Yeup! TN has tailwater trout fishing. Over the past few
days the opportunity presented itself to explore a couple
of the better-known tailwaters that flow from the large
TVA impoundments. Since these are hydro-dams you learn
really quick when not to be on the water. You can literally
watch the water rise when they turn the switch. And the
water retreats just as quick when they stop generating.
The streams we fished were the Watauga and the South Holston.
Another South Holston rainbow. Neat color
Both of these are regarded as some of the better tailwaters
in TN. Overall, bug life was not really too active on
either water. We did have some blue wing olive action
on the lower Watauga, below Smallings Road. 2pm was the
magic hour. The bug life appears to be much more prolific
on the Watauga below Elizabethton, as opposed to closer
to Wilbur Dam. There also seemed to be more fish downstream,
where there was more bug life. No coincidence there. If
I had to guess, the water quality gets better the further
downstream (higher DO) you get from Wilbur Dam, up to
a certain point...or at least until the stream looses
the coldwater influence. Unfortunately, we did not get
to tangle with any of the big fish the Watauga is known
for. Best fish came on nymphs...#20 flashback pheasant
On the South Holston, you need to hunt out the better-looking
trout water. When you do find it, you also find the fish
stacked up. On this stream, the nitro
cleaned-up! This water is known for some decent BWO hatches,
so the nitro seemed a logical choice for good emerger
pattern. On the Holston the fish we did find rising were
taking some microscopic. No clue! You could fool them
on a #20-24 olive or midge if that is your gig. Best fish
once again ate nymphs.
Nymphing a productive looking riff. No
A nitro eating rainbow from the South Holston.
Hook-up on the Upper Watauga.