Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Parks Cataloochee Valley

Though not the most popular section of the park to fish, many an angler has been able to take home a nice meal of fresh trout and the best spots to fish in Cataloochee are on Rough Fork which runs from the Campgrounds and along the main road in Big Cataloochee to the back fields and into the forest, Palmer Creek which is near the horse camp by the Palmer Creek Trail hiking trail and Cataloochee Creek running past the group campgrounds and the yellow Palmer House.

While there are lots of Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout to be found in Cataloochee, there are also native brook trout as well. If you do catch fish large enough to be legal, don't feel bad consuming them as though the water quality is good, fish do not live long and grow very large in the GSMNP. If you don't eat him today, he probably wont be around much longer.


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When fishing, especially along the Palmer Creek and Rough Fork streams in Cataloochee, it is important to be aware of your surroundings at all times as this is a heavily traveled area that both the elk and black bear use.

Be sure to have a valid North Carolina or Tennessee fishing license and follow all the fishing regulations of the Great Smoky Mountains national park when you are fishing in Cataloochee or any other section of the park.

If you are planning to use waders when you are fishing, we urge you to sanitize your waders with bleach or any other environmentally safe cleaning solution in order to keep exotic aquatic species from destroying our delectate ecosystem.

The simple practice of cleaning your waders each and every time before you enter the park will help save of native species from being overrun and destroyed by non native invasive exotic species. A little care spent today can mean decades of more fishing for you in the future. Our fish and streams depend on you!

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