Copyright 2017 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On The South Holston River
The South Holston River is a tailwater trout fishery
located in the upper Northeastern corner of the state of
Tennessee near Bristol. It is stocked with rainbow trout
by the (TWRA) Tennessee Wildlife Agency. This is one
southern tailwater that has a substantial population of
wild brown trout. They are all wild. In addition, the
stocked rainbows holdover from year to year because
the stream stays cool even during the summer months. It
is probably the best tailwater in the Southeastern United
States. Fly fishing the South Holston River ranges from
difficult to easy depending on the type of fish.
The river can be waded when they are not generating
power and fished from a drift boat when turbines are
running. You can access the river in only a few places
where wading is possible. The main attraction is the wild
trout and extensive sulphur hatches.
There are actually two different species of mayflies the
locals call Sulphurs. Most people call one of them
Eastern Pale Evening Duns. The hatches occur for much
of the entire fishing season. There are also excellent
Blue-winged olive hatches.
Caution should be used anytime you are fishing a
tailwater, so be sure to check on the discharge schedule
and keep an eye out for changes in the depth. The TVA
dam discharge schedule information is linked on the left
side of this page. The schedule will tell when the best
times to fish the river are, depending on whether you are
wading or fishing from a drift boat.
Fly fishing the South Holston River can be as good as fly
fishing anywhere in the Eastern United States. The river
is certainly worth any avid angler taking the opportunity
to fish regardless of where you live.
Fly Fishing Guide to the South Holston River:
Fly fishing the South Holston river is considered to be
technical fishing by many anglers. This is one of the best
tailwaters in the Eastern United States. It is one of a few
tailwaters in the South that is capable of reproduction of
trout. Brown trout spawn in the river with decent success.
We think it offers just the right amount of challenge to
any angler. It is neither difficult or easy to fish. You have
to do things right, but when you do, you are rewarded.
The thing that makes it a desirable stream to fish in the
eyes of many anglers are the large aquatic insect
hatches. The stream is full of trout food of all types. The
Blue-winged Olive and Sulphur mayfly hatches can be
incredible. It also has some great caddisfly hatches. This
provides dry fly fishing opportunities far better than most
tailwaters. There are plenty of times you have to fish
subsurface using nymphs, streamers, wet flies, soft
hackles, scuds, black fly imitations and other ways, but
all in all, dry fly fishing is very good for a tailwater.
You have to pay very close attention to the discharge
schedule. That is easy to do and the schedule provided
is usually very accurate. There are time you can wade
the South Holston River with ease and times you can't.
There are times you have a big advantage using a drift
boat. It all depends on the releases. This information is
available under the TVA Release Schedule link on the
Be prepared to use long leaders and tippets and to make
good presentations. A drag free drift is a must most of
the time. You cannot hit these trout over the head with
your fly line. It is especially difficult when they are feeding
in the slow to moderate water. Good realistic imitations
can make a big difference.
The area just below the weir dam usually has plenty of
trout but be aware that they are difficult to catch. They
are heavily fished but they can be caught if you want to
accept the added challenge. Although the water between
the weir dam and the dam looks great, it is even more
difficult to catch trout from its smooth, flowing water.
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Photo Courtesy of David Knapp Photography
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 to 12 ft., 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 71/2
ft., 3 or 4X, Midges 6X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Superb Five or Ultimate Six
For 5/6 line size
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
South Holston River.
All but the worst days of winter can provide
decent fishing on the South Holston River.
Springtime brings about a big sufphur hatch
and some of the best dry fly fishing in the
Southeastern U. S.
Hatches and Trout Flies for the South
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods
at the particular time you are fishing. Unlike
the generic fly shop trout flies, we have
specific imitations of all the insects in the
South Holston River and in all stages of life
that are applicable to fishing. If you want to
fish better, more realistic trout flies, have a
much higher degree of success, give us a
call. We not only will help you with
selections, you will learn why, after trying
Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands of our
customers will use nothing else.
There are several different hatches that take
place on the South Holston River and the
trout can become selective on the insects.
Long, light leaders and careful presentations
are often required to catch the trout.
The most popular hatch that occurs on the
South Holston Tailwater is referred to as the
"Sulphur" hatch. It is for a very good reason.
Two different species of mayflies very similar
to each other called "Sulphurs" hatch on the
South Holston over a very long period of
time. These mayflies can hatch most of the
days from mid April through the first of
November. In many other areas of the
country, one of the two mayflies
(Ephemerella invaria) are usually called
"Eastern Pale Evening Duns". The other
mayflies (Ephemerella dorothea) are almost
always referred to by their common name as
"Sulphurs". There's not a great deal of
difference in the two, but there's enough
worth being familiar with.
