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Holston River

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The Holston River originates near Kingsport with the confluence of the North Fork Holston and South Fork Holston Rivers. From here it flows 136 miles southwest and joins with the French Broad River near Knoxville to form the headwaters of the Tennessee River. Public access along the river has been primarily private with only a few pull-off spots along public roads that parallel the river. Thanks to combined efforts of TWRA, TVA and TDOT, Knox County has opened the 11E Asheville Highway Access Area for the Holston River. This access area is under the J. Will Taylor Bridge on Asheville Highway near the intersection of Governor John Sevier Highway. Within city limits, the Holston River Park offers blueway access including a boat ramp and 2 fishing piers. Further upstream there is a boat-launching area at the Cherokee Dam and a small boat ramp at Nances Ferry, about 19 miles below the dam at the end of Nances Ferry Road.

Fishing: The upper 18.8 miles of the Cherokee tailwater, from the dam downstream to the vicinity of Nance Ferry, is managed as a put-and-take and put-and-grow trout fishery, stocking adult and fingerling trout. This section of the Holston River receives a total of about 170,000 rainbow trout and 41,000 brown trout annually. The fish grow fast in the food-rich tailwater and typically are fat and healthy by spring, however, warm water (above 70° F) during the summer months limits this trout fishery in some years by restricting holdover. General trout angling regulations apply throughout the Cherokee tailwater. There are opportunities here for both wading and floating.
Fly fishing info
TWRA fishing info
TWRA Public Access Map

Paddling: The Holston River below Cherokee Dam is the longest and possibly most scenic tailwater in the Tennessee Valley. From Cherokee Dam, the river flows 52 miles to Knoxville, where it joins the French Broad River. Many paddlers explore the Holston River as it winds it's way to the Tennessee River on into Knoxville. Check out Holston River Outfitters for kayak rentals and guided tours.


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