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Private Swinging Bridge

Private Swinging Bridge

With its rolling hills and expansive valleys, a drive through Scott County brings forth visions of simpler times.  Adding to that vision are the numerous swinging bridges that span rivers and creeks throughout the county.  Once used as a primary mode for foot transportation, today the bridges serve as a reminder of life removed from today.  The brooding colors of old bridges are the very stuff of soulful memories and are worth seeking out as you drive around Scott County.

Swinging bridges are historical pedestrian bridges towering above rivers and creeks.  During floods, the bridges were often the only means to cross the waterways.  These suspension bridges are often called swinging bridges because the bridge sways beneath your feet as you walk across.  They are also referred to as rope bridges due to their historical origin based on the ancient Inca rope bridge.

The bridges were constructed in such a way that they spanned the river without the need for foundation pillars in the middle that could possibly obstruct river traffic.  Typical construction would start with a ball of twine to judge the curve and distance.  Upright piers were constructed first before being pulled into position by men in boats or on horses or mules.  The cable was then dragged across by hand using a wheel or pulley.

Many of the swinging bridges in Scott County were constructed and maintained today by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).  Several though were obviously constructed by locals from whatever material lying around on the farm.  One of the best examples of this is the now defunct wooden bridge at the end of Mail Drop Lane.  Covered today in honeysuckle and kudzu, this bridge is a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the people of Scott County.

Grab your camera and tighten up those nerves because a walk onto a swinging bridge for first timers can be a little intimidating.  Be prepared to feel the sway beneath your feet, and if someone is behind you, the bobbing up and down of the bridge.  With bridges constructed high above the river, a full crossing might prove daunting for those with a fear of heights. Don’t worry, swinging bridges are perfectly safe and offer a great view of the river below.

Anglers Way Road—This is one of the easiest bridges for public access.  From Hwy. 23/58N, turn left onto Angler’s Way Road.  Follow Angler’s Way for six miles.  You may pull alongside the bridge and park.  The bridge crosses private property but is maintained by and open to the public.  It may also be accessed on the other side via Waters Edge Road.

Anglers Way Road Swinging Bridge

Anglers Way Road Swinging Bridge

Clinch River Highway—Take Hwy. 23/58N and turn right onto Clinch River Highway.  The bridge is located just past the railroad trestle at the corner of Bridge Street and Dewey Avenue.  Public access allowed and maintained by VDOT.

Clinch River Highway—Closed to the public.  Located across from Clinchport Freewill Baptist Church.

Mail Drop Lane—Turn right off Veteran’s Memorial Highway onto Mail Drop Lane.  Go to the end of the road to the railroad tracks.  Look left and there stands the bridge, which is covered in kudzu.

Moore Hollow Lane—Located on Veteran’s Memorial Highway, across from Moore Hollow Lane.  You have to cross the railroad tracks to access this unmaintained bridge.

Holston River, Route 614, off Wadlow Gap Road—Crossing at the Holston near the area Daniel Boone forded the river to blaze the Wilderness Trail.  Boone and his companions gathered at the original John Anderson Blockhouse, which was located on property on what is now East Carter’s Valley Road.

Copper Creek—Near the intersection of Routes 643 and 627.  Best access is from Manville Road from Gate City.  Additional private bridges are located down this road.

Copper Creek—Take Addington Frame Road and turn onto Ponderosa Lane.  Swinging bridge is located next to the low river bridge.

Copper Creek—This bridge can be accessed either by driving to the end of Copper Creek or by taking Hwy. 23/58N and turning right onto Copper Creek.  Follow the road to Double Ford Road, (you have to ford the creek twice here).  Not advisable to cross Copper Creek when water is running high.

Big Moccasin Creek—Located behind Gate City Christian Church on Old Nickelsville Highway.

North Fork of Clinch—Located at the end of Addington Ford, Route 621.  From Highway 23/58N, turn left onto Fairview, Route 600.  Travel approximately seven miles to Addington Ford, turn left and travel down the dirt road.

Copper Creek and the Clinch River Highway and Veteran’s Memorial Highway provide access to the majority of the bridges.

Clinchport Swinging Bridge

Clinchport Swinging Bridge

Scott County Swinging Bridge Locations

Scott County Swinging Bridge Locations

 

 

Whether you are an angler or a paddler, Scott County, Virginia has the waters to suit your sport.

