Holston River Tailwater
The Holston River tailwater near Jefferson City is one of the streams the state of
Tennessee stocks with a large number of trout. This is also called the Cherokee
tailwater. It is also one that usually provides a lot of action from very easy to catch
fish. You can get the TWRA trout stocking dates from this website. It is usually
updated later in the year for the following year.
It is probably best to drift this stream because there is not a lot of public access
otherwise. You can catch plenty of trout from the few places you can access the
stream. One access is the Cherokee Dam access. There is a TVA boat ramp and
a parking area at that location. Another is the Nances Ferry Bridge where there is
a gravel parking lot and concrete ramp.
Angie and I have only fished this stream three times. That was three years ago.
Twice we were able to catch quite a few trout and the other time they were
discharging a lot of water. That made it about impossible to fish and we caught
We did notice that the stream has a lot of caddisflies. Several different species
were found just walking along the banks and collecting samples from the bottom. I
would assume that would be an important source of food for the stockers. Like all
tailwaters, in terms of numbers, the great majority of aquatic insects are midges.
Although I haven’t fished the river enough to really know, I would assume the
midge and caddisflies would usually be the thing to imitate, although I would
suspect about any generic fly would work most of the time. Certainly the newly
stocked fish could care less what they ate but given the fact that a large quantity
of a certain caddisfly or midge were present, it is possible for the trout that has
been in the river for some time to concentrate on that particular food.
On one of our trips we caught approximately thirty trout using caddisfly pupae and
adult fly patterns. I am not certain as to whether or not the fly made much
difference because most of the fish were in the twelve-inch size range.
Downstream a way, the water warms and becomes marginal for trout during the
hot summer months and smallmouth bass becomes the dominate fly fishing
species. We have not fished the stream for smallmouth but have heard from some
anglers that it provides decent smallmouth bass fishing.
If catching a lot of trout is your priority and you don’t mind catching stocked trout,
then the Holston River would probably be the best stream in the state of
Tennessee to do that. Check the dam water release schedule before you go.
Copyright 2008 James Marsh