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Statewide Trout Fishing Regulations in Tennessee

Tennessee offers diverse trout fishing opportunities, from cold mountain streams to large tailwaters, managed under statewide regulations to ensure sustainable fisheries. Here's a concise overview of the general and specific trout regulations:

General Statewide Trout Regulations

  • Daily Creel Limit: Anglers are allowed to keep a total of 7 trout per day, regardless of the species combination.
  • Minimum Length Limit: There is no minimum length limit for trout statewide, making it accessible for anglers to enjoy trout fishing without size restrictions.
  • Lake Trout Exception: Within the daily creel limit of 7 trout, only 2 may be lake trout. This specific rule helps manage the lake trout population effectively.

Delayed Harvest Trout Fishing Regulations

Tennessee's Delayed Harvest areas are designated sections of rivers and creeks where special trout fishing regulations are in place to promote conservation and sustainable fishing practices. During the catch-and-release season, anglers are encouraged to enjoy fishing while contributing to the health of trout populations. Here are the specifics for each area:

Big Soddy Creek

  • Location: Upstream of Back Valley Road.
  • Catch-and-Release Season: October 1 through the last day of February.
  • Regulation: Only artificial lures allowed; bait possession or use is prohibited.

Buffalo Creek

  • Location: Mill dam downstream to Buffalo Springs WMA boundary.
  • Catch-and-Release Season: October 1 through January 31.
  • Regulation: Only artificial lures allowed; bait possession or use is prohibited.

Doe River

  • Location: Within Roan Mountain State Park boundaries.
  • Catch-and-Release Season: October 1 through the last day of February.
  • Regulation: Only artificial lures allowed; bait possession or use is prohibited.

Hiwassee River

  • Location: Appalachian Powerhouse downstream to L&N Railroad Bridge.
  • Catch-and-Release Season: October 1 through the last day of February.
  • Outside Catch-and-Release Season: March 1 through September 30, the trout creel limit is 7 of all species combined, with only 2 being brown trout.

Paint Creek

  • Location: Paint Creek Campground downstream to the mouth at French Broad River.
  • Catch-and-Release Season: October 1 through the last day of February.
  • Regulation: Only artificial lures allowed; bait possession or use is prohibited.

Piney River

  • Location: Cumberland Trail State Park downstream to Highway 27 Bridge.
  • Catch-and-Release Season: November 1 through the last day of February.
  • Regulation: Only artificial lures allowed; bait possession or use is prohibited.

Tellico River

  • Location: Mouth of North River upstream to the Tennessee - North Carolina state line.
  • Catch-and-Release Season: October 1 through the last day of February.
  • Regulation: Only artificial lures allowed; bait possession or use is prohibited.

Special Trout Regulations Across Tennessee

Tennessee's rivers and streams offer diverse trout fishing opportunities, with special regulations designed to protect trout populations and enhance angler experience. Here's a detailed look at the regulations across key water bodies:

Caney Fork River (Center Hill Dam to Cumberland River)

  • Total Daily Creel: 5 trout (rainbow, brown, brook, and cutthroat) in combination.
  • Rainbow Trout: 5 per day, 14–20 inch PLR, one over 20 inches allowed.
  • Brook Trout: 5 per day, 14–20 inch PLR, one over 20 inches allowed.
  • Brown Trout: 1 per day, 24-inch minimum.
  • Cutthroat Trout: 5 per day, 14–20 inch PLR, one over 20 inches allowed.

Elk River (Tims Ford Dam to I-65 Bridge)

  • Brown Trout: 20-inch minimum, 1 per day.
  • Total Daily Creel: 7 trout of all species combined.

Clinch River (Norris Dam to Hwy. 61 Bridge)

  • Trout: 14–20 inch PLR, 7 trout limit, one over 20 inches.

Clear Creek (Tributary to Clinch River)

  • Fishing Closure: Nov. 1–Mar. 31 from Hwy. 441 upstream to the second dam.

Hiwassee River (Appalachian Powerhouse to L&N Railroad Bridge)

  • March–September: 7 trout limit, only 2 may be brown trout.
  • October–February: Refer to delayed harvest regulations.

South Fork Holston River (South Holston Dam to Hwy. 390 Bridge)

  • Trout: 16–22 inch PLR, 7 trout limit, one over 22 inches.
  • Fishing Closure: Specific areas closed Nov. 1–Jan. 31.

Watauga River (Quality Trout Fishing Area)

  • Minimum Length: 14 inches.
  • Creel Limit: 2 trout, bait use or possession prohibited.

Horse Creek (Greene County)

  • Daily Limit: 7 trout, May 1–Sep. 30 limit is 2 trout.

Slickrock Creek (TN/NC Boundary)

  • Daily Limit: 4 trout (rainbow, brown, brook), 7-inch minimum, single-hook artificial lures only.

Dillard Ponds

  • Daily Limit: 4 trout, one rod or pole per angler, fishing allowed from half-hour before sunrise to half-hour after sunset.