Clinch River in Scott County, Virginia

Both the Clinch https://dwr.virginia.gov/waterbody/clinch-river/and Holston https://virginia.hometownlocator.com/maps/feature-map,ftc,1,fid,1487063,n,north%20fork%20holston%20river.cfmRivers are full of smallmouth, spotted, rock and largemouth bass, sauger, sunfish, musky, crappie and freshwater drum.  The Clinch River is one of the most bio-diverse rivers in the world, falling second behind the Amazon River.  The north fork of the Holston is a trophy smallmouth bass fishery.

Between April 15 and May 31, the Clinch River offers a rare fishing opportunity—sucker shooting.  During this time, anglers climb high into Sycamore trees lining the river banks and shoot the red horse suckers spawning in the shallow waters along the shore.  Vermont is the only other place in the U.S. where sucker shooting is allowed.

Stocked regularly, Bark Camp Lake https://dwr.virginia.gov/waterbody/bark-camp-lake/in the Jefferson National Forest is a 61-acre lake managed by the U.S. Forest Service. It is the oldest Department-owned lake in Southwest Virginia.  When construction of the lake was completed in the mid-1950s, a beautiful lake completely surrounded by forested land was born.  Clear water and fairly dense stands of aquatic vegetation offer anglers and other “fish watchers” a unique scenario.  This area is perfect for canoeing and kayaking and also has a 3.5-mile lake loop trail that offers spectacular fall scenery.

A variety of fish species are available for anglers, including largemouth bass, black crappie, several sunfish species, channel catfish and trout.  Most of the fish populations are self-sustaining, meaning they reproduce in the lake and maintain fishable populations without the need for stocking.  Catchable-sized trout are stocked seasonally to provide a bit of angling diversity.  Grass carp are also stocked as needed to control aquatic vegetation.

Additional trout fishing opportunities exist throughout the county on stocked trout streams such as Big Stony Creek (Mountain Fork).  This is a special regulation trout water and is strictly catch and release.  It includes the portion of Big Stony Creek (Mountain Fork) and its tributaries within the Jefferson National Forest from the outlet of High Knob Lake downstream to the confluence of Chimney Rock Fork and Big Stony Creek.  Fishing licenses are available at the Front Porch Store & Deli in Ft. Blackmore and the Black Diamond Market in Dungannon.  You can also grab a great lunch at either store.

Big Cherry Reservoir https://www.visitwisecounty.com/list/big-cherry-reservoir/rests amid a magnificent mountain basin, with elevations varying from 3000 feet downstream of Big Cherry Dam to 4223 at its head of High Knob.  This 2200-acre park features a 250-acre lake.

Big Cherry Reservoir

Big Cherry Reservoir

Fishermen can catch a variety of fishing including bass, trout and Muskie.  Big Cherry Reservoir is accessible by four-wheel drive only.  This lake is perfect for canoeing and kayaking, and don’t be surprised to see a bear swimming in the lake.

Located in the High Knob Recreation Area, High Knob Lake https://www.virginia.org/listings/OutdoorsAndSports/HighKnobLakeTrail/, is a four-acre lake about 7 miles from downtown Norton.  A minimum 14-inch length limit for brook trout is in place, and anglers can possess only two brook trout greater than 14 inches per day. Along with a Virginia Fishing License, a National Forest Permit is also required to fish in the lake.

Located in Lee County, Lake Keokee https://dwr.virginia.gov/waterbody/lake-keokee/is a 92-acre lake perfect for fishing, non-gasoline motor boats and hiking.

Both the Clinch and Holston Rivers are suitable for kayaking, canoeing and tubing and flow through picturesque countryside full of stunning bluffs, rolling farmland and deep swimming holes.

Guided raft tours, kayak and tube rentals are available on the Clinch from SomeThing Squatchy, 1750 Clinch River Hwy., Duffield, 276-202-6974.  Open daily beginning at 9 a.m., SomeThing Squatchy also has river campsites and RV hook-ups.

Located on U.S. Hwy. 58, Clinch River Life offers tube rentals and shuttle services.  Hours vary, but open Saturday and Sunday.  Call 276-690-9199 for information.

