Anglers fish for bass, trout walleye on South Holston Lake

George Thwaites • Aug 9, 2013 at 12:10 AM

Since Jerry Hall completed his world record endurance scuba dive at Lake View Dock on South Holston Lake last week, things have finally gotten back to normal.

Joe Slagle at Lake View Dock noted that Hall’s dive kept things rather hectic at the dock proper.

“It did get pretty chaotic here at the store at times,” Slagle said. “But (Hall) occupied such a small space when he was in the water, all that fuss really had no effect on fishing around here.”

The only notable shift in the bass fishing on South Holston Lake this week, he said, was the small jig bite picking up because the water has stabilized.

Trout fishermen continue to collect some decent fish under the lights after dark. Others continue to have success trolling for lakers during the daytime.

Evidently, the walleye action hasn’t been very good on the Tennessee side. Slagle said one of his walleye regulars was headed for the Virginia side of the lake.

Rex Pendergrass at Watson’s Marine in Bluff City reports that the bass fishing has been decent on Watauga Lake.

Wayne Moyer and Richard Walker won Tuesday’s Old Timer’s Tournament on that lake with five fish at around 13 pounds. That’s not bad for a day tournament at this time of the year.

Moyer and Walker reportedly went topwater for their winning weight, leaning heavily on buzzbaits and Pop-Rs. Other successful anglers in the tourney used topwater and big flipping jigs.

As on South Holston Lake, seasonal conditions on Boone have become a little more typical now that the water has finally stabilized.

“Boone has been real sporadic, which is always is,” Pendergrass said. “We’re still seeing fish caught on the rootbeer pig-and-jig and the nighttime spinnerbait. They’ve finally gotten into a summer pattern.”

There has been more striped bass activity on the South Holston river side of the lake than on the Watauga side. The trout fishing up in the South Holston tailwater has continued to be “insane.” Assorted hard minnow baits are wearing them out.

Rod Colyer at Colgard Outdoor Sports in Norton reports that river fishermen in Southwest Virginia are excited about the vastly improved conditions.

“I know a lot of guys who have been fishing on the Clinch and the North Fork of the Holston. I’ve only talked to one guy who was fishing the Powell this week. He caught a five-pound largemouth. I didn’t know they had any that big in that river,” Colyer said.

The Gary Yamamoto Twin-Tailed Hula grub has been a hot smallmouth bait for river anglers. Zoom Flukes have been a staple. Fishermen who have been wacky-rigging Senkos have downsized to the 3-inch versions.

“Now that the water has cleared up, it calls for a little more finesse,” Colyer said.

He continues to hear reports of striper and hybrid on Cherokee Lake being caught in deep holes up in the Holston River.

Apparently, one of the effects of the high rainfall this summer hasn’t only been cooler water temperatures throughout the Upper Holston reservoir system. It seems possible that Cherokee Lake is also enjoying higher than usual late summer dissolved oxygen content.

“Not all of the fish have traveled all the way to the aerators at the dam,” Colyer observed. “Maybe all the current has kept the oxygen problem from being so bad.”

On the fly fishing beat, Todd Boyer at Mahoney’s Sportsmans Paradise in Johnson City reports that the Watauga tailwater has once again been blown out by heavy rain.

The South Holston tailwater, however, continues to fish fabulously. The usual sulphur mayfly dry and nymph patterns are holding up there. Terrestrials are also working — especially beetle patterns. Smallmouth on the fly have also been a treat of late.

“The Nolichucky is still up, but it’s clear and has been fishing pretty good,” Boyer said. “The lower Holston is also fishing good, but it has a lot of grass right now.”

Poppers and Wiggle Minnows have remained superb topwater offerings. Wooly Buggers, assorted baitfish patterns and Clouser Minnows are the way to go for subsurface presentations.

George Thwaites is a Sports and Outdoors Writer for the Kingsport Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @KTNSptsThwaites. Email bragging fish photos to: gthwaites@timesnews.net.

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