Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
Region 4 Stream Management
East Tennessee Stream and River Access

Access To Private Land For Fishing Streams and Rivers

Most of the access to Tennessee streams and rivers are under private ownership. Access to private property is a privilege, not a right. Taking time to request permission to private property can lead to some great fishing opportunities.

Ask permission in advance. Don’t wait until the last minute.

* Visit the landowner in person, rather than a phone call. This allows the landowner to see you and makes it much easier to get permission.

*Visit at a convenient time for the landowner. Right after lunch or early evening may be a good opportunity to catch the landowner. Don’t go at night.

*Ask permission for a specific day and number of anglers. Keep that number as low as possible.

*Go by yourself or with your child when asking.

*The way you dress is important, so dress appropriately.

If you get permission, follow these guidelines:

*Be sure you know where you can and can’t go, and any specific rules the landowner may have. 

*Be sure you know where their property lines are located.

*Drive only on roads the landowner has designated.

*Leave gates just as you found them.

*Keep away from all houses, barns and livestock, and respect crops.

*Thank the landowner before you go fishing.

*Offer to return their favor with another. For example, offer to help fix a broken fence or gate.

*Report any damages to fences or livestock you see – even if it isn’t your doing.

*Leave the property cleaner than you found it.

*Offer to share your catch with the landowner, preferably cleaned.

*Lastly, don’t assume that permission granted one time means that you automatically have permission to return. Situations change so you should check in with the landowner regularly.

Be An Ethical Angler

*Learn how to fish responsibly to protect and conserve our natural resources.

*Practice catch and release and selective harvest methods. These methods increase survival rates of released fish and help maintain fishing success for future generations.

*Be courteous and respect the rights of all resource users, including other anglers, swimmers, boaters, and land owners.

*Sincerely appreciate the environment and work hard to keep it clean.

*Harvest fish responsibly, keeping only what you can eat.

*Know and abide by fishing regulations. They enhance and protect the resource and more evenly distribute harvests among anglers.

Pick Up Your Trash!

Beverage bottles, bait containers, tackle packaging, and fishing line are common sights at many fishing holes. Besides trashing the area, littering has other consequences. Littering by relatively few anglers is ruining fishing opportunities for everyone. Many landowners refuse access to their land because they do not want to pick up after anglers. Littering also makes it more costly to manage public areas. We must clean up or we will loose even more access for fishing.

Fishing line may seem like a relatively harmless item to discard. But there is no excuse for littering. Discarded fishing line could injure or kill wildlife, and can even entangle people resulting in injuries. Take the time to put your excess line in a small plastic bag, and take it home with you. Some tackle shops accept old line for recycling.

Region 4 
Stream and River Access Points
East Tennessee is fortunate to have over 4,000 miles of streams and rivers.  Streams and rivers in the region are of considerable value as they provide a variety of recreational opportunities.  Most sites listed in the map above are public stream and river acess that require no fee.  The majority provide an area for launching watercraft. Please click on a specific access point to obtain detailed information.  For statewide boating access select the link below.  
Region 4 Public Lands
Large holdings of the U.S. Dept. of Agricutlure (Cherokee National Forest) and the U.S. Dept. of the Interior (Great Smoky Mountians National Park) provide many stream fishing opportunities, especially for trout.

South Fork Holston River
Map Legend
Clinch River
Nolichucky River
French Broad River
Holston River
Left Prong Hampton Creek
Little River
Pigeon River
 Powell River
Watauga River