Best Trout Fly Fishing Streams on the Tellico River in Tennessee

  1. Tellico Waters
  2. Locating the River
  3. Overview of Tellico
  4. Tellico’s Smaller Streams
  5. Tellico Wildlife Management Area
  6. Tellico River Delayed Harvest
  7. Access and Parking Areas
  8. Rules and Regulations for Fishing
  9. Tellico Trout Species
  10. Wild Rainbow Trout
  11. Brown Trout
  12. Native Brook Trout
  13. Best Spots for Angling
  14. The Stocked Streams
  15. The Wild Trout Streams
  16. The Brook Trout Streams
  17. Essential Fly-Fishing Gear
  18. What Flies to Use
  19. Spring Patterns
  20. Summer Patterns
  21. Fall Patterns
  22. Winter Patterns
  23. All-Year Patterns
  24. Tellico River Fishing Tips and Techniques
  25. Seasonal Changes and Their Impact on Angling Techniques
  26. Tips for Trout Catching in the Stocked Waters
  27. Tips for Trout Hooking in the Wild Streams
  28. Lodging Options for Your Fishing Trip
  29. Lodges Near the River
  30. Tellico Riverside Motel
  31. Arrowhead Land Company
  32. Green Cove Motel
  33. Campsites Near the River
  34. Tellico River Campsites
  35. North River Campsites
  36. Citico Creek Campsites
  37. Bald River Campsites
  38. FAQs
  39. Q: What is the best time to fish for trout on the Tellico River in Tennessee?
  40. Q: Where can I purchase a daily permit for trout fishing on the Tellico River?
  41. Q: Is the Tellico River in Tennessee suitable for freestone trout fishing?
  42. Q: What are the regulations for trout fishing on the Tellico River?
  43. Q: How large are the trout in the Tellico River?
  44. Q: Can I also fish for bass on the Tellico River?
  45. Q: What makes the Tellico River a historic fishing destination?
  46. Q: Are there any restrictions on fishing gear for trout fishing on the Tellico River?
  47. Q: What is the significance of the Tellico River’s headwater for trout fishing?
  48. Q: Can I enjoy fly fishing on the Tellico River in Tennessee?

The Tellico River, nestled in the southern part of the eastern United States, is a gem for those seeking the tranquility of nature and the thrill of reeling in a big catch.

As one of the largest streams in the region, it covers miles of breathtaking landscapes that one cannot help but admire. You’ll see lush greenery, serene waters, and an abundance of trout in every corner.

Best Trout Fly Fishing Streams on the Tellico River in Tennessee

Be warned, though, this isn’t just a stroll through a river. This is a real angling adventure, and it requires a bit of preparation and knowledge to fully enjoy.
Study everything written below and get ready to explore the best trout streams on the Tellico River in Tennessee.

Tellico Waters

Locating the River

The Tellico flows entirely within Monroe County, Tennessee. It is one of the tributaries of the Little Tennessee River.

The Tellico is formed by the confluence of two smaller mountain rivers – the Bald River and the North River. It flows through the Cherokee National Forest in the Appalachian Mountains.

Downstream on the Tellico River is the Tellico Reservoir, formed by the Tellico Dam. Nearby the river there are small towns of Tellico Plains and Fort Loudon.

Overview of Tellico

The Tellico winds through remote Cherokee forest surrounded by peaks reaching over 1,500 meters. Its length is about 60 kilometers.

The river’s cold waters nurture native Brook and Rainbow trout as well as smallmouth bass that draw fishermen from across the region. Along its banks the Tellico has etched out a rugged gorge, offering paddlers a scenic float through the dramatic Appalachian terrain.

Tellico’s Smaller Streams

The Tellico is the main artery to several smaller streams, including the North River, Bald River and Citico Creek. Each of these tributaries provides unique angling opportunities. North River and Bald River are known for their brook trout, while Citico Creek is renowned for its brown and rainbow trout.

Tellico Wildlife Management Area

The river flows through the Tellico Wildlife Management Area, a protected region rich in biodiversity. Here, fishermen will find themselves surrounded by lush greenery and diverse wildlife, adding an extra layer of enjoyment to their angling trip.

Tellico River Delayed Harvest

The Tellico River Delayed Harvest is a period that begins in the autumn months and lasts through the middle of spring. This is a time when angling in the river becomes particularly rewarding, as the trout are plentiful and active.

Read more: Guide To Fly Fishing for Trout on the Watauga River in TN

Access and Parking Areas

There are several access points along the river, making it easy for fishermen to get in. Parking areas are conveniently located near these points, making it simple for visitors to set up their gear and start their angling adventure.

Rules and Regulations for Fishing

Angling in the Tellico follows specific rules to ensure the sustainability of its fish populations. Anglers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these regulations before their trip. These may include catch limits, gear restrictions, and specific angling seasons.

