View Full Version : Tailwaters, Townsend & Torrents

Jack M.
02-14-2007, 08:22 AM
Hello, this April I am returning to Townsend with a group of anglers for a week's worth of fishing. We did this trip last year and had a ball. Last year, we fished in the park only, but we got torrential rains for a couple days and the lower streams were completely blown out. Anticipating the possibility of that occuring this year, I was wondering whether because of the dam controls on the nearby tailwaters, we should have a Plan B in case of park stream blow-outs.

Are the tailwaters a good option to find fishable water after heavy rains, or do they generally blow out at the same time?

In any event, what are the nearest tailwater fisheries? How far of a drive from Townsend?

Thanks in advance for any info.

Hugh Hartsell
02-14-2007, 08:55 AM
Good morning Jack, the tailwaters are an option if the waters in the Park are blown out, but they can get muddy sometimes themselves. The closest one to the Park is the Holston River, below Cherokee Dam. It is unlikely for it to be muddy since it has very few streams coming into it. The Clinch River is next and sometimes it can be muddy if the rain is real hard. The next is the Hiwassee River and it doesn't get affected too badly by rain. Two that are pretty far away are the South Holston and the Watauga Rivers. They are both great streams but heavy rain can affect both of them since they have creeks running into them that can muddy up. The way we tell what is going on in a given area is to look at TVAs unregulated stream flow and see if it is above normal and that will tell the story. For example, the Doe River on the Watauga. If it is running much above 300cfs, then it is apt to cause the Watauga to be muddy. It is close to the South Holston River so it's a good indicator for the South Holston as well. We can get into more detail if you need some more help.
Hugh Hartsell---East Tn.

Jack M.
02-14-2007, 10:06 AM
Thanks for the info, Hugh. I went to school in Knoxville and recall the Clinch was the tailrace of Norris Lake Dam, am I remembering correctly? What would this be from Townsend, through Maryville, about an hour's drive? I don't think I've been to the Holston or Hiawasee. What would you estimate drive time on each from LRO? If we want to keep these options open, we'll need to plan to obtain the trout permit along with the TN license, I would presume. Last year, I just got the general fishing license, since we stayed within the park.

Hugh Hartsell
02-14-2007, 10:35 AM
Jack these are just estimates since I don't live in the Townsend area.
Townsend --Clinch--1 hr 20min.
Townsend--Hiwassee--1hr. 30-45min.??
Townsend --Holston below Cherokee45min-1hr.15min.
Townsend --South Holston--2hr.or slightly more
Townsend--Watauga--2hr. or slightly more

This are rough figures, but if the Park waters are blown out, they are worth the time.
Hugh Hartsell---East Tn.

Jack M.
02-14-2007, 10:44 AM
Thanks again, Hugh. They certainly are worth keeping open as options.

02-14-2007, 10:59 AM
Jack M,
Here is the number for checking generation schedules at the TVA dams.
865 632-2264.
Then press # and the number of the dam you want.
South Holston is 01.
Watauga is 02.
Cherokee (holston) is 05. (I think)
Clinch is 17.
Ian Rutter's book on Blue Ribbon Trout Streams in Tennessee is a good guide to these as well.

02-14-2007, 01:38 PM
A lot of the time the TVA will withhold generation on some tailwaters after a big rain event. If you have a laptop computer, take it with you on your travels to East TN. http://www.tva.gov/river/lakeinfo/index.htm

Apalachia - Hiwassee
Norris - Clinch
Cherokee - Holston
Wilbur - Watauga
South Holston - South Holston