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Trout Stockings & Information


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 Hollow and Erwin National Fish Hatcheries annually.  

Each year 80 streams and small lakes are stocked to provide a trout fishery. These streams have low abundance of wild trout, or no trout at all. TWRA stocks about 325,000 9-12 inch trout between February and October. 

While trout fishing is allowed year-round on most of these streams, many of these waters are too warm for trout by mid summer. For this reason, we limit most of the trout stocking to the spring and the best fishing is from the first stocking week until the midsummer when water temperatures exceed 70 degrees F.   

Stocking frequency varies depending on the yearly temperatures of the particular waterbody, so check out the annual fishing guide 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 Listing. 

Note: A trout fishing license is required at these stocked locations.

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)

The list below identifies where adult Brook, Brown, or Rainbow trout were recently stocked into Tennessee waters.

Cold Water Stocking Locations (.pdf)

Note: The stocking report is updated weekly. The dates listed next to the water body are representative of when the water was last stocked as information is available. There are many factors that may impact when fish can be stocked, so the scheduled stocking dates are subject to change. For more information on where you can find these stocked waterbodies, visit the Map of Stocking Location (interactive map)

  WATER BODY DATE
Region 1 Beech Lake 1/10/2018
Bolivar Park 1/9/2018
Bradford City Pond 1/10/2018
Cameron Brown lake 1/9/2018
Davis Plantation Pond 1/11/2018
Edmund-Orgill Park Lake 1/9/2018
Hurricane Creek 4/25/2017
Lake Graham 1/11/2018
Martin City Lake 1/10/2018
McKenzie City Park Lake 1/10/2018
Milan City Pond 1/10/2018
Munford City Park Lake 1/11/2018
Paris City Park Lake 1/10/2018
Shelby Farms 1/9/2018
Standing Rock Creek 4/25/2017
Union City Lake 1/10/2018
Whiteoak Creek 4/25/2017
Yale Road City Pond 1/11/2018
Region 2 Big Rock Creek 1/11/2018
Billy Dunlap Park 12/6/2017
Cowan City Park 1/16/2018
Duck River Fishermans Park 1/8/2018
Duck River Riverside Dam 1/8/2018
East Fork Shoal Creek 1/3/2018
Ft. Campbell 7/18/2017
Harpeth River 1/19/2018
J D Buckner Lake 12/7/2017
J. Percy Priest TW 1/9/2018
Kingston Springs lake 12/7/2017
Lafayette City Park Lake 11/30/2017
Little Buffalo River 6/7/2017
Marrowbone Lake 11/30/2017
McCutcheon Creek 1/19/2018
Mill Creek 6/8/2017
Normandy TW 1/10/2018
Salt Lick Creek 4/4/2017
Shelby Park Lake 11/28/2017
Stone Bridge Park 12/6/2017
Sulphur Fork Creek 11/28/2017
Tims Ford TW 12/14/2017
VA Hospital Pond 2/1/2017
West Fork Stones River 1/11/2018
Region 3 Athens City Park Pond 1/4/2018
Bald River 9/18/2017
Barren Fork River 5/18/2017
Battle Creek 5/9/2017
Big Lost Creek 5/26/2017
Calfkiller River 5/23/2017
Cane Creek 5/24/2017
Cane Creek Park Lake 12/6/2017
Center Hill TW 1/5/2018
Charles Creek 5/18/2017
Citico Creek 8/31/2017
Collins River 5/15/2017
Cox Farm Pond 10/18/2017
Cumberland Mountain State Park 11/29/2017
Dale Hollow 2/15/2017
Dale Hollow TW 1/12/2018
Flat Fork Creek 4/11/2017
Flynns Lick Creek 5/3/2017
Goforth Creek 5/26/2017
Greasy Creek 5/26/2017
Green Cove Pond 12/21/2017
Hiwassee River TW 1/11/2018
Lake Junior 1/3/2018
Little Sequatchie River 5/16/2017
Monterey Lake 12/13/2017
Mountain Creek 4/18/2017
North Barren Fork Creek 5/3/2017
North Chickamauga Creek 5/9/2017
North River 5/3/2017
Parksville 3/8/2017
Parksville TW 5/26/2017
Pickett Lake 7/13/2017
Pine Creek 4/27/2017
Piney Creek 11/1/2017
Pocket Creek 5/16/2017
Rocky River 5/24/2017
Sequatchie River 5/23/2017
Sink Creek 4/27/2017
Spring Creek 5/26/2017
Standing Stone lake 3/6/2017
Sweeten Creek 5/9/2017
Tellico 4/21/2017
Tellico River 11/9/2017
Town Creek 5/16/2017
Tumbling Creek 5/26/2017
Turtletown Creek 5/12/2017
Upper Hills Creek 4/11/2017
Wolf River 5/17/2017
Region 4 Alexander Creek 9/22/2017
Beaverdam Creek 6/27/2017
Big Creek 4/27/2017
Boone TW 12/27/2017
Brush Creek 5/8/2017
Buffalo Creek 8/25/2017
Calderwood 10/6/2017
Cassi Creek 10/12/2017
Cherokee TW 1/12/2018
Chilhowee 12/28/2017
Clark Creek 5/30/2017
Conservation Lake 4/12/2017
Cosby Creek 7/3/2017
Dillard Ponds 10/30/2017
Doe Creek 7/6/2017
Doe River 6/26/2017
Elk River 5/22/2017
Fishery Park Pond 11/16/2017
Forge Creek 7/21/2017
Ft. Patrick Henry TW 8/3/2017
Gap Creek 4/26/2017
Goose Creek 6/8/2017
Gulf Fork Big Creek 5/30/2017
Horse Creek 6/26/2017
Indian Creek 4/26/2017
Johnson City Kids Fishing Derby 10/6/2017
Laurel Creek 6/27/2017
Laurel Fork 6/26/2017
Leconte Creek 5/18/2017
Little River 11/1/2017
Middle Prong Pigeon River 11/3/2017
Nolichucky River 11/2/2017
Norris TW 11/21/2017
North Indian Creek 12/1/2017
Norton Creek 6/29/2017
Oneida City Lake 1/5/2018
Paint Creek 10/10/2017
Panther Creek 4/21/2017
Puncheoncamp Creek 5/1/2017
Reedy Creek 5/12/2017
Richardson Creek 5/1/2017
Rock Creek Park 5/19/2017
Rocky Fork 10/16/2017
South Holston 1/16/2018
South Holston TW 9/7/2017
South Indian Creek 11/20/2017
Spivey Creek 11/29/2017
Station Creek 4/26/2017
Stony Creek 7/6/2017
Tackett Creek 4/10/2017
Upper Roan Creek 6/21/2017
VA Mountain Home Pond 11/16/2017
Watauga 11/17/2017
West Prong Little Pigeon River 9/29/2017
West Prong Little Pigeon River (Pigeon Forge) 11/2/2017
Wilbur 12/4/2017
Wilbur TW 9/20/2017

