South Holston River Trout
The South Holston has 5000 to 6000 trout per mile over its 14 mile length.according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Authority's most recent survey. The state stocks around 90,000 rainbow trout each year. As of 2004, TWRA no longer stocks brown trout and instead has concentrated on managing the wild trout fishery. In 2000 a protected length range (PLR) was established prohibiting the killing or removal of any trout between 16 and 22 inches in length.
If you wander very far from the most accessible stocking locations, you will notice that your catch will be almost exclusively wild trout, both rainbows and browns. If you are catching stockers, but would prefer to fish for wild fish, move to less accessible areas. Even 100 yards will usually make a difference. The wild fish will be more colorful, fight harder, and be more difficult to catch.
The South Holston trout are the most beautiful you will find anywhere. The rainbows are bright pastel in color and the browns are sleek with sharp snouts, buttery fins, and bold spots.
Both the rainbows and browns are extremely powerful fighters, making long and fast runs.
I have a measuring tape mounted on my ClackaCraft and one mounted on my net so that I can occasionally measure the fish I catch instead of guessing. The average trout I catch is around 11 inches, but 14 to 16 inch fish are very common in a day's catch. It is common to cast to 20 inch plus fish, but you must really be on your game to hook and land these guys. A handful of fishermen land a brown over 30 inches every year. The river is also home to some truly monstrous, yet elusive behemoth browns over 40 inches long. It is quite likely that the next Tennessee state record trout will come from the South Holston river.