1. Get a License
Before you dunk a hook in the water, you’ll need a fishing license plus a separate trout fishing permit. Both are easy to get. Buy a Tennessee license online in advance of your trip to Gatlinburg at GoOutdoorsTennessee.com. Check on the Gatlinburg website for more details about trout permits, licenses, and where to find them in Gatlinburg.
2. Know the Rules
When can you fish? What fish can you keep? In the City of Gatlinburg, you can fish any day except Thursdays, when the city restocks trout. Start as early as a half-hour before sunrise, but you must finish by a half-hour after sunset. The city allows one hand-held rod and a single hook.
Dec. 1 through Mar. 31 is catch and release fishing, with no bait allowed. April 1 through Nov. 30 is open season when you can fish with bait and keep your catch. The limit is five trout per person.
3. Bring the Kids
Gatlinburg has two stocked Children’s Streams where only kids 12 and under are allowed to fish. One stream is at North Gatlinburg Park and the other is at Mynatt Park.
Kids 12 and under don’t need fishing licenses in Tennessee. The same hours and rules apply at the Children’s Streams as at other local streams, with one difference: The limit on open season catch is two trout per child.
4. Get Your Gear
Forgot your rods? Find everything you need at local outfitters like The Smoky Mountain Angler, Rocky Top Outfitters, Orvis, or Greenbrier Grocery.
5. Find a Spot
City waters include Dudley Creek, LeConte Creek, Roaring Fork Creek, and the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River. You’ll also want to explore streams in the national park, where brook, rainbow, and brown trout abound.
6. Book a Guide
A pro can give you a great day out finding trout in national park waters! Take a wade trip or go out on a boat. Spend a few hours with a guide, or a whole day (or more) on backcountry fishing. See Colonial Properties’ list of local fishing guides here.