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South Holston Reservoir

Photo of weir creating small waterfalls to add oxygen

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.

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.

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.

2014 Rain and Runoff

TVA manages the Tennessee River system and its tributaries to maximize its many benefits. We keep reservoirs full as possible during the summer for recreation, while also providing flood control, navigation, water supply and quality and low-cost power generation.

We depend on rain and runoff beginning in February through the spring to fill the reservoirs. Rain which results runoff filling South Holston is currently lower than normal. The average runoff during the spring fill for the South Holston watershed is 8.40 inches. This year we’ve only received 5.25 (as of May 19th), this is 63% of normal. Unfortunately, the below average rain and runoff will result in lower than normal summer lake levels on South Holston.

More information on South Holston Reservoir

Operating guide

Daily reservoir operation information

Sportfish survey results

Sportfish ratings

Ecological health ratings

Tailwater improvements

Recreation facilities



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