the North (I-81): Coming South from
Abingdon, VA (off of I-81), take Exit #17,VA RT. 75 (Old Abingdon Highway)
towards Bristol, to TN RT. 44. It is 20 miles from this point to the South
Holston Dam, but if you are going to the campground it is 11 miles in from
I-81.You will pass Camp Sequoya on your left approximately 9 miles in from
I-81 as a landmark. As you near the bend in the road the South Holston Lake
will start to appear on your left. Watch for the signs coming up quikly on your left
for the Sullivan County Park (Observation Knob) campgrounds.
the East (North Carolina): From
Boone, NC. Take RT 321 Northabout 40 miles, to 19E North about 10 miles,
to 11E/19 North about 4 miles, to 394 East (North) about 8 miles, to RT 421
South (East) aboutmiles to 44 North (about a mile beyond 44 South). Make
a right at Darter's General Store and it is 2 miles to the campground. A quicker,
but very winding mountainous route is to take RT. 421 North to 44 N at Darter's
General Store, make a right for two miles, turn right into the campgrounds.
This saves about 20 minutes or so, but not recommended if hauling a trailer!
Map In from I-81
the South (Georgia): I-75 North to Knoxville, TN. Take I-40/I-81 straight through to Bristol. Get
off at Exit# 1, to 421 South. Turn left at Darter's General Store on to 44N,
proceed 2 miles to the campground on the right. Alternate route is to follow
directions below from the West from I-40 East to I-81 to Abingdon, VA. Take
Exit #17 and follow instructions below to campground.
the West (Nashville): Travel
time 5 hours. I-40 East to I-81 East to Exit #17, VA RT. 75 (Old Abingdon
Highway) towards Bristol, to TN RT. 44. It is 20 miles from this point to
the South Holston Dam, but if you are going to the campground it is 11 miles
in from I-81. You will pass Camp Sequoya on your left approximately 9 miles
in from I-81 as a landmark. As you near the bend in the road the South Holston
Lake will start to appear on your left. Watch for the signs coming up on your
left for the Sullivan County Park (Observation Knob) campground.
Airport: If flying in to Bristol, the nearest airport is the Tri-Cities
Airport which is South of I-81 in Bluff City, TN. The airport is serviced
by Northwest, Delta, U.S. Air. The airport has Non-Stop services to and from Atlanta, Cincinnati,
Charlotte, Memphis, Nashville, and Pittsburgh. Bluff City is nearby to Bristol,
within a 20 minute drive. Telephone for Airport Services is (423) 325-6000.
ACCESS TO LOCAL FISHING WATERS
SOUTH HOLSTON RIVER
From the West
(Nashville), take I-81 North from Knoxville to Bristol, TN. Exit at US 11W North exit and follow 11W to US 421. Take US 421 East to just past Deerfield Acres, TN and Ruthton, TN. Turn right off of US 421 on to Emmett Rd. Take Emmett Rd. to where the TVA Road forks to the left and then follow the TVA Road which forms a loop that runs along both sides of the river. There are a number of different roads that cut away from and parallel the river from here. Unfortunately, most of them are not on state maps. You need a DeLorme Atlas or other highly detailed map to really follow the river from this point to downstream where it becomes a lake. A lot of good fishing is along this lower stretch of the river.
From Sullivan County Campgrounds (Observation Knob):
Go left out of the campground access road to Rt 44. Stay left and proceed about 2 miles to the intersection of RT 44 and US 421 (Darter's General Store on left corner). Go right and follow US 421 until you come to Emmett Road. Turn left on to Emmett Road (Fried Chicken Stand on the left) and proceed to the Dam as referenced above.
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South Holston River General Area:
If nothing else, as each road that you are on cuts away from the river - take the next one that heads back towards it. There are several bridges that cross the river in this area. Alternate access to the S. Holston starting from downstream just as it begins forming its lake and working upstream is by taking Exit 69 from I-81 between I-181 and Bristol. Stay on State Road 37 heading East until you connect with State Road 390. Take 390 South to Bluff City. In Bluff City take State Road 44 East out of town. It follows the banks of the river off and on for several miles, but then veers away.
