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.
Several years ago the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency implemented a Delayed Harvest (DH) program on the Tellico River itself. This special season starts on October first and continues through March 14th. The DH waters on the Tellico, start at the mouth of Turkey Creek and continues upstream to the confluence of the North River. These special regulations are in effect on this 5 mile stretch of river. Artificial flies or lures are permitted with a single hook. All fish must be released immediately. The Bald & North Rivers are the main tributaries of the Tellico. Bald River Falls is easily viewed from the road while the trail climbs from the parking lot at the falls and runs 7 miles upstream to the Holly Flats campground. This trail can be used for angler access by hiking in from either end of the gorge. The North River is smaller than the Bald, but still provides anglers with many opportunities for taking some nice wild and stocked fish. As you work higher in to the watershed, anglers will encounter some very nice waterfalls, plunge pools and plenty of threaded pocket water. For the adventurous anglers willing to study their topo maps and do the leg work, Southern Appalachian Brook Trout (specks) still thrive in these waters. Our guides fish and work on the Tellico and its tributaries year round and we love the fall and winter seasons on the Tellico. Every year we have anglers catch some really nice fish during the Delayed Harvest season. Trout in the 12-14 inch range are common with larger fish being caught on a regular basis every year. Some are fresh fish that were stocked for the Delayed Harvest season, and some fish are holdovers from the spring and last year’s stocking. Then there are the natives, which are by far the prettiest fish in the river. The Tellico is a natural freestone stream and the main things that every angler should always pay attention to are the water levels. If there have been any heavy storms in the area the Tellico can rise quickly. I prefer to fish the river at low water levels around 1 foot or so on the
gauge. When the Tellico reaches the 2 foot mark the river becomes a whitewater river and anglers should always use caution. If you would like any other information about our guided fly fishing trips in or around the Tellico area give us a call for up to date information.All guided fishing trips in the Tellico River System are wade fishing only. Jim Herrig, the fisheries biologist for the Cherokee National Forrest, is currently working on a Southern Appalachian Brook
Trout restoration project. Information on this program can be found by looking up the two web links below. Tellico SA Brook Trout Hatchery Blog --- www.brooktrouthatchery.wordpress.com Tellico SA Brook Trout Hatchery Website --- www.wix.com/brooktrout/hatchery