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Mountain Streams

Within the Cherokee National Forest there are approximately 625 miles of streams where trout naturally reproduce. In our backyard, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has an additional 220 miles of wild trout water. These wild populations include brook, rainbow, and brown trout. Trout are so abundant in these waters that stocking is not needed even though their survival in cold headwaters streams is challenging. Their food is limited and the natural fluctuations in water flows caused by floods and droughts periodically hinder these populations. Yet they still thrive, providing a very unique fishing opportunity for those that want to head for the mountains. And because food is limited, wild trout will readily take most types of bait or small lures.

Cherokee National Forest South: this area offers numerous small streams that are full of wild rainbow, brown and native brook trout. These smaller streams include the North River, the Bald River, and Sycamore Creek. The Tellico region is a wade only destination. The Tellico River is stocked heavily during the spring and summer seasons and requires anglers to purchase a daily Tellico/Citico permit.

Great Smoky Mountains: The Park has around 750 miles of streams within its boundaries, and protects one of the last wild trout habitats in the eastern US. There are a wide variety of angling experiences from remote, headwater trout streams to large, coolwater smallmouth bass streams. Most streams remain at or near their carrying capacity of fish and offer a great opportunity to catch these species throughout the year. Fishing is permitted year-round in the park, from 30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset. You must possess a valid fishing license or permit from either TN or NC and no trout stamp is required. Special permits are required for fishing in Gatlinburg and Cherokee.

Map of Streams in the Great Smoky Mtns
© Saint Clair Mapping www.smokystreams.com

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