South Holston

by Patrick Fulkrod of South Holston River Company

  • Species: Rainbow and Brown Trout
  • Angler Type: Wade or Boat
  • Access Type: Public or Private

Guides

Fly Shops

  • Eastern Fly Outfitters
  • Mahoney’s
  • South Holston River Fly Shop
  • Mountain Sports

Lodges/Rentals/Hotels/Campgrounds

  • Holston Castaway
  • South Holston River Lodge
  • Papaw’s Fishing Pad

Good Eats

  • Ridgewood Barbecue
  • Holston River Brewing Company

The River

The South Holston River begins as a tailwater emanating from the South Holston Dam. The cold, deep waters of the South Holston Lake keep water at a constant enough temperature to insure good fishing conditions year round. The width of the river can range anywhere from sixty yards to one hundred yards, and is easily crossable when the TVA isn’t generating. Water depth during non-generating hours will remain low enough to wade 85% of the river. The average water temperatures do not vary 10 degrees from winter to summer. You can not wade fish when the river is at generations flow.

Biologists say the river boasts fish populations of 8,500+ fish per mile. 80% of the huge population of trout are wild and naturally reproducing. Demographics of the river make up 85% percent brown trout and 15% rainbow trout. Every brown trout in the river is wild. There is also a small population of thriving wild rainbow trout.

Fishing

• Waders will seldom find even waist deep water when not crossing the river.
• Drifting the river is a great option for times when the TVA is generating.

Legal Considerations

• Spawning sites are protected November through February.
• No fish 16″ to 22″ may be kept.
• 7 Fish per-day slot limit with only 1 over 22″

 Rod Suggestions

• Tail waters usually call for long, light, fly rods. Nine foot 5wt. rods are the most popular. The rod of choice for SHRC Guides is the Orvis Helios 10ft 4wt. The longer length allows for great distance and bettter mending while the 4wt action is paramont for the most delicate presentations.
• Even lighter, 8 to 8.5ft, 3wt. rods are often used better for tight spots and make for a more challenging fight.
Leader and Tippet Suggestions
• A 9ft 6X leader with a fluorocarbon tippet is the best starting point for subsurface flies. For a dry fly rig use standard (non flourocarbon tippet).

 Flies

• Sulphurs and Blue Winged Olives hatch nearly year round. Their corresponding flies will work wonders.
• Several BWO species emerge year-round in sizes #18 to #24. Mixed in with these are Midges, Black flies, Crane Flies and an occasional Black Caddis
• Terrestrials are used in the warmer months. Some of the biggest of brown trout can be taken on Beetles.

Tips and Safety

• Be very careful when wading. If the TVA begins to generate, get out of the water.
• TVA toll free number 1-800-238-2264

Click Here for TVA Generation Schedule and select South Holston Dam from Lakes and Recreation on the right.

Tennessee Fly Fishing