The Tellico River and tributaries received national recognition as a premier trout stream years ago and was listed on the Trout Unlimited top 100 streams in the nation. The river starts high up in the mountains on the North Carolina side of the state line in the Nantahala National Forest. This is predominantly a small wild trout stream in comparison to the lower stretches on the Tennessee side. The Tellico meets all the requirements for trout habitat, water temperatures below 68 degrees, heavy oxygenation and clean clear water, and these conditions prevail in the Tellico River corridor.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency Implemented a Delayed Harvest (DH) program on the Appalachia tailwater section of the Hiwassee River during the 2011-2012 seasons. This is the first DH on a tailwater river in the state. This 2012-2013 season will be second year of the program and anglers from across the southeast should be keeping an eye on this one. Over the Course of the season last year the river was full of fish and anglers were constantly reporting catches of fish in the 12 -16 inch range throughout the winter season.
The Hiwassee is holding it's own right now. The water temps are still down in the lower 60's and the fish are doing well. This is a very nice change of pace for us here as this has been the main problem with the river for quite a few years. As a result of this we are having some great days on the water and we are catching some very healthy fish as well. If the current conditions hold and the water stays healthy for our fish then we should have an excellent fall and winter fishery to work with this year as well. The Delayed Harvest on the Hiwassee River, which started last year, is nice to have in that it restricts the taking of fish and gives them a chance to grow. We have been catching holdover fish all season so we know that some are making it through from year to year.
The Hiwassee River is fishing great. So far this summer has been a continuation of the great fsihing we have had all year long. TVA is currently operating Appalachia powerhouse on the sumer recreational schedule. Which is that they will start one generator at 10am, and the 2nd generator will start at 11am and operate at least until 7pm. This schedule will stay in effect until the Labor Day weekend. Our guides have been having some fantastic days on the water with plenty of fish being caught on any given day. If the current conditions on the river do not change then this will be one of the best years of fishing that we have had here on the Hiwassee over the past couple of years. Steamers, nymphs, & dry fly's are all taking fish. You just have to be in the right place at the right time. Our guides work very hard to make this happen as they are on the water constantly.