The Tellico River rises in the Unicoi Range of mountains near the Tennessee/North Carolina state line. The Cherohala Skyway, a national scenic byway connecting the Cherokee National Forest and the Nantahala National Forest, parallels the Tellico River for several miles until the River Road cutoff. As the river flows west, it is joined by its major tributaries, the Bald River and the North River. Meandering through the mountain gorge, the river stretches to the broad fertile plains of Monroe County, aptly named Tellico Plains, the nearest community to its headwaters. Here the river corridor is surrounded by 30,000 acres of remote backcountry, providing recreational opportunities for paddling, fishing, hiking, backpacking, and wildlife viewing. Further downstream, the Tellico and Little Tennessee Rivers are impounded by the Tellico Dam, creating the Tellico Lake.
Fishing: The Tellico River is recognized as a premiere trout stream with over 12 miles being stocked with catchable-size trout. Bald River, North River, and their tributaries are wild trout streams with brown, rainbow and brook trout. As a great fly fishing river, the Tellico is accessible by wading only, via River Rd. For more accessible fishing, you might the try stocked Green Cove Pond, managed by TWRA. The best times of year are from April through early August and October through March. A rough and tumble stream, it's one of the largest freestone trout streams in the east, holding trout for over 18 miles between the headwaters in North Carolina and the town of Tellico Plains. The Tellico is stocked heavily during the spring and summer seasons and requires anglers to purchase a daily Tellico/Citico permit.
Paddling: When the water levels rise in the spring, the upper Tellico River is especially popular with whitewater paddlers for class III-IV rapids. Below the bridge at Ballplay Road, off Hwy 360, the Tellico River is ideal for canoes and tubing.