Since this is the holidays, most of you will probably be staying home or visiting friends and family
during the coming days. I doubt that many of you will be traveling to and fishing the Smokies
although I hope you do. January and the first part of February is probably the coldest time of the
year and you will have to pick out the better days to expect much success fishing the freestone
streams. By the end of February, everyone will be doing their best to force the bugs to hatch and
the trout to respond even though they will probably have to wait a few more days to see any
surface action. That considered, I thought I would write about some fishing trips we have made
to various other destinations. Don't expect these articles to win any awards, just tell you about
some things I hope you will find interesting and a few that I look back on with a gleam in my eye.
Doe River, Tennessee
Tennessee's Doe River pleasantly surprises most trout anglers that visit it in the
Roan Mountain State Park area. It is a very small stream in its upper end, so small,
that you would think there would only be small trout in it. That is not the case at all.
It has some very good size rainbows and brown trout in its upper section in the park.
On its lower end it is a relatively large freestone stream. It is a tributary of the
Watagua River and flows into it in Elizabethton, Tennessee. This is a stocked
stream but like the Laurel and Beaverdam Creeks not far away, it also has a very
good population of wild trout. Its big feature is the size of its brown trout. While I
have not caught one over fourteen inches, I have only fished a dry fly in the river. I
did lose one fish that I had the opportunity to watch for a few moments that I feel
certain exceeded sixteen inches, maybe much better. We have not caught less than
thirty or forty trout each and every time we have visited this stream. We have made
a couple of trips there when it seemed like you were going to catch one on every
This upper section of the river can be easily reached from Elizabethton, Tennessee
by traveling on highway 19 East and then taking a right on highway 143 to the
Roan Mountain State Park. There is a gorge section downstream off highway 19
that is supposed to be good for large brown trout that we have not fished.
I would not recommend this stream to anyone as a destination stream on its own
but I would certainly recommend it to anyone who is fishing the Watauga River
tailwater or the South Holston tailwater not far away and wanted an optional small,
freestone stream. Also, please read my previous article written some time ago
about the "Laurel Fork Creek" that is close to this river. I rate Laurel Fork Creek as
one of the better trout streams in the state of Tennessee for wild brown trout.
Elizabethton offers a lot of fishing opportunities in its nearby waters. As many of you
know, I rate the South Holston as Tennessee's best tailwater. The reason I do is
that it is the only tailwater with any significant quantity of wild brown trout. From
Elizabethton or Bristol Tennessee or Damascus Virginia, you can fish the South
Holston and several streams with a good wild trout populations that I have written
about the past few days. The bottom line is that I could recommend that general
area of Northeastern Tennessee and the area nearby Damascus, Virginia, for a
destination trip for any angler.
This is another stream that does not have the typical low PH common to most of the
streams in the mountains of Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. It starts in
farm country and is the key factor that accounts for the fertile water in this and
other streams in the area. Where there is cold, fertile water with lots of aquatic
insects you will usually find a very good populations of trout.
Copyright 2008 James Marsh