The Watauga tailwater starts at Wilbur Lake (just below Watauga Lake), in Carter County, TN and runs 17 or so miles through Siam, Hunter, Elizabethton, the Watauga community and then to Boone Lake. There are more shoals and riffles on the Watauga compared to the Holston. It is a good year-round fishery and there is good reproduction of rainbow and brown trout. TWRA also stocks this tailwater with fingerling size trout.
In early 2000 the North American Rayon Plant burned and a total fish kill occurred on the lower ½ of the Watauga, including the designated Trophy section. The insect populations came through okay and that area has been restocked with fingerling trout. During the summer months, TVA maintains an afternoon/evening recreational flow of high water.