Smoky Mountain Fishing Spots

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Nestled amidst the stunning natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg offer an idyllic getaway for fishing enthusiasts. With their abundance of rivers and streams, these  mountain towns can provide an unforgettable fishing experience. Whether you're a seasoned angler or a beginner, this guide will unveil a handful of fishing spot options in the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg area.  A valid Tennessee fishing license is required (13 years of age or older), in addition, Gatlinburg has special regulations to fish within the city limits.  For additional regulation questions, including bag limits and Great Smoky National Park regulations, we recommend contacting local tackle shops Smoky Mountain Angler | or Orvis | 



Little Pigeon River:

Running through the heart of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, the Little Pigeon River is one of the most accessible rivers in the area. This river is home to various species of trout, including rainbow and brown trout.  Anglers can enjoy fishing along its banks or wade into the shallow areas. The river is easily accessible, with numerous access points and parking areas available between the two towns. It is not uncommon to pull out the fish of the trip in front of tourist hot spots such as the Old Mill Restaurant or Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies.

Gatlinburg takes its fishery to a whole different level and is one of the best trout fisheries in the country.  With a year around stocking program, anglers have ample opportunity to hook up at any time in the year.  The city also offers a few children only sections of river for ages 12 and under.

  • West Prong Little Pigeon River from a point 100 yards upstream of the Herbert Holt Park entrance downstream to the Gatlinburg By-Pass Bridge
  • Dudley Creek from the Highway 441 Bridge downstream to the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River
  • LeConte Creek from Painters Branch upstream to National Park Boundary


Cosby Creek:

Cosby Creek is located in a less-crowded area compared to popular tourist destinations in the region. Situated near Cosby, Tennessee, this creek offers a more secluded fishing experience. Access to the creek can be found along various points, including bridges and roadside pull-offs. The quiet surroundings and ease of access make Cosby Creek an attractive choice for anglers seeking a peaceful fishing outing.  Cosby Creek may not be known for its large brown or rainbow trout, but what it does provide is the opportunity for several species for trout.  While the downstream section from the campground may host smaller rainbows, it is the accessible brook trout that serve as the main attraction in this area.  


Abrams Creek:

Nestled within the breathtaking landscape of the Great Smoky Mountains, Abrams Creek is a must hit spot for fishing enthusiasts seeking a tranquil and rewarding angling experience. With its pristine waters and abundant trout population, Abrams Creek is considered one of the best streams in the National Park.  Abrams Creek is easily accessible from Cades Cove, but be prepared to deal with heavy traffic as the Cades Cove Loop is a top tourist destination.  The combination of underground flows from Anthony Creek and nutrient-rich waters from the fields and pastures of Cades Cove creates an ideal habitat for trout. The limestone deposits along the stream's path elevate the water's pH, resulting in an abundance of food and larger trout than most of other the National Park streams.


Douglas Lake:

If you're looking to chase something other than trout, Douglas Lake is a great option.  Just a short drive from Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Douglas Lake is a sprawling reservoir known for its fantastic fishing. Spanning over 28,000 acres, this lake offers ample space for anglers to explore and try their luck. Douglas Lake is particularly famous for its large populations of bass, including largemouth, smallmouth, and striped bass. Additionally, crappie, bluegill, and catfish can also be found here. Rent a boat or fish from the shoreline to maximize your chances of landing a trophy-sized catch.