Tailwater Trout

TN River

Rivers below dams are commonly referred to as tailwaters or tailraces.  Many hydropower and flood control dams operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers release cold water into the tailwaters.  

The cold water eliminated the habitat for native fishes that formerly occurred downstream, so the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and TWRA stock trout to provide a quality fishery in these altered habitats.  

TWRA currently manages 13 tailwaters located in Middle and East Tennessee.  These fisheries are maintained by stocking both fingerling and adult trout at various times of the year.  TWRA, in cooperation with Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery stocks approximately 1.5 million trout into Tennessee tailwaters each year.

Trout Stocking Locations

Each year TWRA biologist survey trout populations in tailwaters to evaluate current fishing regulations and stocking rates.  Data collected during sampling helps TWRA biologists make informed decisions and guide future management strategies.

Region 2
Tims Ford Tailwater Trout Fishery 2017-2022

Region 3
Center Hill Tailwater Trout Fishery 2004-2009
Obey River Trout Fishery 2008-2014

Region 4
Norris Tailwater Trout Fishery 2014-2019
South Holston Trout Tailwater Fishery 2015-2020
Wilbur Trout Fishery 2015-2020

Wild Trout Streams

stream

Tennessee is fortunate to have an abundant wild trout resource.  The Appalachian Mountain range in East Tennessee has approximately 845 miles of stream that support wild populations of Brook, Rainbow, and Brown trout. Most of these streams can be found on  public land within the Cherokee National Forest (420 miles of stream) and Great Smoky Mountains National Park (245 miles of stream).  The remainder occurs on private property.

