One of the best reasons to visit the Smoky Mountains is the fishing—there are lots of great, big fish to catch and fry up for your family in your cozy Gatlinburg cabin! There are about 2,115 miles of streams in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, making up what is one of the last wild trout habitats in the eastern United States. Here are just a few tips to ensure that you make the most of your Smoky Mountain trip:
1. Keep in mind time limits. While there is no real season for fishing, you can only fish from 30 minutes before official sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset.
2. Only use hand-held rods, artificial flies or lures and single hooks. You can also use up to two dropper flies on a leader. No other bait or lures are allowed—and you may be asked to show your tackle to an authorized ranger at any point while you are in the park.
3. You can keep up to five trout or Small Mouth bass each day if they all measure at least seven inches long. You can also keep up to 20 Rock Bass each day.
4. You cannot catch Spotfin Chubs, Duskytail Darters, Smoky Madtoms and Yellowfin Madtoms. They are all federally protected in the park, so let any you catch go.
5. You cannot fish in the Lynn Camp Prong where it merges with Thunderhead Prong in Tennessee. In North Carolina, stay away from the place where Bear Creek meets Forney Creek.
6. You need a license from the state you are fishing in. You must be at least 13 years old to fish, and you need a special license if you are over 65. Special permits are also required if you plan to fish in Gatlinburg or Cherokee.
7. Be careful in the water, as prolonged immersion in water can cause hypothermia. The current moves fast, so get a good footing in the water and watch out for wet rocks and moss.
8. Respect the natural habitat of the fish by keeping rocks where they lay and keeping your fishing site clean of bait and tackle debris.
Fishing is a great activity for friends and family to share together, so as long as you are respectful of the environment and the animals of the region, you will make it a good experience for everyone.