Grab the net! Gatlinburg and the streams of the Great Smoky Mountains are an angler's paradise. Fly fishing vacations in the Smokies mean easy access to some of the finest Tennessee trout fishing. Local guides can outfit and instruct you if you’re new to the sport or just want the insights of a local expert. Find a local outfitter below and familiarize yourself with Gatlinburg’s trout fishing rules and regulations.
500 miles of fishable streams
One of the great outdoor activities in Gatlinburg and Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the prime Tennessee trout fishing. Whether you're a pro or you just got your first pole, Gatlinburg has streams that are easily accessible, making for hassle-free fly fishing vacations. Most days during the summer and fall (open season is April 1 - November 30), you can fish inside the city limits or in the National Park. Purchase your license by stopping by our Gatlinburg Welcome Center, located on the right as you come into town on 441 South. The City of Gatlinburg has its own trout farm and stocks the streams on Thursdays, so that's the only day there's no fishing inside the Gatlinburg City Limits. The rest of the week, go for it! There are some rules and regulations and different license requirements that we've listed below so you'll know exactly what to expect when planning fly fishing vacations.
GATLINBURG, TENNESSEE TROUT FISHING LICENSE REQUIREMENTS
Licenses can be purchased by:
- persons who possess a valid Tennessee Drivers License
- persons who have lived in Tennessee for 90 consecutive days with the intent of making Tennessee their home
- military personnel on active duty in Tennessee and their immediate family
- students enrolled in a Tennessee college or university for at least six months. NOTE: Tennessee Residents with a Sportsman License (Type 40) or a Lifetime Sportsman License do not need any other license or permit.
- Ages 12 and under - NO license or permit required
- Military Personnel on leave carrying copy of leave orders. (A pass does not meet this requirement) - No license required.
- Age 13-15 years - Gatlinburg permit, One-day (Type 99) or Three-Day (Type 96) PLUS Junior Hunt, Fish, and Trap License (Type 02).
- Age 16 to 64 years old - Gatlinburg Permit, One-day (Type 99) or Three-Day (Type 96) PLUS Annual Trout (Type 22) and ONE of the following: Annual Hunt and Fish Combination (Type 01), County of Residence (Type 20), and One-day Fishing (Type 21).
- Age 65 years or older - Permanent Senior Citizen Hunt/Fish/Trap (Type 166) or Annual Senior Citizen Permit (Type 167)
NOTE: If born before March 1, 1926, no license or permit required.
Non-Residents - (Out of Tennessee)
- Ages 12 and under - NO license or permit required.
- Age 13 to 15 years old - Gatlinburg Permit, One-day (type 99) or Three-Day (Type 96), PLUS Non-resident Junior Hunt and Fish (Type 70)
- Age 16 and over- Non-resident Gatlinburg One-day (Type 97) ONLY OR a combination of the following: Gatlinburg One-day (Type 99) or Three-day (Type 97) PLUS one of these Non-resident licenses: Three Day All Fish (Type 78); Ten-day All Fish (Type 80); or Annual All Fish (Type 81)
NOTE: There is no exemption for over 65 non-residents
Handicapped accessible Tennessee trout fishing
Herbert Holt Park on the Little Pigeon River now has a handicap-accessible fishing pier. The concrete ramp winds from the parking area down along the river around several turns, meeting all wheelchair slope requirements, to a concrete pier built where there was once a sandy beach in the bend of the river. The ramp allows wheelchair-bound visitors or people with other physical limitations to get right down next to the river to fish, and is unique because it is among the first–if not the only–fast-water handicap fishing pier in Tennessee.
TROUT FISHING REGULATIONS IN GATLINBURG
PERMIT: In addition to State Licensing requirements, a local permit is required for residents between 13 and 64 years of age, and for non-residents 13 years of age and above. Special exemptions may apply to all other age groups and those with disabilities. Check with local licensing agent for details. Permits are available at City Hall, Spur Welcome Center, and other outlets.
GENERAL REGULATIONS (apply year-round)
Fishing is allowed during daylight hours only, which is defined as one half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Fishing is permitted with one hand-held rod and a single hook only. All multiple hooks are prohibited. No one over 12 years old is allowed to fish in any Children's Stream. Gatlinburg streams are closed to fishing on Thursdays due to stocking.
Open Season: April 1 through November 30
Daily creel limit is five (5) trout per person for General Streams and two (2) trout per child on Children's streams. Total creel limit is five (5) trout per person
While fishing or while afield, possession of more than the daily creel limit is prohibited, regardless of whether trout are fresh, stored in an ice chest, in a vehicle, or otherwise preserved.
There is no size limit and any type of bait may be used.
Catch and Release Season: December 1 through March 31
Only single-hook artificial lures are permitted. The use or possession of any bait is prohibited. Definition of bait: any living or dead organism, or prepared substance, designed to attract fish by taste or odor. Bait may include, but is not limited to, fish, fish eggs, crayfish, worms, grubs, crickets, corn, cheese, bread, pork rinds, putty or paste-type products and flavors or scents applied to or impregnated into artificial lures. All trout must be immediately returned unharmed to the water. Possession of any trout is prohibited.
These top Tennessee trout fishing streams are must-visit spots for fly-fishing vacations in the Smokies.
- West Prong Little Pigeon River from National Park Boundary downstream to Gnatty Branch, except those sections set aside as Children's Streams.
- Dudley Creek from National Park Boundary downstream to West Prong Little Pigeon River, except those sections set aside as Children's Streams.
- Roaring Fork from National Park Boundary downstream to West Prong Little Pigeon River.
- LeConte Creek from Painter's Branch downstream to West Prong Little Pigeon River.
For fly-fishing vacations with the kids, consider these great Tennessee trout fishing streams near Gatlinburg.
- West Prong Little Pigeon River from a point 100 yards upstream of the Herbert Holt Park entrance downstream to the Gatlinburg By-Pass Bridge.
- Dudley Creek from the Highway 441 Bridge downstream to the West Prong Little Pigeon River.
- LeConte Creek from Painters Branch upstream to National Park Boundary.