These two hatches can last a long time. This
doesn't mean that on any given day one of
them will be hatching from one end of the
river to the other. The hatch will vary from
place to place along the river depending on
a number of factors, a main one being the
amount of water being discharged. You
cannot necessarily expect to go to one point
along the river and expect the hatch to
occur. This is another reason a drift boat is a
good option for the South Holston.
The first of the two mayflies to hatch will be
the Eastern Pale Evening Duns, the larger of
the two and the one that is more of a tan
than true sulphur. They are closer to a hook
size 16.It is also an easier hatch to fish. The
reason is that they hatch in faster water than
the slightly smaller Sulphurs. Sulphurs hatch
in slow to moderate water. Because of that,
the trout get a much better look at your fly
and are referred to by most anglers as picky.
It is possible the Sulphurs are bi-brooded, or
hatch twice a year. This happens on the
West Branch of the Delaware River in New
York, also a tailwater.
There are some huge Blue-winged Olive
hatches that occur in the Winter, early
Spring and again in the late Fall. Some of
these are baetis species but there are other
species of mayflies called blue-winged olives
that hatch on the South Holston. If the dun is
larger than a hook size 18, most likely it is an
Eastern Blue-winged Olive, a Drunella
species, which are crawler nymphs as
opposed to the baetis that are swimmers.
Black flies are very plentiful and trout feed
on them throughout the year. However, they
are far more important during the winter
months when fewer other insects are
hatching. Trout eat their larvae, pupae and
the adult black flies.
The river also supports a good population of
scuds, which are another major source of
food for the trout.As with most any tailwater
fishery, midges are also very important.
Often they are the only flies that the trout are
feeding on and imitations of them are the
only trout flies that are effective.
At certain times, especially during the
pre-spawn time, large brown trout can be
taken on streamers. The river also has
plenty of baitfish and sculpin and streamers
can produce throughout the year if fished
properly. They are most effective when the
water is slightly off color from rain, or during
low light situations such as early and late in
the day. They also work good when it is
Caddisflies are very prolific on the South
Holston River. There is a hatch of Little Black
Caddis in April and just as soon as it is about
over the Cinnamon Caddis will start to hatch.
These caddisfles exist in several species and
will hatch until the end of October. Near the
end of June through July and into August,
you will also find hatches of some species of
the similar but smaller Little Sister
Caddisflies. There is even a hatch of Spotted
Sedges but they are very similar to the
In late April, hatches of Green Sedges will
start. These caddisflies hatch until the first of
July but their larvae, called Rock Worms, are
around all year and flies that imitate them
are effective most of the year. In the months
of July and August, you will find hatches of
Little Brown Caddisflies. These can be very
abundant in places.
Terrestrial insects become important around
the middle of June. Imitations of
grasshoppers, ants, and beetles will catch
trout until the first week or two in October, or
just beyond the time the first frost appears.
The Cranefly is another insect that the trout
will feed on. Their larvae are around
throughout the year. The adults are also
around much of the year, but are more
important during the late summer.
If you haven't already done so, we suggest
you try our "Perfect Flies". We have specific
imitations of everything that hatches and
exist in the South Holston River. The best
way is to check our South Holston Hatch
Chart for the period of time you will be fishing
the river. Our Black fly larva, pupa and adult
flies were developed at the South Holston, so
be sure to try them. Not only are they far
more imitative of the real things, they are far
more effective than most other trout flies.
The discharges from the dam are very cold
and the stream produces trout throughout the
Autumn provides the second best time to fish
the South Holston Tailwater. The weather is
normally excellent and the lack of discharges
are normally great for the wading angler..
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|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (email@example.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Headlines: So far, the discharge
schedule is looking good. They are
running one today. There is a lot of
rain and we have already had quite
a bit, so we expect some higher
discharges at some point. Make
sure you check the schedule. As of
now, conditions are fine. It can be a
little tough wading when on is
running but boats do great. There
are still lots of insects hatching.
Keep track of the latest information
by clicking the above link to our
weekly updated fishing report.
Map of South Holston River
10/14/15 Very good conditions exist right now on the South Holston. We had one report of a
big brown caught last week on our Brown sculpin streamer fly. The weather will be good all
next week with no rain forecast. Good wading opportunities should exist most of the time.
Hatches will consist mostly of Blue-winged Olives. Terrestrials like ants and beetles are also
working. This is one of the best trout streams in the eastern U.S.
