Nationally recognized as a premier trout stream, the Tellico River in Monroe County, Tennessee, is a freestone stream located within the heart of The Cherokee National Forest. Its headwaters begin in North Carolina and flow for almost twenty miles to Tellico Plains.
The main stream of Tellico River is heavily stocked by the state and requires a special permit to fish. It's a very large freestone mountain stream with a network of fine native trout laden tributaries. The Tellico River is spotted with a few wild trout mixed in its waters, with the heaviest concentration of natives in its upper section. For the fly fisherman the rivers best assets are its smaller, wild trout streams that contain native brook, rainbow and brown trout.
The North River, tributary to the Tellico River, is an excellent brown trout stream. Do not be fooled by the size of the North River it is small but contains very large brownies. The upper section is a source of native rainbows as well as brook trout. The headwaters for the North River are located to the south side of The Cherohala and you can access the upper sections of the North river from the trails off this wonderful scenic byway.
Another significant tributary to the Tellico River is Bald Creek may be one of the best wild brown trout streams in Southern Tennessee. Its beautiful falls, which are located at the mouth of the creek, flows into the Tellico River in full view from the road. Above the falls, the river flows through a gorge located in the Bald River Gorge Wilderness. There's a trail that follows the stream through the gorge. Steep at the outset, the trail is very well maintained with overlook bridges to view spectacular falls. The trail becomes more accommodating as you head up the river to its many small falls and abundant pools.
Sycamore Creek is a tributary stream to the Tellico River in the Cherokee National Forest. It is easy to access from Forest Service trail 163; southern strain brook trout become abundant about 2 miles upstream of the confluence. There are no significant waterfalls until you get to the very upper end of the stream where the brook trout are. Even these falls are only about 10 to 15 feet high. There are about 4 miles of fishable water in Sycamore Creek; it has a trail with and an easy grade to access the stream for most of its length.