How will Cherokee affect you?

Here, the waters run pure and ancient, and the fish are freshly stocked and plentiful.

Today is your day, proud angler—30 miles of streams, arguably the longest stretch of managed private fishery in the eastern US, stocked to the gills with trout: rainbow, brook, golden, and brown. What are you waiting for? They’re here and they’re hungry. You will discover thousands of new favorite fishing spots, all collected into one jaw-droppingly beautiful place. From catch-and-keep to catch-and release calendars, you’re casting constantly. Yet in Cherokee, the memories you catch while fishing might be the tastiest of all.

We’re passionate about trout.

A precious natural resource, the abundantly trout-filled stream system in Cherokee connects 30 miles of freestone streams that include secluded forest settings, suburban roadside areas, and even the Cherokee town center. Over 40 shops and stores offer authorized fishing permits, and a growing number of tackle shops supply both expert and novice gear including flies, tackle, and bait.

What’s a freestone stream?

Paradise for fish; bounty for fishermen.

It’s alive, natural, and ever changing. Found only in high elevations and foothills, a freestone stream is formed by runoff rain or melting snow water that collects as gravity pulls it off mountaintops, forest floors, and isolated coves. As the water descends ever rapidly, chaos happens–trees are uprooted, rocks dislodge, boulders crash, and streams carve out their course as they form. Depending on rainfall, don’t be surprised if a favorite run is returned to rubble or a scenic bend has acquired an inviting new stretch of riffles and pocket pools. But that’s all part of the unfolding beauty of Cherokee fishing.

828.788.0034

Cherokee's Cast Into Spring Tournament March 28-30, 2014

Presenting 20,000 reasons to get excited about spring fishing. This tournament requires just an $11 entry fee to compete for $20,000 in tagged fish in the rivers on the Qualla Boundary (excluding the 2.2 miles of catch-and-release waters). Tagged fish will be specially stocked for this event, and when you catch one, you redeem it for cash prizes ranging from $20 to $500. Prizes can be redeemed at Artist Row on US 441. Open to all ages and for all legal fishing methods. Register to redeem cash prizes anywhere fishing licenses are sold.

Cherokee's Memorial Day Trout Tournament May 23-25, 2014

Spend the long weekend with the boys: rainbow, brook, golden, and brown. Your $11 entry fee let’s you compete for $10,000 in tagged fish within the beautiful freestone streams of Cherokee, NC; only the 2.2 miles of catch-and-release waters are excluded. We’ve stocked our waters with specially tagged fish that you simply redeem for cash prizes ranging from $20 to $500 based on the color of the tag. Prizes can be redeemed at Artist Row on US 441. Open to all ages and for all legal fishing methods. Register to redeem cash prizes anywhere fishing licenses are sold.

Cherokee's Dog Days Trout Tournament July 18-19, 2014

A small $11 entry fee helps you liven up the dog days of summer with this exciting tagged tourney. Compete for your share of $10,000 by catching beautiful fish all across Cherokee, NC (excluding the 2.2 miles of catch-and-release waters). It’s simple. You’ll already find the waters stocked with tagged fish. When you catch one, you just redeem it for cash prizes up to $1,000. Prizes can be redeemed at Artist Row on US 441. Open to all ages and for all legal fishing methods. Register to redeem cash prizes anywhere fishing licenses are sold.

The Qualla Country Trout Tournament September 5-7, 2014

It’s not too late to take home the summer’s biggest trout. And biggest purse. Your $11 entry fee lets you compete for your share of $20,000 in the pristine, freestone streams of Cherokee (excluding the 2.2 miles of catch-and-release waters). For those unfamiliar with tagged tourneys, you’ll discover the waters stocked with fish tagged with different colors. Just catch and redeem them for cash up to $5,000. Prizes can be redeemed at Artist Row on US 441. Open to all ages and for all legal fishing methods. Register to redeem cash prizes anywhere fishing licenses are sold.

Rumble in the Rhododendron November 7-9, 2014

Leeettttttt’s geeeeeeetttttt readdddddy toooo rummmmmbbbbbble. This two-person team fly-fishing competition is held on the 2.2 miles of trophy, catch-and-release waters in Cherokee, NC. A modified FIPS-mouche format will be used with a tag out system being incorporated, meaning only one team member may fish at a time. Fishing sessions are three hours long. Registration fee includes tournament registration for two people, competitor swag, several meals during the competition, and more.

