horses in Cades Cove

3 Important Things to Know Before Fishing in Cades Cove

Man fishing in Smoky Mountains
September 25, 2017

Fishing is a really great way to get outdoors and spend time surrounded by nature, but it’s also a great way to bond with your friends and family. You get to cast your reel and enjoy the peaceful sounds of the water flowing around you. There is no better place to fish than Cades Cove. You’ll be surrounded by beautiful wildlife and mountain views. We want you to feel prepared before you head out on your fishing trip, so here are 3 important things you should know before fishing in Cades Cove.

1. You Need a Valid Tennessee or North Carolina Fishing License

creek in the smoky mountains

In order to enjoy fishing in Cades Cove and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park you’ll need to get a valid Tennessee or North Carolina fishing license. You can purchase your fishing license through the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. They sell an annual license as well as short term licenses. Tennessee residents receive a large discount on their fishing license compared to non-residents. Fishing is permitted year-round in open waters. In Cades Cove, you can fish from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset. It is very important you bring your license with you and keep in on you at all times while you are fishing. If a Park Ranger asks to see your license you must be able to present it to them.

2. There are Daily Possession Limits

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency as well as many others care about preserving the beautiful wildlife in Cades Cove. That’s why some streams are closed to fishing to protect and study the threatened brook trout. The possession of brook trout is prohibited because the Park is pursuing an aggressive program to protect and restore the brook trout to a self sustaining level. Logging operations in the early 1900s eliminated the brook trout from its natural habitat. The best thing to do is know what certain species of fish look life before you go. A combination of five rainbow and brown trout per day (minimum 7 inches) is the limit. By following these possession limits you are ensuring the wildlife in Cades Cove is being preserved. You can find more detailed information on fishing possession limits on the national park website.

3. Only Certain Lures, Bait, and Equipment Are Allowed

Only certain bait and lures are allowed while fishing in Cades CoveIt’s important to know what lures, bait, and equipment you can use while fishing in Cades Cove. Fishing is only permitted by the use of one hand-held rod. Only artificial flies or lures with a single hook may be used. Fishing tackle and equipment including creels and fish in possession are subject to inspection by authorized personnel. Following these guidelines will help ensure you have a great fishing trip and that you’re doing your part to protect the wildlife at Cades Cove.

Looking for other outdoor activities to enjoy in Cades Cove? Hiking is a great activity that will help you spend more time outdoors. Check out this blog post on essential things you need for hiking in Cades Cove.

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