Tent and RV camping is also available along the Clinch River at Camp Clinch, 7237 Anglers Way Rd., Duffield.  Cabins, plus tent and RV camping and primitive Yurts are available at Natural Tunnel State Park.  Appalachian Mountain Cabins is another great place from which to access the Clinch and areas around High Knob.

Accommodations close to the Holston River include the Estillville Bed & Breakfast and Roberts Mill Suites in Gate City and Boones Pointe Cabins.  All offer easy access to dining, shopping and entertainment.

Familiar fast food chains are available throughout the county.  It’s highly recommended to dine at one of our iconic eateries like the Hob Nob, Teddy’s, Campus Drive-in, ChuBeez or Front Porch Store & Deli.  As the winner of the “Virginia Culinary Challenge,” The Family Bakery in downtown Gate City is a must for cupcakes, an excellent Chai Tea Latte and other specialty drinks.

For information, please call 276-386-6521 or 423-863-1667.

Holston River

Holston River

Lake Keokee, Lee County

Lake Keokee, Lee County

High Knob Lake

High Knob Lake

Canoe Trip along the Clinch RiverScott County is home to two major rivers, each of which flows through nearly untouched countryside full of stunning bluffs, deep swimming pools and rolling farmland.

The Clinch River is one of the most diverse rivers in the nation, full of rare plants and animals, some of which can be found nowhere else on earth. Small rapids on the northeastern end of the river give way to flat waters which even a novice can navigate, and both sections of the river are well endowed with many species of game fish.

The North Fork of the Holston River is less well known, but offers a similar seclusion with even fewer paddlers. The North Fork is also a trophy smallmouth bass fishery, with bass over 20 inches long regularly pulled from its waters.

Burton’s Ford Access Boat Ramp
This stretch of the Clinch may be too difficult for raw beginners, but everyone else is bound to enjoy the scenery and small rapids. The Clinch winds between picturesque cliffs and over a few ledges and small falls which may require you to portage in dry weather. Deer drink from the edge of the river while kingfishers fly overhead. If you enjoy fishing, this is a good stretch of the Clinch to ply your trade, full of smallmouth bass and walleye.
Directions
From Dungannon, travel east on Rte 65 for 8 miles, then turn left onto Rte 611. Follow Rte 611 (veering right at one point to remain on Rte 611) until it deadends on the bank of the Clinch River.

Miller’s Yard to DungannonMap
Distance: 3.7 miles
Gradient: 10 ft/mile

This is a good float when you do not have a lot of time. Put in at the informal access at Miller’s Yard. Several good pools and lots of runs and riffles await you downstream. This float has excellent potential for bass and sunfish, and also produces walleye and sauger. Takeout is on the right, just downstream of the Route 65 bridge at Dungannon. If you have all day to float you can extend your float to Route 659 described below.

Dungannon to Route 659Map
Distance: Variable
Gradient: 10 ft/mile

The Dungannon access is one of only two concrete boat ramps on the Clinch River. This is a productive float for smallmouth, walleye, sauger, sunfish and catfish. A variety of takeout possibilities exist along route 659, which parallels the river for several miles. Select a sire based on the distance you wish to float and available access to the river. It is best to secure permission from the property owner when selecting a take out location.

Route 659 to Fort BlackmoreMap
Distance: 8 miles*
Gradient: 3.1 ft/mile

*The distance of this float depends on where you launch from route 659, but will be at least 8 miles. This float includes a lot of flat water. The slow and deep pools are good habitat for sunfish, catfish, walleye, and musky. Bring an electric trolling motor for this float, or be prepared to spend some time paddling. This float includes the pool know locally as “the retch” – a pool that stretches almost five miles with an average depth of about 14 feet. Some of the best musky fishing on the Clinch River is found in this float. Striped bass and white bass, migrants from Norris Reservoir in Tennessee, are sometimes caught on this float. Takeout is on the left, at an informal access just downstream of the Route 72 bridge in Fort Blackmore.

