How To Read The Generation Schedule

Reading the TVA Generation Schedule can be daunting, and generation schedule differ from one tailwater to the next. 

You want wade when no generators are running. At with one generator is running, the water is too high to safely wade, and the fishing for trout slows down significantly as well for anglers in boats. To keep the water cool, TVA often runs a “pulse,” which equates to some extra water running through the dam in hour increments. Typically, a pulse isn’t enough water to impact wading, and only raises the water by 3-6 inches.

Down at the Nances Ferry boat ramp, for reference, it can take about 5-6 hours for the water to reach it, and it takes nearly 10 hours for the water to “fall out” when they stop generating.

Where To Wade

Generally, Nances Ferry is considered to be the terminus of the trout, and you’ll find a lot of smallmouth in the area as well. Otherwise, access is largely private, so floating is the preferred way to fish unless you have access on someone’s property.

Where To Float

Be aware that the Holston is tricky to navigate on low water when the fishing is best. The runs can be a bit bony and hard to row around if you’re new to it. Access is also limited, so many opt for a jet boat to head up river and float back down to where they put in. If floating, you can have a long day by putting in at Indian Cave and floating to Nances Ferry. It should also be noted that Indian Cave is extremely primitive, and is classified as a canoe launch. 

Tactics And Flies

Tried and true pheasant tails and other smaller traditional nymphs are a constant on the Holston, and your typical tailwater midge patterns will also produce. Small caddis can be found from the spring and in to the late summer, offering good dry fly action when they’re looking up. 

As for smallmouth, topwater poppers, sliders, and flies with lots of rubber legs, like a stealth bomber. When the sun is out and there’s little cloud cover, throw white or chartreuse. When there’s overcast or during the morning and evening, stick to black, purple, and other dark colors.