Here at the Shop we call the South Fork Holston River in Virginia “the South Fork” (S.F.) and when we fish the Holston tailwater river in Tennessee we call it “the Holston.” The headwaters of the S.F. are out of the Sugar Grove, Virginia, area and have some spring creek origins. The stream first flows along the foothills of the Mount Rogers NRA and then through farmlands of Smythe and Washing ton counties and eventually forms the head of TVA Lake South Holston southeast of Abingdon.

Because of its subterranean beginnings, it typically fishes better in summer and winter months than other mountain streams. The S.F. has a stocked trout section from St. Clairs Bottom, in Smythe County, up to the lower boundary of the Buller Hatchery property plus the impoundment behind Buller’s spill dam. Catch and Release/Special regulations applies to the Buller Hatchery from its lower property boundary upstream to the spill dam. Then stocked trout regulations apply to the spill dam impoundment. Then special regulations begin again above the impoundment’s slack water and continues all the way through the gorge and then along SR 670 and ends about a mile or so above the Appalacian trail crossing.

There are good access locations all along the South Fork from St. Clair’s bottom upstream to the Buller Hatchery. In 2014, a fisherman’s trail along the upper S.F., on Forest Service land, was constructed by DGIF, the U.S. Forest Service, grants from agencies like Appalachian Electric Power and with the help of members of the Mountain Empire chapter of Trout Unlimited;  linking the fisherman’s parking lot at the Hatchery to the fisherman’s parking at the upstream end of the gorge.


When days get hot & water levels of mountain trout streams get low, the trout can get stressed so… head to a pond or lake and fly fish for bluegill


This stocked trout stream has headwaters out of the Laurel Bloomery, TN area. Hwy 91(Damascus, VA to Mountain City TN) pretty much runs the length of the stream and has a number of pull-off accesses to Laurel. The Virginia portion of the Laurel, down to its confluence with Whitetop Laurel, is also a designated stocked trout section. 


Laurel Fork is about 90 minutes away from the Shop. Take Dennis Cove Road off of US 321 out of Hampton, Tennessee. It is one of the first trout streams my daddy took me to when I was a kid. He called it Dennis Cove (the name of the recreational area) but its name is Laurel Fork. A short hike downstream from the recreation area is scenic Laurel Falls. From just above the Falls you can fish upstream some 7 miles until you reach the headwaters in Cherry Flats. Foot trails run along side of the stream most of the way. The regulated water begins ½ mile upstream from the Recreation Area. Fishing a portion of Laurel Fork in the morning and Beaverdam Creek in the afternoon evening would make for a great day in my opinion.


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