10/21/15 The South Holston is in good shape and our customers are catching some nice
trout. You have to pay close attention to the discharge schedule to determine if you can
wade or not. Brown trout are either spawning or in the pre-spawn stage. Make sure you
check the regulations on the off limit areas. Our Brown sculpin works great on the pre-
spawners. Blue-winged olives are hatching and some trout are being caught on the surface.
10/26/15 One of our loyal customers caught a 24 inch brown trout yesterday using the
Perfect Fly Brown Sculpin streamer. He has caught several large ones already this year, but
that is the largest. He also picked up a lot of rainbows on Blue-winged olives, and some on
the dry fly.
10/28/15 There is a high wind warning for the next two days. There is rain forecast everyday
but Friday and Saturday. Blue-winged Olives continue to be the main hatch. Of course, as
always, midges are hatching and you can always count on some action imitating them. Brown
trout have begin to spawn in some areas. Be sure to avoid the off limit areas during the
11/04/15 One of the best tailwaters in the eastern U. S. has been high this past week. The
area has received more rain than it normally does. Discharges have made it tough on the
wading angler. Drift boats have picked up a few trout, some of which are large browns. They
are spawning and you have to respect the off limit waters.
11/11/15 The river is in great shape and the weather is excellent. It is a perfect time to fish
the South Holston and catch a big brown trout. More of the post spawn browns will be coming
available as the days go by. Make certain you avoid fishing in the off limit areas. Midges and
Blue-winged olives will be about the only thing hatching in the near future.
11/18/15 There has been quite a bit of rain in the headwaters of the South Holston River this
past week. You can expect some heavy discharges at some point to get the extra water
through the system, so be certain to get the discharge schedule before heading out. Our
customers have been catching a lot of post-spawn brown trout this past week. The Brown
Sculpin streamer is an excellent fly to do this.
11/25/15 The weather has been fair and getting better. There is rain forecast starting this
weekend. The stream levels have been up and down some but offering lots of opportunity for
the waders as well as the drift boat guys. Hatches have been good and consisting of Blue-
winged olives and lots of Cream and Red Midges. The Brown sculpin has continued to
produce some very big post-spawn brown trout.
12/02/15 Conditions doesn't look good for the next few days. We are under a flood watch
through this morning and there has been heavy rain for three straight days now. There is a
lot of water the power company will have to get through the system to lower the lake back to
winter levels. We expect it will be a few days. Hopefully, it will be okay by the weekend, but it
12/09/15 The good news is, the weather is going to be beautiful and very warm for this time
of the year. The bad news is, the TVA is having to lower the lakes back down to normal
Winter levels and the discharges may often be high. LIttle chance exist for the waders but
maybe some good ones for those with a boat. We added Winter stoneflies to the list even
though the weather is very warm. They should hatch by the end of the month.
12/16/15 Wow! What a great weather forecast for the rest of the month of December. It is
more like spring than late fall, early winter. The discharge schedule doesn't look bad for the
next few days and hopefully, there will be some good opportunities for wading and drift boats.
There is some rain in the forecast for the next couple of days but it shouldn't be a big factor.
Don't forget the Brown Sculpin streamer fly. It has been catching some big trout.
12/23/15 The weather forecast is hard to believe for the end of the Christmas holiday
season. The TVA shows they are not running any turbines tomorrow. There is an opening for
you waders. There could even be some Blue-winged olive hatches that take place. It is warm
and the sky will be overcast. Midges should still be the prime insects you imitate. Just
because it is warm doesn't mean you should fish like it is May.
12/30/15 As mentioned in the report linked above, the TVA release schedule shows they are
running water today and tomorrow, and I expect that to continue for a while. They have to get
the lake back down to winter storage leval and it is high now. You will need a drift boat to fish
most of the time this coming week. Streamers like our Brown sculpin will work good, along
with the midges and winter stonelfies.
01/06/16 The discharges are still running strong. There was a lot of water in the headwaters
that has to get through the system and get the lake back in shape for winter storage. You will
just have to keep a check and maybe there will be a chance for wading soon. It appears fine
for the drift boat guys right now. There is more rain starting Friday through the weekend. The
White Belly sculpin streamer has been a hot fly for our customers lately.
01/13/16 By the way, a customer ask about using braided leaders on the South Holston. We
have several customer that use them and like them. Midges, fished with the larva the bottom
fly and the pupa the top fly, is working very good right now. The Brown and White Belly
sculpin streamers are working good, especially with al the cloud cover. The stream levels
have been high most all the time and wading not possible but hopefully that will change soon.
01/20/16 hey are running water today and it is likely that will continue. Of course, you never
know for sure, you can only check the discharge schedule with the TVA but based on the
amount of rain and snow in the forecast, we think it is likely they will continue. That is fine for
drift boats but tough on any wading. Midges and little Winter stoneflies are the flies you need
to be using.