Once again you will need a very detailed map or a lot of persistence to stay with the river after this point. The entire river from where it emerges from the dam until it begins forming a lake at Bluff City has numerous access points and is fishable.
A word to the wise on trespassing however. If in doubt about crossing over private property, please respect the owner's land and ask for permission to cross the property. Tennessee waters that are navigable may be waded from the waters edge to the opposite bank's water's edge without a trespass on a property owner's real estate.
For the Great Smoky Mountains National Park there are two approaches that you can use. From I-40 take the Sevierville exit (about 20 mi. east of Knoxville) and follow the signs for Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg to get to the park. From I-75 south of Knoxville take the Lenoir City exit and get off at U.S. RT 321 to Townsend, TN and the west entrance to the Park.
For maps and information on how to get to the streams in the park, we strongly recommend Don Kirk's book, Smoky Mountains Trout Fishing Guide. This book has a detailed description of locations, fishing conditions, and likelihood of success on every stream in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Fishing is permitted year-round in the park, but a Tennessee or North Carolina fishing license is required. Either state license is valid throughout the park and no trout stamp is necessary. Licenses may be purchased in nearby towns. Park fishing regulations are available free of charge at any visitor center or ranger station. Brook trout possession is illegal.
For streams in the southern section of the Cherokee National Forest we recommend asking questions at the local fly shops about the most recent conditions and road closings. The best detailed maps of these roads are to be found in the Topographical Maps Book published by DeLorme. For the Tellico River and it's tributaries you can get there by taking I-75 to TN 68 just south of Sweetwater, TN.
Follow TN 68 east to Tellico Plains, TN where you pick up State Road 165. State Road 165 heads East and follows the Tellico River with good fishing accesses along much of its length. For access to the tributaries of the Tellico you will need a highly detailed map.
OTHER MOUNTAIN STREAMS
Similarly for streams in the areas of Upper East Tennessee around Johnson City, Bristol and Kingsport we recommend asking questions at the local fly shops about the latest road and stream conditions. A detailed map, (DeLorme or others with the backroads) is more than just useful and becomes, in fact, essential for finding some of the finest, but secluded fisheries in this part of the state.
If you take TN 91 northeast out of Elizabethton, TN it will parallel Stony Creek for much of its length with other access via side roads. Further along TN 91 it, and TN 133 follow Beaver Dam Creek as it flows downstream to join Laurel Creek in Damascus, VA. Try your luck up and downstream from Backbone Rock Park making sure you get at least 1/4 mile or so away from the tourists. For access to the Doe River, Little Doe River and their tributaries, take US 19E South out of Elizabethton, TN towards Roan Mountain State Park. US 19E runs along the Doe and Little Doe for much of their length and then connects to the roads in Roan Mountain State Park for fishing the tributaries.
For more information on Virgina trout fishing link here.
WARM WATER SPECIES
The TWRA reports that probably the best areas for Smallmouth Fishing this time of the year would be the North Fork of the Holston, the Holston River from John Sevier Reservoir upstream to Kingsport, and the upper Nolichucky River.
Both the North and South Forks of the Holston in Va. would probably be good also. The Doe River upstream of Elizabethton also has good smallmouth fishing (Elizabethton to Roan Mtn.)
There is a boat access on the Holston at Church Hill, one on Christian Bend Rd., and one at Surgoinsville (Hwy. 346 bridge). Each segment would probably be about half a day float trip. (See pages 62 and 70 - upper - of the TN Atlas book). There is also access at the city park in Kingsport, but you can't float down through the Holston Army Ammunition Plant property. There is no developed access on the upper Nolichucky River (except at Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park ) and you can't go downstream from there by boat, due to a 5-ft. drop off ledge at the lower end of the Park. There are pullout areas along the Nolichucky and the N. Fork Holston to wade fish. The USFS has a recreation area at Chestoa (Erwin), but no boat access.
There is also more information on the South Holston Lake offered on the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries web site.