The Holston River begins in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and flows for 274 miles through Virginia into Tennessee. The river ends at the confluence of the Holston and French Broad rivers to form the Tennessee River. It is home to 47 species of fish including smallmouth bass, brown trout, rainbow trout, redline darter, and bigeye chub.
The Holston River has played an important role in the history of East Tennessee from prehistoric times to today. In 1791, the Treaty of the Holston was signed between the United States and the Cherokee Indian Nation establishing that the U.S. would protect and manage the affairs of the Cherokees. Many Civil War battles were fought along the banks of the Holston, as the river had great strategic importance for commerce in the Tennessee Valley.
In the 1940’s and 50’s, the Tennessee Valley Authority built four dams on the Holston River to provide electricity and flood control. Today, the river is the most important source of drinking water for many communities that border the South Holston River in Tennessee, as well as a place for fishing and recreational use.