South Holston Lake Fishing Report Guide

South Holston Lake Fishing Report Guide

Hey there, fellow fishing enthusiasts! Today, we’re diving into the wonderful world of South Holston Lake, nestled in the beautiful landscapes of Virginia. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a newbie looking for a great spot to cast your line, South Holston Lake has something special for everyone. Known for its clear waters and abundant fish population, this lake is a gem for anyone passionate about fishing. Let’s explore everything you need to know to make your fishing trip to South Holston Lake a memorable one!

South Holston Lake Fishing Details

Before we jump into the fishing details, let’s get a clear picture of South Holston Lake itself. Here’s a handy list of essential information about the lake:

  • Water Surface: 7,580 acres
  • Shoreline: 168 miles
  • Average Depth: 44 feet
  • Max Depth: 246 feet
  • Surface Elevation: 1,729 feet
  • Location: Straddles the border between Virginia and Tennessee
  • Coordinates: 36.5181° N, 82.1053° W
  • Accessibility: Easily accessible by multiple public boat ramps and marinas
  • Type of Lake: Reservoir
  • Lake Amenities: Boat ramps, marinas, picnic areas, campgrounds, hiking trails, and fishing piers

South Holston Lake is a picturesque reservoir that provides a perfect blend of recreational activities and serene natural beauty. It’s surrounded by lush forests and rolling hills, offering stunning views and a tranquil environment.

Types of Fish in South Holston Lake

South Holston Lake is home to a diverse array of fish species, making it a prime spot for anglers. Here’s a closer look at the types of fish you can expect to find and where they are usually located:

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass are plentiful in South Holston Lake. They are often found in shallow waters, especially around submerged structures like logs, rocks, and vegetation. Early morning and late evening are the best times to catch them.

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass thrive in the clearer, deeper waters of the lake. Look for them near rocky shorelines and underwater ledges. These fish are particularly active during the spring and fall.


Crappie can be found in large schools around brush piles, docks, and submerged trees. They prefer calmer, shallower waters and are most active during the spawning season in the spring.


Walleye are usually located in deeper waters, particularly around drop-offs and underwater humps. They tend to be more active during low-light conditions, such as early morning or late evening.

Bluegill and Sunfish

These smaller fish are abundant in South Holston Lake and are typically found in shallow waters near the shoreline, especially around docks and vegetation.


Channel and flathead catfish are common in the lake, often found in deeper waters and around submerged structures. Night fishing is usually the best time to catch catfish.

Rainbow Trout

Thanks to the lake’s cool, clear waters, rainbow trout are a prized catch here. They are often found in deeper, colder parts of the lake, particularly near the dam.

Best Fishing Baits, Lures, and Tackle Recommendations for South Holston Lake Fishing

Choosing the right bait and tackle can make all the difference in your fishing success. Here are some top recommendations for fishing at South Holston Lake:

Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass

  • Baits: Live minnows, nightcrawlers, and crayfish
  • Lures: Plastic worms, jigs, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits
  • Tackle: Medium to heavy spinning or baitcasting rods with 10-20 lb test line


  • Baits: Live minnows and small worms
  • Lures: Small jigs, spinners, and soft plastic grubs
  • Tackle: Light spinning rods with 4-8 lb test line


  • Baits: Nightcrawlers, leeches, and minnows
  • Lures: Jigs, crankbaits, and spinner rigs
  • Tackle: Medium spinning rods with 8-12 lb test line

Bluegill and Sunfish

  • Baits: Worms, crickets, and small insects
  • Lures: Small jigs and spinners
  • Tackle: Ultralight spinning rods with 2-6 lb test line


  • Baits: Chicken liver, cut bait, and stink bait
  • Lures: Not typically used, but heavy sinkers and circle hooks work well
  • Tackle: Heavy rods with 15-30 lb test line