Tellico Trout Species

Tellico Trout Species

Wild Rainbow Trout

Wild Rainbow trout, also known as Oncorhynchus mykiss, are a marvel to behold. These fish, with their vibrant colors that shimmer underwater, are a favorite among anglers. They are characterized by their alluring pinkish stripe that runs along the sides of the body, complemented by dark spots scattered across their back and tail. These trout are known for their resilience and adaptability, thriving in the varying conditions of the river year-round.

Brown Trout

The Brown trout, Salmo trutta, is another species that grace the waters of the Tellico. Recognizable by their olive-brown bodies adorned with a scattering of dark spots, Brown trout are a challenge to catch due to their skittish nature and preference for cooler waters. However, the thrill of the chase and the promise of a rewarding catch make the pursuit worth it for many enthusiasts.

Native Brook Trout

Last but certainly not least, we have the native Brook trout, Salvelinus fontinalis. These are the only trout species native to Tennessee. Brook trout are smaller than their Rainbow and Brown counterparts, but what they lack in size, they make up for in beauty. They are truly a sight to behold, with their dark green bodies patterned with pale, worm-like markings and speckled with yellow spots. The lower fins are striking, edged in white and black.

Best Spots for Angling

Best Spots for Angling

The Stocked Streams

The river above Turkey Creek and its tributaries, except for the North and Bald Rivers, as well as Citico Creek below the confluence of its North and South Forks, are classified as stocked streams.

These areas provide plenty of opportunities for fishermen. The fish here are known to be active and plentiful, making these spots ideal for both experienced and beginner anglers. The area is additionally known for its scenic nature, which adds to the overall fishing experience.

The Wild Trout Streams

The North and Bald Rivers, along with the North and South Forks of Citico Creek and their tributaries, are designated as wild trout streams.

These areas are home to a variety of species and are perfect for those seeking a more adventurous angling experience. One can expect to encounter a variety of fish, each with its own unique set of challenges. These areas tend to be less crowded than stocked reservoirs, providing fishermen with a calm and serene environment.

The Brook Trout Streams

Meadow Branch, Sugar Cove Branch, Brookshire Creek, and Henderson Branch are classified as brook trout streams. These are the places to go if you’re specifically interested in catching brook trout.

These streams present a unique challenge due to the brook trout’s notoriously elusive behavior. However, the reward of catching one of these beautiful fish is well worth the effort. These streams are surrounded by lush greenery, providing a picturesque backdrop for a day of angling.

Essential Fly-Fishing Gear

Essential Fly-Fishing Gear

When setting out on your angling adventure, there are a few essential pieces of gear that you’ll need to bring along.

The first and most obvious is a quality fly rod and reel. This tool is your primary interface with the water and the fish below its surface, so it’s important to choose a rod and reel that are comfortable for you to handle and suited to the conditions.

Next, you will need a variety of flies. These are the lures that will entice the fish to bite. The types of flies you’ll need can vary greatly depending on the specific location and the species of fish you’re targeting.

Additionally, a good set of waders is crucial. Waders will keep you dry as you wade into the river to cast your line. They come in many varieties, but it’s important to choose a pair that is durable and comfortable for long wear.

Finally, consider an angling vest. This piece of gear is invaluable for keeping your essential items close at hand. It should have plenty of pockets for storing your flies, lines, and other accessories.

What Flies to Use

What Flies to Use

Spring Patterns

In spring, when the surroundings are blooming with new life, the Tellico becomes a haven for fishermen. As the water temperature rises, various insects start to hatch, making it an ideal time to use dry flies such as Blue Wing Olives or Midges. These patterns effectively imitate the natural insects found in the river during this season.

Summer Patterns

As we approach the warmth of summer, terrestrial patterns become more prominent. The warmer climate brings about an increase in terrestrial insects like beetles, ants and hoppers. A popular choice among anglers during this season is the Hopper Juan, a pattern that effectively mimics a grasshopper.

Fall Patterns

The fall season brings a change in the foliage and the behavior of the fish in the river. As the leaves turn, so does the insect activity. This time is perfect for using nymphs such as Pheasant Tails or Hare’s Ears. These patterns mimic the subsurface insects that trout feed on during the cooler months.

Winter Patterns

During winter, the temperature of the river drops and so does the activity of insects. This is when it’s time to switch to midge patterns. Zebra Midges in various colors can be particularly effective during the cold months. Despite the chilly weather, winter can still provide a rewarding angling experience.

All-Year Patterns

Regardless of the season, some patterns can be used throughout the year. One such fly is the Woolly Bugger—an extremely versatile pattern that mimics a wide variety of the trout’s food sources, from nymphs to small baitfish. Another year-round favorite is the Clouser Minnow, particularly effective in imitating baitfish.

