Fishing the South Holston Tailwater - Black Flies:
I think the best thing you can say about fly fishing the South Holston tailwater is the
fact that most of the time it requires some skill and knowledge to catch trout or at
least to catch them with any consistency. With the exception of the smaller recently
stocked trout, fishing can be challenging. This is not to say that fishing the South
Holston is very difficult or overly technical. It is not but it does require a little more
skill than just being able to cast a generic fly a few feet. The larger trout can and
often do feed selectively and when they do, you will need to be able to match what
the fish are eating as well as present your imitation effectively.
One of the common sources of food for these trout is the Black Fly. I am mentioning
it first, not because it is the most important source of food for the trout in the South
Holston but because most anglers are not familiar with it. Now I am not taking about
the adult black fly. It is an annoying fly that can and will bite. It is the larva stage of
life of the black fly that is most frequently eaten by trout. The Black Fly is of the
Diptera order or in common terms it is a true fly. They are members of the
Simuliidae family of flies. The larvae of these flies stick to rocks even in very fast
water. They live in large colonies and can provide a great amount of food where
they are plentiful and they are plentiful in the South Holston Tailwater.
Black Fly larvae look much like midge larvae. I will borrow this page of Jason
Neuswanger's great website so that you will have more information than I have
The good thing about this insect is that it is easy to imitate and easy to fish. I will get
into the details of how I fish imitations of this larva tomorrow.
Copyright 2008 James Marsh