Fishing With A Purpose

By Leif Palmer
Posted on March 22, 2023

Trout fishing in Gatlinburg, TN

The Spring Trout Tournament has been one of the most popular annual events in Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains for years. But starting last year, the event took on a new wrinkle, becoming not only a fishing competition but also a way to help preserve the precious natural resources of the Smokies.

This year's second annual Spring Trout Tournament and River Cleanup is scheduled for April 1, beginning at 7 a.m. Organized by the Gatlinburg Recreation Department, the tournament also marks the opening weekend for catch-and-keep fishing in Gatlinburg waters. Although the actual fishing will take place in city-managed waters, all related festivities and official weigh-ins will take place at Mynatt Park on Historic Nature Trail.

“Fishing in Gatlinburg is very important to many people, and being able to fish in clean waters and surroundings is imperative,” said Gatlinburg Trout Facility manager Travis Williams. “That's why the emphasis has been placed on cleaning up litter, especially in areas along the river and below the tree line.”

In lieu of an entry fee, participants are required to turn in at least a small grocery bag filled with litter at the weigh-in to be eligible for prizes. Awards will be given for largest fish, most litter collected and the most unique litter item collected.

Anglers will be divided into an adult division (16 and older) and a kids' division for those 15 and younger. Rules are based on a two-fish limit and total weight of those two fish. You can preregister by emailing or register the morning of the event at Mynatt Park before 7:30 a.m.

City-managed waters include Gnatty Branch to the national park boundary at traffic light #10 and Roaring Fork from its confluence of the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River up to Treetops Resort. All participants are required to have a valid Tennessee fishing license for Gatlinburg.

We recommend consulting a map or scouting out your favorite eligible fishing locations before the tourney begins. But if you decide that you need a great place to base your vehicle either during or after the event (while you have fun at attractions, shops and restaurants), consider accessing any of our seven locations for parking in downtown Gatlinburg.

Leif Palmer - Gatlinburg blogger

About Leif Palmer

Leif Palmer loves residing in Gatlinburg. He is an avid outdoorsman: rowing for exercise on the lake, trail hiking, and free climbing rocks in the mountains. He indulges his arty side by periodically beating up pieces of marble by sculpting. He is always frustrated by his inability to sink long putts, and hates his curly hair (but his wife loves it). Leif has been known to muster enough courage to change a diaper, and hopes his son will become a chip off the old block.


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