Fishing In The Smokies: Locations, Licenses & Regulations

If you are looking for great fishing in the Smoky Mountains, look no further. The Great Smoky Mountains is home to one of the last wild trout habitats in the eastern United States. With over 2,115 miles of streams in its boundaries, the park offers a variety of angling experiences from remote, headwater trout streams to large, coolwater smallmouth bass streams. For a map of all park water as well as other information, stop by a visitor center and pick up your free copy. The volunteers in either center will be happy to point out ideal streams to fit your interests!

Fly Fishing Spots

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

One of the largest streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the East Prong of the Little River, which is also the heaviest fished stream in the park. With so many rainbow and brown trout, this expansive river is an excellent place for fly fishing. Click below for more locations to fly fish.

Fly Fishing

Big Rock Dude Ranch

Pigeon Forge

A great place to go pond fishing in Pigeon Forge is at Big Rock Dude Ranch. Stocked with blue gill, crappie, catfish and bass, the catch-and-release fishing pond is available without a fishing license. For a one time low cost (valid for 3 days) the ranch will supply the rod, reel and bait so you have everything you need.

Big Rock Dude Ranch
Douglas Lake

Douglas Lake

Dandridge, Sevierville

Douglas Lake is a beautiful reservoir created from the French Broad River. The expansive body of water stretches more than 32 miles from the eastern side of Sevierville through Dandridge, TN and is just a few miles from the national park. It offers many fantastic bass fishing options that you can reach from numerous pulloffs from the road.

Douglas Lake

Herbert Holt Park

Gatlinburg

You will find Tennessee's only munipical trout farm right here in Gatlinburg at Herbert Holt Park. Rainbow trout reared at this facility are deposited into the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River every Thursday, so there is no fishing allowed on those days. The surrounding waters of the park are for children-only fishing. There is also a handicap accessible pier.

Herbert Holt Park

Mynatt Park

Gatlinburg

Another great fishing spot for children only is a section of stream at Mynatt Park along LeConte Creek. You can find this fishing spot near the beginning of the Historic Motor Nature Trail extending from the GSMNP boundary, to about a quarter of a mile downstream from Mynatt Park. The park itself also includes a picnic area right by the water.

Mynatt Park
Fishing In The Smoky Mountains

Abrams Creek

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Just outside of the Cades Cove loop is the trailhead for Abrams Falls. This trail follows Abrams Creek for 4.2 miles and offers opportunities for fishing along the way, but the creek itself stretches much further. There are plenty of places to fish for rainbow trout from backcountry camp #17 all the way to the Abrams Creek Campground.

Abrams Creek

Fishing In The Smoky Mountains

Fishing In The Smoky Mountains

Fishing is permitted year-round in the park, from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. The park allows fishing in all streams. You must possess a valid fishing license for Tennessee or North Carolina. Fishing permits are not available in the park, but can be purchased in nearby towns (Ace Hardware on Highway 321 in Gatlinburg is one of the closer options). Special permits are required to fish in Gatlinburg and Cherokee.

Click Below For More Information

If you possess a valid driver's license from the state of Tennessee, you are elligible for a residential fishing licence.

TypeDescriptionCost
001Annual Hunting & Fishing Combination Minimum license required to fish and/or hunt small game$34.00
002Jr. Hunt, Fish & Trap (Ages 13-15) Good for hunting all game, fishing, and trapping. Must be purchased prior to 16th birthday. No supplemental licenses are required, but special season and WMA permits will need to be purchased in addition to this license.$10.00
020County of Residence Fishing This license allows an angler to fish in his/her county of residence with natural bait (worms, crickets, corn, etc.), but not minnows. No artificial lures can be used. A supplemental license (Type 022) is required to fish for trout.$11.00
021One-Day Fishing$6.50
022Annual Trout Type 22 is a supplemental license that is required in addition to Type 001, Type 020 or Type 021.$22.00
023One-Day Fishing - All Species$11.50
063South Holston Lake Permit$22.00
004Sportsman An all inclusive license, valid for hunting, trapping and sport fishing without any supplemental state licenses or permits. Sportsman licenses can be purchased from all TWRA license agents and allow holders to apply for quota permits at no additional fee.$166.00
401Lifetime Sportsman (under 3 years old)$320.00
406Lifetime Sportsman (3-6 years old)$659.00
402Lifetime Sportsman (7-12 years old)$988.00
403Lifetime Sportsman (13-50 years old)$1,976.00
404Lifetime Sportsman (51-64 years old)$1,153.00
405Lifetime Sportsman (65+ years old)$329.00
166Permanent Senior Citizen Hunt/Fish/Trap Available at all license agents and can only be purchased when 65th birthday is reached.$50.00
167Annual Senior Citizen Sportsman$50.00

*Please note that the prices posted here are subject to change. Visit TWRA website for the most up to date information.

If you are not a resident of the state of Tennessee, you can purchase a non-resident license for fishing in the Smoky Mountains.

TypeDescriptionCost
070Jr. Hunt/Fish (nonresidents ages 13-15)Required for nonresidents age 13-15, fishing and small game only.$11.00
076Annual Fishing Permit (No Trout)$50.00
0773 Day Fishing Permit (No Trout)$20.50
0783 Day Fishing Permit (All Species)$40.50
07910 Day Fishing Permit (No Trout)$30.50
08010 Day Fishing Permit (All Species)$61.50
081Annual Fishing Permit (All Species)$99.00

*Please note that the prices posted here are subject to change. Visit TWRA website for the most up to date information.