Fort Blackmore to Hill StationMap
Distance: 7.9 miles
Gradient: 1.9 ft/mile

This is one of the most scenic floats on the river. Just downstream of Fort Blackmore lies Pendelton Island. Fishing is this section is good for bass and sunfish, and walleye and sauger are also available. The gradient is low in this section, so floaters should allow plenty of daylight time to reach Hill Station. Takeout is on the left side of the river, just upstream of the route 645 bridge. The Hill Station access can be found off of route 645 on the southeast side of the river.

Hill Station to Clinchport Map
Distance: 5.2 miles
Gradient: 2.0 ft/mile

Put in at the Hill Station access described above. This section is typical of the lower river. Lazy pools provide good fishing for sunfish and catfish, while faster water at the scattered riffles offers smallmouth bass fishing. Take out on the right side of the river at the Clinchport access.

Clinchport to Speer’s FerryMap
Distance: 2 miles
Gradient: 3.2 ft/mile

A good variety of habitats are encountered on this short float, and many species can be caught. Launch at the Clinchport ramp and tie on a small, deep-diving crankbait. The first section of this float will offer some good bass and sunfish water, while ledges in the last stretch will harbor walleye and sauger. Take out on the left side of the river at Speer’s Ferry. An informal access is located near the railroad bridge off of route 627.

Speer’s Ferry to State LineMap
Distance: 9 miles
Gradient: 2.5 ft/mile

This float will take anglers through some beautiful scenery on the way to the Virginia-Tennessee border. Most of this float is through slow moving water, so allow ample time to cover the distance between access points. The scattered shoals in this section are popular during the spring sucker shooting season. Be sure to notice the platforms placed high among the sycamores. Take out is on the left side of the river at the State Line access, off of route 627.

Holston River

Jett Gap Ford

Holston River access point near Hiltons. This multiple day journey begins near the famous Carter Family Fold, then winds between farms and forests and under towering bluffs and swinging bridges. Despite the length of this section of the river, paddling is easy on flat water — you may opt to just drift with the river’s flow, relaxing under a brilliant sun.

Directions
From the junction of Rte 614 and Rte 58 in the middle of Hiltons, take Rte 614 north for 1.4 miles. Turn right onto Rte 692 and drive for 0.9 miles until the road comes to a T. Turn left onto Rte 689 and drive for about half a mile to the Jett Gap Road access point.

Warm Springs Road Access Ramp

This access ramp provides the last take-out point on the Holston River in Virginia.

Directions
Heading south on Rte 23 through Weber City, turn right onto Yuma Road. (Yuma Road is about 0.6 miles north of the turnoff for Newland Hollow Road on Rte 23.) Drive about 1 mile, then turn left onto Warm Springs Road. The access point is in about 100 yards.

Weber City Bridge Access Ramp

The Weber City access ramp is the beginning of a short float down the Holston River.

Directions
Heading south on Rte 23 through Weber City, turn left onto Newland Hollow Road just after crossing the river on a bridge. The access point is on Newland Hollow Road near the highway bridge.

Whether you’re looking for trophy smallmouth bass, tasty trout or a leisurely lakeside fishing trip, Scott County has the spot for you.

The Clinch and Holston Rivers are full of smallmouth, spotted, rock, and largemouth bass, sauger, sunfish, musky, crappie, and freshwater drum. The Clinch River is one of the most diverse and beautiful in the nation while the north fork of the Holston is a trophy smallmouth bass fishery.

Between April 15 and May 31, the Clinch River offers a rare fishing opportunity–sucker shooting.  During this time, anglers climb into the Sycamore trees lining the river banks and shoot the red horse suckers in the shallow waters along the shore.  The only other place in the U.S. where this is allowed is in Vermont.

On the more leisurely end of the adventure spectrum, Bark Camp Lake is a 45-acre lake managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Drop by for picnicking, hiking and birdwatching, but bring your fishing gear to catch largemouth bass, black crappie, several sunfish species, channel catfish and trout.

Trout fishing opportunities exist throughout the county on stocked trout streams such as Big Stony Creek, Little Stony Creek, Stock Creek and Bark Camp Lake.

Don’t forget to stop by the Front Porch Store and Deli in Fort Blackmore or Scotty’s Market in Dungannon to get your fishing license. Visit the Department of Game and Inland Fishery’s website for fishing regulations, opportunities and more.

