The Wilbur Dam controls the flow of the Watauga River in Tennessee, and also happens to be an awesome spot to catch a few trout… unfortunately, it is also very well known and tends to get crowded on nice days. Nevertheless, it’s a great place to fish. It’s always important to keep a check on the generation schedule while you’re wading, the water rises fast!
The rocks here are extremely slippery because of algae growth, so be careful while wading. There are also unexpected deep spots, so always watch where you’re going. Right below the dam, there is a small rapid that forms because of the current flowing from the dam. The tailwater of the rapid is one of the best places to catch a trout. Placing your flies on the seams of the rapid always do the trick! There are also really strange eddy lines throughout sections of this area that are sometimes hard to maneuver your flies around.
Honestly, there isn’t a whole lot of wading room right below the dam. If you go too far down, it gets too deep for the possibility of wading. There is also a large pool to the right of the dam where a boat ramp is that has fish in it sometimes, but they’re hard to catch since the water is stagnant there. If you want to try anything, try setting a dry fly right on top of one, but don’t let the line hit the water.
You can find the dam at Wilbur Dam Rd in Elizabethton, Tennessee. There are dozens of signs that point you all the way to it, and once you park it’s a whole 10 second walk to the edge of the water!
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