fishing in the smoky mountains
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Your Guide to Fishing in the Smoky Mountains

About one-sixth of the total US population – about 55 million – claim to fish for recreation. Maybe a few in that group have come to the Smoky Mountains to angle, but this area remains relatively secret as a fishing destination, compared to nearby larger lakes and rivers. So if you love to catch a few trout and bass but don’t want to fight the big crowds, consider visiting this corner of Tennessee and North Carolina.

fishing in the smoky mountains

Some things to know about fishing in the Smoky Mountains

The National Park has several guidelines you should keep in mind if you plan to angle along its streams. Bait fishing is prohibited because of the possibility of bringing in harmful non-native organisms into the ecosystem. Chumming with bread and corn is also not allowed, as is use of a treble hook due to its higher mortality rate. For more information, check out the Park’s FAQ fishing page.

You will need a fishing license in Tennessee if you want to take your catches home, or if you are not a resident of the state. There are some conditions that will allow you to fish without a license. In North Carolina, the license requirements depend on your residency, the kind of fishing you do, how often you fish in the state and and where you go. Look for the information you need here.

Types of Fish in the Smoky Mountains

Trout is king in the Smokies, and they’re the most abundant fish found in the streams large enough to support them. You will find the wild trout species plentiful here – Appalachian brook trout (which are actually a type of char), headwater trout, browns and stream-fed rainbows all swim about in nearly 3,000 miles of streams and creeks in the Park. Coolwater smallmouth bass are also common.

Places for fishing in the Smoky Mountains

The best places for fishing in the Smoky Mountains depends on what you’re looking for. The more remote areas offer headwater trout, while smaller streams have smallmouth bass and other trout species. Higher fishing pressure mostly occurs in the streams closer to the roads. So if you want to find better angling, be willing to hike or drive a little further to find your perfect spot.

Guided fishing trips

If you are an angling novice or are unfamiliar with the Smoky Mountains fishing, you may want to sign up for an outing led by experienced locals. Going on a guided trip also takes the guesswork out of where to go for the best catches, so you won’t waste time casting your line in places that might ultimately be fruitless. Get in touch with Fly Fishing in the Smokies to find out more about this fun option.

Smoky Mountain fly fishing

With the type of fish that populate the Park’s streams, fly fishermen have the best chance of making multiple catches of trout and bass. It takes a bit of practice, but if you can master a few basic skills, you’ll be well on your way to having a successful outing. Refer to this site for some helpful tips about fly fishing. The rest of site has plenty of useful information about the special requirements you should know about Smoky Mountains fly fishing.


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