Two sections on the South Holston River that were closed to protect the river’s self-sustaining brown trout during spawning reopened February 1. Beginning in 2000 this management program afforded the South Holston tailwater trout fishery a “quality zone” with two special spawning refuges closed to fishing during November through January.
These measures were taken to protect vulnerable large brown trout during the spawning season and to potentially improve recruitment. The initial management plan for the South Holston tailwater focused on improving the abundance of large trout and developing a wild brown trout fishery through these regulation changes, along with optimizing rainbow trout stocking rates.
South Holston tailwater anglers have overwhelmingly supported the special regulations in place there, with an 80% favorability of the spawning refuges and 16-22 inch PLR (i.e. “slot limit”).