South Holston River (TN)

The South Holston, or SoHo, is a tremendous wild brown trout river approximately 90 minutes from Asheville.  It is a large river and is also a tail water. The water temperature is released into the river at a constant 45 degrees year round. There are numerous pull offs and paid areas for parking. While the browns will be larger, the stocked rainbows put up more of a fight. Most of the rainbow action will be in the first several miles of the weir dam. This is not a river to try to wade when generation occurs.

Take I-26 West from Asheville and cross into TN. Merge onto N Roan St/US-19W N/US-11E N/TN-36/TN-34 via EXIT 20B.  Keep right at the fork to go on US-19W N/US-11E N/TN-34. Turn right onto Fleming Dr/TN-44. Turn left onto Main St/TN-44. Continue to follow TN-44. Stay straight to go onto Beidleman Creek Rd/TN-2373. Merge onto TN-394 toward Bluff City/Blountville. Take the 1st right onto Emmett Rd. Stay straight onto Holston View Dam Rd. The parking lots will be on the left after you cross the river.

Sulphurs, sulphurs, sulphurs, that’s the hot hatch in the summer. But fall to spring there are BWO’s, and midges hatch year round. Streamers such as wooly buggers, Matukas, and zonkers (and think green) are always a good bet with the browns as are pheasant tail nymphs.

BWO and sulphur emergers with a black Zebra midge as a dropper is effective. Scud patterns can be effective the first 4 miles of the river. Find a good cased caddis pattern and you’ll have a secret weapon.

You will need a TN fishing license to fish here. Check generation schedules carefully before you make the trip up. South Holton River Fly Shop is on the way to the dam and they can provide the latest river conditions for you. Keep in mind that this river contains didymo, so please ensure that ALL of your gear gets sanitized or completely dried before using in another river system.

And please be careful when you wade the river. The rock snot is VERY slick. Some parts of the river are closed to fishing in the fall and winter to allow the browns to spawn. Call 800-236-2264 for release information.

Fish density is between 5,000-6,000/mile of the 14 mile length of the river.

I think I fish, in part, because it's an anti-social, bohemian business that, when gone about properly, puts you forever outside the mainstream culture without actually landing you in an institution.

John Gierach