Fishing in Cherokee - North Carolina Fishing - Smoky Mountains Recreation

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Cherokee Fishing - North Carolina Recreation

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Fishing Haven in the Great Smokies

For untold centuries the Cherokee Indians have relied on the streams and rivers of the Great Smoky Mountains to provide their people with a bountiful source of food. Those streams, at least 30 miles of which run through the Cherokee Indian Reservation, are now used for both food and fun by amateur and serious anglers.

It's the Cherokee Fish and Game Management's responsibility to stock the streams. Each year their stocking efforts add nearly 400,000 trout to the existing population swimming in the park's crystal clear mountain waters. Included in these supplemental stockings are brook, brown and rainbow trout of various sizes ranging from small to trophy size.

Cherokee T
here is a $5.00 tribal permit for each person 12 years old and over that is required for fishing in Cherokee ponds and streams. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a permitted adult to fish.

Seasonal permits cost $150.00. Available at a reduced rate are two, three, and five-day permits. The reservation accepts, nor permits, any other type of license. Nearly 24 other businesses in Cherokee are authorized outlets for fishing permits.

For the most part, Cherokee is closed to fishing in March. Fishing season begins the last Saturday of March, continuing for 11 months and ending the last day of February the following year.

During the season, fishing is permitted from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Creel limit is 10 trout per day per permit holder.

For those wanting to avoid the streams but interested in experiencing fishing on the reservation, three well-stocked ponds lay in front of the KOA Campground on Big Cove Road. To fish in the ponds a tribal permit is required and the same hours apply as they do for the streams.

Certain sections of the ponds, rivers, and streams are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays due to the weekly stocking program. Enterprise (tribal) waters also include some areas that are reserved solely for tribal members, but not open to the general public.

Fish and Game Management details the exact closure areas in their brochure. Brochures are available at all locations where permits are sold and at the Cherokee Visitor Center in downtown Cherokee, North Carolina. The Oconaluftee River, Raven Fork, and Soco Creek are the main fishing areas.

Cherokee's noteworthiness as a trout fishing destination can be attested to by the more than 70,000 permits issued each year. While it is a very robust number that produces images of shoulder-to-shoulder anglers, it's actually easy to find a nice place - even on busy days - where fishermen can cast their line without encountering a fellow sportsman. Even experienced anglers will find excellent fishing in the Oconaluftee River. Located in downtown Cherokee, the Oconaluftee River is a great place for visitors to get a glimpse as the fishing "game" is played.

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

From Texas to Maine and Florida to Wisconsin, Cherokee's fishing opportunities are not an unknown commodity. One Feather Fly and Tackle Shop in downtown Cherokee provides expert assistance for the first-time visitor. Fishing can really be a fascinating addition to your vacation activities on the reservation.

For additional information on fishing in the Cherokee area 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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