The Holston River, which flows out of Cherokee Dam, is the most unique of the east Tennessee tailwaters. Flowing over 50 miles from it’s dam to the Tennessee River the first 15 miles offer fantastic trout fishing opportunities. Though it is a tailwater, the relatively warm water from Cherokee Lake and the plethora of spring water available mix to give more of a freestone feel. Additionally, this unique scenario, makes for an extremely fertile trout food factory.
Known best for its prolific caddis hatch, the Holston also pumps out sulphurs, crane flies, black flies, and midges. If dry flies are your thing, the Holston is right up your ally. Nymphs and Streamers will also yield plenty of fish when the fish are not looking up. The most ideal rigs for the Holston are 4 and 5 weight rods in a 9ft length paired with 9ft 4 to 6x leaders, that being said a 6 or 7 weight can come in mighty handy when the fish key on streamers.
April through June is definitely the time to fish the Holston. Due to the characteristics of Cherokee Lake, the river is too warm to fish Late July until mid October. Fall is an unpredictable season regarding flows, but, with low flows and cold water the Holston often catches a second wind and offers some of the best dry fly action of the year.