01/27/16 The South Holston is in good shape. The weather is going to be warmer than it has
been in a while and the TVA isn't running water this afternoon. It is a good time to fish the
river. Midges, winter stoneflies, Black Flies and Sculpin streamers are the flies you need to
be using. Fish the midge pupa and larva in tandem, with the larva the bottom fly and the
pupa the upper fly.
02/03/16 The South Holston will be running at least for the next two days and probably
longer. It has rained quite a bit but is clearing up for a few days and turning a little colder.
Midges, red and cream, Winter stoneflies, Black Flies and little BWO's are hatching at times.
It probably will be tough to wade for a while but drift boats should do okay. Fish the slack
current, not fast water and you should do well.
02/10/16 Get ready for some more snow showers and much colder weather. It will have an
effect on the water temperature below the weir. It will likely be in the mid forties as low as the
power lines. Midges and Winter stoneflies are the only insects I would recommend imitating.
You may fish streamers like our Brown Sculpin during low light situations.
02/17/16 The weather is going to be much warmer this coming week and that will help bring
up the water temperatures in the middle and lower sections of the river where it gets very
cold. It also makes it much more pleasant to fish without having to deal with freezing lines.
There is some rain on the way this coming weekend and that may eventually mean some
higher discharges. Right now is a good time to fish the river.
02/24/16 You can expect another roller coaster week of weather from freezing rain and snow
to very warm weather. It has little effect on the water temperature for the first two or three
miles downstream, but does affect the lower river. Midges, Winter Stoneflies, Black Flies, and
maybe some little Blue-winged olives will hatch this coming week. Midges are the most
03/02/16 This tailwater simply can't be beat in the Eastern U.S., provided the power company
isn't running too much water. It is getting warm and it won't be long before blue-winged olives
are hatching in good numbers. Right now, it is off and on, with size 18/20 BWO and Black
flies being the main things to imitate. When the water is up, the Sculpin streamers work well,
especially for the big brown trout.
03/09/16 The South Holston has been providing some of the best dry fly fishing that's
available anywhere lately. Most of the time, anglers have had to fish from a drift boat due to
higher water releases, but we think there will be some opportunity this week for wading.
Midges are mostly creams with some red (blood) midges mixed in. Blue-winged olives
represent the good action recently. Also, there are also some black flies still hatching.
03/16/16 The unseasonable warm weather continues but will make a change back to more
normal weather this coming weekend. There's even a chance of snow showers. It is still going
to be warm and a great time to fish the river. The discharge schedule looks good for the next
two days, and I don't see much reason for it to change anytime soon. Conditions for wading
03/23/16 There have been some good opportunities for wading anglers to fish the South
Holston recently and those that did were well rewarded. Two customers reported catching
high numbers and some on the surface. Blue-winged olives are hatching good, especially on
cloudy or overcast days. Midges are always hatching at the warmest part of the day.
03/30/16 The conditions are about as good as they get at this time of the year. The stream
levels are low and the power company's schedule indicates the next couple of days will have
a generation schedule favorable for wading anglers. The water is warming up just a little and
it won't be long before the air will be full of much larger mayflies than the little Blue-winged
olives currently hatching.
04/06/13 The river is in great shape right now, and the discharge schedule looks good for
the next two days. There are a lot of showers in the forecast every day through Saturday.
This is probably going to mean more discharges at some point. Now is a good time to go if
you can. Little Blue-winged olives and mega midges are hatching good. Little Black Caddis
will start anytime, if not already.
04/13/16 The conditions for wading and fly fishing the South Holston are as good as they
have been in a long time. Discharge schedule favor anglers and most likely, want be
changing much. There is little rain chances in the forecast. Midges and little Blue-winged
olives and on the lower end, Little Black caddis are hatching.
04/20/16 The South Holston is living up to its reputation for large brown trout fishing. Our
customers have been scoring good on this this past week, along with lots of rainbows. The
Eastern Pale Evening duns (locals call these Sulphurs) are hatching in some areas. There
are a lot more caddis showing up, especially on the middle and lower sections of the river.
The discharge schedule looks good for wading anglers.
04/27/16 The weather is going to be a little cooler this coming week but we don't think it will
adversely affect the hatches, and certainly not the Blue-winged olives. Some customers have
been having some great results using the Brown sculpin streamer when it is cloudy and early
and late. The river is still in very good shape and producing a lot of trout for our customers.
