Thousands of avid anglers visit Bristol and South Holston Lake every year to fish the Great Weir Dam, rated one of the Southeast’s premier bass and trout fishing spots.
What makes the fishing so good at the weir, other than the fact that you can fish it year-round? Deep-water releases from hydroelectric dams provide the cold-water habitat favored by trout, but often there isn’t enough oxygen in the water for fish to thrive. But the South Holston weir provides water flow in the river channel during the period of non-generation, which ensures a more consistent, healthy habitat not only for fish but also for insects and plant life.
The weir, constructed in 1991 and sitting about a mile and a half from South Holston Dam, creates a series of waterfalls, forming air pockets that burst into bubbles as they plunge downstream. The bubbles churn the otherwise calm water, allowing oxygen to penetrate the reservoir’s depths, creating optimal conditions for fish to thrive.
The water quality improvements at the weir dam have helped support substantial natural reproduction among the population of brown trout in the South Fork of Holston River. The South Holston tailwater is now managed not as a put-and-take and put-and-grow brown trout fishery with annual stockings but as a wild brown trout fishery.
The weir dam sits right off of Osceola Island, which offers a beautiful view of the famous fishing haven. The island, which features a bridge that crosses the water, also has walking/running trails and is a popular picnicking spot.