Bark Camp Lake

Boys Image With TroutBark Camp Recreation Area is situated on a 45 acre lake that is regularly stocked with rainbow trout, largemouth bass, several sunfish species and channel catfish. Check the DGIF website for the stock schedule.  The trailhead is closed during the winter (Oct. 1 thru April 1).

A three mile shoreline trail circles the lake, offering outstanding views. Highlights include an open air amphitheater overlooking the lake, a short hike to an interesting geological formation called “Kitchen Rock,” and outstanding universally accessible fishing piers and picnicking facilities. This recreation area boasts 34 campsites, 9 of which have electric hookups.

Big Stony

The portion of Big Stony Creek (Mountain Fork) and its tributaries within the Jefferson National Forest from the outlet of High Knob Lake downstream to the confluence of Chimney Rock Fork and Big Stony Creek is CATCH AND RELEASE only for trout.

Big Stoney Creek flows from one of the larger mountains in Scott County called the High Knob. The highest point in the County is there at a place called Camp Rock which was a Native American camp site, at 4100 feet elevation. Some of the Native trails and traces followed Big Stoney Creek across the mountain because it is the easier route because of where the creek has formed it’s path. Most of the stone in the area is sedimentary sandstone, and much of it is conglomerate. The conglomerate rock is made up of lager stones cemented together by a finer grain of sandstone, and the larger stones are called “clasts”.

These clasts are normally very smooth because of being rolled around in water and sand before the sedimentary rock was formed. Some of the other stone that is common in the area is a very dark black shale that is in very fine layers and will flake apart like pages of paper. Here at this site is an example of where water and sand have cut a deep groove into the bedrock of the creek. When the creek is in it’s normal stage and not flooded, all of the water of Big Stoney Creek flows through this channel. If the creek is flooded do not attempt to enter it.

Clinch River

The Clinch River is the crown of the mountain empire flowing southwestward from its origin near the town of Tazewell, the Clinch travels some 135 miles, reaching portions of Tazewell, Russell, Wise, and Scott counties on its way to the Tennessee state line. In a cast of Virginia rivers that portray history and natural wealth, the Clinch has a story and a Clinch Rivercharacter all its own.

The Clinch River, which was named after on otherwise forgotten explorer, played a major role in the exploration and settlement of Southwest Virginia. Many early settlers made their homes along its eastern shore, while other crossed the formidable flow and explored the wilderness beyond its banks. Probably the most famous explorer to pace the banks of the Clinch and challenge its currents was Daniel Boone. Boone resided for some time near Castlewood, and negotiated the river during his many trips through Southwest Virginia. Today, towns and settlements along its course bear names which are evidence of their historical roles. Places like Blackford, Nash’s Ford, Fort Blackmore, and Speer’s Ferry are a few examples.

The Clinch supports a unique assemblage of aquatic life. The river is home to about 50 species of mussels, which is more than any other river in the world and over 100 species are non-game fish – minnows and darters that sport brilliant colors and play a vital role in the survival of other fish and mussel species. But, the variety of sport fish is what makes the Clinch a great destination for anglers.

The Clinch River has a lot to offer those who want to escape the familiar and explore the life of a river. Whether you come to experience the fishing, or just to view the spectacular scenery, please keep safety in mind. Be sure that you are aware of your boat’s and your own limitations. Before floating an unfamiliar stretch of river, boaters are advised to use a topographic map to look for ledges and falls. Remember, discretion is the better part of valor. Wear your life jacket, and if you think you might have trouble negotiating a piece of water, portage your boat and equipment around the obstruction. Some of the access points noted on the map are informal sites that have traditionally been used by anglers and floaters. To ensure that these sites are available for future use, respect all property. Please refrain from littering, and do not block roads or gates.

 

Fishing Opportunities

Smallmouth Bass River Fishing Forecast

Many gamefish species that have been stocked into other Virginia rivers are native to the Clinch. Among the native gamefish in the river are the smallmouth bass, spotted bass, walleye, and sauger. In fact, the Clinch and its tributaries are the only Virginia waters where sauger are present. Largemouth bass, rock bass, redbreast sunfish, longear sunfish, and bluegill sunfish are available, as well as musky, black crappie and freshwater drum. Anglers who are looking for catfish will find both channel and flathead catfish in good numbers and sizes.

