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Fly Fishing in Tennessee - South Holston Tennessee Fly Fishing

South Holston Tennessee Fly Fishing

Local waters- South Holston Tennessee

The mountains of Tennessee are home to some of the best trout fishing waters on the east coast of the United States. From rainbow trout's, brooks and browns, the opportunity to catch one of these beautiful fish is waiting for you. One of the best parts about flyfishing in our beautiful rivers is that they are very accessible, and not too far off the beaten path. However, if you do want to get a little lost and find some solitude, there are plenty of areas in which you will find what you are seeking. Flyfishing in the Tennessee mountains is something that you can do year-round if you don't mind a little bit of cold and maybe some snow; it's very easy to fish all the way through winter. I find myself flyfishing throughout fall, mostly on the South Holston River where the weather is amazing. The river has finally started to cool off from the warm summer months, and the changing leaves on the trees are breathtaking and vibrant. The level of experience needed to fish these waters can be anyone from an expert-level to a novice angler who is just starting out on their flyfishing journey.

When people ask me about my flyfishing experiences in Tennessee, there's always one story that stands out. It was late February, and I had just picked up my brand new five weight flyrod that had the most beautiful dark colored cork grip I had been eyeballing in the shop for about a year. I grabbed some tippet, a few midges and craneflies, loaded up my Land Cruiser and headed down to the river. I had about an hour drive to the location on the river that I wanted to check. One thing I forgot to do before heading out on this trek was to check the weather. The temperature had been dropping and I had noticed thick snow clouds starting to slowly roll in over the Tennessee Mountains. It was not going to stop me from trying out the new flyrod. I arrived at my favorite go to spot on the South Holston River, pulled my land cruiser off to the side of the road, got my gear ready, put my waders on and, of course, snow began to fall. Instead of letting that stop me, I trekked on down the river until I found some slower moving water and got my midge fly tied to my tippet. At this point the snow was really starting to fall. I gently waded into the river; I took a minute to just embrace being in that moment doing something that I love watching snowflakes begin to cover the dirt on the riverbanks. I start making my casts, and within about ten minutes of being in this location I noticed a solid rainbow trout starting to take interest in the lunch that I’m throwing his way. The rush of adrenalin ran through my body as I watched this beautiful fish stalk the fly thrown its way. I did one more back cast and let it rip. It was a perfect cast- the fly fell right in front of this trout- and within a few seconds of hitting the water, it was on. I lifted the tip of my rod up to set the hook, and just like that we were hooked up with a beautiful ten-inch South Holston River rainbow trout. As I kept my rod tip pointing up ensuring that I keep the hook set, I began to bring this fish closer to my net. It put up a solid fight but began to tire itself out, and as I brought it into my net, I could not help but notice the electrifying color patterns that this fish carried with it. I was ecstatic, my first rainbow trout on my new fly rod. As I pulled this trout gently from the net, I really took in that moment and appreciated where I was at right then.

One of my favorite after fishing activities to do when I'm fishing the South Holston is to check out the food in the small town of Bristol Tennessee near the river. If you are looking for good BBQ or a good burger to chow down on after, I highly suggest stopping in town and venturing around for great food and great beer. Also, that town is full of anglers with tons of experience and if you are in the area stop in at any of the fly shops and ask questions, they are always very helpful and love helping fellow anglers catch their dream fish on the South Holston River.


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