Category Archives: Fishing

Tips on fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains with an emphasis on the Gatlinburg, TN area.

Fishing in Gatlinburg & The 2013 Trout Tournament

One of the best things about Gatlinburg are the numerous mountain streams and rivers that converge and form the Little Pigeon River. With these bodies of water running through the city, it is no wonder that visitors and locals alike come to Gatlinburg to fish. The accessibility of the streams and the fact that Gatlinburg stocks the river along River Road make for good fishing for the expert or novice. Being able to walk from your hotel to the water, wade into the river, start casting and land that big trout, makes fishing in Gatlinburg something to be remembered for a lifetime.

Which is why not long ago Gatlinburg came up with its own trout tournament – now entering its twelfth year. This year, April 6-7, contestants will be able to compete for over $10,000 in cash a prizes. To get ready for the tournament, Gatlinburg has stocked over 20 miles in local streams with 10,000 trout.

Due to the fact that Gatlinburg has one of the best stocking programs in the area, you do need a special permit to fish inside the city limits as well as compete in the tournament. You can pick up one of those permits at the Welcome Center on 441 South, the ‘Spur,’ before you get to town or City Hall on East Parkway. Gatlinburg has their own trout farm that they use for stocking. The streams are stocked on Thursday so there is no fishing on Thursdays, but any other day of the week is fine. The Gatlinburg Trout License has different rules and regulations depending on whether you are a Tennessee resident or not and there are a few exempt classes that do not need the Gatlinburg permit. You should ask those questions when you get your permit at the Welcome Center or City Hall.

There are some rules and regulations when fishing in Gatlinburg. Fishing in Gatlinburg is allowed from thirty minutes before sunrise to thirty minutes after sunset. There are several children-only fishing areas in Gatlinburg: no one over twelve is allowed to fish in those areas. When fishing in Gatlinburg, you can only use one hand-held rod and you can only use a single hook. No multiple hook rigs are allowed. There are, of course, creel limits to the number of fish you can catch, so make sure that you ask about creel limits, type of bait and lures that can be used when you purchase your fishing permit.

With all of the fishing opportunities it offers, Gatlinburg is a sportsman’s paradise. If you are a fly fisherman from way back, this is a great place to spend some time looking for that big trout in a stocked stream. If you have never fly fished before than you have the chance to fish where the water is easy to get to and you know that there are trout in the water. Good times are to be had fishing in Gatlinburg.

For more information, or to register for the 13th Annual Gatlinburg Trout Tournament, visit or call 865-661-FISH

12th Annual Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament

Get your rods and reels ready, the 12th Annual Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament is coming down the stream! Open to adults or children Sept. 24 & 25 – this event pits visitors and locals, with multiple categories to be contested in this largest trout tournament in the Smokies. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, these fish don’t discriminate. Of course, all Gatlinburg and state fishing regulations apply. For information, call 865-661-3474 or email

If you’re coming in from out of town, check out some of the best cabins in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountain area, as well as a few great places to eat in the Smokies, if you’re so inclined.

Brook Trout Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains

Brook trout have been off-limits to people fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains for over 30 years. The species is native to the Great Smoky Mountains’ streams and are known as a beautiful fish with speckles of gold and orange that change colors with the seasons as well as their life-cycle. As loggers populated Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains, the fish began to thin out, which prompted a ban by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park forbidding anyone of catching and keeping brook trout. On June 27, 2007 the National Park announced that they had conducted a yearlong study, which gave them the confidence in deciding to lift the ban and allow anglers to catch and keep brook trout along most of the 2,115 miles of streams that lace the Smokies.

There are three streams where the ban remains in place, though. Those streams are:

  • Bear Creek at its junction with Forney Creek (North Carolina)
  • Sams Creek at the confluence with Thunderhead Prong (Tennessee)
  • Indian Flats Prong at the Middle Prong Trial crossing (Tennessee)

That’s about 3 out of 2,115 miles of streams in the park where brook trout is off-limits. Some anglers may find it difficult to take one of these native and beautiful fish from the streams…so catch and release may be a great choice now rather than a law. Catching a brook trout in Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains is a wonderful feeling that any angler of any age should experience.

fishing in Gatlinburg TN

The same rules for rainbow and brown trout apply. A limit of 5 per day and you must fish with artificial lures to keep from disrupting the natural food supply in the waters. Also, you can only use a lure with a single hook…no double, treble, or gang hooks are allowed.

For complete info on fishing in Gatlinburg, TN and the Great Smoky Mountains, visit: