Great Smoky Mountains Cabins, Gatlinburg Tennessee, Wedding Chapels

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[ Back to Cherokee ] [ Rod's Guide Magazine ]

Fishing Haven in the Great Smokies

For untold centuries the streams and rivers of the Great Smokies have provided the Cherokee people with a bountiful source of food. Today, the 30 miles of streams on the Cherokee Indian Reservation provide both food and fun for serious and amateur anglers.

Regular stocking of the streams is the responsibility of Cherokee Fish and Game Management that each year adds nearly 400,000 trout to an existing population of fish swimming in the crystal clear mountain waters. These supplemental stockings include rainbow, brook and brown trout of various sizes ranging up to trophy size. [ continued ]

he $5.00 tribal permit for each person 12 years of age and over is required to fish in Cherokee streams and ponds. Children under twelve are allowed to fish with a permitted adult.

Two, three, and five-day permits are available at a reduced rate and a season's permit costs $150.00. No other type of fishing license is required nor accepted on the reservation. Nearly two dozen businesses in Cherokee are authorized outlets for fishing permits.

Most of March is closed to fishing with the annual season opening the last Saturday of March, continuing for eleven months and ending the last day of February the following year.

Throughout the season, fishing is allowed from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Creel limit is ten trout per day per permit holder.

For those interested in experiencing fishing on the reservation but wish to avoid the streams, three well-stocked ponds are located on Big Cove Road in front of the KOA Campground. A tribal permit is required to fish in the ponds and the same hours apply as for the streams.

Due to the weekly stocking program, certain sections of the rivers, streams and the ponds are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. There are also areas of enterprise (tribal) waters that are reserved for tribal members and not open to the general public.

Exact areas are detailed in the brochure published by Fish and Game Management and available at all locations where permits are sold and at the Cherokee Visitor Center, located in downtown Cherokee. The main fishing areas are known as Raven Fork, Soco Creek and the Oconaluftee River.

The popularity of Cherokee as one of the country's top places for trout fishing can be attested to by the annual issuance of over 70,000 permits. While this number may seem high and produce an image of shoulder-to-shoulder fishermen, it is easy to find a place - even on busy days - where anglers can fish without encountering a fellow sportsman. Even experienced fishermen will find excellent fishing in the Oconaluftee River in the downtown area of Cherokee where visitors can watch as the fishing "game" is played.

In recent years, Reservation waters have yielded trout which have captured North Carolina records: one for a seven pound, seven ounce brook trout and a 15 pound, eight ounce brown trout.

From Florida to Wisconsin and Texas to Maine, Cherokee's fishing opportunities are well known. Expert assistance is available from several sources, such as One Feather Fly and Tackle Shop in downtown Cherokee. Regardless of age or experience, fishing can be a fascinating addition to other vacation activities on the reservation.

For complete fishing information contact Cherokee Fish and Game Management, P. 0. Box 302, Cherokee, NC 28719 or the Cherokee Visitor Center, P. 0. Box 460, Cherokee, NC 28719.

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