05/03/16 The South Holston has maintained some good wading opportunities even though
there has been a chance of rain every day for the past week. The same forecast is for the
coming week. Lets just hope the total rainfall isn't excessive. Our customers have been
catching some nice numbers of rainbows and brown trout this past week. Good hatches have
provided some good dry fly action.
05/11/16 The discharge schedule looks good for the wading angler. We don't think that will
continue to be that way if the weather forecast holds true. There is a chance of rain every
day for the next week. Our customers have been catching a lot of trout on the Eastern Pale
Evening dun hatch the locals call sulpurs. Blue-winged olives continue to hatch as well as
05/18/16 The river has been in very good shape recently and our customers are catching a
lot of trout and many on dry flies. The Eastern Pale Evening duns, the locals call Sulphurs,
are hatching along with caddis and Blue-winged olives. The stream levels have been good
thanks to low discharges. There is a lot of rain in the forecast and this is likely to change but
okay for now.
05/25/16 From the looks of the power company discharge schedule, conditions look good for
the next two days. There is a change of rain every day for the next week, but the chances
are very low, so discharges should remain low. True Sulphurs are starting to hatch as well as
the Eastern Pale Evening duns locals also call Sulphurs. Lots of caddis are emerging
providing late afternoon egg laying activity.
06/01/16 This past week has been good for most of the time. There were times the flows
were high and only drift boats had much opportunity but those times anglers could wade,
turned out to be great. There are a lot of hatches but they are scattered up and down the
river. It varies in temperature and that controls what hatch when and where. Sulphur are
coming on strong but blue-winged olives are stil the most consistent.
06/08/16 The river is producing a lot of trout even though the opportunity for wading has
been little. This will be much better this coming week, or at least we hope it will. There is a lot
less rain in the forecast. The egg laying activity of the caddis are bringing a lot of thsi to the
surface late in the day, as well as spinner falls of the Sulphurs. Fish as late as you can for
the best results.
06/15/16 Conditions have been very good lately. The rain forecast for the next three days
means there will be cloud cover and this should make it even better. The discharges have
been low at times and allowed anglers opportunity to wade. Hopefully, this will continue. Blue-
winged olives and sulphurs are hatching and our customers are getting plenty of dry fly
06/22/16 The river is in good shape offering both the wading and drift boat angler some very
good fly fishing opportunities. The discharges have been running about normal for this time
of the year. There are a lot of insects hatching and our customers are catching some good
numbers of trout on the surface. The Sulphurs are hatching on a regular basis along with
some BWOs, depending on the section of water you are fishing.
06/30/16 The river is in good shape with average discharges and stream levels for this time
of the year. You have to pick and choose the times and places you can wade based on the
schedule of discharges. This is always the case and all that fish the river know it, but it still
catches anglers new to the river in situations where they can't fish. There is still a lot of
insects hatching and trout being caught on the surface.
06/06/16 The river is in good shape. There have been some opportunities for wading
anglers this past week. There have been times the discharges were too heavy to wade
safely. Drift boat anglers have been able to fish on a regular basis. The sulphurs are
hatching in very good numbers. There are still some Eastern Pale Evening duns, called
sulpurs locally but they are about to end. The true Sulphurs should continue in good
numbers. There also plenty of caddis.
07/13/16 The river continues to produce a lot of good catches for those who are taking the
opportunity to fish it. The discharges look like they will provide some good wading
opportunities for the next two days but there is a lot of rain in the forecast. Sulphur hatches
are continuing to take place. There may end up being a few more discharges this coming
week but most of the rain will be scattered showers.
07/20/16 The TVA is not running water enough that wading anglers can usually work in some
time but you have to move back up and down the river as the schedule of discharges
dictates. There are a lot of trout being caught by the drift boat guys. Sulphurs are still
hatching good as well as two species of caddisflies. The best time to fish is very late in the
day but few anglers are doing staying late.
07/27/16 The river is in good shape in spite of the heat. The water is staying cool in the
upper and middle sections, but is getting warmer in the lower sections of the river. There are
still hatches of Sulphurs taking place along with plenty of caddisflies. The caddisflies hatch
during the afternoon but deposit their eggs mostly late in the day the last three hours of
daylight. Fish as late as you can.
08/03/16 The river is in good condition in the middle and upper sections. The lower section
has been close to being too warm in the afternoons. Sulphurs are still hatching but are
getting sparse. Small Blue-winged olives, non - baetis species, are also hatching. Two
species of caddisflies are hatching in good numbers. The best time to fish the river is the last
two hours of daylight.
