JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Fishing is one of Tennessee’s most popular outdoor activities. However, with the exception of one Free Fishing Day each year, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) requires anglers to be licensed to catch fish in the state.

There are a variety of hunting and fishing license packages available through the TWRA. Any valid sportsman license will cover trout fishing, and most fishing licenses can be supplemented with trout privileges. Even one-day licenses can be upgraded for small fees to include trout fishing.

Catching a trout without the proper licensing can result in different penalties.

TWRA Public Information Officer Matthew Cameron told News Channel 11 that the minimum fine for illegally catching trout is $10 plus court costs. However, Cameron said the court costs can vary greatly between the different court systems with rural communities generally having higher costs.

An angler could also potentially lose their fishing license if they have illegally caught a trout, but Cameron said that penalty is usually reserved for repeat offenders or anglers who have seriously exceeded certain limits.

TWRA officers can also fine improperly licensed anglers if it is clear that they are targeting trout in trout-inhabited waters and using specific bait.

In total, the TWRA reports there are five species of trout found in Tennessee waterways, all of which can be found in Northeast Tennessee. Those include:

  • Rainbow trout
  • Brown trout
  • Lake trout
  • Brook trout
  • Cutthroat trout

Of those five, brook trout are the only species native to Tennessee. The rest are stocked by officials, with cutthroat trout being introduced to state waterways in 2021.

To see the TWRA’s fishing license options, click here.