January 28, 2021
Elite Anglers from Around the Globe to Compete on Tennessee Waters

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau joined the United States Angling Confederation today to announce their hosting of the 2021 U.S. Kayak Open and the 2022 FIPSed Kayak Fishing World Championship.

The U.S. Kayak Open is set for Sept. 9-12, 2021 on Center Hill Lake and area rivers. The event is expected to welcome 150 to 250 attendees along with fans and families. The inaugural world championship competition is scheduled to take place in May 2022 with 100 to 150 anglers accompanied by fans and families for six days of activities.

Cookeville is no stranger to making history in the kayak fishing arena, having successfully hosted the first Pan-American Kayak Bass Championship welcoming some of the world’s most elite anglers in 2019.

In recent years, this popular fishing destination has also hosted multiple internationally televised fishing shows on the Outdoor and Sportsman Channels and the World Fishing Network, e.g., Major League Fishing GEICO Select Series, Fishing University, and Kayak Bassin’ TV.

“The southern charm of Cookeville and the surrounding area will welcome all attendees and provide many cherished memories,” said John Knight, USAC International Organizer. “Based on the location, hospitality, and overall amenities offered, the United States Angling Confederation expects to make the event the best yet in terms of fishing success, guest experience, and the number of event attendees.”

“This is a tremendous win for Tennessee, and Cookeville has proven itself a world-class travel destination, especially among fishing and outdoor enthusiasts,” said Commissioner Mark Ezell, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “During such a challenging time for our industry, what better event to recruit than one that offers solitude and social distancing while showcasing Tennessee’s incredible natural resources, including the lakes, rivers and streams.”

“Cookeville and Center Hill Lake were a clear choice,” said Tony Forte, U.S. Angling founder and USA Bass/USA Kayak Fishing president. “Kayak fishing has exploded worldwide, and Cookeville set the standard for us when hosting the Pan-Am in 2019.”

Participants are expected to arrive early for pre-fishing various area waters, e.g., Center Hill, Cordell Hull, Dale Hollow Lake, Caney Fork, Cumberland, Falling Water, and Calfkiller Rivers. Following the competition, they are also anticipated to stay and explore more local attractions, waterfalls, downtown life, etc.

“We have been working since August to recruit this big win for our community,” said Molly Brown, executive director for the Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau. “As we prepared the official bid-proposal in October, we were optimistic, given our natural resources, past hosting success, and industry partnerships.”

The visitors’ bureau will look to leverage local, state, and regional partnerships with outdoor enthusiasts, businesses, and industries. The bureau will be working with event organizers, area hospitality partners, as well as the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, and Army Corps of Engineers to ensure these national and international events are executed successfully.


Other destinations considered for hosting privileges included Knoxville, TN and Branson, MO.

For more information about sponsorships or other involvement in these events, inquiries may be directed to:

For more information about U.S.A Kayak Fishing, click here.


About: The Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau, a program of the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, serves as the designated destination marketing organization (DMO) for Putnam County with the objective of inspiring travel and overnight stays resulting in increased sales and lodging tax revenues for the purpose of providing a tax relief for local residents.

For examples of the work being done by the Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau, go to:

Putnam County currently ranks 16th of Tennessee’s 95 counties in visitor spending. Most recent economic impact numbers (2019) report $145.45 million in visitor spending, generating $2.92 million in local taxes, an increase of 3.55 percent over the previous year and $8.82 million in state taxes, up 4.26%.

These tax revenue increases demonstrate the value of tourism in Putnam County, resulting in an annual tax relief to local residents. If not for visitor spending, each Putnam County household would pay $377.97 more in taxes each year.