Tucked away in a pristine corner of western North Carolina, visit a little piece of heaven known to most as Tellico…..
A small trout operation since 1986, Tellico Trout farm did not reach its production peak until almost a decade later when it was acquired by an Atlanta businessman and recreation enthusiast, Mike Macke.
An amateur fish farmer at best, it did not take Mike long to realize he would need to bring in a specialist to get this fishery in tip-top condition. Lucky for Mike, he was able to bring in an aquaculture veteran, Tom Ort, who among other things convinced Mike to build his own fish hatchery.
Tellico Trout Hatchery is the largest commercial hatchery in the eastern United States, with production capacity exceeding 5 million fingerlings per year. The hatchery building is 3600 square feet (120 ft x 30 ft) and is supplied with 200 gallons per minute of ground water. The water temperature is constant at 58°F, which is optimum for fingerling production. Our eggs are cared for in modern upwell incubators until they hatch, and then are placed in tanks equipped with automatic feeders and an oxygen injection system. Our state of the art hatchery allows us to efficiently hatch, grow, and individually vaccinate our fingerlings. As a result, Tellico has been able to maximize both the quality and quantity of our fish. Eyed eggs are acquired from Troutlodge, a supplier specializing in strains indigenous to the pacific northwest USA, the native home of the rainbow trout.