Fishing in the Smoky MountainsSmoky Mountains and Pigeon Forge Fishing Regulations

The following information is taken from an official Great Smoky Mountains National 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 in the national park.


In order to go fishing in Pigeon Forge or the Smoky Mountains, you must have a valid Tennessee or North Carolina state fishing license. Licenses must be on hand to be presented if questioned.

Tennessee License Requirements:

  • Residents and non-residents, ages 13 and older, must have a license. The exception is residents who were 65 prior to March 1, 1990. These persons require only proof of age and Tennessee residence.
  • Persons under 13 in Tennessee are entitled to the same limits as adults and are subject to all other regulations.
  • The Great Smoky Mountains National Park does not sell state fishing licenses. They can be purchased from outfitters.

Fishing Season

  • Fishing is permitted year-round in open waters, as long as you have your Smoky Mountains and Pigeon Forge fishing license on hand.


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

Lures, Bait, and Equipment

(a) Fishing is permitted only by the use of one hand-held rod.

(b) Only artificial flies or lures with a single hook may be used.

(c) Fishing tackle and equipment including creels and fish in possession are subject to inspection by authorized personnel.

For more information on fishing in Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains, you can click HERE.