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Holston River - South Fork - Maps & Access

If you are not familiar with the special regulation sections of the South Fork Holston River, you can find them easily from Interstate 81 by taking exit 45 (Marion) and heading south on Highway 16 towards the community of Sugar Grove. In the community of Sugar Grove, turn right off of Highway 16 onto Teas Road. Teas Road follows the South Fork Holston River, signs designate the beginning of the special regulation area. If you continue down Teas Road it turns into route 650 and passes by the Buller Fish Cultural Station. You can access the lower sections of these areas from the Buller property.
Float Fishing Trips on the Navigational Sections in
Washington County, Virginia.

Float Fishing Trips on the Navigational Sections in Washington County, Virginia


Float 1:
Float one is located in Washington County from the bridge crossing on Route 604 to Route 714, where the river is adjacent to the road. This section is approximately five river miles in length and consists of mostly runs (40%). There are several short pools making up approximately 30% of the total habitat. The remainder of the habitat consists of riffles and shoals (30%). This section of river flows through farms, pastures, and woodlands that are all in private ownership with little to no public access. The river is narrow with an average width of approximately 50-60 feet. Several wild rainbow trout were caught ranging from 7-17 inches. There were also rock bass, smallmouth bass, brown trout, and bluegills caught in low numbers. The river was flowing at 110 cubic feet per second, (CFS) at the time of the float. These conditions are above normal summer flow. The recorded gage height at the USGS stream gage at Riverside School, (http://waterdata.usgs.gov/va/nwis/uv?03471500), was 1.95 feet. Flows lower than this would make it hard to float. It is recommended that this float be attempted during the late spring and early summer periods to take advantage of higher seasonal flows. Access to launch canoes is on Private land and landowner permission must be received in access the river.

Float 2:
Float two is located from River Road Route 714, where the river is adjacent to the road, to the bridge crossing on Route 724 in Washington County. This section is approximately 3.7 river miles in length and consists of mostly runs (35%). There are several pools that are rather short in length. Pool habitat makes up approximately 35% of the total habitat. The remainder of the habitat is riffles and shoals (30%). This section of river flows through farmlands and small sections of woodlands. There are several homes and cabins adjacent to the river along this section, and there is evidence of a good deal of river usage by anglers and other recreational users. No public access exists along this section of river, and landowner permission was obtained to access the river at the route 724 takeout. Fish collected during the float consisted of several wild rainbow trout ranging from 7-12 inches, rock bass, smallmouth bass, and a red horse sucker. River conditions were above normal summer flow, water clarity was murky, and the river was flowing at 130 CFS. The recorded gage height at the USGS stream gage at Riverside School, (http://waterdata.usgs.gov/va/nwis/uv?03471500), was 2.20 feet. Flows lower than this would make it hard to float. Light spinning tackle, live bait and small river crankbaits were used to sample the fishery. It is recommended that this float be attempted during the late spring and early summer periods to take advantage of higher seasonal flows, and permission to access the river at route 724 bridge should be obtained in advance.

Float 3:
Float three is located from the Route 724 bridge to the bridge crossing on Route 58 in Washington County. This section is approximately 5.8 river miles in length and consists of mostly runs (35%). There are several short shallow pools making up approximately 25% of the total habitat. The remainder of the habitat was riffles and shoals (40%). This section of river flows through farmlands, wooded areas and near small residential neighborhoods adjacent to the river. There is evidence of river usage by anglers and other recreational users. There appears to be public access existing along Route 788 in this section of river, but landowner permission most be obtained to access the river at the Route 724 bridge to launch. The takeout site at the Route 58 bridge is adjacent to the Virginia Creeper Trail, which is primitive access to the river. One wild rainbow trout was caught about 7-8 inches. There were also rock bass, a 16-inch smallmouth bass, and a redbreast sunfish caught. The river condition was above normal summer flow, water clarity was cloudy, and at the time of the float the river was flowing at 120 CFS. The recorded gage height at the USGS stream gage at Riverside School (http://waterdata.usgs.gov/va/nwis/uv?03471500) was 2.00 feet. Flows lower than this would make it hard to float. A light-spinning rod was used, and night crawlers were fished along with small river crank baits. It is recommended that this float be attempted during the late spring and early summer periods to take advantage of higher seasonal flows.

Float 4:
Float four is located from the route 58 bridge crossing, to the bridge crossing at Alvarado (Route 710) in Washington County. This section is approximately 3.5 river miles in length and consists of mostly pools (60%). There are several riffles and rapids that are challenging. The riffles make up approximately 20% of the total habitat. The remainder of the habitat is shallow runs and shoals (20%). Access to the river at Route 58 to launch was made from the Virginia Creeper Trial. Access to takeout can be made on the Route 710 bridge. It must be noted that this float requires some skill because the river size and flow doubles when Laurel Creel and the South Fork join directly above the route 58 launch site. This river section is heavily used by anglers and river enthusiasts. River access can be made at various sites along Route 711 which runs parallel to the river. There were several smallmouth bass caught using light spinning tackle and small river crankbaits. Bluegill sunfish were also collected. The river flow was slightly elevated above normal summer flow, water clarity was cloudy, and at the time of the float the river was flowing at 500 CFS. The recorded gage height at the USGS stream gage at Damascus, (http://waterdata.usgs.gov/va/nwis/uv?03473000), was 3.5 feet. Flows lower than this would make it hard to float and would require dragging.