(WBIR) It's a favorite spot for boaters, anglers and even water sports. But getting onto the Holston River can be difficult. Fueled by the recent closing of an access point, a new movement is working to fix that problem.
In recent years, the Holston River has become a large trout fishing hot spot, bringing in people from around the country.
Along a 52 mile stretch there are only three open public launches, with more than 20 miles between some of these spots. Making it difficult for people like Todd Howland to find a fishing spot.
"Me and my wife were actually last night looking online for pay ponds. Because it is easier to go there and fish with the kids having something to catch than trying to find somewhere along the river or lake that's hard to get to," said Howland.
He spent the day at Nances Ferry. One of the only public access points for miles.
Allen Gillespie started Three Rivers Angler in Knoxville. He has seen a big boost in trout fishing popularity on the Holston.
"Ideal would be five to six miles on the shorter end and eight miles between access points," said Gillespie.
He teamed up with local organizations and state agencies to figure out a plan.
"The tail water or the fishery in the southeast has the most potential. Not only for economic purposes but for recreational purposes as well," said Gillespie.
With more access, TWRA and TVA expect a boost in people dropping in.
"The importance of developing more river access is imperative as we go into the future because of the amount of demand we are getting on this water body," said Bart Carter with TWRA.
"Being as close as we are to the Great Smoky National Park, there are a lot of tourists that come through the area. Many of them want to fish. And so they get a chance to float and fish the Holston, here," said Jerry Fouse with TVA.
Not just good for local economies, but also for the fish.
"If we don't love these resources enough and speak up, then we will lose all of these trout fisheries together," said Gillespie.
TVA works to help give health to the trout population by pumping oxygen into the water for the fish.
Carol Evans with Legacy Parks Foundation has worked with Gillespie, TVA, and TWRA to try and find more launches. Her organization helps raise money to buy the land and help make more ramps.
Building ramps to the river, and building an even bigger future for the river itself.
Indian Caves was a private boat launch, but allowed public use to the Holston River. Due to insurance reasons, that launch recently closed.
TVA and TWRA are now building a new public launch under Asheville Highway, which should be finished by late summer.