If you’re a beginner, teaching a beginner, or find happiness in catching easy stockers all day, below the Weir Dam is a great section for you.
The best place to fish at this section is found by crossing the river and casting along the bank, especially underneath the overhanging trees. Sometimes the water looks shallow, but there are some deeper pockets that larger fish hide in. The biggest fish I caught here was right above a shallow section, so don’t be afraid to explore all parts of the water.
Below the bridge the water can get deep, so you can follow the trail outside of the water beside of the bridge and fish the stretch above the grates. This water is extremely slow, so the right fly and tippet size is very important here if you’re going to be successful.
If you hear the sirens start to go off, make sure to get out quickly because the water rises very fast when the dam starts generating. Here is the South Holston generation schedule, which is updated daily. The times are always subject to change, so make sure to keep a close eye on the generation schedule, even until the minute you step in the water.
Most of the water is pretty shallow in the top area above the bridge so I use a short dropper or it’ll get hung up on the bottom. The water here is cold year round since it comes from the bottom of the lake. Bring your waders, pants and wool socks because it can get cold.
The South Holston can be frustrating at times. Later in the season the trout get smart, so try to perfect your fly presentation for when the time comes. Long leaders and light tippet go a long way when they’re being finicky. Stay aware of the bugs that are flying around and underneath the rocks – there are 9,000 trout per mile in the South Holston. If you’re not catching fish, you’re doing something wrong.
Keep an arsenal of various flies with you at all times. There is no worse feeling than being in the middle of a sulphur hatch with no sulphurs!
Here are some flies I keep on me at all times:
PMD’s, parachute sulphur, CDC sparkle dun sulphur, emergers, morgan’s midge, crippled sulphur, puff daddies, BWO, zebra midge (black, purple, red, olive, tan,) split case, pheasant tail, soft hackle pheasant tail, squirmy worms, etc. Contact me or a local fly shop if you have questions about seasonal flies or what they’re currently eating!
Tip: For dry fly fishing, use a sulphur on top and tie on a puff daddy behind it with about 8 inches of 6-7x (depending on how finicky they are.) They crush the puff daddy on the swing.
You can find this fishing spot at Holston View Dam Road off Highway 421 in Bristol, Tennessee. Appalachian treks has a great review of the Weir dam park area and more accurate directions here.