River Information
Species:  Rainbow, Brown and Brook Trout
Angler Type:  Boat or Wade
Access Type:  Public and Private
General Flies:  Midges, Nymphs, Sulphurs
and Streamers

Suggested Gear
8 ft  to 9 ft 4, 5 or 6 weight fly rods

Fishing and River Description
The Watauga River is one of my most favorite rivers.  It has great Blue
Wing Olive hatches in early spring and the Caddis hatch that follows can
rival most western hatches.  It has a steeper gradient than most
Tennessee tailwaters and feels more like a free stoner when fishing it.

The Watauga can also be a bit technical for some rowers and it is
suggested that you are competent on the sticks before attempting it.  The
Trophy Section of the Watauga is proably the most productive and has
some of the best fishing holding water.

Nymph rigs and dry/droppers rigs are the best to use on the Watauga,
but you may have to add a bit more weight to get down in some of the
faster riffles.

Please practice safe wading practices and be sure to check the
generation schedules before you go.
Click here for TVA Generation Schedule

Special Regulations as of 2009
Watauga River (Quality Trout Fishing Area, Smallings Bridge Road
downstream to CSX Railroad bridges
  • 14 inch minimum length limit
  • 2 Trout creel limit Use or possession of any bait is prohibited
  • Trout less than 14 may not be in possession
For more information on daily creel limits and additional information
please refer to the
2009 Tennessee Fishing Regulations

Public River Access
Access 1:  Wilbur Reservoir Ramp (lake)
Access 2:  Pull-offs along Wilbur Dam Road
Access 3:  Wilbur Dam Parking Area
Access 4:  Hunter Bridge
Access 5:  Blevins Road Access
Access 6:  Highway 400 Access

Click here for a detailed TWRA Map!

Click here for TVA Generation Schedule!

Getting There
From Interstate 81 exit to 57A on to Interstate 26 South to exit 31 on to
Highway 321 east towards Elizabethon, TN

Local Guides
Trout Fisher's Guide Service

Local Fly Shops


Places to Stay
Meredith Valley Cabins
Bee Cliff Cabins