Fly Fishing in the Smokies | Cast Your Cares Away with this Reel Experience!

A drive through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park may not always result in a bear siting, but you can bet on spotting a stream side angler no matter what the season. Why is fly fishing so special in the Smokies? Why should you cast your cares away and give it a try? We’ve got the best info on how and why you should get out there and enjoy the “reel” experience of fly fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains. Fish on!


“The child who learns to fish will become a better person because of it” ~ Angler Wisdom (photo credit: Brevard/Transylvania NC Tourism)

Ask any fisherman and he’ll tell you that a bad day fishing is better than a good day at work, right? That old adage especially rings true in the Great Smoky Mountains! The diverse landscape with its free-flowing mountain streams offer unique fishing opportunities from top to bottom. The large, cool-water streams of the Park’s lower elevations are known for their native smallmouth bass populations while the Park’s remote, higher elevation streams are where you’ll find wild mountain trout.

“Though once an activity relegated to upper class old men, fly fishing is gaining an increasing popularity with a younger, and more diverse, audience.” says James Joiner in a recent article he authored in The Daily Beast.

What is the lure of fly fishing? For most lovers of the sport, it’s the opportunity to get outside and immerse oneself in nature. Many fly fishermen, and fisherwomen, attest to the singular focus and relaxation found in the rhythms of the water and presentation of each cast. It’s easy to learn the basics of fly fishing; however it can take years of practice to perfect your technique. As most anglers know, catching a fish is usually a bonus!

What makes fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains so special? Being one of the most biologically diverse places on planet earth, a large amount and variety of aquatic insects live in the streams with hatches occurring year-round. The proper equipment used at the right time of year can make for a pleasant fishing outing during any season. A visit to a local fly fishing shop can guide you on what insects are currently hatching – remember, you gotta match the hatch for success!

How to get started fly fishing in the Smokies? There are a few things to know before heading out on a fishing excursion in the Great Smoky Mountains. A Tennessee Fishing License or North Carolina Fishing License is required for all persons 16 age years or older. Either state license is valid throughout the Park. A special permit is also required for fishing in Gatlinburg, TN and Cherokee, NC. Licenses are available online and at retail outlets in nearby towns. It’s also important to know there are limits and restrictions on how much you can catch, the size of the fish, and even the lures that you use. That’s why HeySmokies recommends a first-stop at one of our local fly fishing outfitters – they can hook you up with the easiest way fully enjoy the experience!

HeySmokies recently asked The Smoky Mountain Angler, Gatlinburg’s oldest fly fishing outfitter, to help us get started learning the ropes of fly fishing. As you can see here, they are great guides and will take away any apprehension you may have about trying the sport. To prepare for a guided excursion, all you really need is to wear neutral color clothing (no bright colors that will spook the fish; greens and browns/tans are excellent choices) and a pair of good, polarized sunglasses to cut through the water’s glare. Your guides have rental equipment to take care of the rest!

Thanks again to The Smoky Mountain Angler for a great afternoon! You can visit some more of our fishing friends at Book your Smoky Mountain fly fishing experience today! Fish on!

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