Other Fishing Opportunities Near the South Holston
The South Holston is an epic fishery, but there are some days that conditions might make it a poor choice. The river is not safe for wading during releases, low water does not offer much river access to drift boaters, and high wind makes the entire river tough for everyone. Luckily, there are many great trout fishing opportunities in the general vicinity.
1. Watauga River: The Watauga is a fantastic fishery in its own right. Colorful, football shaped rainbows and broad-shouldered browns are plentiful. With only a 20 minute drive separating the South Holston and the Watauga, many fishermen will hit both rivers in one day. If a release runs you out of one river, you can be on the other in less than 30 minutes. These rivers both flow into Boone Lake and are considered sister rivers, but they have two totally different personalities. The South Holston fishes like a giant spring creek on low water and like a western tailwater during a release. The Watauga looks and fishes like a freestone river with twists and turns, and broken water. Although the Watauga is stocked with rainbow, brown and brook trout, there is a healthy population of stream born browns and rainbows. Wading is only an option when there is no generation. Most of the river bed is covered with large round stones covered with didymo. We have joked about wading the Watauga being like rollerskating on greased bowling balls, so be careful. There is public access at a few public TWRA ramps and a couple of parks. The river flows through the city of Elizabethton and the community of Watauga before flowing into Boone lake.
2. Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee National Forrest: There are thousands of miles of trout streams within 100 miles of the Soho. Grab a map and hit some blue lines. For safety, either take a friend of tell someone where you are going and when to expect you back. Check all local regulations before fishing.