Fort Patrick Henry tailwater trout stream
Patrick Henry tailwater
Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Fort Patrick Henry
Tailwater (South Holston River)
When someone says they are going to fish the South
Holston River Tailwater, they very correctly could be
referring to the Fort Patrick Henry Tailwater which is on
the South Holston River. That name isn't common,
however, it's usually called the Fort Patrick Henry

This stream is found just off of Interstate I-81 at the
Kingsport exit. Highway #36 to kingsport will take you
across the bridge below the dam at Colonial Heights.
You can access the water below the dam on either side
of the bridge. There isn't much water available to fish.
As far as I know, this is the only public place you can
access the river where the water is still cold enough to
support trout.

There is a small parking area just before you get to the
bridge and a trail that leads down to the water. There is
shallower water that can be waded downstream from the
bridge. There's an angler made trail that follows the river
down this same side of the bridge. The other side, is
steep and you have to climb down the big rip rap rocks
shown in the picture above. It also has lots of brush
along the bank making it difficult to cast. The water is
too deep to wade there. By the way, the only time you
can fish this river wading, is when the water is off. If they
are generating any, forget wading.

The one and only time Angie and I fished this river was a
trip there to just see what it looked like. We had been
fishing for two days up on the upper South Holston. I set
my tripod up and ran some video of the stream while
Angie shot some stills. In doing so, I noticed fish jumping
out of the water just below us. I got the rod out and
found a place I could cast over the bushes. The third
attempt, I caught about a twelve inch rainbow. I got it all
tangled up in the willow trees and had to get wet trying
to get it un-hung but I managed to do so. It was probably
funny to anyone watching. The trout continued to jump,
obviously feeding on something but I never determined
what it was. It could have been minnows. They moved
and I couldn't reach them again.

This stream is stocked with brown and rainbow trout
twice a year currently. I do not know if it has any
holdover trout or not. It appears there are plenty of fish
to be caught from our one trip there. We have stopped
there three times. It is only a couple of miles off the
interstate but two other times they were running water.

Springtime would be great when there's no generation.
Fly fishing the Fort Patrick Henry tailwater is probably
best in the Summer.
Fall is a good time to fish the tailwater.
Warm, nice days may be good during the Winter

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout Flies
Type of Stream

Brown Trout (stocked)
Rainbow Trout (stocked)


North Eastern Tennessee

Nearest Towns


Fair to Good

Non-Resident License
State of Tennessee

National Weather Service Link

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and
Trout Flies
Fort Patrick Henry
Tailwater Tennessee
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