View Full Version : South Holston or Watauga river?

09-12-2008, 09:01 AM
I was hoping to talk my dad into taking a guided trip on either the South Holston or the Watauga river (or maybe another tenessee tailrace) and was trying to decide which would be the best option.
My dad and I did float the Watuaga river together once, but it was just after the fish kill. I remember the scenery was great, and that there were a lot of fish, but they were all small. I was wondering if anyone knew how well the fish populations had recovered? Is it reasonable to expect to catch some large fish now?
On the other hand, I have waded the holston a handful of times. Although I did OK, I thought the dry-fly fishing was very technical (maybe too much so for my dad). From what I have read, though, this might be the better choice to hook into some larger fish. On the other hand, I have heard that trips to the South Holston are sometimes divided between wading and floating, depending on the generation schedule and I think that my Dad would really enjoy being in a boat as opposed to spending a lot of time on his feet.

I would appreciate hearing any thoughts about the best way to decide which to fish.

09-12-2008, 12:54 PM
WOW! You have asked a very hard question. I have fished each one many time; more then I have fished the Clinch. The Watauga however holds a special place in my heart and I have caught fish year-round (with snow up to my knees) I have fished both the trophy and regular waters with a 19inch and a 23 inch bow being the best. However I have taken a lot of 12-15inch fish depending on the day. I love the Watauga. The S. Holston has not been as good with size even though I know it holds some bigguns. And as you have said the beauty of Watauga is not matched by S.Holston. A good place to start for both rivers is the guys at The Fly Shop of Tennessee (1-866-3flyshop) in Johnson City They guide on both. Give them a try, I know they can help you out. I hope this was helpful.

09-12-2008, 05:11 PM
I would say the Soho. I catch more fish and bigger fish there. But I will have to say alot of people do guide trips on the Watauga than the Soho. With the sulfers coming off later in the day on the soho a guided trip while they're running water maybe your better bet, since they start running around 2:00.

Luke Warmwater
09-12-2008, 05:19 PM

I can take a stab at helping with your question. Either of those rivers are fine rivers with healthy populations of trout. So, I wouldn't see you going wrong with either.

On the So Ho there would need to be several hours of generation to float the river effectively. With the current generation it would be tough to float. The Watauga is a good float on zero and one generator. As I said there are healthy fish in each river.

As far as your need for a boat, I understand your Dad enjoying the boat vs. being on his feet, my Dad is the same way. There are several good guides in Upper East TN, who have nice comfortable boats and can help you with your trip.

Hope this bit of info helps and hope you have a great trip!


09-12-2008, 09:24 PM
WATAUGA !!!!!! WATUGA!!!!!! BUBBA DARK is the guide the best on those waters

09-13-2008, 07:11 AM
Thanks for all the great opinions and suggestions! I am very glad to hear that the Watuaga has recovered. I have been wanting to fish that again for a long time and will definetly go back in the near future regardless of what I do with my Dad. I will definetly check out the guide services that were recommended and see what they say.

Thanks again!

Gerry Romer
09-13-2008, 12:02 PM
...regardless of what I do with my Dad.

Just what did you have in mind!? Can't seem to shake him?? :rolleyes:

Sorry, it just kinda cracked me up.:biggrin:

I agree on the Watauga - provided you're doing the boat thing. I know the Watauga has plenty of wadeable water, but the really good fish are (unfortunately for those of us without the ability to walk on water) in the trophy section.

I still really like the SoHo, though. I think there's a greater variety of water types that you can access on foot on the SoHo... even the Rockhold and River Rd. sections are markedly different from each other, and both hold some good size fish. I'm thinking about making a drive up sometime soon (as soon as gas prices come back down into this stratosphere) and working the section about a mile below the weir dam...

I definitely have a soft spot for the SoHo. My screen wallpaper is an evening shot of the weir dam in the fall...



09-13-2008, 03:52 PM
That is a great picture of the weir dam. It is a great shot with the leaves in the background and the moon.
And I hear ya about the gas prices. I saw on the morning news that some stations were charging almost 5$ a gallon based on the threat of Ike.
As to the Dad comment, he is not as big a trout fisherman as I am. This morning he said he might like a smallmouth trip more, so we might try that instead. However, my brother-in-law has been wanting to do a tailrace in east Tenessee for years, and he owns a boat. So I might save the tailrace trip for later in the fall, and try and talk him into doing both.


09-14-2008, 08:40 AM
removed post