The Watauga River rises from a spring near the base of Peak Mountain at Linville Gap in Avery County, North Carolina. After crossing into Johnson County, the Watauga River is first impounded by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Watauga Dam, creating the 6,430-acre Watauga Lake. Nearly 3 miles below Watauga Dam, is the TVA Wilbur Dam, which forms a much smaller but very deep reservoir known as Wilbur Lake. Wilbur Dam is the site of the first hydroelectric dam constructed in Tennessee (beginning in 1909), going online with power production and distribution in 1912. Below Wilbur Dam begins the Watauga Tailwater, this 17.8 mile river flows generally north and then west into Carter County where it navigates through the city of Elizabethton Tennessee before it’s connection with Boone Reservoir. The Watauga River, just like “The Soho” flows into Boone at different locations.
The “Taug” as we call it, lies 30 minutes from the South Holston River Lodge. This tailwater is an A+ fishery that offers plenty of character with dazzling runs a riffles. Although the trout population is not as dense as the SoHo, The Watauga still holds an extremely strong population of wild brown and rainbow trout and an equally abundant aquatic insect life similar to the South Holston. If water conditions are favorable the Caddis and Sulphur hatches can be spectacular during the spring and just like the SoHo, the Watauga fishes great all year and provides hatches comparable to rivers out west. This is a great option if you’re fishing more than one day or water conditions on the SoHo dictate a drive to Elizabethton..
WARNING! Our rivers are dam released, water release schedules can change without notice due to unanticipated weather changes or power system requirements. Large amounts of water could be discharged at any time. Use caution! Obey all posted safety regulations and precautions! https://www.tva.gov/Environment/Lake-Levels