Tracking down Raymond's Revolutionary War roots brought us to Bristol, but we didn't know much else about the area. (Check out our post about the Pemberton Oak HERE.)The city of Bristol was much larger than we expected, although we didn't spend much time at all inside the city limits. One really cool feature about Bristol is that the Tennessee-Virginia state lines run right through the middle of the historic downtown.
We weren't overly impressed with the city, but the country side surrounding it is stunning - Appalachian countryside. Raymond's cousin-in-law that we met at the Pemberton Oak shared a lot of local info with us. We learned that the South Holston River was just down the road and was once considered one of the top five for fishing in the country. Supposedly there are massive brown trout in the Holston River that runs out of Holston Lake.
We grabbed our fishing gear and went back-roading to find a good fishing spot for the boys. By pure luck, we found ourselves at a popular spot just downstream from the Holston Weir Dam. There were several other folks, some fly fishing and some with spin rods. It was sunny, in the 60's and most people were acting like it was cool weather. Sawyer and Stuart kicked off their shoes, rolled up their pants and waded right in. They fished their little hearts out for hours, and got some good bites but never landed one. We watched several people pull out some really nice rainbow trout and a few browns.
We also got to check out the weir dam and learn about how it helps regulate the water levels to keep a consistently healthy environment. Before the weir, this section of the river would practically dry up when low energy demands caused the South Holston Dam to shutdown. This labyrinth weir also helps improve oxygen levels for fish and other aquatic life in the part of the Holton River below the lake dam.