South Holston River

South Holston

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South Holston

South Holston Fishing Report

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The South Holston Tailwater is in full winter mode with BWO hatches from mid morning throughout the afternoon. We are having good luck during the hatches using a size 18 loopwing biot body emeger dry fly. Lots of splashy rises as these fish feed on the bountiful BWO’s hatching. The generation on the South Holston for the streamer trips has us moving around to get the right floats on the sections that have water. We are moving plenty of fish and the clients are having fun fighting these native butter belly browns.

Randy Ratliff

River Information

Arguably the crown jewel of rivers in East Tennessee is the South Holston. Any time of year, and in virtually any type of weather, this river delivers on a scale that is amazing. From South Holston Dam and downstream to Bluff City, any point of access along this water is almost guaranteed to be productive. The water stays consistently cool, very rich in oxygen, and has a prolific population of bugs to keep fish well fed. Good water and plenty of food...just what a trout needs to thrive, and grow very large.

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Archived South Holston Fishing Reports:

The South Holston is having split generation schedules of high water in the morning and then late afternoon and evening. This gives the wade fishermen some good time on the water during the good hatches. We are seeing the usual winter hatches of BWO’s, Midges and Blackflies during those low water periods. When the water is up and we float it is the time of year to throw some big flies, my and my clients personal favorite is the Galloup’s Dungeon, we use it in several color combinations, here are a few of the better producers.

There is nothing like the heavy hit of these predatory fish when they go after these flies. The job of these bigger fish is to take out the weak, small, or wounded fish. This fly gives the best action to represent that dying, wounded type of fish and turns on that predatory instinct in this trophy trout. Its time to get yourself out there and go hunting for your shot at a big one.

Randy Ratliff

Troutfishers Guide Service

The South Holston is seeing the big browns moving towards their spawning areas. The Sulphurs are still coming off just after midday, but the Blue Wing Olives, size 20, seem to be the better hatch. While giving a entomology lesson to clients we were seeing lots of BWO nymphs on the rocks when turning them over. We have been throwing streamers during the high water afternoon generations the TVA is giving with good success. 

Randy Ratliff

The South Holston is in a transition period of going from the summer hatches to the fall and winter hatches. Yes that ugly word “winter”. We are now seeing more Blue Wing Olives hatching than the Sulphurs that the South Holston Tailwater is famous for. On recent floats we are only see the sulpurs hatching off for about a half hour beginning at 4:30. The fish are not zoned in to the BWO’s yet, so a Sulphur emerger dry fly is the best bet when you see those noses and eyes on the surface.
The terrestrial bite, beetles, ants and inchworms is being affected by the colder nighttime temperatures we are seeing in upper East Tennessee. We are still getting a short window of bite between noon and three o’clock.

The streamer bite is working well in various sections of the river. The pre-spawn run up the river is really kicking in and when you see those fish cruising, they are hungry and will eat what you throw at them. You better hang on to the rod tight, the hit has been hard when they take the flies. The river is very clear and you will see them follow it for a short distance making their attack close to the boat as you transition the fly towards the surface setting up for the next cast. Makes for some exciting visual fishing.

Pretty soon the TVA will begin drawing the lakes down and the big fish will be moving about and the streamer trips will be the ticket.
Also looking forward to the extra full moon this month, looks like it will be Midnight Mouse Madness!!
Until next time I hope you have tightlines and heavy nets!!

Randy Ratliff

I fished the lower section of the SoHo on Sunday and it was just so-so still.  There were a few bugs popping but the fish didn't seem particularly fond of my offerings.  Other Angler's accounts seem to substantiate this sentiment.  The good news?  The good news is that of the few fish I did manage on Sunday over half of them came on beetle patterns and big ones at that.
A discernible lack of buggage on the South Holston has many anglers scratching their heads. While anglers are still picking one off here and there the pickings are slim.  Fear not as the SoHo is only now starting to come into her own.

Well the TVA has finally been running some water in the S. Holston this month.  This has made for some decent floats this month, and with all the rain we are getting I would expect the generation to continue.  Wade-fishing has been fairly good this spring too, in spite of all the rainy afternoons we’ve been having.  Sulphurs are coming off fairly consistently in the afternoons/evenings (sizes 14-18), and on grey days there are still some blue-wing olives (Baetis) hatching in sizes 18-20. 

Alpha Trout Outfitters

It's a little bit early yet for the SoHO but things should continue to improve. Sulphurs are making an appearance on high water days at times. As is usually the case, if the bugs are there the fish are up. The hatch should do nothing but continue to improve so get to the vise and start twisting out some comparaduns. There were Sulphurs some days on high water, and some days not, here on the South Holston River.

When they came off and fish rose, if you covered them, they ate your dry. The nymph bite was fairly good. There were some good fish caught on guided trips this week. A 23″ Brown and a 20″ rainbow were caught one afternoon on nymphs. The Sulphur Hatch will do nothing but get stronger and stronger.

Wade fishing was good some days and not so good some days. When TVA gave enough time for sulphurs to hatch, people hammered fish. Friday seemed to be mighty good day. Saturday , not as good. But good enough. One gentleman came in the shop late and said he hammered fish on a sulphur emerger. he showed me his emerger he ties. It was a dandy. Matt guided on the Watuaga on high water yesterday. Fish ate very well. Had some Sulphurs also.