Fishing in Tennessee River Valley and Mountains
Cherokee National Forest Fishing
The Cherokee National Forest is well known for its trout fishing. Rainbow, Brown and Brook Trout all thrive in forest streams. Some streams are stocked by TRWA and others are considered "wild" streams.
The most popular fishing streams on the southern districts include Big, Rough, Sylco, Beech, Big Lost, Tieskee and Citico creeks, and the Hiawassee, North Tellico and Bald rivers. Popular northern district Trout streams include Paint, North Indian, Jennings, Broad Shoal, Laurel Folk, Horse, Trail Fork of Big, Beaverdam, and Little Stoney Creeks.
Great Smoky National Park Fishing
Anglers 13 years and older (16 and older in NC) need a valid Tennessee or North Carolina fishing license to fish in the Park.
The Park does not sell licenses. Check with local chambers of commerce for purchase information. No trout stamp is needed. Fishing is permitted year-round in open waters, from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Stop by a park visitor center to get a full copy of the regulations.
State • Town • City • County • Guide
If you would like to know what towns are in which county,
use these printable pages to find out.
Tennessee River Valley and Mountain • City and Town Guide
Daily Possession Limits and Regulations
- Any combination of Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Smallmouth Bass, totaling 5
- 20 Rockbass
- It is illegal to possess Brook Trout
- A person must stop fishing once reaching the limits
- Rainbow and Brown Trout: 7 inch minimum
- Smallmouth Bass: 7 inch minimum
- Rockbass: no minimum
- All Brook Trout and any fish above the minimum must be
immediately returned to the water
Lures, bait, and equipment
- Only one handheld rod may be used
- Single hook only
- Bait must be fully artificial
- Liquid scents are prohibited
- All equipment is subject to inspection by authorized Park staff
A few words about Brook Trout and other fish
Brook Trout are the only trout native to the Smokies. Heavy logging during the early 1900s eliminated the fish from half its range. Brown trout and rainbow trout, stocked in the mid 1900s, out competed the Brook Trout, further limiting its range. Restoring the Brook Trout to its native range is a primary objective. The goal of the Brook Trout restoration program is to foster a self-sustaining natural population able to support angling pressure. Streams populated only by Brook Trout are closed to help this be a future reality. In total 40 species of fish including darters, dace, suckers, bass, shiners, and trout populate the Smokies' streams. Salamanders, Crayfish, aquatic insects, and algae are other important components of local aquatic ecosystems.
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