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Tennessee

Fishing

Trout Regulations

Statewide Regulations

Any combination of trout species:

  • Daily Limit: 7.
  • Minimum Length Limit: None.

Exceptions:

  • Only 2 trout in a creel may be lake trout
  • See the following specific regulations

Delayed Harvest Areas

In the areas listed below, the harvest or possession of trout is prohibited during the catch-and-release season. During the catch-and-release season, only artificial lures are permitted and the use or possession of bait is prohibited.

Buffalo Creek: Mill dam downstream to Buffalo Springs WMA boundary.

  • Catch-and-release season Oct. 1–Jan. 31.

Doe River: Roan Mountain State Park boundaries.

  • Catch-and-release season is Nov. 1–last day of Feb.

Hiwassee River: Appalachian Powerhouse downstream to L&N Railroad Bridge

Catch-and-release season is Oct. 1 through last day of Feb.

  • From March 1 through Sept. 30, trout creel limit is 7 trout of all species combined and only 2 may be brown trout.

Paint Creek: Paint Creek Campground downstream to mouth at French Broad River

  • Catch-and-release season is Oct. 1 through last day of Feb.

Piney River: Cumberland Trail State Park downstream to Highway 27 Bridge

  • Catch-and-release season is Nov. 1 through last day of Feb.

Tellico River: Mouth of North River upstream to the Tennessee - North Carolina state line

  • Catch-and-release season is Oct. 1 through the last day of February.

Special Trout Regulations

Caney Fork River: Center Hill Dam to Cumberland River, including tributaries

  • Total daily creel of all trout (rainbow, brown and brook) in combination is 5 fish.
  • Rainbow Trout: 5 per day, 14–20 inch PLR, only one fish over 20 inches may be harvested.
  • Brook Trout: 5 per day, 14–20 inch PLR, only one fish over 20 inches may be harvested.
  • Brown Trout: 1 per day, 24 inch minimum length limit.

Elk River: Tims Ford Dam to I-65 bridge, including tributaries.

  • Brown Trout: 20 inch minimum length limit, 1 per day.
  • Total daily creel limit of all trout species in combination is 7 trout.

Clinch River: Norris Dam. downstream to Hwy. 61 bridge, including tributaries

  • 14–20 inch PLR on all trout.
  • 7 trout creel limit, only one trout may be greater than 20 inches.

Clear Creek: tributary to Clinch River—Anderson Co.

  • Closed to fishing and minnow seining from Hwy. 441 upstream to the second dam (adjacent to the city of Norris water tower), as posted from Nov. 1–Mar. 31.

Hiwassee River: Appalachian Powerhouse downstream to L&N Railroad Bridge

  • March 1 through Sept. 30: 7 trout creel limit, only 2 may be brown trout.
  • Oct. 1 through last day of February: see delayed harvest areas.

South Fork Holston River: South Holston Dam to Hwy. 37 Bridge at Bluff City

  • 16–22 inch PLR on all trout.
  • 7 trout creel limit, only one trout may be greater than 22 inches.
  • Closed to all fishing Nov. 1–Jan. 31 in the following areas:
    • Hickory Tree Bridge upstream to the confluence with Bottom Creek.
    • Downstream point of Boy’s Island (first island downstream of Weaver Pike Bridge) upstream to the top of the first island above Webb Road Bridge.

Watauga River: Quality Trout Fishing Area Smallings bridge downstream to CSX railroad bridges

  • 14 inch minimum length limit.
  • 2 trout creel limit.
  • Use or possession of any bait is prohibited.
  • Trout less than 14 inches may not be in possession.

Horse Creek: Greene County, U.S. Forest Service Boundary Line upstream to the junction of Squibb Creek

  • Daily limit: 7 trout per day, except from May 1–Sep. 30 daily limit is 2 trout.

Slickrock Creek: That portion of Slickrock Creek which constitutes the boundary between the states of Tennessee and North Carolina.

