What fish are in the Smoky Mountains National Park

Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Rock Bass, and Smallmouth Bass Identification

Brook Trout:

  1. The mid section of this fish has red spots on dark background. Sometimes these spots are surrounded by blue halo.
  2. Fish's body may have worm like markings mostly along the top.
  3. The fins are tricolor: white, black, and orange.

Brook trout that you may find in the Smoky Mountain National Park usually live less than 3 years are found from north Georgia to southern Canada. Brook trout seldom exceed 8 to 9 inches in length.

Brook trout are actually char and not a true trout but they are native to the Smoky Mountains unlike other trout found in the Smokies. The locals refer to them as spec or speckled trout.


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Brown Trout

  1. Black spots along the top of the body.
  2. No or few spots on the tail of this fish.
  3. The dorsal (top half) is brownish to tan colored.
  4. There is a white edge of the front of this fish's anal fin.
  5. This fish has red spots on its side which are often surrounded by pale halo.

This non native species of trout was imported from Europe and can live from 8 to 12 years. The average size brown trout caught in the park range from 6 inches to 12 inches but there are a few monsters that can weigh about 10 pounds and measure in at 30 inches making the brown trout the largest fish in the Smoky Mountain Park.

Brown trout are best found in lower elevations in the park in areas with good cover and slow moving water.

Rainbow Trout

  1. Pinkish stripe running down the length of the fish on its side.
  2. The fish has numerous black spots on its head, back, top half of its side a well as the dorsal and tail fins.
  3. The dorsal part of the fish is colored green.
  4. The bottom of this fish (ventral) is white or yellowish.

The rainbow trout found throughout most of the Smokies are a non native fish from the western part of North America and were stocked in local streams by logging companies in the early 1900's. More anglers fish for rainbow trout than any other fish in the national park.

Under normal conditions the rainbow trout run between 6 to 20 inches and live around 4 years. Rainbow trout larger than 12 inches are very uncommon.


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Rock Bass

  1. For defense rock bass have a spiny dorsal fin.
  2. This fish has prominent dark red eyes.
  3. The fish's body color is olive to brassy green color with a dark mottling.
Although rock bass live 7 years on average, they normally range from only 4 to 8 inches although rock bass can sometimes attain a length of up to 10 inches.

Smallmouth Bass

  1. Look for a reddish eye.
  2. This fish has dark bars that run from the eye across cheek.
  3. Small mouth bass have a short spiny dorsal fin.
  4. The smallmouth bass has a bronze / greenish color to its body.

Living from 5 to 7 years, smallmouth bass in the park range in length from 6 to 14 inches. Some huge 5 pounders have been caught in some of the streams in the national park.

Your Smokies Fishing in the National Park pages:

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