‘I’ve been waiting for seven years’: Boaters, fishermen express excitement surrounding Boone Lake’s return to normal pool levels

Restoring Boone Lake

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Boone Lake is returning to normal this summer as the Tennessee Valley Authority continues to raise the levels back to the normal summer pool.

After years of visibly low levels, those who used to call Boone Lake their favorite lake are happy to hit the waters they knew and loved once again.

“Some of my earliest and fondest memories as a child are of my father taking me to Boone lake to fish so when they dropped the lake, it was something I had never imagined could happen. I guess I had always taken it for granted,” said Mike Jackson.

Jackson water skis on Boone Lake with his wife and grandson. While the levels haven’t been what they used to be, he refused to let his favorite hobby die, but now that they’re coming back up, he can’t wait to make new, everlasting memories with his grandson.

Jackson isn’t the only one excited for a return to normal levels. Frank Vermillion has been counting down the days in anticipation.

“I’ve been waiting for it for seven years. Now I’m happy as I can be. My wife and I like to just ride around on cool days, she likes the sun, I’d say she’s my mermaid on the back of the boat and I like to fish,” said Vermillion.

The low levels didn’t only hurt those who live along the lake with docks, but also fishermen. Gary Hobbs, an active fisherman who participates in rodeos all over the region said the first two years the fishing was really good before it dropped off and he’s hoping the fishing explodes once again when those high levels return.

“We used to fish out here at least probably two nights a week depending on what was going on,” said Hobbs.

Now that the lake is returning just in time for summer, the excitement from boaters in the area is off the charts. David Meredith even bought a new boat for the occasion.

“It’s incredible. This is a little piece of paradise right here in our city and we kind of took it for granted and then when it went away it hurt. Now it’s coming back and we’re just so excited,” said Meredith.

While boaters and fishermen are happy to get back out on Boone Lake, Hobbs said he’s the happiest for his friends who live on the lake.

“I’ve got friends who just bought houses on this lake and I’m tickled for them that the water is coming back up so they can use their docks and they can go out in the evening after work because their pontoon boat is right there on the water,” he said.

Mike Jackson said he has no doubt the lake will return to its former glory.

“I think it will be more popular. I know South Holston Lake and Watauga Lake their numbers have increased a lot over the last few years from people that normally use Boone going to those lakes. So I expect all those people to come back to Boone and with all the excitement, the lake is probably going to be pretty crowded this summer,” said Jackson.

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