In 1991, TVA built a weir below South Holston Dam to add oxygen to the river when the hydropower plant isn’t generating electricity. Oxygen-rich water helps create a sustained habitat for aquatic insects, vegetation and fish—especially bass and trout.
South Holston Reservoir is on the South Fork Holston River in northeast Tennessee. It extends 24 miles east of the dam into Virginia. Construction of the dam began in 1942 but was halted in favor of other wartime construction efforts. Building resumed in 1947 and was completed in 1950.
South Holston is operated for several purposes, including flood damage reduction, power production, aquatic ecology and augmentation of the flow of water during drier periods.
The South Fork Holston River is home to an annual spring migration of white bass. Locals say that when the serviceberry and dogwood bloom, the white bass run. It is also home to a world-class trout fishery in the river below the dam.
A footbridge from the parking lot below the dam leads to Osceola Island and its one-mile-loop wildlife trail. Early in the morning or late in the evening are the best times to sight waterfowl, deer and other wildlife.
There is a visitor center installation on site to tell you more about the history of TVA and South Holston, and about TVA's current activities.