Exploring Tennessee: Cherokee National Forest and Tellico Trout Hatchery
Cherokee National Forest offers a variety of opportunities for campers, depending on their skill level.
MONROE CO., Tenn. (WVLT) - The Cherokee National Forest spans over 650,000 acres and is filled with beautiful scenery like Bald River Falls and more.
The forest is divided into a northern and southern section by the Great Smoky Mountains.
You can explore various hiking trails, campsites and some of the best trout fishing you can find.
Cherokee National Forest offers a variety of opportunities for campers and outdoor explorers, depending on their skill level.
“We have dispersed camping, which means you can camp in most areas without a permit, but you’re not going to get the greater resources like toilets and things like that,” said Christopher Joyner, the Public Affairs Officer for the Cherokee National Forest.
Those utilities are an option, though.
“We have some more developed campgrounds with a small fee, but also more improved campgrounds where they have electricity and things like that,” said Joyner.
If you’re coming out to camp at Tellico Plains, you can also fish in the Tellico River.
In the Tellico Trout Hatchery, thousands of trout are raised and put into the river throughout the year.
However, anglers need a special license and permit to hit the water.
“The Tellico River is stocked from March 1 through the end of July on a weekly basis. During that time period, anyone fishing is required to have a type 098, which is a Tellico Citico permit, or a lifetime or a yearly sportsman license,” said Tellico Hatchery Manager Jonathan Ellis.
During stocking season, that section of the Tellico River is closed for fishing on Thursdays and Fridays. Instead, anglers can check out some of the wild streams the region has to offer.
The hatchery continues to expand and provide services to other creeks around East Tennessee, stocking close to 5,000 trout a week during the height of the season.
Hatchery workers said it’s not just about stocking fish but also about making memories for others.
“Tellico is changed over time and is one of the state’s premier trout fisheries, but it’s also a legacy fishery. I was coming here as a kid so it’s really, really neat to see at these events multiple generations,” said Ellis.
Before hitting the water, it is important to note the rules and regulations while they change throughout the year. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency website has everything you need to know.
You can also tour the hatchery so you can see what exactly workers do.
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