troutmap

A wild trout can be generally defined as having spent its entire life cycle (egg through adult) in the wild.  Since trout are abundant and can naturally reproduce in these streams, stocking is not needed to provide year-round fishing opportunities . Wild trout are typically found in soft-water (lack dissolved minerals) streams, causing them to be naturally infertile.   Consequently, fish don’t get very big. Rainbow and Brook trout rarely live longer than 5 years of age and stay relatively small (<10 inches). However, wild Brown Trout in Tennessee streams can have been found to live up to 12 years, occasionally reaching over 20 inches in length.  The statewide regulation for trout is a daily creel of 7 fish with no length limit.  Several streams have exceptions to these limits so refer to TWRA's Fishing Guide to get the latest information for special regulations on the water you plan to fish.

Brook Trout

Brook Trout Image

Brook Trout are Tennessee’s only native trout species, which have been found to be genetically distinct from Brook Trout native to more northern parts of its range. 

At one time, all wild trout water in Tennessee was inhabited by Brook Trout.  However, in the late 1800s many populations were lost due to primitive logging techniques and stocking of non-native Rainbow Trout.  Wild populations can now only be found in the coldest and cleanest headwater streams in the mountains of eastern Tennessee at elevations greater than 3,000 feet where water temperatures are typically below 68° F. TWRA biologists, in cooperation with the US Forest Service, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Tennessee Aquarium and Trout Unlimited have recently worked to expand the range of Brook Trout by stocking native strains back into their native waters.

Today, we have about 150 streams that support wild Brook Trout. For additional information on TWRA’s efforts to restore native Southern Appalachian Brook Trout populations across East Tennessee, check out of this episode of Tennessee’s Wild Side.   

Additional Information

Identification:  Yellow or reddish-orange spots on sides and belly.  Light wormlike markings on the upper body.  Leading edge of lower fins white with black stripe.

State Record:  4 lbs, 12 oz. (Caney Fork River)

Angler Recognition Programminimum 10 inches

Fishing Tips:  Brook Trout are aggressive feeders eating insects, crayfish, salamanders, and other fish.  Food is typically in short supply in headwater streams so Brook Trout rely heavily on prey that falls into the stream (e.g., ants, caterpillars, inchworms).

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout Image

Rainbow Trout are native to the Pacific drainages of the western United States, but through extensive trout management during much of the 20th century has become the most widely distributed and abundant trout species in Tennessee.  

Rainbows were originally introduced into Tennessee in the late 1880s when logging practices destroyed native Brook Trout habitat.

Wild populations are now found in about 300 streams across East Tennessee. Rainbow Trout spawn in late winter and their juvenile hatch out in early spring. They can tolerate temperature slightly warmer than Brook Trout, preferring water temperatures below 70° F.

Additional Information

Identification:  Body olive to silver in color.  Small black spots throughout the body that extend into the bottom of the tail.  Pink streak along middle of the body.

State Record:  18 lbs, 8 oz. (Private Pond)

Angler Recognition Program:  minimum 24 inches

Fishing Tips:  Rainbow Trout eat insects, crayfish, fish, and fish eggs. They are susceptible to a wide variety of tackle.  Fly-fishing with streamers, wet and dry flies can be effective. Spinning and bait casting tackle includes small spinners, spoons, worms, and hellgramites.

Brown Trout

Brown Trout

Brown Trout are native to Europe and Asia and, like Rainbows, became naturalized in Tennessee through stocking. They are typically found in lower elevation streams, often coexisting with Rainbow Trout. 

They spawn in the fall between October and November, and juveniles emerge in February or March. Common in about 25 wild streams, Brown Trout offer the best opportunity to catch a trophy trout in Tennessee.  Tennessee’s wild Brown Trout can live twice as long and attain much greater sizes than either Rainbow or Brook trout.

 

Additional Information

Identification:  Brown to yellowish body color.  Large dark spots and reddish dots, many having halos.  Slightly forked tail with no spots.

State Record:  28 lbs, 12 oz. (Clinch River)

Angler Recognition Program: minimum 26 inches

Fishing Tips:  Young Brown Trout feed mostly on aquatic insects, small crayfish and minnows.  Adults will feed on fish, crayfish, rodents, and salamanders.  Large browns tend to feed during low light conditions and after dark.  Typical trout baits and lures work for Brown Trout, but slightly larger tackle may help catch trophy sized fish.