  • Appropriate licenses from TN or NC are valid.
  • Rainbow, Brown and Brook Trout: Daily limit of 4 in combination with a 7 inch minimum length limit.
  • Only single-hook artificial lures are permitted. Use or possession of bait or multiple hook lures is prohibited. One single-hook artificial lure separated from a legal lure by a length of line (for example, a dropper fly) is also permitted.

Dillard Ponds:

  • 4 trout per day.
  • Each angler limited to one rod or pole.
  • Fishing permitted from one half-hour before official sunrise to one half-hour after official sunset.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Most of the streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park provide trout fishing opportunities. For detailed fishing information and regulations, contact: Park Headquarters, Gatlinburg, TN 37738; phone 865-436-1200. https://www.nps.gov/grsm/index.htm

Fort Campbell Military Reservation

Several streams on Fort Campbell Military Reservation including Dry Creek, Little West Fork and Fletcher's Fork are stocked with rainbow and brown trout. Special fishing regulations apply and a Post Fishing Permit is required in addition to a valid Tennessee fishing license and trout stamp. For details, contact the Community Recreation Division, Hunting and Fishing Unit, Fort Campbell, KY 42223-5000; phone 270-798-9824. https://home.army.mil/campbell/index.php

Tellico-Citico Permit Areas

Area

Regulations

Tellico River from its confluence with Turkey Creek upstream to the Tennessee-North Carolina state line. Tellico-Citico Permit required March 1 through Aug. 15.
Closed on Thursday and Friday during the period March 1 through Aug. 15 (except when national or state holidays fall on Thursday and Friday). From Aug. 16 through the last day of February fishing is allowed every day and Tellico-Citico Permit is not required.
Daily creel limit of 7 trout, with no size limit.
Tellico River from Sourwood Campground upstream to the dam on Tellico River from one half-hour before official sunrise to 12 p.m. Closed to fishing for individuals 17 and older on Free Fishing Day (which is the first Saturday after the first Monday of the month of June).
Fishing permitted from ½ hour before official sunrise to ½ hour after official sunset. The possession of fishing equipment and/or tackle is prohibited on stream banks except during legal fishing hours.
Each angler permitted only one rod or pole.
Citico Creek from its confluence with Little Citico Creek upstream to the confluence of North and South Forks of Citico Creek.
Green Cove Pond
Handicapped – any person who is mentally impaired or physically impaired (including blindness) because of injury or disease, congenital or acquired, which permanently renders him/her so severely disabled as to be unable to move without aid of crutches or a wheelchair, or a person who has 80% permanent impairment of a hand or arm as determined by a physician using the standards outlined in the “Guide to Evaluations of Permanent Rating,” published by the AMA or other acceptable rating system.
Fishing limited to handicapped individuals, children under age 13 and adults 65 years of age and older, or those using the following license types: Type 197 Sport Fishing License for the Blind, Type 189 Wheelchair Hunting and Fishing, Type 198 DAV Hunting and Fishing, Type 199 Mentally Challenged, and Type 169 Intellectual Disability Hunting and Fishing.
Tellico-Citico Permit required from Oct. 1 through Aug. 15.
Closed on Thursday and Friday Oct. 1 through Aug. 15 (except open on all state and national holidays and scheduled special organized handicapped or children’s fishing events).
Hours open – ½ hour before official sunrise to ½ hour after official sunset.
Daily creel limit of 7 trout, with no length limit.
Bait restriction – no minnows.
Each angler permitted only one rod or pole.

Wild Trout Stream

Water

Regulations

North River and tributaries (Monroe County). Daily creel limit of 5 trout with no length limit.
Only single-hook artificial lures are permitted. Use or possession of bait or multiple hook lures is prohibited. One single-hook artificial lure separated from a legal lure by a length of line (for example: a dropper fly) is also permitted.
Bald River and tributaries (Monroe County).
Sycamore Creek (tributary to Tellico River in Monroe County) and tributaries.
Laurel Fork and tributaries beginning at the cable crossing ½ mile upstream from the USFS Dennis Cove Recreation Area and extending upstream to the USFS boundary (Carter County).
Beaverdam Creek and tributaries from its confluence with Birch Branch downstream to Tank Hollow Road (USFS Rd. 300) (Johnson County).
Paint Creek and tributaries from USFS campground upstream to USFS Boundary line south of Highway 70 near Munday Gap (Greene County).
Rocky Fork and tributaries upstream of Rocky Fork Rd. and State Park Entrance Rd. junction. (Greene/Unicoi Counties).
Left Prong (tributary to Hampton Creek in Carter County).