November 7 - Anglers’ meeting
November 8 - Competition day
November 9 - Competition finals and awards

Prizes
The EBCI Fisheries and Wildlife Management Program has provided $10,000 in cash, which will be awarded to the 1st place team ($5,000), 2nd place team ($3,000) and 3rd place team ($2,000).

Format
Two-man teams, FIPS-mouche rules.

Registration includes:

Opening dinner on Friday evening, competitor swag, lunch on Saturday, and fishing tournament registration.

Schedule

Friday night is registration, draw of the beat assignments, and dinner. Saturday and Sunday are competition days.

This tournament is limited to 30 teams, with 15 competing on Saturday morning and 15 on Saturday afternoon. The top seven from each session move on to Sunday morning. The top seven from Sunday morning’s competition will move on to fish Sunday afternoon for the cash.

To register:
You may register by mail with a check or in person with cash or check. Make checks payable to the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce.

Cherokee Chamber of Commerce
498 Tsali Boulevard
PO Box 1838
Cherokee, NC 28719 

ALL PAYMENT IS DUE IN FULL BY OCTOBER 15, 2014, or you risk the possibility of losing your team’s spot.

Volunteers and judges for the tournament are needed. Anyone interested in judging or volunteering should contact Larry Hofferberth at hoffel@windstream.net

For more information email amy@cherokeesmokies.com or call 828.788.0034.

To experience the best NC fishing, you need to buy a fishing permit. Luckily, that’s as easy as catching a Cherokee trout.

With an easy-to-purchase permit, you’re ready to drop a hook for the first time or compete in the lucrative tournaments held throughout the season. You’re ready to Fish Cherokee. 

It’s more fun when you follow the rules.

Fishing on the Qualla Boundary (otherwise known as the Cherokee Reservation) is infinitely more fun when you do it the right way. We’ve set up the following Frequently Asked Questions to help guide your understanding and ensure you and your family of fishers have a great time.

 

When do I need a Tribal Permit?

Only a Tribal Permit is required to fish within the Reservation. Outside the Boundary you must have a valid state fishing license. Dozens of local businesses in Cherokee are authorized outlets for fishing permits. The permit applies to Enterprise Waters only, which are managed by the Tribal Fisheries and Wildlife Management Program.

 

What are Enterprise Waters?

Enterprise Waters include most of the Raven Fork, Oconaluftee River and Soco watersheds. All remaining waters on the reservation may only be fished by members of the tribe and are off limits to the general public.

 

How much is a Tribal Permit?

$10.00 per day - Tribal Permit for each person 12 years of age and over for streams and ponds. No other fishing permit or license is accepted. Children under twelve are allowed to fish when accompanied by a permitted adult. Two-, three-, and five-day permits are available at a reduced rate of $17 for a two-day, $27 for a three-day, and $47 for a five-day. A single season's permit is available for $250.

 

When does the fishing season start, and when does it end?

Fishing in Cherokee is open year-round with the last Saturday in March serving as the ceremonial opening day. Catch-and-release areas are open year-round. Fishing is allowed from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.

 

Is there a limit to how many fish I can catch?

Daily limit is ten trout per permit holder (includes catch of children fishing under a supervising adult's permit).

 

What’s a Catch-and-Release Special Use Permit?

$25 for a 1–3 day or $75 per year with the purchase of a general fishing permit, the Tribal Special Use Permit allows use of the catch-and-release area designated on the Raven Fork. All general fishing regulations apply to this permit as do following the Special Use Permit Regulations within the catch-and-release area:

Tackle is limited to fly rods, reels, and line with a maximum of 18 feet leader material or monofilament line attached.

Only artificial flies and streamers constructed of natural or synthetic material on a single barbless hook are permitted.

Fishing with multiple flies attached to a single line (droppers) is permitted.

 

Is anything forbidden inside the catch & release area on Raven Fork?

Taking of any live fish caught.

Use of any spin & bait casting rods, reels, lures, or tackle.

Use of any natural bait, fish bait, or bait paste including fish eggs or derivative.

