Native Appalachian Brook
Trout: We think these are
the symbol of the park's fish.
They are the only native fish
called a trout in the park.
Wild Brown Trout:
Brown trout can grow much
larger than the rainbow or
brook trout. They have been
known to get over 25 inches.
Wild Trout (Stream-bred trout) Stocked & Native Trout:
|Fly Fishing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Wild Rainbow Trout:
Rainbow are the most plentiful
trout in the park. They prefer
the fast, pocket water that
makes up most of the streams.
The brook trout is the real jewel of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Of the
three species found in the Smokies, the brook trout is the only native fish. The brook
trout is technically not a trout. It's a member of the char family of fish but it's called a
trout and considered a trout by fly anglers. We like to think of the native brook trout as
The rainbow was at one time stocked in the park. This is stopped years ago and
except for a very few that enter the streams of the park from outside the park's
boundary, all the trout are wild.
The brown trout were stocked outside the park in some streams that flow from the
park. These brown trout made their way into the park where they are now plentiful in
some streams, especially in the lower elevations.
We should point out to those of you who that may not know, there's a huge difference
in a stocked trout and a wild trout. Stocked trout are feed in a hatchery prior to being
stocked. They are much easier to catch than wild trout that were born in the stream
and have spent their entire life capturing food only from what Mother Nature has
When they are first stocked, trout will usually fall for just about anything that remotely
resembles food, especially if it's similar to what they were used to eating at the
hatchery. They are much less afraid of danger than wild trout. Wild trout have to
survive the treats of predators such as otters, birds and other fish their entire life.
We should mention that trout are stocked in some of the streams outside of the park
and a few of these fish may swim upstream and occasionally be caught inside the
park’s boundaries, but by far and large the trout are wild trout that were born in the
streams of the Smokies.
Wild (Stream-Bred) Trout:
Like native trout, wild, stream-bred trout are trout that are born and raised in the
stream, not in a hatchery. They are different from native trout in that their ancestors
were at one time stocked. After being stocked, they were able to survive and
reproduce on their own well enough that stocking was discontinued.
It's common to find stream-bred trout in streams and rivers where trout are still
stocked, but in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, stocking was discontinued
years ago and all the streams are managed as wild trout streams.
Wild trout spend their entire lifetime learning to eat the natural food that's found in the
streams. They also must learn to hide from their predators in order to survive. For
that reason, they are far more difficult to approach and to fool with a fly that stocked
Copyright 2011 James Marsh