Fishing in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, spanning parts of Tennessee and North Carolina, offers abundant trout fishing opportunities in its pristine streams and rivers. The park is renowned for its diverse ecosystems, breathtaking landscapes, and rich biodiversity, making it a premier destination for anglers seeking a serene and rewarding fishing experience.

Key Information for Anglers

  • Fishing Opportunities: The park's streams are predominantly populated with trout species, including rainbow, brook, and brown trout. These waters are managed to preserve the natural fish populations and ecosystems, providing anglers with a unique back-to-nature fishing experience.
  • Regulations and Permits: Fishing regulations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are designed to protect the natural resources and ensure sustainable fishing practices. These regulations may include specific creel limits, size limits, and restrictions on fishing methods and gear.
  • Seasons and Hours: The park allows fishing year-round, with specific hours during which fishing is permitted. Typically, fishing is allowed from a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset.

Fort Campbell Military Reservation Fishing Regulations

Fort Campbell Military Reservation offers unique fishing opportunities, including stocked streams that provide anglers with the chance to catch rainbow and brown trout. To ensure a rewarding and sustainable fishing experience within this military installation, specific regulations and permits are required.

Fishing in Fort Campbell

Several streams within the Fort Campbell Military Reservation, such as Dry Creek, Little West Fork, and Fletcher’s Fork, are periodically stocked with rainbow and brown trout, enhancing the angling experience for enthusiasts and military community members alike.

Required Permits and Licenses

  • Post Fishing Permit: In addition to standard fishing gear, anglers are required to obtain a Post Fishing Permit to fish within the reservation's boundaries. This permit is designed to regulate fishing activities and protect the stocked trout populations.
  • Tennessee Fishing License and Trout Stamp: A valid Tennessee fishing license along with a trout stamp is also necessary for fishing in Fort Campbell. These requirements ensure that anglers contribute to state conservation efforts and fish management programs.

Obtaining Permits and Further Information

For detailed information about fishing regulations, how to obtain a Post Fishing Permit, and any specific rules regarding the conservation of trout within Fort Campbell, interested individuals are encouraged to contact:

  • Community Recreation Division, Hunting and Fishing Unit
  • Location: Fort Campbell, KY 42223-5000
  • Phone: 270-798-9824
  • Website: Fort Campbell iSportsman

Tellico-Citico Permit Areas Fishing Regulations

Tellico River and Citico Creek

Permit Requirement

  • A Tellico-Citico Permit is mandatory for fishing in these areas from March 1 through August 15.

Closed Days

  • Fishing is prohibited on Thursdays and Fridays within the permit-required period, except when national or state holidays fall on these days.

Off-Season Regulations

  • From August 16 through the last day of February, fishing is permitted daily without the need for a Tellico-Citico Permit.

Daily Creel and Size Limits

  • Anglers are allowed a daily creel limit of 7 trout, with no size restrictions.

Fishing Hours and Equipment

  • Fishing is permitted from ½ hour before official sunrise to ½ hour after official sunset. Possession of fishing equipment/tackle on stream banks is not allowed outside legal fishing hours.
  • Each angler is limited to using only one rod or pole.

Special Closure

  • The section of the Tellico River from Sourwood Campground upstream to the dam is closed to fishing from ½ hour before official sunrise to 12 p.m. for individuals 17 and older on Free Fishing Day, which occurs on the first Saturday after the first Monday in June.

Green Cove Pond

Permit Requirement

  • No Tellico-Citico Permit is required for fishing in Green Cove Pond.

Catfish Regulations

  • The daily creel limit for catfish is set at 5, with no length limit imposed.

Trout Regulations

  • Anglers can catch up to 7 trout per day, with no size limit.

Fishing Hours and Equipment

  • Fishing hours extend from ½ hour before official sunrise to ½ hour after official sunset.
  • Similar to the river and creek regulations, each angler in Green Cove Pond is permitted to use only one rod or pole.

Wild Trout Stream Regulations in Tennessee

Tennessee's wild trout streams offer pristine fishing experiences in natural settings, with regulations in place to ensure the sustainability of trout populations and the preservation of their habitats. Here's an overview of the regulations for various wild trout streams across the state:

North River and Tributaries (Monroe County)

  • Daily Creel Limit: 5 trout, no length limit.
  • Fishing Gear: Only single-hook artificial lures allowed. The use or possession of bait or multiple hook lures is prohibited. Dropper flies permitted.

Bald River and Tributaries (Monroe County)

  • Regulations as per North River apply, focusing on sustainable fishing practices with artificial lures.

Sycamore Creek and Tributaries (Monroe County)

  • Follows the same conservation-oriented regulations as North River, emphasizing single-hook artificial lures only.

Laurel Fork and Tributaries (Carter County)

  • From the cable crossing upstream to the USFS boundary, these regulations ensure minimal impact on wild trout populations.

Beaverdam Creek and Tributaries (Johnson County)

  • From its confluence with Birch Branch to Tank Hollow Road, the focus is on protecting trout through specific gear restrictions.

Paint Creek and Tributaries (Greene County)

  • From the USFS campground to the USFS Boundary line, anglers are encouraged to adhere to regulations that support trout conservation.