Cherokee Enterprise Waters. What are they?

The tribe's Enterprise Waters, overseen by Cherokee Fisheries and Wildlife Management, is sort of a fancy name for a precious natural resource consisting of 30 miles of freestone streams connected to one another. They run through secluded forest settings, suburban roadside areas, and even Cherokee town center.

When can I fish?

Throughout the year, fishing is allowed from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. Creek limit is ten trout per day per permit holder. For those who are interested in experiencing fishing on the Reservation but wish to avoid the streams, three well-stocked ponds are located on Big Cove Road in front of the KOA Campground. A Tribal Permit is required to fish in the ponds and the same hours apply as for the streams.

What’s this about a permit?

A $10.00 Tribal Permit for each person 12 years of age and over is required to fish in Cherokee streams and ponds. Children under twelve are allowed to fish, free of charge, with a permitted adult. Two-, three-, and five-day permits are available at a reduced rate and a season's permit costs $250.00. No other type of fishing license is required nor accepted on the Reservation. Many businesses in Cherokee are authorized outlets for fishing permits.

What types of fish are there? Meet your adversaries:

Regular stocking of the streams is the responsibility of Cherokee Fisheries and Wildlife Management, which each year adds nearly 250,000 trout to an existing population of fish swimming in our crystal-clear mountain waters. That’s the highest density of fish in stocked waters in the east. These supplemental stockings include rainbow, brook, and brown trout of various sizes ranging up to trophy size.

Brook Trout:

The only native trout found in these mountain waters, the Brookie ranges between 6–18” when fully grown. It’s found in cold waters (bring your hip waders!), like those running through narrow streams. You’ll know it by its red spots and light red fins with white edges.

Brown Trout:

Don’t let the name fool you. This trout variety can be brown, but also olive, and often has green, orange, and red spots encircled in yellow or white. They like to live near fallen trees or boulders in large pools, and can be found under shaded banks. The big ones can reach 18–26”, weighing as much as 6–16 lbs.

Golden Trout:

The newest neighbor to our waters, Goldens were spawned in 1954 and are uniquely prized as a trophy fish. Known for their unmistakable bright golden hue, they’re similar in size and behavior to large browns and Rainbows.

Rainbow Trout:

The most commonly found stocked fish in these waters, the Rainbow displays a wide lateral pink to red stripe on its side, dark olive on its back, light colors on its belly, and is speckled overall. It’s predominantly found in riffles and swift runs, as well as in open waters.

Smallmouth Bass:

This stream-bred game fish can be found throughout the lower Oconaluftee River on Cherokee lands. Also known as “bronzebacks,” these wild fish are quick to take a lure or bait and are always ready to give you a very fun fight.

Where can I fish?

When can I fish?

Year-round. 

Where can I learn more about tournaments?

FishCherokee.com 

cherokee map

Fishing


Handicapped Accessible Fishing Piers

The Bears Project

The Bears Project started in 2005 with the intention of showcasing the variety of talented artists within the Qualla Boundary. A committee researched several concepts prior to selecting a bear theme, as they intended to produce something that would be culturally significant. Bears are a large part of the Cherokee culture and appear in many of the stories and legends that the Cherokee people hold sacred. The culture currently recognizes contributions from the clan spirits of Bird, Blue, Deer, Long Hair, Paint, Wild Potato, and Wolf.


Tribal Trout Hatchery

The Bears Project

The Bears Project started in 2005 with the intention of showcasing the variety of talented artists within the Qualla Boundary. A committee researched several concepts prior to selecting a bear theme, as they intended to produce something that would be culturally significant. Bears are a large part of the Cherokee culture and appear in many of the stories and legends that the Cherokee people hold sacred. The culture currently recognizes contributions from the clan spirits of Bird, Blue, Deer, Long Hair, Paint, Wild Potato, and Wolf.



Fish Cherokee

Welcome to the most pristine, well-stocked waters east of the Mississippi. Here, you can fill your livewell or basket with more than just fish. This is where historic cultural stories and experiences enrich every vacation. Learn about the ancient fishing weir, which once served as a significant tool for the Cherokee to provide subsistence for their villages. Grab a multi-day permit at any of our 28 fishing license locations in Cherokee or online at FishCherokee.com.


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