Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
The South Holston tailwater extends approximately 13.7 miles between Boone Reservoir and South Holston Dam in Sullivan County. The reservoir upstream of the dam extends about 24 miles into Washington County, Virginia and much of its watershed includes portions of the CNF (Tennessee) and the Jefferson National Forest (Virginia). TVA addressed low DO levels in this tailwater with an aerating labyrinth weir 1.3 miles downstream of the dam (completed in December 1991) and the addition of hub baffles to aid turbine venting. The weir and the turbine improvements combine to help maintain the target DO concentration of 6 ppm.
Until recently, the South Holston tailwater was managed as a put-and-take and put-and-grow trout fishery with annual stockings of both catchable and fingerling rainbow and brown trout. However, the unique ability (among Tennessee tailwaters) of the South Holston to support substantial natural reproduction, particularly by brown trout, led TWRA to emphasize management for wild fish. All snagging was banned in 1999 and closure of two major trout spawning areas to fishing (November-January) also became effective that year. Subsequently, a 16- to 22-inch protected length range (PLR) was established for the entire tailwater in 2000. These measures were taken to protect vulnerable large brown trout during the spawning season and to potentially improve recruitment. Additionally, brown trout stocking was discontinued in 2004. Put-and-take and put-and-grow management with catchable and fingerling rainbow trout will continue (see latest trout report for most recent stocking rates).