Observant anglers may also notice longnose gar “sunning” near the river’s surface and occasionally taking a gulp of air. Strong populations of redhorse suckers and carp are available for anglers with the prowess and inclination to pursue them. These bottom-feeding fish can be caught on small pieces of worm fished on small hooks and light line, especially during the spring months. Redhorse suckers are most visible in the shallow water near the tails of pools. In Scott County, these shoals are the focal points of a unique spring tradition – the sucker shooting season. From April 15 to May 31 enthusiasts climb to platforms built in trees along the river to gain a better view of the river. These shooting platforms are often located at perilous heights, and are easy to spot when floating the river.

Miller’s Yard to DungannonMap
Distance: 3.7 miles
Gradient: 10 ft/mile

This is a good float when you do not have a lot of time. Put in at the informal access at Miller’s Yard. Several good pools and lots of runs and riffles await you downstream. This float has excellent potential for bass and sunfish, and also produces walleye and sauger. Takeout is on the right, just downstream of the Route 65 bridge at Dungannon. If you have all day to float you can extend your float to Route 659 described below.

Dungannon to Route 659Map
Distance: Variable
Gradient: 10 ft/mile

The Dungannon access is one of only two concrete boat ramps on the Clinch River. This is a productive float for smallmouth, walleye, sauger, sunfish and catfish. A variety of takeout possibilities exist along route 659, which parallels the river for several miles. Select a sire based on the distance you wish to float and available access to the river. It is best to secure permission from the property owner when selecting a take out location.

Route 659 to Fort BlackmoreMap
Distance: 8 miles*
Gradient: 3.1 ft/mile

*The distance of this float depends on where you launch from route 659, but will be at least 8 miles. This float includes a lot of flat water. The slow and deep pools are good habitat for sunfish, catfish, walleye, and musky. Bring an electric trolling motor for this float, or be prepared to spend some time paddling. This float includes the pool know locally as “the retch” – a pool that stretches almost five miles with an average depth of about 14 feet. Some of the best musky fishing on the Clinch River is found in this float. Striped bass and white bass, migrants from Norris Reservoir in Tennessee, are sometimes caught on this float. Takeout is on the left, at an informal access just downstream of the Route 72 bridge in Fort Blackmore.

Fort Blackmore to Hill StationMap
Distance: 7.9 miles
Gradient: 1.9 ft/mile

This is one of the most scenic floats on the river. Just downstream of Fort Blackmore lies Pendelton Island. Fishing is this section is good for bass and sunfish, and walleye and sauger are also available. The gradient is low in this section, so floaters should allow plenty of daylight time to reach Hill Station. Takeout is on the left side of the river, just upstream of the route 645 bridge. The Hill Station access can be found off of route 645 on the southeast side of the river.

Hill Station to Clinchport Map
Distance: 5.2 miles
Gradient: 2.0 ft/mile

Put in at the Hill Station access described above. This section is typical of the lower river. Lazy pools provide good fishing for sunfish and catfish, while faster water at the scattered riffles offers smallmouth bass fishing. Take out on the right side of the river at the Clinchport access.

Clinchport to Speer’s FerryMap
Distance: 2 miles
Gradient: 3.2 ft/mile

A good variety of habitats are encountered on this short float, and many species can be caught. Launch at the Clinchport ramp and tie on a small, deep-diving crankbait. The first section of this float will offer some good bass and sunfish water, while ledges in the last stretch will harbor walleye and sauger. Take out on the left side of the river at Speer’s Ferry. An informal access is located near the railroad bridge off of route 627.

Speer’s Ferry to State LineMap
Distance: 9 miles
Gradient: 2.5 ft/mile

This float will take anglers through some beautiful scenery on the way to the Virginia-Tennessee border. Most of this float is through slow moving water, so allow ample time to cover the distance between access points. The scattered shoals in this section are popular during the spring sucker shooting season. Be sure to notice the platforms placed high among the sycamores. Take out is on the left side of the river at the State Line access, off of route 627.

Holston River

From its origin in the southeast corner of Bland County, the North Fork of the Holston River flows more than 100 miles through Southwest Virginia before crossing the Tennessee State line near the community of Yuma.  The river boasts an outstanding smallmouth bass population and supports populations of many other fish species.