You must have all applicable licenses in order to purchase one of the following special permits.

TypeDescriptionCost
097Resident or Nonresident Gatlinburg 1-Day Trout Permit Only requirement, ages 13 and up, to fish in Gatlinburg for one day.$11.50
099Gatlinburg Trout - Daily Required for both residents and nonresident ages 13-64 in addition to the appropriate fishing licenses except for nonresidents who purchase the Type 097 license.$3.50
096Gatlinburg 3-Day Trout Permit Required for both residents and nonresidents ages 13-64 in addition to the appropriate fishing licenses except for nonresidents who purchase the (Type 097) permit.$9.50
098Tellico-Citico Trout-Daily Required for all ages. Tellico-Citico Permit is required seasonally to fish Tellico River, Citico Creek and year-round on Green Cove Pond.$6.50
191Agency Lake - Daily Permit Required to fish Agency Fishing Lakes, except those under 16 years of age and residents 65 years or older.$6.00
193Agency Lake - Annual Permit Valid on all Agency lakes, this permit is sold at Agency Lake offices.$48.00
065Bedford Lake Daily Permit$6.50

*Please note that the prices posted here are subject to change. Visit TWRA website for the most up to date information.

The state of North Carolina offers fishing licenses for inland and coastal fishing. The following is relevant to inland fishing only. Short term licenses are valid for the period specified on the license. Unless otherwise specified, annual licenses are valid for 12 months from the date of purchase. Lifetime licenses are valid for the lifetime of the license-holder.

DescriptionResidentNon-Resident
Inland Fishing 10-Day Statewide inland fishing during the 10-day period specified on the license. Includes fishing in Public Mountain Trout Waters, fishing in trout waters on game lands and fishing in joint waters. It does not include fishing in coastal waters.$9$23
Annual State Inland Fishing Statewide inland fishing during a license term. Includes fishing in Public Mountain Trout Waters, fishing in trout waters on game lands and fishing in joint waters. It does not include fishing in coastal waters.$25$45
Annual Unified Inland/Coastal Recreational Fishing Statewide inland and coastal recreational fishing for residents during a license term. Includes fishing in Public Mountain Trout Waters, fishing in trout waters on game lands, and fishing in joint waters.$41N/A
Annual Subsistence Unified Inland/Coastal Recreational Fishing License Waiver Statewide inland and coastal recreational fishing for residents who receive Medicaid, Food Stamps, or Work First Family Assistance through the county Department of Social Services. Includes fishing in Public Mountain Trout Waters, fishing in trout waters on game lands and fishing in joint waters. License Waiver must be obtained through the county Department of Social Services.FREEN/A
Lifetime Comprehensive Inland Fishing Statewide inland fishing. Includes fishing in Public Mountain Trout Waters, fishing in trout waters on game lands, and fishing in joint waters. It does not include fishing in coastal waters.$265N/A
Lifetime Senior Comprehensive Inland Fishing Residents born on or before Aug. 1, 1953 are eligible to purchase a senior lifetime license when they turn 65 years of age. Those born after Aug. 1, 1953 are eligible to purchase a senior lifetime license when they turn 70 years of age.$16N/A
Lifetime Unified Inland/Coastal Recreational Fishing Statewide inland and coastal recreational fishing. Includes fishing in Public Mountain Trout Waters, fishing in trout waters on game lands, and fishing in joint waters.$477N/A

*Please note that the prices posted here are subject to change. Visit NCWRC website for the most up to date information.

Tennessee Fishing Laws

Tennessee law requires residents and nonresidents age 13 years and older to have a valid license. Residents age 65 and older may obtain a special license from the state. The state fishing license can be purchased online from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, or by calling (888) 814-8972. You will legally be able to fish as soon as your transaction is complete, and a permanent license will be mailed to you within 48 hours. For complete Tennessee fishing regulations, visit the TWRA License Information web page.

Fishing In The Smoky Mountains

Guidelines

Always remember to be a clean fisherman by cleaning up any tangle of line or trash that you may find left on the ground. Be careful when standing or wading in streams due to the loss of body heat, which can lead to hypothermia. Rising water levels from sudden mountain storms occur quite frequently, so monitor water levels. Water currents are swifter than they appear and footing is treacherous on wet and moss covered rocks.

  • Possession Limits: Persons under 16 in North Carolina and under 13 in Tennessee are entitled to the adult daily bag and possession limits and are subject to all other regulations. Daily possession limits are any combination of rainbow or brown trout, or smallmouth bass totaling five. You are allowed to catch up to 20 rockbass per day. A person must stop fishing once they have reached the daily possession limit.
  • Size Limits: The size limit for rainbow, smallmouth, and brown trout is a minimum of 7 inches. Rockbass have no minimum requirements. Any trout or smallmouth bass caught that is less than the legal length must be returned to the water from which it was taken immediately.
  • Equipment Restrictions: Fishing lures, bait, and equipment all have restrictions. One hand-held rod, artificial flies or lures with single hook, and dropper flies may be used. Minnows, worms, corn, cheese, bread, salmon eggs, pork rinds, liquid scents, and natural baits found along the streams are prohibited.

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