Fishing Regulations and Practices Questions

Do I Need a Fishing License on My Property?

If you're casting a line into a river, stream, public lake, or reservoir from your property, a fishing license is indeed required. This stipulation holds because the waterbody being fished does not fall under your ownership, thus excluding you from any landowner exemptions.

Is Stocking Fish Allowed?

Stocking fish in public waters, including streams, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, is strictly prohibited without the approval of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). This regulation is in place to prevent the introduction of exotic species or diseases that could harm native fish populations. Only privately owned ponds may be stocked without TWRA's consent, emphasizing the importance of controlled aquatic environments to maintain ecological balance.

Fish Cleaning Regulations

While fishing, it's unlawful to possess any fish that has been altered in such a way that its species or total body length cannot be determined. This regulation ensures that fish populations are managed responsibly, allowing for proper identification and adherence to size and bag limits.

Trout Fishing License Requirements

Regardless of your intentions to keep trout, if you're fishing for them, a trout license is required. This rule ensures that trout populations are managed effectively, contributing to sustainable fishing practices.

Fishing in Private Farm Ponds

Even when fishing in a private farm pond, a fishing license may still be required unless you qualify for a specific exemption, such as being a landowner, meeting age criteria, or holding military status. These exceptions are detailed in the "Who Must Have a Tennessee License" section under License Information.

Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) Fishing Licenses

For fishing in Wildlife Management Areas, no special WMA license is generally required beyond the appropriate fishing license, with exceptions for individuals under the age of 13 or military personnel on furlough. However, specific areas within the Cherokee National Forest require a Tellico-Citico permit for all ages.

Parasites in Fish

Encountering parasites like Trematodes, commonly known as black spot, yellow grub, or white grub, is not uncommon in fish. These parasites, part of the fish's natural ecosystem, do not pose a risk to humans when the fish is properly cleaned and cooked, emphasizing the importance of safe fish preparation.

Understanding Thermoclines

A thermocline is a distinct temperature layer in water bodies, separating warmer surface water from cooler deep water, impacting reservoir fish populations by preventing oxygen exchange. This phenomenon highlights the complex interplay between water temperature and aquatic life sustainability.

Reservoir Turnover

Reservoirs in Tennessee primarily experience a turnover during the fall, a process initiated by the cooling of surface water which then mixes with the colder, denser water below. This seasonal event is crucial for the redistribution of oxygen throughout the water column, supporting diverse fish populations.

Identifying Bryozoans

Jelly-like masses found attached to submerged objects are colonies of Bryozoans, microscopic animals that are harmless to humans and aquatic life. These colonies, which can vary in size, play a role in the aquatic food web, showcasing the biodiversity present in Tennessee's water bodies.

Wild Advisor Pro


The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.