Whether you’re new to fishing or an experienced angler, Gatlinburg and the streams of the Great Smoky Mountains are great places to cast a line. Take your fly fishing vacation in the Smokies and get access to some of the finest trout fishing in Tennessee. Stop by one of our local outfitters for everything you need to enjoy your Gatlinburg fishing trip. From rods and reels to professional fishing guides, our local outfitters have just what you need to make the most of your visit, and our local experts can offer professional insights and tips for any skill level.
The City of Gatlinburg operates a trout farm in order to stock City streams with trout year-round. The City stocks the streams every Thursday, so that is the only day there is no fishing inside the City Limits. There are some rules and regulations and different license requirements which are listed below.
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 – 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.
In addition to State Licensing requirements, a local permit is required for residents between 13 and 64 years of age. 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 every Thursday due to stocking.
- Catch and Release Season: December 1 through March 31
- Open Season: April 1 through November 30
- The daily creel limit is five (5) trout per person for General Streams and two (2) trout per child on Children’s streams.
- 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.
- All trout must be immediately returned unharmed to the water.
- Possession of any trout is prohibited.
- 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.
- 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.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Requirements
You must possess a valid fishing license or permit from either Tennessee or North Carolina. Either state license is valid throughout the park and no trout stamp is required. Fishing licenses and permits are not available in the park, but may be purchased in nearby towns or online (links provided by state below). Special permits are required for fishing in Gatlinburg and Cherokee.
Tennessee License Requirements
Residents and nonresidents age 13 and older must have a valid license. Residents age 65 and older may obtain a special license from the state. Buy a license from the state government of Tennessee.
North Carolina License Requirements
Residents and nonresidents age 16 and older need a license. Residents age 70 and older may obtain a special license from the state. Buy a license from the state government of North Carolina.
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.
Fishing is permitted year-round in open waters.
Fishing is allowed from a half-hour before official sunrise to a half-hour after official sunset.
Daily Possession Limits
Five (5) brook, rainbow or brown trout, smallmouth bass, or a combination of these, each day or in possession, regardless of whether they are fresh, stored in an ice chest, or otherwise preserved. The combined total must not exceed five fish. Twenty (20) rock bass may be kept in addition to the above limit. A person must stop fishing immediately after obtaining the limit.
Brook, rainbow, and brown trout: 7-inch minimum
Smallmouth bass: 7-inch minimum
Rockbass: no minimum
Trout or smallmouth bass caught less than the legal length shall be immediately returned to the water from which it was taken.
Lures, Bait, and Equipment
Fishing is permitted only by the use of one hand-held rod.
Only artificial flies or lures with a single hook may be used. Dropper flies may be used. Up to two flies on a leader.
Use or possession of any form of fish bait or liquid scent other than artificial flies or lures on or along any park stream while in possession of fishing tackle is prohibited. Prohibited baits include, but are not limited to, minnows (live or preserved), worms, corn, cheese, bread, salmon eggs, pork rinds, liquid scents and natural baits found along streams.
Use or possession of double, treble, or gang hooks is prohibited.
Fishing tackle and equipment, including creels and fish in possession, are subject to inspection by authorized personnel.