Vince

The Great Smoky Mountains a Hidden Fishing Paradise

I have been working (and visiting) the Great Smoky Mountains a lot the past couple of years. During my winding drives, I have come along some real hidden gems in respect to fishing that looks to be begging for me to pull over and start casting.

Being more of a lake/creek fisherman, I have only been fly fishing once in my life as a kid. The Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina have got me thinking about giving it a real try.

The Views of The Smoky Mountains

The beautiful view the smoky mountains offers will take your breath away. The region offers a lot of wildlife along with many streams/rivers that flow heavily giving trout fishing anglers a perfect and beautiful experience.

Depending on where you go in the Smoky Mountains, you will find many places to stay. For a fishing trip, I would suggest looking into getting a cabin.

The Fishing opportunities of The Smoky Mountains

Being that the Smoky Mountains are so large, you will find endless fishing opportunities. From rolling rivers to slow moving waterways and lakes. Here are a few I have found during my drives to customers:

Oconaluftee River

Located in Cherokee, NC, the Oconaluftee is a staple for local trout fishing. With Cherokee’s large Elk population, you never know who you will see out in the water. This stretch of river is a beautiful spot to fish or just have lunch take in the beauty.

One note to keep in mind. You will need a NC fishing license with a trout stamp. You also my need a Cherokee fishing license if you are located withing the tribal land. You can find more information on this and other regulations here.

This is the river I have been thinking about fishing. The downside for myself is, it will require new gear. Since I have do not fly fish, new fly rod, tackle and bibs are needed. I have been looking at some fishing wader reviewed and some rod/reels in my price range as of late. Hope to have everything by mid season!

Cherokee Lake

If you are more into Large Mouth or Stripped Bass, Cherokee Lake may be your spot. This whole region is known for massive lake and stripe bass. I have been past this lake many of times and planning on putting a trip together in the next year or two with my brother in-law.

Lake Cumberland and Norris Lake

So, Lake Cumberland and Norris Lake are not quite in the Smoky Mountains but close enough where they are worthy of a mention. We have fished both lakes many of times.

Lake Cumberland

Located in near the Kentuck/Tennessee border, Lake Cumberland is most widely known for Striped Bass fishing. We have caught some monsters. But, you don’t need to stick with Stripe Bass. Once you limit out,hit the Small Mouth. You can expect to pull some nice fish out of this lake. Actually, the image used on our twitter page is a Stripe Bass caught on a trip their. Here is my quick article on a Lake Cumberland fishing trip I posted back in 2013.

Norris Lake

Norris Lake is newer to our adventures. We have only been once but have decided to go back as soon as we can. Located in the same region as Cumberland, Norris Lake is located throughout many counties in Tennessee. It has a lot of creeks and rivers intertwined flowing into it.

Me with three monsters caught at Norris

Photoed above is some nice Strip Bass caught on our trip to Norris Lake. We had a great day out on the water and limited out.

Above is a beast I pulled in a mouth of a river and Norris Lake. We were located on the river and you channel going into the lake is behind the boat you see in the photo.

Other Fishing Opportunities

There are so many fishing opportunities  in and around the Great Smoky Mountains, it would be impossible to list them all. The above are just a few of the opportunities I have drove past you fished myself. If you have a trip coming up or want to plan one, I suggest googling “smoky mounting fishing”. You will find endless possibilities.

The Bottom Line

If you have never been to the Smoky Mountains, I suggest you check the area out. The mountains makes for a good family trip, tons of wildlife and endless views. Check out my review on Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, great place for a family trip with plenty of river access for fishing.

So, do you fish in the Smoky Mountains? If so, share with us places to check out!

Gatlinburg Tennessee Review

Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge Tennessee

Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are located in the Great Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. Located about 15 minutes apart from each other, people usually visit both within the same trip. With both towns offering different types of things to do, you are sure to find fun stuff to keep you and your kids busy having fun.

In this Article, we will go over my families experience in both Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. We have vacationed in both places multiple times and have a good understanding of what they have to offer, what are “must does” and even the stuff to stay away from.

I firstly want to introduce my family and tell you a little about us. This way, you know what we look for in vacation.

My name is Vince and my wife and I have been married since June 1st, 2001. We have to boys, ages 14, 9 and one daughter age 4, we all love doing stuff as a family. We enjoy camping, nature and going on vacation of course. Gatlinburg Tennessee is about 6 hours from our home in Indiana near Cincinnati, Ohio.

 Gatlinburg VS. Pigeon Forge

 A quick overview of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

We have made our way back from our latest trip to Gatlinburg Tennessee and had a great time. Even though I love my in-laws, five nights was long enough (I’m sure you understand). For you that have never heard of Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge it is roughly 50 minutes southeast of Knoxville. Gatlinburg has a ton of shops a sky lift and all the Ripley’s attractions among a lot more that we will go over. Pigeon Forge has all the Go Karts you can handle along with some great eats, mini golf and the daredevil rides to see if it is your time to meet our Lord.

