Located in Bristol, Tn, the South Holston River tailwater system is home to a large number of fish! It boasts nearly 8,500 fish per mile. The 14 mile stretch of pristine water begins in the neighboring state of Virginia and works its way to eventually meeting the South Holston Dam. The section that our fly fishing guides fish flows from the dam to Bluff City, where it meets Boone Lake. There are different sections during this stretch that have a greater opportunity for big browns than others. But, anywhere you fish on the SoHo is a great location. The dam is unique in producing cold water temperatures year-round in feeding the South Holston River. This makes it a great area for brown trout and rainbow trout to thrive!
The South Holston River water generation is controlled by the Tennessee Valley Authority. In floating or wading the river, each trip will depend on the water release schedule. Float trips are only available on the South Holston when water is being generated. Likewise, wade trips are only available on the South Holston when water is not generating. There may be times we have to head to the Watauga River if fishing isn't optimal on the South Holston, but it's an equally good option. The trout fishing on both rivers is highly productive both when generating and not, whether by boat or wading.
If you have any questions concerning information on a trip, water release schedules, or just general advice, please contact us . We will be happy to simply talk with you about all of it.
About The South Holston River
The South Holston tailwater system is home to a large number of fish! It boasts nearly 8,500 fish per mile. The 14 mile stretch of pristine water begins in the neighboring state of Virginia and works its way to eventually meeting the South Holston Dam. The section that our fly fishing guides fish flows from the dam to Bluff City, where it meets Boone Lake. There are different sections during this stretch that have a greater opportunity for big browns than others. The dam is unique because it produces cold water temperatures year-round in feeding the South Holston River.
The weird dam is a much needed structure that amplifies the oxygen levels for a perfect habitat in which trout thrive year-round. Because of this, it provides a pristine nature to the South Holston River and it makes the perfect home to a large population of wild trout species. This, of course, gives an advantage to anglers from far and wide for a chance to land some real fish!
Due to the fluctuating flow that's dependent on the TVA release schedule, water levels can fluctuate drastically in a short period of time. Always be sure to check the TVA release schedule when you're planning on wading, and be sure to get to the shore if you notice water levels rising. You can access most of the South Holston river when wading with the water levels down. Some of the better wading access points are near the weir dams off of Holston View Dam rd. You'll find public access and parking there.
South Holston River Hatch Chart
The South Holston is a premier fly fishing destination for anglers from around the country. It's often hailed as one of the best places to fly fish in the USA! With 8,500 fish per mile, it's no wonder that people flock to the South Holston river to get their fly fishing fix. The SoHo is infamous for its sulfur hatches. In the evenings from May through October, the water surface looks like a symphony of mayflies with rising trout feasting upon them. Midges and bwo are a year-round hit here, no matter the spot you're fishing! If you want to have your best bet at catching fish on the South Holston River, our guide below will give you everything you need to land some browns or rainbows!
This hatch chart for the Holston should be able to help guide you in the selection of your flies. The best practice is, of course, to always be aware of your surroundings on the river. Look at the water and see what is floating down the river. Turn over some rocks on the edge of the river and look for insects on the bottom of them. Try to match your fly to what you see. This will always be your best bet.
This is of course easier said than done, especially for newer anglers who lack experience. With the trout in the Holston being notoriously picky eaters, this will take a lot of patience and practice as you hone your skills in "matching the hatch". The trout here are no slouches, which of course makes the fishing even more exciting. We're always here to answer any questions and be helpful on your fly fishing journey! Reach out if you need any help!