The first full weekend in April means it’s time for the 21st Annual Spring Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament, on Saturday and Sunday, April 6-7, 2019. Cash and gift prizes are awarded in multiple categories, with hundreds of entrants fishing, and thousands of rainbow trout stocked in over 20 miles of local streams.
Keeping things fair, there are different divisions for children and adults as well as for locals and visitors – but wait, it’s even more fair than that, with a $500 cash prize for largest trout caught AND $500 for the smallest trout caught! A total of $10,000 is awarded in the spring and fall contests, while 10,000 trout are stocked each year in the largest trout tournament in the Smokies, acclaimed as the best.
The fishing starts 30 minutes before sunrise each day and weigh-in is at 4 pm an Saturday, and 2 pm on Sunday, at Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge, with prizes given for the cumulative catch over two days. Besides cash, other prizes and drawings include fishing equipment and trophies, gift certificates and local attraction passes.
The waters fished are premium streams with comfortable access, meandering through Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You can say you fished the West Prong Little Pigeon River, Roaring Fork, LeConte Creek and Dudley Creek. There are also children-only patches of water – children are especially welcomed to this hugely family-friendly event, as well as beginners.
Entrants must register in advance and only registered entrants may take part in the contests. An online registration page is at the organizer’s page at Rocky Top Outfitters in Pigeon Forge. You can also register at Smoky Mountain Angler, 466 Brookside Village Way, on East Parkway in Gatlinburg’s Winery Square. You can also call 865-661-FISH for more information.
A fishing license is required (different for residents and non-residents) and state and local regulations apply. You can get a Tennessee fishing license online at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency website. Only single-hook lures, and flies as bait are permitted in the tournament, with a 5-fish limit.
The Smoky Mountains offer great fishing, with almost three thousand miles of streams in the national park, of which some 600 miles are home to trout.
So it’s a weekend of fishing and fun, as well as one of the best ways simply to enjoy the scenery and feel of nature – which exist in abundance in this area.