08/10/16 There is a chance of rain in the forecast everyday for the coming week again. They
have been running water most afternoons and none in the mornings but this is likely to
change soon. There are still some Sulphurs hatching as well as lots of caddisflies and some
little BWOs. Early morning streamer fishing has produced some nice trout. Fish as late in the
day as you can. Egg laying caddis and spinner falls are providing those few anglers fishing
with some good action.
08/17/16 The same weather pattern continues for the next week, except it may get a little
cooler the later part of the week. There are rain chances everyday. Our customers reported
some very good catches this past week. They are running water most afternoons but not in
the morning. Our Matuka Sculpin patterns are working good in the early mornings. The best
time to fish is still the last two hours of the day.
08/24/16 The stream is in very good shape. Today's schedule shows they will be running
water this afternoon and none this morning. This gives anglers plenty of opportunity to wade.
Fish the upper part until the water starts up and then move downstream a few miles. Early
morning fishing using our Sculpin streamers is also working good. The last two hours of
daylight is a excellent time to fish.
09/07/16 The weather has turned a little cooler and that will help the middle and lower
sections of the river. They have been getting warmer than some of the insects prefer.
Streamers, like our Brown Sculpin and Olive Matuka sculpin have been getting some good
fish early mornings. Late afternoon, fish the egg laying caddisflies. This is best the last three
hours of daylight.
09/07/16 The river remains in good shape with mostly afternoon releases. Few are doing it,
but early morning streamer fishing using Sculpin patterns will get some of the larger browns.
The last two hours of daylight, cinnamon caddis are depositing eggs and bringing trout to the
surface. Spinner fall of the BWOs and Sulphurs occur at that same time. Our customers are
reporting some good catches.
09/14/16 The river is in very good shape and our customers are sending in some good
reports on a regular basis. The discharges and stream levels have been relatively low,
allowing good wading conditions. There are plenty of Blue-winged olives and some sulphurs
hatching as well as two different caddis species. Sculpin streamers have also been working
good early and late in the day.
09/21/16 Cooler weather, especially cooler nights, are helping the middle and lower end of
the river. The trout are very active and anglers are catching plenty of them. The discharges
are usually one in the afternoon and that is unlikely to change but of course, can easily do
just that. Sculpin streamers fished early and late is producing some good size catches. The
browns are already starting to get a little aggressive.
09/28/16 Conditions have been good this past week. It seems fewer people fished for some
reason, most likely the football season affect. Conditions were very good the entire week.
The weather is turning much cooler and that should help the lower section of the river.
Sulphur hatches were excellent. Hatches may slow down to some extent with the caddis, but
Blue-winged olives should increase the next few days.
10/05/16 It may seem as if I am repeating this, but fishing just doesn't get much better than it
is right now on the South Holston. There are good hatches and a lot of fish are being caught
by those that do a half decent job. The brown trout are very aggressive getting near
spawning time and taking streamers very well. The sculpin patterns, like our Brown and
White Belly sculpin and Matuka sculpin, work great for that.
10/12/16 The conditions are as good as they could get at this time of the season. Our
customers are catching lots of trout including some big browns. They are using the Brown
sculpin to get those but the blue-winged olive hatches and Sulphur hatches are the big
highlights of the river right now. The discharges and stream levels have been low offering
great wading opportunities. It should remain this way for this coming week.
10/17/16 There has been little change in the conditions this past week. Our customers are
still reporting some very good catches. Few are fishing and you have a lot of different
choices. Blue-winged olive hatches have been very good recently. Some large brown trout
are being caught on our Perfect Fly Brown sculpin streamers. Remember, this river has
designated off limits during spawning season.
10/26/16 This past week was a very good one for some of our customers. Two groups
caught some good numbers of trout on two, two day boat trips. There was one huge brown
trout caught on our Brown Sculpin streamers. There are still a few Sulphurs hatching but
they are low numbers. Blue-winged olives are the main insects hatching at this time.
Streamer fishing is also good during low light conditions.
11/02/16 The river continues to be in good shape, providing wading anglers plenty of good
opportunities to fish as well as those fishing from drift boats. One customer reported catching
a 24 inch brown trout this past week on the Brown Sculpin streamer. Sulphurs are still
hatching along with plenty of Blue-winged olives. The weather will cool down a little this
coming week and that should help the BWO hatches on the middle and lower sections.
11/09/16 The stream levels and discharges remain lower than average. This is good for
wading anglers but can also make it easy to spook the trout. Brown trout are either in the pre-
spawn or actual spawning stage. There are two separate sections of the river that are off
limits to fishing during the spawning season. This was effective November 1st. Make sure you
avoid them. Please don't wade through redds anywhere.
