Locations & The River
Tennessee is one of the fastest growing fishing opportunities in the South and it’s starting to leave a mark on the fly fishing world. Through an aggressive management campaign by TWRA (TN Wildlife Resources Agency), TVA, and various conservation groups, TN is well on its way to building a strong and lasting fishery system. There are many challenges ahead for coldwater species throughout the country and facing them is the first step. Restoration and stabilization programs for native and wild trout streams up and down the Appalachians are in full swing and TN is not being left behind!
Also, the unique opportunity provided by the hydroelectric dams of the TVA system provides a coldwater habitat that cannot be rivaled on the east coast. These “tailwater” rivers provide a strong habitat that is making some of the best trout rivers right here in the South. The South Holston and Watauga rivers are providing populations that are far exceeding TWRA projections. Both of these tailwaters have strong naturally reproducing Brown and Rainbow Trout populations that are supported with state and federal stocking programs. These rivers boast healthy populations of middle stage trout in the 12-18” range, as well as high end stage of 20+” being caught routinely, making these rivers a fishing paradise. And let us not forget that the fly fishing world is growing leaps and bounds out of the traditional mold of just trout on a fly. It’s the South, and Tennessee is famous for its smallmouth fishing. And yes, we have that covered.
This river originates from the watershed of Mount Mitchell, forming the tributaries of the Toe and Cane Rivers which join and create the Nolichucky just 8 miles above Popular, NC. As the Nolichucky leaves Poplar, it carves a unique gorge through the Unaka Mountain Range as it free flows into Unicoi County, TN. Come float the “Noli” and fish some of the finest Smallmouth waters that Tennessee has to offer. Test yourself on these smallies with a fly rod or a cast rod; imagine the pull of a 2lb smallie on the end of a 6wt! With this river being free flowing, it’s best fishing times are spring, early summer and fall, however adequate water levels can mean great fishing all summer. When summertime flows occur, wading trips are available on this river; early morning or late afternoon trips are recommended at these water levels.
Watauga River and South Holston Rivers
TVA provided the south with two things 1) Electricity 2) Some of the best trout fishing in the country, thanks to cold water that pours out from behind their dams. These rivers are rich in aquatic insects, which mean we have healthy populations of beautiful brown and rainbow trout.
The Watauga boasts the famous “Trophy Section”; come fish a trout river where you can fish caddis, mayfly or midge imitations. If you are up for the challenge of casting streamers, the Watauga offers some big browns that would make a fish of a lifetime.
The South Holston (SoHo) is one of the east’s most technical rivers. Matching the hatch is everything, and the fish will let you know it. When you do connect, though, the beautiful Honey Do Brown’s are a fish that will never leave your memory. This river is famous for its Sulpher Hatch during the summer, and it’s BWO hatch during the late fall and winter.
Watauga and SoHo are dam-released rivers and have odd scheduling. Thanks TVA! The release schedule is given to the public the day before by TVA. Information regarding flow and which river is fishing best will be presented on trip day, and we will choose the best option together. Trips will go out with or without flow based on the time that you schedule your trip.