Region Rivers

June 10, 2019 by

The redemptive power of east Tennessee’s trout waters is no surprise to a growing number of anglers. Two big rivers, the South Holston and the Watauga drain some of the most historic mountain ground in the South. 

While they may not get the attention of the storied waters out West, two East Tennessee rivers—the South Holston and the Watauga—hold the kind of brown and rainbow trout that usually only swim through anglers’ dreams. Welcome to the Tennessee Tailwaters. 

The redemptive power of east Tennessee’s trout waters is no surprise to a growing number of anglers. Two big rivers, the South Holston and the Watauga, drain some of the most historic mountain ground in the South. The rivers draw their waters from some of the region’s highest peaks—the Watauga is born on the high ridges of North Carolina’s Grandfather Mountain—but as they push through the Tennessee valleys, they slow and braid into wide, shimmering riffles and ledge pools.

Both of these streams is a tailwater river, meaning that they are dammed for hydropower generation. Since the released water comes from the bottom of the lakes, it stays consistently cold even through summer heat, and so trout thrive in these rivers, in astonishing numbers.

The South Holston River holds an average of 8,500 trout per mile, and four out of five are wild brown trout. The Watauga, a smaller stream that careens under limestone cliffs, holds nearly as many. Fish in either river can grow to legendary size. Twenty-inch fish aren’t uncommon. Thirty-inch fish aren’t unknown. In the middle of six-inch native brook trout country, the big fish and rowed drift boats give East Tennessee a decidedly Western inflection. They have created a microcosm of serious big-fish trout-fishing culture unlike anywhere else in the region.

Referenced from: https://gardenandgun.com/feature/the-other-montana/

Posted in: News


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