Copyright 2015 James Marsh
Hatches and Trout Flies for the Tellico River Tennessee
Beginning in late February, you can usually find some Blue-winged Olives hatching on a
cloudy day. These will hatch off and on with different species showing up in the Spring, a few
in the Summer, and again in the Fall for the bi-brood species. About the first of March,
chances are good that the Blue Quill mayflies will start to hatch. The exact time can vary a
couple of weeks or more if the weather is abnormally warm or cold.
Around the same time you will begin to see the Little Black Caddis or Brachcentrus caddis
species. This is an excellent hatch on the Tellico. This hatch can actually provides more
action and result in more trout caught than the Blue Quills or the Quill Gordons. From about
the middle of the afternoon you can fish imitations of the pupa, then change to an adult
pattern when the hatch gets to going good. After about an hour, the egg layers from
previous hatches will return to deposit their eggs. The action can last until dark.
Almost at the same time the Blue Quills start hatching, the larger Quill Gordons begin to
come off. The larger mayflies are easy to see and give the impression that the trout are
really interested in them. Actually, they probably eat far more Blue Quills than Quill Gordons,
but the Blue Quills are more difficult to imitate. You can match the flies alright, but you must
fish the shallower, slower moving water where the trout get a good opportunity to examine
your fly. It is easy to spook the trout feeding on the Blue Quills.
The Quill Gordons hatch on or near the bottom and may or may not get any attention from
the trout on the surface depending on several factors. We have a "Perfect Fly" pattern just
for this. It's a wet fly that works great whether the trout are taking the duns on the surface or
The March Browns will show up but usually not in heavy concentrations. Soon after the Light
Cahills will start hatching here and there but again, not in a concentrated manner. You can
catch trout fishing these hatches, but not as consistently as you can on the Little Black
Caddis, Blue Quills or Quill Gordons.
I haven't mentioned the stoneflies but they are very plentiful in Tellico River. The first ones
to appear are the Winter Stoneflies that show up in January. In April you will begin to see the
Little Yellow Stoneflies, or Yellow Sallies. They will provide a lot of action late in the
afternoons around sunset. Large, Giant Black stoneflies will start hatching in late April and
hatch on through much of May. Golden stoneflies are present in some areas of the river.
In early to mid October, the water will cool down and some late season hatches of
Blue-Winged Olives and Mahogany Duns will start to hatch. The Mahogany Duns, a sister to
the early Blue Quills, usually hatch in large quantities and provide some great action. These
are small mayflies, usually a hook size 18-20 but they will get the attention of the trout. Also,
Little Yellow Quills will begin to hatch in the high elevations. Needle stoneflies also hatch in
October through November.
During the month of June, grasshoppers, beetles, ants and inch worms, all terrestrial
insects, become important food items for the trout. There's few hatches occurring, so most
anglers start using imitations of these terrestrials. The inch worms, or moth larvae, are
especially important due to the large numbers of them in the forest of the park.
In addition to the terrestrial and aquatic insects, there's a lot of other food for the trout. Small
Crayfish is one of those items. Another one is the Sculpin. These small fish are abundant in
most of the stream. Imitations of them can be very effective. The Black Nose Dace is another
baitfish that's important. Streamers imitating these and other minnows work great, especially
when the water is slightly off color.
I didn't mention it in the aquatic insect part above, but midges are abundant throughout the
river. They can be very important when the water is cold and nothing else is hatching.
Imitations of the larva and pupa will catch trout anytime of the year.
Craneflies are everywhere water exist in the Tellico River. The larva and adults are
important insects to imitate. Hellgrammites, or the larva stage of the Dobsonfly, is another
abundant insect that is in many of the streams.
We recommend our "Perfect Fly" imitations. They are the best, most effective flies you can
purchase and use anywhere trout exist. We have specific imitations of everything that exist
in the Tellico River in all stages of life that interest trout. If you haven't already done so,
please give them a try. You'll be glad you did.
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Tellico River Tennessee
Bald River Falls
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