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Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament
|With so many mountain streams and rivers converging and running through Pigeon Forge, it’s no wonder that one of the area’s most popular and growing fall events happens to be the annual Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament. The accessibility of the streams and the fact that the town of Gatlinburg stocks the river make for good fishing for long-time anglers, as well as casual fishers. So, try your hand at it this year, wade into the river, start casting and land that big trout.
This year’s Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament – now entering its 15th year, features over $10,000 in cash and prizes for winners and others who place. For the fall tournament, September 28-29, contestants will vie for $500 for biggest trout, $500 for smallest trout (smallest trout must be 7 inches), gift certificates, trophies, fishing equipment, Dollywood passes, and much more. In all, over 20 miles of local streams have been stocked with 10,000 trout to accommodate for the tournament.
Anyone wishing to compete in the tournament will need a special permit to fish. You can pick up one of those permits at the Welcome Center on 441 South, the ‘Spur,’ before you get to Gatlinburg or City Hall on East Parkway. Streams in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are normally stocked on Thursday so fishing not permitted then, but any other day of the week is fine. The Gatlinburg Trout License has different rules and regulations depending on whether you are a Tennessee resident or not and there are a few exempt classes that do not need the Gatlinburg permit. You should ask those questions when you get your permit at the Welcome Center or City Hall.
There are some rules and regulations when fishing in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the great Smoky Mountains. Fishing is permitted from thirty minutes before sunrise to thirty minutes after sunset. There are several children-only fishing areas in Gatlinburg: no one over 12 is allowed to fish in those areas. When fishing, you can only use one hand-held rod and you can only use a single hook. No multiple hook rigs are allowed. There are, of course, creel limits to the number of fish you can catch, so make sure that you ask about creel limits, type of bait and lures that can be used when you purchase your fishing permit. All trout must be at weigh-in located at Patriot Park, Pigeon Forge, traffic light No. 7 by 4 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Winners will be determined by total weight of the 2-day tournament.