Rainbow Trout

  • Baits: Live worms, salmon eggs, and PowerBait
  • Lures: Small spoons, spinners, and fly fishing lures
  • Tackle: Light to medium spinning rods or fly rods with 4-8 lb test line
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TRUSCEND Fishing Lures for Bass Trout Multi Jointed Swimbaits Slow Sinking Bionic Swimming Lures Bass Freshwater Saltwater Bass Lifelike Fishing Lures Kit
  • 8 SEGMENTS LIFELIKE LURES: Designed with 8 segment multi-jointed body, TRUSCEND fishing lure can sink slowly and move flexible in water. In addition, life-like swimming actions make it attracting more catches and provoking predator fish to strike.
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Berkley PowerBait Power Minnow Fishing Bait, Black Shad, 2in | 5cm, Irresistible Scent & Flavor, Realistic Action, Split Tail Design, Ideal for Bass, Walleye, Trout, Panfish Species and More
  • BERKLEY POWERBAIT POWER MINNOW FRESHWATER SOFT PLASTIC BAITS: Featuring lifelike details, these pre-rigged Power Minnow baits have 3D eyes and holographic inserts to attract attention, making them an essential tool for any angler.
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TRUSCEND Fishing Jigs Lures with Handmade Lead Heads Paddle Tail Spinner Baits for Bass Trout Walleye Musky Soft Plastic Fishing Lures
  • ULTRA-SHARP OWNER HOOKS – Equipped with sharp high quality OWNER high carbon steel hooks and built-in magnet, the innovative design of these soft lures can help ensure increased fish hook ups in all situations while Reduce the odds getting hung up when fishing, thus saving your bait for future use.
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TOOLSSIDE 1 Dozen Rubber Maggots Fishing Bait #10 (12 Pcs) Crappie Jigs, Fishing Maggots, Bulk Fishing Grubs for Trout, Crappie, Pan Fish, Bluegill, Fresh Water Fishing Lures Set (Hooks and Worms)
  • ✅ Purpose and Size: These grubs for fishing attract a wide variety of fish including trout, crappie, panfish, bluegill, bream, roach, carp and more. Using grub fishing lures that imitate worms offers many advantages over live worms or minnows. These crappie lures are equipped with an optimal size hook and a rubber grub. The hook dimensions are 10 mm wide and 25 mm long, and the length of the larva itself is 22 mm.

Best Fishing Spot Locations at South Holston Lake Fishing

Finding the right spot can significantly enhance your fishing experience. Here are some top fishing spots at South Holston Lake:

Painter Creek

Located on the eastern side of the lake, Painter Creek is known for its excellent bass and crappie fishing. The area has plenty of submerged structures and rocky shorelines.

Little Oak Campground Area

This spot offers great access to deep and shallow waters, making it ideal for catching a variety of fish, including bass, crappie, and catfish.

Observation Knob Park

Located near the dam, this park provides access to deeper waters where you can find walleye, trout, and catfish. The clear waters here are perfect for trout fishing.

Laurel Marina Area

The marina area is a hotspot for bluegill and sunfish, especially around the docks and boat slips. It’s a great spot for families and novice anglers.

Avens Bridge

This area is popular for night fishing, especially for catfish and walleye. The bridge provides access to deeper waters and submerged structures.

Fishing Tips and Recommendations for South Holston Lake Fishing

Here are some handy tips and recommendations to help you have a successful fishing trip at South Holston Lake:

Early Bird Catches the Fish

Fish are generally more active during the early morning and late evening hours. Plan your fishing trips around these times for the best results.

Use Local Bait

Local bait shops can provide you with the best bait options that are currently working well in the lake. They also offer valuable tips and updates on fish activity.

Stay Stealthy

Fish can be easily spooked, especially in clear waters. Keep noise to a minimum and avoid making sudden movements to increase your chances of catching fish.

Weather Matters

Pay attention to the weather conditions. Overcast days can be great for fishing as fish are more likely to come closer to the surface. Conversely, bright sunny days might require fishing in deeper waters.

Keep Moving

If you’re not getting bites in one spot, don’t hesitate to move around. Fish can be spread out, and sometimes a change of location can lead to better success.