11/16/16 Remember to avoid the off limit waters for the brown trout spawning activity. The
weather is going to be much colder this weekend. This will have little effect except in the
middle and lower sections of the river. We do think midges and little size 18 and 20 Blue-
winged olives will be the main insects hatching. The Brown and White Belly sculpin streamers
should continue to catch the larger trout.
11/23/16 The river continues to be in good shape with low discharges and water levels most
of the time. Wading is easy. Be sure to avoid wading through spawning beds of the brown
trout. Also, be sure to avoid fishing in the off limit water for spawning browns. Midges and
blue-winged olives are hatching. The Brown and White Belly sculpin are still catching some of
the larger trout.
11/30/16 The river is still low with minimum discharges. The lake level is low. There is rain
forecast for today and this weekend and this may change soon. Brown sculpin streamers are
continuing to catch some large trout. By the way, don't overlook the water that is closed for
spawning browns and fish in the wrong places. Blue-winged olives and Midges are still the
only major hatches taking place.
12/07/16 The river is in very good shape for the first part of December. Blue-winged olives
and Midges are hatching good. We received a good report from the past week. The weather
will be getting a little colder this week but it will affect the water temperature very little except
some in the middle section and a little more in the lowest section that holds trout. The Brown
sculpin streamer should continue to catch trout.
12/14/16 The conditions look very good for the next week. The weather is going to be very
cold for the next two days, but it will affect the water temperature little in the upper section.
The discharge schedule looks good for the coming two day. Wading should be easy. Midges,
Creams and Reds, fished in tandem has been catching some good numbers of trout for our
12/21/16 We continue to get some good reports from customers fishing the South Holston
and next week looks like it might be even better. At least it is going to be warm. Midges,
Creams and the Blood midges, or red ones, are hatching and imitations of them are working
good. Fish the larva and pupa in tandem with the larva the bottom fly and the pupa about 16
inches above it.
12/28/16 For the next two days, the power company will be running water only an hour twice
a day and there will be some good wading opportunities. There is a good bit of rain and snow
in the forecast, so I'm not sure how long the low levels will last. Conditions are very good right
now. We only had one report from the past week and it was a good one. Blue-winged olives
and lots of midges are hatching.
01/04/17 The weather is turning much colder and you will see a drop in the water
temperature downstream. It will mostly affect the middle and lower sections but we think the
water near the weir dam will drop some as well. Hatches will be mostly Midges, Black flies and
Winter stoneflies. We always recommend fish the midge larva and pupa imitations in tandem.
Don't fail to think the Black flies are important. They catch trout as well as midges at times.
01/11/17 The discharges and stream levels are low and wading easy about anywhere you
fish. The weather is going to turn much warmer this coming week and there is a lot of rain in
the forecast. The discharges are likely to increase in the near future. The water temperature
will be affected very little except in the middle to lower section of the river. Fish Midges
(creams and reds), Black flies and winter stonefly nymphs.
01/18/17 The warm weather is continuing and no one's complaining. The water temperature
is almost backwards to what it normally is this time of the year. It is warmer the further you go
downstream. Midges are still on the main menu but there are a lot of little Blue-winged olives
hatching. There are some Winter stoneflies and some Black flies hatching as well. Watch the
discharge schedule. It may can often. There is some more rain on the way.
01/25/17 The stream levels are still in good shape. They are running one until 2:00 today
and none until 6:00. That gives wading anglers a chance to wade. That is subject to change.
There is more rain and snow in the forecast. Fish the upper section of the river below the
weir. The middle and lower section is warm now but will betting cold again. Midges are still the
main insects to imitate. Fish the larva and pupa in tandem. Winter stoneflies are also
02/01/17 Conditions for wading today are good with little generation. We see no reason for
that to change anytime soon, but you have to check it, of course. There is some rain or rain
and snow in the forecast this weekend and the first of next week. There are plenty of little
BWOs hatching and large numbers of Cream and blood (Red) midges hatching. Fish the
Olive or Black matuka sculpin streamer when it is cloudy.
02/08/15 The discharge schedule looks pretty good for the next two days. There is some rain
in the forecast along with much warmer weather except for tomorrow. The cloud cover will
help and streamers like our Black and Olive Matuka sculpin should work good. Otherwise,
fish midges, creams and reds, with the larva and pupa rigged in tandem. Black Flies are
hatching big time as well. We had a good report from a customer using them from this past
02/15/17 We received two good reports this past week from customers. Midges and little non-
baetis Blue-winged olives are hatching. Fish the midge larva and pupa rigged in tandem,
Both Creams and Blood or red midges are hatching. Sculpin streamers like the Black and
olive Matuka sculpin work good when there is low light conditions. The Brown sculpin
streamer should also work good.
