Results of the 2nd Annual Tailwater Roundup

Results of the 2nd Annual Tailwater Roundup

The Friday March 16, 2018 “Fly Fishing Film Festival” (F3T) at South Holston Brewery kicked off the Tailwater Roundup with an evening on conservation awareness, fun and festivity.  The film fest was attended by more than 100 fly fishing and coldwater conservation enthusiasts.

 Jim Habera and Sally Petre from the Tennessee Water Resources Agency (TWRA) had a display table and discussed various conservation projects with event attendees.  Their attendance was well received and greatly appreciated.  The 2 hour film featured various short videos on fly fishing which included education programs and conservation efforts around the world. 

Door prizes, valued at more than $4,000, were awarded at intervals throughout the film event to those who purchased films tickets;  roughly 35 lucky attendees walked away with fly fishing float trips, fly rods, fly line, reels, apparel and much more.  (We are grateful to those who donated a door prize, but due the number of folks who did so, we list them below).  In addition, there was one item available for silent auction, a bottle of Ol Rip Van Winkle 10 year Bourbon generously donated by Jonathan Neyman from Langham & Sons Roofing in Kentucky.

Monies from the silent auction as well as the film ticket sales generated over $1,500.  These monies will be used by the Cherokee Chapter of Trout Unlimited to fund coldwater conservation and education efforts in our region. Such programs include Trout in the Classroom, River/Stream monitoring and cleanup and Kids Fishing Day.   A special “thank you” in recognition of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is needed; who donated $1,000 to the Tailwater Roundup Event.  The TVA donation helped to help fund the film (as well as the Saturday rivers cleanup).

On Saturday March 17, 2018 volunteers from the region braved the cold (42°F) and drizzly morning to meet at 8:30am and organize teams for the South Holston and Watauga Rivers cleanup.  Bojangles’ provided breakfast to energize the volunteers for their day of trash collecting.  Approximately 30 fly fishing guides donated their time and boating equipment to pickup and transport trash from the rivers.  TVA made sure water flows were at a minimum in both rivers to make trash removal easier, and TVA also provided the gloves/ trash bags.  The Orvis Company funded Trash and Tire Dumpsters provided by Joe Powers at Green Cube Solutions for use by all volunteers; including, but not limited to, Trout Unlimited members (from Cherokee Chapter and Overmountain Chapters), ETSU’s Pack-in Pack-out Trail Club, Wolf Scout Pack #516, as well as local paddlers, anglers and river enthusiasts.  Even Joe Earles, Sullivan County Sheriff candidate, was there to show support of our conservation efforts by attending the F3T film showing and assisting with the cleanup.

In all, there were approximately 100 plus volunteers dedicated to cleaning both South Holston River (from the Weir Dam to Bluff City) and Watauga River (from the Little Wilbur through the trophy section).   That is about 30 plus miles of river in total.  The cleanup resulted in 6.23 tons of trash and 1.55 tons of recyclable tires removed from the river areas.  We were pleased to find fewer tires in the river than last year; however, the 6.23 tons of trash pulled from the river was much greater than last year – an astonishing travesty that needs more attention.   Besides the typical items such as plastic bottles, cans, tires and wrappers, some of the more interesting items found were a TV, false teeth, grill, and used medical needles.  If we were to leave these items in the river and allowed them to accumulate, it could lead to contamination of our drinking water supply and threaten the delicate habitat for our coldwater life cycles and biodiversity.  It is unfortunate that river cleanups have become a necessity, however through events like the Tailwater Roundup we hope to further conservation awareness in the community.  We may never eliminate the need for river cleanups, but hope to reduce the amount of trash found and removed each year through education.   

By 3:00pm the weather turned sunny and the volunteers gathered for a celebratory picnic of hotdogs/ hamburgers with all the trimmings; made possible by TVA (aforementioned $1,000) and Food City ($100) donations.  Remaining donated gift items were awarded to volunteer trash collectors; i.e. fly fishing equipment and gift coupons to local businesses.  Most of the volunteers were awarded a donated gift for their efforts and all came away with a sense of accomplishment and pride in a job well done.   

It should also be noted that the Tailwater Roundup initially had a third event on Sunday March 18, 2018 for a Fly Fishing Tournament.  However, due to the uncertainty in weather, which affects TVA’s schedule for tailwater flow, the tournament was cancelled.  

Door Prize and Gift Item Donators

South Holston River Lodge

Mountain Sports Ltd



Watauga River Lodge

South Holston River Company

Due South Outfitters

Watauga River Fly Shop

Highland Outfitters

Foscoe Fishing Company


Trophy Water Guide Service

Mountain True


Clackacraft Drift Boats

Rock Treads

Virginia Creeper Fly Shop

South Holston Angler

Southern Culture on the Fly

Langham & Sons Roofing

Food City



South Holston Fly Shop

 Adam Franceschini

Eastern Fly Outfitters

West Fork Anglers

Korkers Footwear

Tennessee Fly Company

High Country Guide Service

The Good Company

Neatlines Cartography

Bee Cliff Cabins

Holiday Lanes

Longhorn Steakhouse


Olive Garden

J’s Corner

Carter County Bank

H&S Hunting and Fishing

Tractor Supply

Jiggy Ray’s

Jack’s City Grill


Walmart Elizabethton

Meredith Valley Farms

Johnson City Bedding Company

Hokie Smokie

Red Lobster