The catch rate for smallmouth in the North Fork is above average compared to other rivers in the state.  The 2015 catch rate of 111 smallmouth bass per hour was excellent and consistent with collections made in previous years.  In years with good spawning conditions and survival, strong year classes ae produced.  Strong year classes increase the population abundance and create fishing opportunities.  These strong year classes generally persist for ten years or more, until most of the individual fish die of old age or other causes.

Rock bass and redbreast sunfish catch rates fluctuate from year to year.  The size structure of the rock bass and redbreast sunfish populations is good in the North Fork Holston and has remained constant even though the catch rate is down.  Anglers should find quality-sized rock bass and redbreast sunfish.

Anglers can also find largemouth bass, bluegill, black crappie, green sunfish, redear sunfish and channel catfish.  Various species of redhorse suckers, northern hog suckers, common carp and minnows are also routinely caught in the Holston.

Little Stony

DSC River ImageLittle Stony is regularly stocked with trout by the Virginia Department of Inland Games and Fisheries and is “Catch and Release” only.

Red Horse Shooting Season

Scott County, Virginia is home to a rare century-old tradition — Red Horse Shooting Season.  The only other spot in the country that allows shooting red fish is located in Vermont.

Red Fish season runs April 15 and continues until May 31.

Anglers climb high into the Sycamore trees that line the shores of the Clinch River, take aim at the redhorse suckers visible in the shallow water near the tails of pools.  They don’t actually “shoot” the fish but, instead, shoot into the water creating a concussion in the water that renders the fish helpless. Redhorse suckers are most visible in the shallow water near the tails of pools.

Shooting fish is not recommended for the novice.  It is best to find a local to take you for this Scott County Tradition. A Virginia fishing license is still required.  For rules and regulations, please contact Virginia DGIF http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing

 

Cyclists will be delighted by Scott County’s scenic roads and trails.

Clinch RiverThe Dungannon and Clinch River Scenic Road Tour winds for 24 miles along country roads in the heart of Scott County. This beautiful route passes historical buildings and cemeteries, the world-famous Clinch River, a stunning waterfall and two charming small towns.

The Guest River Gorge Trail is one of the area’s easiest and most scenic hiking and biking trails and is the best way to explore a State Scenic River by bike. Cyclists will be enthralled by gorge geology, trestle-top views of the river, rare plants and river wildlife.

Another popular and relatively flat bike ride is along the A.P. Carter Highway. Here you can ride through Scott County’s scenic valley without all the twist, turns and inclines on the Clinch River Highway.  Start at the Hiltons Train Depot and ride all the way past the world-famous Carter Family to Mendota, Virginia.  There you can hook up with the Mendota Bicycle Trail.

You will travel through lovely countryside that parallels the Holston River for several miles.  Feel free to venture forth on one of the side roads, such as Lunsford Mill Road and circle around to Anne B. Cooper.  Along with the Carter Fold, you will see the picturesque Lodge at Crooked River, standing high on a hill overlooking the Holston River. The Lodge is available for wedding and event rentals and features an Crooked River Lodgeoutdoor wedding chapel on the banks of the Holston Rive

For many years, the Yuma community was home to the Tour De Possum Creek, a popular bike race, held in conjunction with Kingsport, Tennessee’s annual Fun Fest celebration.  Even though the event was abandoned, bike enthusiasts can still follow the 43-mile course, featuring a 2,600 feet climb.  A second option included a rolling, beautiful shorter ride of 22 miles plus a six-mile fun ride.  For the family or pro, this is a great ride through the rolling hills of Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.

http://www.mapmyride.com/us/gate-city-va/tour-de-possum-creek-ridge-race-route-2914741

For mountain bike enthusiasts, Natural Tunnel State Park has an eight-mile, single-track mountain bike path.  Another great mountain bike ride is a nine-mile ride along Waters Edge, which parallels the Clinch River.  This gravel road will take you along the Clinch River to the Tennessee State line.  When the water is right, you will spot several naturally-occurring waterfalls along this path and even a swinging bridge.  It is also a favorite trek for horseback enthusiasts.

For additional bike riding suggestions, contact the Scott County Tourism Department at 276-386-6521.  New trails are being added with the help of the Spearhead Trails Initiative.