Fishing in Mammoth Cave National Park

A young man fishing in Green River at Mammoth Cave National Park

Green River is one of the most biologically diverse rivers in North America. Many of the fish species of the eastern United States most sought by anglers are found in the Green and Nolin Rivers, both rough and sport fish. Whether fishing from bank or island, john boat or canoe, the ancient battle of wits and wills between man and fish is an everyday occurrence at Mammoth Cave National Park.

Fishing in the Green and Nolin Rivers is good throughout the year, with spring and summer being the most productive. Bass, crappie, bluegill, muskellunge and catfish, along with almost 100 other species, frequent the river. State creel and size limits apply, but you do not need a state fishing license as long as you fish within park boundaries.

Places to fish

Park visitors may fish at any point along the Green and Nolin Rivers and at First Creek Lake. Fishing is not permitted at the ferry landing during operating hours; stay at least 100’ away from the ferry.


No fishing license or permit is required within the boundary of Mammoth Cave National Park.


Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife regulations regarding fish size and possession limits apply to all fish caught within Mammoth Cave National Park. Please refer to the current Kentucky Sport Fishing & Boating Guide which can be obtained free at locations where fishing licenses are sold and at


A trotline is a line with multiple baited hooks. Such lines may have no more than 50 single or multi-barbed baited hooks, and those hooks must be no more than 30 inches apart. Trotlines must be set at least three feet below the water’s surface.

One person may use no more than two trotlines at any one time. All trotlines must be permanently labeled with the name and address of the user. All such lines must be checked and fish removed at least once every 24 hours, and must be removed from water or bank when fishing ceases.


The use of seines is permitted in the following creeks and runs solely to catch minnows and crawfish for bait: Bylew Creek, First Creek, Second Creek, Pine Creek, Big Hollow, Cub Run Creek, Buffalo Creek, Ugly Creek, Blowing Spring, Mill Branch, Floating Mill Branch, and Dry Branch. Seines shall not exceed 4’x6’, and the mesh shall not be larger than ¼’’.

Live Bait

Worms are the only form of live bait that may be used at Sloans Crossing Pond, Green Pond, Doyle Pond, and First Creek Lake. Live minnows and worms may be used in all other waters. Practice “Leave No Trace” and carry out all of your excess bait to dispose of after you are finished.

Other Aquatic Animals

Only fish may be taken from the rivers inside Mammoth Cave National Park. All other river animals, such as frogs and turtles, are protected in the park and may not be taken by any method at any time.

Jugging and Limb Line Fishing Is Not Permitted Under Any Circumstances.

A Special Note About River Mussels
Green River is home to more species of freshwater mussels than any other river in North America, and seven of these mussel species are endangered. Do not touch, pick up or collect live mussels or shells at any time. Possession of live mussels or their shells in the park is strictly prohibited.


Learn and Explore

More On The Rivers

Finding your way along the Green and Nolin Rivers in Mammoth Cave National Park is a lot easier if you follow these links.

Last updated: July 10, 2019

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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 7
Mammoth Cave, KY 42259-0007


(270) 758-2180

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