Gatlinburg

The town of Gatlinburg is known for most of the shopping, sky lifts, smaller restaurants and indoor attractions. They do have some cool outdoor stuff that we will go over but I consider them part of the lifts. Gatlinburg is the original town that has been a staple in the Smokey Mountains for a long time. There is a lot of history here and even a lot of country sounds mentioning the town. In recent years it has turned into a tourist trap from hell, not a bad thing but more commercialized in the past 15 years.

Pigeon Forges

Is known for Dollywood, all the go-carts you can handle, more flea market type shopping, restaurants, thrill rides, etc.

Though the towns are not far from each other, traffic can be horrible at times, especially the days when people are leaving and coming to town at the same time. There is one main road in and one out.

Where to Stay

Gatlinburg cabins or hotels?

Though we did not camp we did stay in a cabin. Gatlinburg Tennessee has many of great camp grounds to choose from but to be truthful, the cabins are they way to go in my opinion.

Depending on what time of year you visit will depend one the price you pay. Gatlinburg has stuff to offer all year round, but the time of year will still have effect on what you play. We have seen rooms as low as $24 a night and around $39 for the nicer hotels during the off season when kids are in school. During the summer, you will pay much more.

If you like the outdoors, I suggest doing what we do and that is renting a cabin during your stay. There are many to choose from but most are unreachable in winter months. We usually stay in a cabin between the two towns but more toward Gatlinburg (8-10 minutes from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge). These are a little cheaper but still run around $150-$200 per night for a two bedroom. Between the pinball, arcade, Foosball, pool table and hot tub this is the way to go if you have the money. You can get from a one bedroom to a cabin that sleeps 20 people. One point to make here is to do your research, we have stayed at a dump before because we didn’t research first. But we have also stayed at some huge places that overlooked the Smokies for the same price. A google search will give you many choices.

Places to Eat

Get your eat on!

The food can be good in both towns. The main place that I recommend is the Old Mill restaurant located in Pigeon Forge. You will not be disappointed, if you order the meatloaf you will get a pound or more, and then corn chowder, mash potatoes, green beans, salad, fritters and desert. I think the cost was $18.I have heard The Alamo Steakhouse is great but I have never been, it is over my cheap budget.

Bennett’s Bar-B-Que located in Gatlinburg is good but you don’t get as much as I would expect from a BBQ place.

On the way in to Pigeon Forge from the main highways, you pass Flap Jack’s and this place is a must stop for breakfast on the way back home. We stop by on our way out every time that we are in town.

By now I’m sure you know that I like to eat, but one more stop you have to make is on the strip in Gatlinburg, it is at the video arcade and they have huge foot long corn dogs and sausages with peppers and onions. You will find it a little pricey but it is a must stop for one of your lunches.

You will also find your common chain restaurants in Pigeon Forges, but why would you eat at a place like that when you have so many local places?

There are many more local restaurants but the above mentioned places is the places we go almost (if not) every trip. Since we get a cabin in Gatlinburg, we cook most of the time to save money. We usually eat breakfast out once on our way out of town, go out to dinner once per trip and eat lunch out more often because it can be a hassle to go back to the cabin just to eat.

Things to do

Attractions of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

There is many attractions you can visit but plan to bring some money. Like any other tourist trap, nothing is cheap. Go-Karts are huge in Pigeon Forge and the NASCAR Speedpark has a deal of I believe $30 all you can ride. Most other places charge between $5.00-$8.00 per ride of I think 8 minutes. You will find many track layouts from figure 8 to corkscrew to oval tracks. If you like to ride go-carts, you will be in heaven.

If you are looking for rides, Ober Gatlinburg is a good choice, you can either take the tram up the mountain for $10 adults, kids under 7 free or make the drive. Once you get to the top, it is $20 all you can ride. They have many rides, water slides but our favorite was the Alpine Slide. A large hill, a slide on wheels and you controlling it, what could go wrong lol…If you enjoy putt-putt, then you will have a lot of choices. You will find many themed courses around both towns. Our favorite is the Hillbilly golf course in Gatlinburg. You play going down the side of a mountain and my son swears that some of the statues are of some of our family members 🙂

Pigion Forge has many of the thrill rides on the strip but we have never rode them. I have never trusted the whole death ride next to the road thing.

You also have Dollywood that we have never been to.

I could go on forever on the attractions but go-carts, Ober Gatlinburg and Dollywood are the main selections.

Over all

Over all, this is a great family vacation spot. Up in the mountains, go-karts, good food and plenty of kid friendly stuff to do. What else can you ask for in life? Oh yea, there is a large number of chapels in case you want to tie the knot in the mountains. We have been a large number of times and will continue to go back.

Gatlinburg Poll – Tell us why you like or do not like Gatlinburn below the poll in the comment section!