald eagles, and is the site of Reelfoot Lake State Park.
Since 1930 water levels in the lake have been somewhat regulated by the construction and operation of a spillway at the southern end of the lake.
Until 2003, Reelfoot was the world's only legal commercial fishery for crappie, which was served in restaurants located near the shore.
The lake is said to be named for a legendary Indian chief who had a deformed foot and was called "Reelfoot" by the white settlers, but this is yet to be proven. In Irvin S. Cobb's story "Fishhead," written in 1911, it was claimed that the lake "[took] its name from a fancied resemblance in its outline to the splay, reeled foot of a cornfield negro."