Rocky Fork and Tributaries (Greene/Unicoi Counties)

  • Above the junction of Rocky Fork Rd. and State Park Entrance Rd., these rules aim to preserve the natural trout habitat.

Left Prong (Carter County)

  • As a tributary to Hampton Creek, the Left Prong's regulations are designed to maintain its wild trout population.

Rough Ridge Creek and Tributaries

  • Conservation measures are in place to ensure the sustainability of trout populations in this area.

Little Stony Creek and Tributaries (1.3 miles upstream of Hwy 321 Crossing)

  • Special regulations apply to protect the trout ecosystem within this stream and its tributaries.

Tailwater Trout Fishing in Tennessee

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) enhances fishing opportunities by stocking fingerling and adult trout in the coldwater tailwaters below dams across the state. These efforts make trout fishing viable year-round in many tailwater regions. Anglers are reminded to exercise caution and check dam discharge and generation schedules before planning their fishing trips.

Stocking Schedules and Locations

Region 2

  • Duck River (Below Normandy Dam): Rainbow trout are stocked from November through June, offering a seasonal fishery that thrives during the cooler months.
  • Elk River (Below Tims Ford Dam): A diverse stocking program includes rainbow, brown, cutthroat, and brook trout from March through December, providing a rich tailwater trout fishing experience.
  • Stones River (Below J. Percy Priest Dam): Rainbow trout stocking occurs from December through March, creating a winter trout fishing opportunity.

Region 3

  • Caney Fork River (Below Center Hill Dam): Stocked with rainbow, brown, cutthroat, and brook trout from March through December, this river offers excellent year-round trout fishing.
  • Hiwassee River (Below Appalachian Dam): Trout species including rainbow, brown, cutthroat, and brook are stocked from October through July, extending the fishing season across multiple seasons.
  • Obey River (Below Dale Hollow Dam): A year-round fishery with rainbow and brown trout stocking from January through December.
  • Ocoee River (Below Ocoee Dam #1—Parksville): Rainbow trout are stocked from March through May, creating a spring trout fishing destination.

Region 4

  • Clinch River (Below Norris Dam): Stocking of rainbow, brown, and brook trout from March through August supports a vibrant trout fishery.
  • Holston River (Below Cherokee Dam): The stocking of rainbow and brown trout from November through April offers excellent cold-weather fishing opportunities.
  • South Fork Holston River (Below various dams): This river benefits from multiple stocking events throughout the year, with rainbow, brown, cutthroat, and brook trout enhancing the fishing experience in various sections.

Safety and Planning

Before heading out, anglers should contact the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) at 1-800-238-2264 or visit TVA's Lake Levels website to check on dam discharge and generation schedules, ensuring a safe and productive fishing trip.

Gatlinburg Trout Fishing Regulations

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and the City of Gatlinburg collaborate to provide trout fishing opportunities in Gatlinburg, with specific streams designated for this purpose. These streams offer a mix of general fishing areas and sections exclusively for children aged 12 and under. A Gatlinburg-specific permit is required for all anglers, in addition to adherence to designated seasons, creel limits, and permitted fishing methods.

Designated Streams for Trout Fishing

  • General Streams:

    • West Prong Little Pigeon River (Park Boundary to Gnatty Branch, excluding Children’s Streams sections).
    • Dudley Creek (Park Boundary to West Prong Little Pigeon River, excluding Children’s Streams sections).
    • Roaring Fork (Park Boundary to West Prong Little Pigeon River).
    • Leconte Creek (Painter Branch to West Prong Little Pigeon River).
  • Children’s Streams (Exclusive fishing for children 12 and under):

    • Leconte Creek (Painters Branch upstream to Park Boundary).
    • West Prong Little Pigeon River (North Park Lane Bridge downstream to Gatlinburg By-pass Bridge).
    • Dudley Creek (Highway 441 Bridge to West Prong Little Pigeon River).

Seasonal Regulations and Creel Limits

  • Fishing Season: Year-round fishing is permitted, except on Thursdays. Fishing hours extend from one-half hour before official sunrise to one-half hour after official sunset, with the use of one hand-held rod and a single hook only.

  • Winter Season (December 1 through March 31):

    • All streams: Catch-and-release only; possession of trout is prohibited.
    • Bait use is banned, and only single hook artificial flies, spinners, and spoons are allowed. A dropper fly with a single hook separated from a legal lure by a line is also permitted.
  • Summer Season (April 1 through November 30):

    • General Streams: The daily creel limit is five (5) trout, with both bait and artificial lures permitted.
    • Children’s Streams: The daily creel limit is two (2) trout.
  • Possession Limits: Total possession limit cannot exceed twice the daily creel limit. Possession of more than the daily creel limit, whether the trout are fresh, stored, or preserved, is prohibited while fishing or afield.

Additional Information

For further details on Gatlinburg trout fishing, including obtaining the necessary permits, anglers can contact the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce at (800) 568-4748 or the Gatlinburg trout facility at (865) 436-4558.

 

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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.