02/22/17 The weather continues to be nice and warm. Streamers are catching some nice
size brown trout for our customers using the Black Matuka and Olive Matuka sculpin
patterns. Midges is still the main insect you should be imitating. The warm weather tends to
make angler try to get away from fishing the small flies but that can be a big mistake. The
trout continue to eat them even in the warmer water. There are some little size 20 Blue-
winged olives hatching as well.
03/01/17 It is raining heavily as I am writing this but it should end today. The weather will cool
off a couple of days and be back in the fifties by the weekend. There are some little non-
baetis Blue-winged olives hatching and lots of midges. Midges are mostly Creams and Reds
or blood midges. Fish the larva and pupa in tandem for the best results. Sculpin streamers
continue to catch the larger trout when fished in low light conditions.
03/08/17 The discharge schedule indicates they will be running water up until around 2:00
PM each day and then again late in the day around 6:00. That gives a 4 hour break for
wading anglers. You can wade with one generator running but it makes it tough in places.
Fish streamers like the Brown sculpin or Black Matuka sculpin when it is overcast, otherwise,
Cream or Red midges would be the best choice.
03/15/17 The discharge schedule is looking good for the next couple of days. Wading will be
easy tomorrow afternoon and almost all day Friday. There is a change of rain a couple of
days this weekend. The cloudy skies will just help. Blue-winged olives should be hatching as
well as Red (blood) and Cream midges. Fish Sculpin streamers like the Black Matuka and
Olive Matuka sculpin when it is cloudy.
03/22/17 We received some very good reports from customers lately. Discharges are
scheduled to be only an hour mornings and one in the afternoons for the next couple of
days. You should be able to wade all day provided you shift locations when the discharges
come on and/or shut off. Little blue-winged olives are hatching good. Spinner fall will come
03/29/17 The discharges and stream levels are low and that is good for wading anglers. The
cloudy skies has been a big help to those fishing Sculpin streamers. They have caught some
nice trout, both rainbows and browns. Midges and little Blue-winged olives are still the main
insects you need to be imitating. Creams, Light Greens and Reds (blood midges) are
hatching. Fish the larva and pupa imitations rigged in tandem.
04/05/17 The river is in very good shape with few anglers fishing. We didn't receive any
reports this past week. The discharge schedule for th next three days looks good for wading
anglers. You may have to move locations but you should be able to fish about all day. There
are some caddis hatching and some little Blue-winged olives, but midges are still the most
important. Light Green midges are hatching everywhere.
04/12/17 The river is still in very good shape with hatching Blue-winged olives, midges and
some little Black Caddis. The discharge schedule looks good for the next week day. The
weather looks excellent. We received two good reports from customers this past week. The
coming week should be a very good one. The warmer weather and water is going to kick off
some new hatches very soon.
04/19/17 The Eastern Pale Evening duns, locals call Sulphurs, are starting to hatch. The
true Sulphurs will be later on in the year. The ones with a cream tint to the body rather than
the pure sulpur color are Eastern Pale Evening duns, close but not quite the same.
Caddisflies are also hatching. There is a lot of rain in the forecast, so be sure to check the
04/26/17 The discharges and stream levels will be up for a day or so. There has been a lot
of rain and the lake is high. They will be running one all day today. Our customers have been
catching lots of trout. There are some good Eastern Pale Evening dun hatches (locals call
these Sulphurs) and some Blue-winged olives. There are some little Black caddis hatching as
well. Sculpin streamers always work good when the water is a little high.
05/03/17 The weather is turning a little cooler this coming week, but we don't think that will
have much effect. There is more rain in the forecast. Discharges and stream levels have
been high for the past several days but okay today for drift boats. We did get two good
reports from the last day or two. Sulphurs, or actually Eastern Pale Evening duns are
hatching good along with lots of caddis and some BWOs.
05/10/17 The discharges and stream levels continue to be low allowing anglers plenty of
wading opportunity. This is always subject to change, as most of you know. There is some
rain from tomorrow through Saturday. There are some little Black caddis and some
Cinnamons just starting to hatch as well as Blue-winged olives and Sulphurs. The Sulphurs
are actually Eastern Pale Evening duns but very similar to the true Sulphurs which will hatch
a little later.
05/17/17 The discharge schedule and stream levels have been good most of the time lately.
They will run one all day today and until noon tomorrow. There is a chance of rain everyday
for the coming week starting tomorrow, but the chances are not that good. The cloudy skies
will be a big bonus. There are lots of caddis, especially in the middle and lower sections.
BWOs and Sulphurs (EPEDs) are hatching as well.