Tellico River Fishing Tips and Techniques

Tellico River Fishing Tips and Techniques

Fly fishing is a popular method for catching trout, and it’s particularly effective in the Tellico. The key is to understand the trout’s behavior and preferences. For example, trout have a keen sense of sight, so a good tip is to use light-colored, nearly transparent lines. Additionally, trout in the river often prefer smaller flies and nymphs, so keep your tackle box equipped with a variety of options.

Seasonal Changes and Their Impact on Angling Techniques

The behavior of trout can significantly change with the seasons, impacting your angling techniques. During the warmer months, trout are more likely to feed on the surface, making dry flies a good choice. Conversely, during the cooler months, trout tend to stay deeper in the water. It may be more effective to use wet flies or nymphs during these times.

Tips for Trout Catching in the Stocked Waters

If you are planning a trip to the Tellico, familiarize yourself in advance with the stocking schedule provided by the local authorities. This can give you a significant advantage, as trout tend to be more active and less wary immediately after stocking. If you arrive early on stocking days, it will greatly increase your chances of successful fishing.

Tips for Trout Hooking in the Wild Streams

Catching trout in the wild streams of the Tellico offers a different kind of challenge. Stealth is particularly important in these areas as the trout are often more wary. Remember to move slowly and quietly, and avoid casting a shadow over the water. It can also be helpful to mimic the natural food sources in the stream with your choice of fly.

Lodging Options for Your Fishing Trip

Lodging Options for Your Fishing Trip

Lodges Near the River

Tellico Riverside Motel

Located near the river, this motel is an excellent base for your angling adventures. It provides comfortable rooms and friendly staff to make your stay enjoyable.

Arrowhead Land Company

If you’re seeking a more rustic experience, the cabins provided by Arrowhead Land Company are a fantastic option. They provide a cozy, home-away-from-home feel amidst the beautiful Tennessee landscape.

Read more: Guadalupe River Trout Fishing: Best Spots and Tips

Green Cove Motel

Another great lodging option, Green Cove Motel provides comfortable rooms and easy access to the river. It’s an ideal spot for those who want to be close to the action.

Campsites Near the River

Tellico River Campsites

Spivey Cove and Davis Branch provide several sites open for most of the year, while Big Oak Cove and State Line are open year-round. These sites are perfect for those who love camping under the stars and waking up to the sound of the river.

North River Campsites

North River provides seven sites that are open throughout the year, allowing for a true wilderness experience.

Citico Creek Campsites

Citico Creek provides several camping options. Double Camp is open year-round, while Indian Boundary Recreation Area and Jake Best offer amenities like showers and flush toilets, and are open for the majority of the year.

Bald River Campsites

For those who prefer a quieter setting, Holly Flats on Bald River is open year-round and provides 17 sites that are perfect for angling enthusiasts.

Choosing the right accommodation can vastly enhance your fishing trip on the Tellico waterway. Whether you prefer the comfort of a motel or the rustic charm of a campsite, there’s a perfect spot waiting for you in Tennessee.


Q: What is the best time to fish for trout on the Tellico River in Tennessee?

A: The best time for trout catching on the Tellico is during the spring and summer months, especially from March to October.

Q: Where can I purchase a daily permit for trout fishing on the Tellico River?

A: You can purchase a daily permit for trout catching on the Tellico from the forest service office or authorized outlets in the area.

Q: Is the Tellico River in Tennessee suitable for freestone trout fishing?

A: Yes, the Tellico is known for its freestone trout catching, offering excellent opportunities for anglers.

Q: What are the regulations for trout fishing on the Tellico River?

A: Trout catching on the Tellico is limited to single-hook artificial lures only, and fishermen must follow all state and local fishing regulations.

Q: How large are the trout in the Tellico River?

A: The Tellico is home to large trout, making it an ideal destination for anglers seeking impressive catches.

Q: Can I also fish for bass on the Tellico River?

A: While the Tellico is primarily known for trout angling, it offers opportunities for bass fishing, allowing fishermen to explore diverse fishing experiences.

Q: What makes the Tellico River a historic fishing destination?

A: The Tellico has a rich fishing history, attracting fishermen for its scenic beauty, abundant fish populations, and unique angling experiences.

Q: Are there any restrictions on fishing gear for trout fishing on the Tellico River?

A: Fishing gear for trout angling on the Tellico is sometimes restricted, so it’s important to check the specific regulations and guidelines before heading out to fish.

Q: What is the significance of the Tellico River’s headwater for trout fishing?

A: The headwater of the Tellico River offers prime trout fishing opportunities, with pristine waters and abundant fish making it a sought-after destination for anglers.

Q: Can I enjoy fly fishing on the Tellico River in Tennessee?

A: Yes, the Tellico is a popular destination for fly fishing enthusiasts, providing an exciting and rewarding angling experience.

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