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Man fishing in the Little Pigeon River

Know Before You Go: Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known as being a place where you can find all kinds of wildlife. But did you know it has one of the most diverse fish populations in the country? People come from all over the place to the Smokies to enjoy fishing, and we want to share some of the best places to go and what you need to know if you want to fish. Learn all about fishing in the Smoky Mountains below:

Fishing License

man casting line to fish

Before you pack your tackle box and fishing gear, there are regulations that must be followed in the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge. Although no child under 13 is required to purchase a license, everyone over the age of 13 must carry a Tennessee Resident or Non-Resident Fishing License. If you are a Tennessee resident, you just need a valid driver’s license and your social security number.

For non-residents, there are several different licenses you can choose from. If the person applying is 13 to 15 years old, they can get a junior fishing license. Anyone younger than 13 doesn’t need a license. Everyone older than 15 can get an annual fishing license, 10 day, or 3 day license. You can also choose from no trout licenses or all species licenses.

Residents and non-residents alike can purchase fishing licenses from a variety of places, including the county clerk offices and TWRA offices. However, the easiest way to get a fishing license is online!

Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Man fishing in the Little Pigeon RiverThere are more than 2,000 miles of streams within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and many of the streams are full of all kinds of fish. East Tennessee is actually one of the last wild trout natural habitats. Two of the most popular species in the area are bass and trout. If you’re a year-long fisherman, you’ll be happy to know guests of the park can fish year-round between 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset at all streams except the Lynn Camp Prong. Fishing is allowed all year round in Tennessee.

To fish in the National Park, you must have either a Tennessee or North Carolina fishing license. Each day, only 5 brook trout, rainbow trout, brown trout, and small-mouth bass are permitted per person. Twenty rock bass are also allowed per day.

Trout Fishing in Gatlinburg

To trout fish in Gatlinburg, residents and non-residents must purchase special licenses. If you want to fish for other species, a regular license is acceptable. A resident or non-resident 1 Day Trout Permit costs $11.50 for ages 13 and up. If you want to fish daily, the license costs $3.50, and a 3-day trout permit would cost $9.50 and is required for people ages 13 to 64. The daily limit is five trout per person and two trout per child on Children’s Streams.

Places to Fish in the Smokies

Beautiful view of the Little Pigeon River in Greenbrier in the Smoky Mountains.Since you know what the requirements are and what kind of fish you can find, you’re ready to head out! Here are some of the best places to fish in the Smokies:

  • Little Pigeon River
  • Mynatt Park
  • Abrams Creek
  • Douglas Lake
  • Herbert Holt Park
  • LeConte Creek

Fishing in the Smoky Mountains is just one way you can enjoy being in the great outdoors. Want to know what else you can do in the national park? Learn more about the Great Smoky Mountains and all the fun things to do!