Wild trout are generally limited to East Tennessee’s mountain streams, so most anglers rely on stocking for their trout fishing opportunities. For over 50 years, managers have addressed this demand by stocking tailwaters, rivers, reservoirs and small lakes from Memphis to Mountain City. TWRA operates four coldwater hatcheries that stock over a million trout into about 125 different waterbodies across the state of Tennessee each year. An additional 1 million are produced by the Dale Hallow and Erwin National Fish Hatcheries annually. Stocking frequency varies depending on the yearly temperatures of the particular waterbody, so check out the annual fishing guide or in the links provided above to find out approximate stocking times and locations. Many of the stocked trout streams flow through private property. To assure the future of these fisheries, respect landowner's rights by obtaining permission before wading through the property and leave the area cleaner than you found it.
Winter Trout Program
The winter trout program is designed to provide trout fishing opportunities in urban areas, particularly where there are few or no trout fisheries. The program began in 1999 in Nashville but has expanded to 34 locations from Memphis to Chattanooga with nearly 100,000 trout stocked during the 2015/2016 season. Winter fishing events are typically held near town centers on public property with ample parking. Higher stocking rates are used to assure high catch rates. Stocking dates are published in advance of each event and are provided in the Winter Stocked Trout link above.
Delayed Harvest Areas
Several stocked streams are closed to harvest during specific periods and then opened to harvest later in the year. The objective of this regulation is to provide a catch-and-release fishery for trout during the winter months using relatively low numbers of stocked trout. Then later in the year, after these fish have grown some, they may be harvested.
Regulations and boundaries vary for each creek so please consult TWRA’s Fishing Guide.
The following areas have delayed harvest regulations:
- Paint Creek (Green County)
- Tellico River (Monroe County)
- Gatlinburg Trout streams (Sevier County):
- West Prong Little River
- Dudley Creek
- Roaring Fork
- Leconte Creek
- Hiwassee River (Polk County)
- Piney River (Rhea County)