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Tennessee Tailwaters - Road Trip Report

Last week we traveled to East Tennessee for some Tailwater fishing on the South Holston and Watagua Rivers. This great fishery boasts 10,000 fish per mile trout populations and some of the more technical fly fishing you can find.

We had 4 full days of fishing size #20 to 24 flies to Trout that range from yearlings to 25+". The Brown above measured 22" and took a #20 crippled midge pattern.

For us Upper Delaware Anglers the biggest obstacle is getting used to the 6X tippet and the tiny flies. Once you come to terms with the rigging the fishing is pretty exciting and the action is usually steady. Our highlight on this trip was casting tiny midges to the rising fish that were feeding in or just below the surface. This was a great challenge in the gin clear water. Below is a big suspended target that I photographed in the Watagua river.

We also had some decent dry fly action on an afternoon float on the South Holston. We found quite a few larger fish feeding on sulfurs up tight to the banks under the tree canopy. These were challenging fish but we were able to hook most of the risers that we found. We also had lots of smaller Browns and Bows in the SoHo on nymphs. This river is like a big aquarium and it is amazing to float over so many schools of big trout.

Below are a few more photos from our trip. I plan on posting an additional photo album of the Fish and Scenery on the Baxter House River Outfitters Facebook Page. Check it out if you have not fished Tennessee or wish to join us next season.

Next season we plan on hosting trips to East Tennesses in mid summer. This is the time when dry fly action is normally at it's best. These rivers get real nice Sulfur hatches and the nymphing is always good. We are also considering another autumn trip for the scenery and chance at some big pre-spawn Brown Trout.

I would also like to thank my friend Patrick Fulkrod and the South Holston River Company. Patrick is the Man in this area and his advice is always spot on. We got right down to the fishing on our short visit thanks to his advice on river sections, techniques and flies. Check out his great site at

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