We had the pleasure of floating and fishing the Hiwassee with Jeff Sharpe of Southeastern Anglers, and we were about to meet up with him again, this time to fish the Tellico. Our meeting spot was the local Hardee’s in Tellico Plains, which was really hopping on a Sunday morning at 9am. We grabbed biscuits for breakfast and headed up the Cherohala Skyway along the Tellico River. At River Road, the Tellico splits off the Skyway, so we did as well, traveling up River Road right beside the river.
This is a “creek stompin” kind of river, with boulders strewn about, small pocket water and some deep plunge pools. We hit a spot where the North River joins the Tellico, fishing some of the swift pockets before heading upstream. We stopped at a gorgeous plunge pool and on one of my first casts of a nymph rig, my strike indicator went down. When I pulled on the line to see if it was a fish or bottom, it just stuck there. I assumed it was bottom and tugged it a bit more and it came out… Whew! But not so fast Jeff said… and of course, when we ran it through that exact spot numerous times, it never got stuck again… so… it was likely a very big fish. I would love to have seen it, but not this day and off we went.
The road above us was closed near the fish hatchery due to a plane crash that had occurred in early October. A Navy training plane with two aboard had crashed near the hatchery and the road we were on was closed about two miles below it along the river. We came to the barricade in the road and decided to park and walk up a ways to check things out. We again found some nice pocket water and began to pull a few fish out, nice ones too. Jeff had a glimmer in his eye when he recommended we go have lunch and come back up above the barricade after lunch.
As we were walking out, just past the barricade, a couple of guys pulled up beside us and asked us how fishing was going. Jeff told them that the fishing up above the barricade wasn’t going well but down lower on the river was good. He was trying to control his smile as he gave this advice to the two guys in the Jeep, knowing that fishing upstream was turning on.
After a great lunch of smoked chicken, potato salad, beans, and, yes again, Apple pie, we headed back to the barricade, parked, and started walking upstream. This time, we walked further than before and found a long run below a patch of swift water. Jeff indicated he wanted to go down and look at it first, but Barb and I couldn’t resist and followed him down. As we all peered out into the water, we saw several fish, let’s say three or four, hanging out right below where we were standing.
In our best stealth mode, Jeff and I hiked about 30 feet below the fish, carefully stepped into the stream, crossed it and very quietly slid back upstream to a spot where we could cast to those three or four fish. After getting our dry/dropper rig set…. a parachute adams with a tactical pheasant tail dropper, I started making casts toward the fish. BOOM… fish on… next cast…. BOOM fish on… next cast…. well, you get the picture. The run we were standing in was full of fish.
I fished the hole for a while before coaxing Barb out to fish it a while as well. Amazingly, we fished the hole for quite a while using only that same parachute adams and same pheasant tail nymph. We caught one on the adams and as folks in certain parts of Georgia say…. “I don’t believe I said” how many fish we caught on the pheasant tail. Put it this way, it was enough that we used the “E” word to describe the day…. “Epic!”
When finally, the pheasant tail nymph was a down to a bead, a hook and a few scraggly strands of fibers, a fish took it and we broke off. It was a sign to call it a day. When we got back to our cabin, we sat down with Jeff to chat about our day on the Tellico. You won’t want to miss this video which details our “E” day on the Tellico.