Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee
Inns, Lodges, Resorts
By Polly Dean
On the shore of Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee, is a fishing and hunting lodge that has hosted and entertained generations of outdoor enthusiasts for decades. Blue Bank Resort consists of a lodge that is rustic in decor, but modern in its amenities, boasting comfortable rooms. Cabins, condos and even a house are also available to accommodate family or any size group of outdoors men and women.
The shallow waters of Reelfoot Lake attract hunters to the area’s plentiful duck population that inhabit the flyways of the region. Generous numbers of crappie, bass and panfish inhabit these shallow waters and draw fishermen from near and far to take advantage of the lake’s bounty. For many decades, generations of guests have hung their hats, fishing rods, and shotguns within the walls of Blue Bank Resort. It is a location where stories have been told and memorable occasions celebrated year after year.
Mike Hayes is the owner of Blue Bank Resort, but he can trace the family’s business interests all the way back to the 1800s. His great great grandfather George owned a grain mill in the vicinity. His great grandmother Kahoma used her inheritance to open the Reelfoot Hotel in the early 1900s and was joined in the business by her son and Mike’s grandfather Marvin in the 1930s. His grandfather also opened the Blue Bank Restaurant in the 1950s. Finally, Mike took over the business in 1982, consolidating it in its present location.
The eatery now is the Fishhouse Grill Restaurant located on the property. It caters to individuals and groups large and small. The restaurant focuses on local foods, using the freshest ingredients. The resort grows a variety of the vegetables, herbs and spices in their own garden. They also support the local farmers and breweries. They have an inviting outdoor patio for dining and even enjoying the fire pits on a cool evening. It is also the ideal spot to watch a spectacular sunset over the lake or to see bald eagles.
Guests can enjoy a cold beer from a generous selection from either a local brewery or a longtime favorite, wines, or a full bar in which to imbibe a preferred cocktail.
For guests that don’t fish or hunt, Blue Bank offers a swimming pool, the landscaped Reelfoot Lake Butterfly Garden and the Virginia Dare Walking Trail. During the holiday season, Blue Bank transforms into the Reelfoot Lake Winter Wonderland with 100,000 lights and multiple Christmas displays.
Blue Bank Resort has a staff of fishing guides available to offer guests their experience and expertise on Reelfoot Lake. Crappie are a popular target for visiting anglers, and are catchable year-round according to local guides. Largemouth bass and panfish are also favorites of visiting and local anglers.
The beautiful scenery of Reelfoot Lake, draped in cypress trees, is truly an outdoors person’s paradise and Blue Bank Resort is and has been for generations the place to enjoy both the activities and the serenity the lake provides.