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.
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: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/fishing.htm.