All streams are open to fishing in Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Never since the opening of the National Park in 1934 have all of the streams been open to fishing at the same time. The recent reopening of 8.5 miles of Lynn Camp Prong near Tremont, after years of a native brook trout restocking effort, has been a success allowing this final stream to be opened for anglers. Of the National Park’s 2,900 miles of streams, about 1,073 miles contain fish.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to 67 different species of fish in twelve different families. These families include suckers, bass, trout, minnows, shiners, and darters and more. The brook trout is the only native trout species, although rainbow and brown trout have been introduced and are common in large streams below 3,000 feet. The native brook trout population has been restored in about 28 miles of 11 different streams.
“Our mission is to restore native species for future generations, whether it’s elk or brook trout,” said Smokies fisheries biologist Matt Kulp, “The majority of the park’s fishing is rainbow trout and always will be, but it’s nice to know there are a few places you still can go and catch native brook trout in their native habitat.“
Brook trout can be found in about 8% of the streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, while rainbow trout are found in over 15%. The National Park Service continues efforts to return the park’s aquatic ecosystem to its roots. In Abrams Creek, one of the most popular to fish, at least three threatened and endangered fish species, the duskytail darter, yellowfin madtom, and the smoky madtom have been reintroduced with positive results.
Next time you’re in the Great Smoky Mountains be sure and bring your favorite fishing pole, waders and sense of adventure. Fishing is great fun for the entire family! We can’t guarantee they will always be biting but we can guarantee the water will be just as clear and cold as you remember! That is a HeySmokies promise! If you’re looking for a knowledgeable guide for a fishing expedition, contact some of our friends at HeySmokiesFishing.com.
Please remember that moving and disturbing rocks in the streams to form dams or channels is actually illegal in the National Park! Many fish spawn from April to August and build their nests in small cavities under the rocks. When the rocks are disturbed so are the nests thus destroying the eggs.
Fishing licenses for Great Smoky Mountains National Park are required and can be purchased at www.ncwildlife.org and www.tn.wildlifelicense.com. For fishing in Gatlinburg or Cherokee, a special permit is also required. For more information about fishing regulations in the National Park visit www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/fishing.