South Holston Lake Fishing Reviews

Don’t just take my word for it! Here are some positive fishing reviews from fellow anglers who have enjoyed their time at South Holston Lake:

  1. John D.: “I’ve been fishing at South Holston Lake for years, and it never disappoints. The bass fishing here is top-notch, and the views are simply stunning.”
  2. Emily R.: “This lake is a hidden gem! We caught so many crappies on our last trip. The water is so clear, and the facilities are great.”
  3. Mike H.: “As a trout fishing enthusiast, South Holston Lake is my go-to spot. The cool, clear waters near the dam are perfect for catching rainbow trout.”
  4. Sarah L.: “Fantastic fishing experience! The kids loved catching bluegills around the marina. It’s a great family-friendly spot.”
  5. Tom B.: “Night fishing for catfish at South Holston is unbeatable. We had a blast and caught some real big ones near Avens Bridge.”

Top-Rated Closest RV Parks, RV Resorts, and Campgrounds for South Holston Lake Fishing

If you’re planning to stay a while, here are some top-rated RV parks, resorts, and campgrounds near South Holston Lake:

1. Little Oak Campground

  • Features: Waterfront campsites, boat ramp, picnic areas, and hiking trails
  • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, and potable water
  • Hookups: No hookups available
  • Distance to Lake: Direct access to the lake

2. Observation Knob Park Campground

  • Features: Lakeside campsites, boat launch, playground, and picnic shelters
  • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, and electric hookups
  • Hookups: Electric and water hookups
  • Distance to Lake: Direct access to the lake

3. Laurel Marina and Yacht Club

  • Features: Full-service marina, boat rentals, and lakeside campsites
  • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities
  • Hookups: Electric, water, and sewer hookups
  • Distance to Lake: Direct access to the lake

4. Painter Creek RV Park

  • Features: Scenic RV sites, boat ramp, and fishing pier
  • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, and picnic areas
  • Hookups: Full hookups (electric, water, and sewer)
  • Distance to Lake: Less than 1 mile

5. Sugar Hollow Park

  • Features: Spacious campsites, hiking trails, and playgrounds
  • Amenities: Restrooms, showers, and picnic areas
  • Hookups: Electric and water hookups
  • Distance to Lake: Approximately 5 miles

South Holston Lake Fishing Summary

South Holston Lake is a true angler’s paradise with its diverse fish population, beautiful scenery, and excellent amenities. Whether you’re looking to catch bass, crappie, trout, or catfish, this lake offers something for everyone. With plenty of great fishing spots, helpful tips, and nearby campgrounds, your fishing trip to South Holston Lake is sure to be a success. So pack your gear, grab your fishing buddies, and head out to this fantastic lake for an unforgettable fishing adventure!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for South Holston Lake Fishing

1. What is the best time of year to fish at South Holston Lake?

The best time to fish at South Holston Lake is during the spring and fall when the fish are most active. Early morning and late evening are also ideal times for fishing.

2. Do I need a fishing license to fish at South Holston Lake?

Yes, you need a valid fishing license for Virginia or Tennessee, depending on which side of the lake you are fishing from.

3. Are there any fishing tournaments held at South Holston Lake?

Yes, South Holston Lake hosts several fishing tournaments throughout the year, including bass and crappie tournaments. Check local listings for upcoming events.

4. Can I rent a boat at South Holston Lake?

Yes, there are several marinas around the lake where you can rent boats, including Laurel Marina and Yacht Club.

5. Is night fishing allowed at South Holston Lake?

Yes, night fishing is allowed and can be very productive, especially for catfish and walleye. Just make sure to follow all safety regulations and have proper lighting on your boat.

I hope this guide helps you plan a fantastic fishing trip to South Holston Lake. Happy fishing!

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Best Fishing Bait, Lures & Tackle

Here’s some of the best fishing bait, fishing lures and fishing tackle South Holston Lake Fishing Report Guide: