Two park visitors hold up a fish they just caught in the river.
A successful day fishing along the Green River.

NPS Photo/ Nathaniel Leies


What comes to mind when you think about fishing? Patience, relaxation, challenge, and memories? You may find all that and a sense of stewardship, conservation, and preservation. Take some time to explore our fishing information and learn what the park has to offer as well as your responsibilities before casting a line or flicking a fly into the water.



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


Fishing Regulations

In addition to the rules outlined in 36 CFR 2.3, 36 CFR 7.36, and the Superintendent’s Compendium, the following fishing regulations apply within the boundaries 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

Dry Branch

Seines shall not exceed 4’x6’, and the mesh shall not be larger than ¼’’.
Worms are the only form of live bait that may be used in:

Sloans Crossing Pond

Green Pond

Doyle Pond

First Creek Lake

Live minnows and worms may be used in all other waters. Practice Leave No Trace and carry out all your excess bait to dispose of after you are finished.
Jugging and Set Line (Limb Line) fishing is not permitted in the park.
The 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.

To learn more about fishing regulations the National Park Service, visit the Fish & Fishing website.


Fish Consumption Advisories in National Park Waters

The Environmental Protection Agency, states, territories, and tribes provide advice on fish and shellfish caught in the waters in their jurisdiction to help people make informed decisions about eating fish. Advisories are recommendations to limit your consumption of, or avoid eating entirely, certain species of fish or shellfish from specific bodies of water due to chemical or biological contamination.

Fish is part of a healthy balanced diet, but eating wild fish and shellfish caught in park waters is not risk free. Parks are “islands”, but the much larger “ocean” that surrounds them affects the natural resources inside a park. Other aquatic toxins are the result of natural biological processes. Also, chemical contaminants that originate outside of park boundaries can come into parks.

Mercury is an example of a toxin originating outside a park that can find its way into a park. Mercury exists naturally in some rocks, including coal. When power plants burn coal, mercury can travel in the air long distances before falling to the ground, usually in low concentrations. Once on the ground, microorganisms can change this elemental mercury to methyl mercury. This type of mercury can build up in animal tissues, and it can increase in concentration to harmful levels. This high concentration can occur in large predatory fish - those often pursued and eaten by anglers. Studies have shown that fish in some National Park System waters have mercury levels that may be a concern to people who regularly eat a lot of fish.

Mammoth Cave National Park Fish Consumption Advisories

  • All Kentucky waters are under a consumption advisory for mercury.

More information about fish consumption advisories throughout Kentucky are available from the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources.

To learn more about this topic, the National Park Service maintains information about Fish Consumption Advisories and Mercury and Toxins in Nature.

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

NPS Photo


Aquatic Invasive Species

Imagine your favorite fishing spot and the wonderful memories. Things may look fine but underneath the surface there is a serious threat. Everything you remembered is now cemented together in a sharp, smelly mess. Invaders have wiped out the fish species you used to catch.

Aquatic invasive species are not native to an ecosystem. Their introduction can cause harm to the economy, the environment, or to human health. Aquatic invasive species are a growing risk to parks and their values. In the United States alone, there are more than 250 non-native aquatic species.

For many centuries, humans have contributed to spreading non-native species around the globe. You can make a difference. To learn more about Aquatic Invasive Species in the National Park Service, visit their Fish & Fishing website.

How You Can Help – Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers

You can help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species in park waters and other waterways by following the simple guidelines outlined by the campaign to Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!


Fishing Throughout the National Park Service

We invite you to visit the Fish and Fishing website for more information about fish and fishing in the National Park Service. You will learn about conservation, different fish species, and parks that offer fishing.


Current River Level and Forecast for the Green River

The National Weather Service in Louisville in coordination with the Ohio River Forecast Center maintains a Daily Forecast for the Green River at Mammoth Cave National Park.

Flood Warnings will be issued on the National Weather Service site when water levels are expected to reach or exceed the Minor Flood Stage level of 32 feet.

The following flood stages have been established at Mammoth Cave, KY:
Action: 20 ft.
Minor: 32 ft.
Moderate: 57 ft.
Major: 62 ft.

Last updated: October 31, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

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


270 758-2180

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