Tailwater Trout

TWRA stocks fingerling and adult trout into coldwater tailwaters below dams to provide fishing opportunities. In many tailwaters trout fishing can be good year-round. Trout are stocked routinely during the following months. Use caution below dams. Call TVA at 1-800-238-2264 to check dam discharge and generation schedules (www.tva.com/Environment/Lake-Levels).

River

Below

Trout Species

Stocking Schedule

Region 2

Duck River Normandy Dam rainbow November through June*
Elk River Tims Ford Dam rainbow, brown, and brook March through December
Stones River J. Percy Priest Dam rainbow December through March*

Region 3

Caney Fork River Center Hill Dam rainbow, brown, and brook March through December
Hiwassee River Appalachian Dam rainbow, brown, and brook October through July
Obey River Dale Hollow Dam rainbow, brown January through December
Ocoee River Ocoee Dam #1—Parksville rainbow March through May*

Region 4

Clinch River Norris Dam rainbow, brown, and brook March through August
Holston River Cherokee Dam rainbow and brown November through April
South Fork Holston River Boone Dam rainbow, brown, and brook March, April, June, December
South Fork Holston River Fort Patrick Henry Dam rainbow and brown March and April
South Fork Holston River S. Holston Dam rainbow March through September
Watauga River Wilbur Dam rainbow March through December
Wilbur Reservoir Watauga Dam rainbow March through July

Gatlinburg Trout Fishing

TWRA and the City of Gatlinburg offer a variety of trout fishing opportunities in four streams. All streams are closed on Thursday each week and a Gatlinburg permit is required (License Fees). Some areas are managed especially for children 12 and under. For more information contact the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce, (800) 568-4748 or the Gatlinburg trout facility at (865) 436-4558.

The taking of trout using a Gatlinburg Permit is allowed only within the designated streams, designated times, and under the restrictions listed in the following paragraphs.

General Streams

  • West Prong Little Pigeon River from Park Boundary to Gnatty Branch except those sections set aside as Children’s Streams.
  • Dudley Creek from Park Boundary to West Prong Little Pigeon River, except those sections set aside as Children’s Streams.
  • Roaring Fork from the Park Boundary to West Prong Little Pigeon River.
  • Leconte Creek from Painter Branch to West Prong Little Pigeon River.

Children’s Streams (May only be fished by children 12 and under, unless otherwise posted.)

  • Leconte Creek from Painters Branch upstream to Park Boundary.
  • West Prong Little Pigeon River from 100 yards above entrance of Herbert Holt Park downstream to Gatlinburg By-pass Bridge.
  • Dudley Creek from Highway 441 Bridge to West Prong Little Pigeon River.

Season and Creel Limits

Fishing permitted year-round, except on Thursday, from one half-hour before official sunrise to one half-hour after official sunset. Fishing is permitted with one hand-held rod and single hook only.

From December 1 through March 31 (all streams):

  • Possession of any trout shall be prohibited.
  • All trout caught must be immediately returned to the water.
  • Use or possession of bait is prohibited. Use or possession of any artificial lures other than single hook artificial flies, spinners, and spoons is prohibited. The use of one dropper fly having a single hook which is separated from a legal lure by a length of line is permissible.

From April 1 through November 30:

  • General Streams: The creel limit is five (5) trout per day. Bait and artificial lures permitted.
  • Children’s Streams: The creel limit is two (2) per day.
  • Total possession limit shall not exceed twice the daily creel limit.
  • While fishing or when afield, possession of more than the daily creel limit shall be prohibited, regardless of whether the trout are fresh, stored in an ice chest, in a vehicle, or otherwise preserved.

Don't Dump Bait

  • Always drain bait bucket water on land
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash