From misty mountain creeks to pristine tailwaters like the South Holston River, Northeast Tennessee boasts some of the most sought after trout fishing in the country! Whether you are thinking about getting into fly fishing yourself or looking for something fun to do with a family member, learning to fly fish on the SOHO is an unforgettable experience.
Wrangle a Guide
The best way to dip your toes into fly fishing is to hire a guide. Experts, like Andrew Price of Trophy Maker Fly Fishing, have all of the gear and essential knowledge to get you started. Food and water are included on both half and full day trips, so you can just show up and hop on the raft. It’s also best to use a guide on your initial trip, as they are experienced in fishing these waters around the South Holston water release schedule.
Match the Hatch
According to local biologists, the South Holston River holds fish populations of 8,500+ fish per mile, and 80% of the trout population is wild and naturally reproducing! In this river, demographics encompass 85% brown trout and 15% rainbow trout. Rainbow Trout were originally introduced to Tennessee in the late 1800s after logging destroyed native Brook Trout habitats. Rainbows eat insects, crayfish, fish, and fish eggs.
Local Guide, Andrew, says to “Match the Hatch.” In doing so, you are attempting to imitate natural seasonal insects with artificial flies to hook fish. This is part of the passion and technique within the fly fishing world.
According to Andrew, Blue Winded Olives are beginning to show up in the fall.
Floating down the SOHO is peaceful and quite enjoyable. As you cast your fly from either side of the raft waiting for the perfect bite, keep a lookout for the Great Blue Heron. They are out looking for fish, too. Nearby, you can observe doe and their fawns grazing along the banks. And if you’re lucky, you might see a bald eagle!
Spend a day with a professional on the SOHO, and walk away with a new passion. There is an art to fly fishing that takes much more dedication than a day can give. Investing time in the raft with a seasoned fisherman can make all the difference from learning about seasonal hatches to knowing how to properly set and mend and cast the fly into the feeding zone of the trout.
Article & Photography By:
Alicia Bynum, AdventurePickle.com