To fish in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you need a valid Tennessee or North Carolina fishing license. Licenses can be obtained from the Tennessee Government Website or the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

Know your fish before you go–the possession of brook trout (brookie) is prohibited. A combination of five rainbow and brown trout per day (minimum 7 inches) is the limit. Only artificial lures and flies may be used, and only one hand-held rod is permitted. Some streams are closed to fishing to protect and study the threatened brook trout. Stop by a ranger station to obtain maps and get answers to questions. For more detailed information, read on.


The following information is taken from an official Park publication. The official publication for all Park regulations is Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations. A copy of the Code can be obtained at most ranger stations and visitor centers.


You must have a valid Tennessee or North Carolina state fishing license to fish all open Park waters. Licenses must be presented on demand by a Park Ranger.

TN / NC Trout Fishing License Information

TN residentTN non-residentNC residentNC non-resident
One-Day Fishing – All Species$11.50
Annual All Species$22.00$20.00$36.00
3-day fishing all species$40.50
3-day fishing no trout$20.50
10-day fishing all species$61.50$7.00$18.00
10-day fishing no trout$30.50


Fishing is permitted year-round in open waters.


Fishing is allowed from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset.

Daily Possession Limits

The possession of brook trout is prohibited because the Park is pursuing an aggressive program to protect and restore the brook trout to a self sustaining level. Logging operations in the early 1900s eliminated the brook trout from its natural range.

Five (5) rainbow or brown trout, small mouth bass, or a combination of these (7 inch minimum), each day or in possession. Any brook trout caught must be immediately returned unharmed to the water.

Lures, Bait, and Equipment

  1. Fishing is permitted only by the use of one hand-held rod.
  2. Only artificial flies or lures with a single hook may be used.
  3. Fishing tackle and equipment including creels and fish in possession are subject to inspection by authorized personnel.

Author: oms

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  1. Am I allowed to fish with powerbait dough in Cades Coven

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    • That should be fine. Good luck fishing!

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