Gauge Description:

Low 250 cfs
Good 500-800 cfs
High 1000+ cfs

At higher flows, the last 1/2 mile of the Upper Tellico becomes significantly more difficult than the upper portion. However:

Warning!
In the light of the recent fatality on the Tellico and a subsequent near-miss, members of the victim's party have requested that strong warnings be placed on the Tellico page (section 2) as follows:
The top drops in the Ledges section (Top Ledge, Middle Ledge, and Baby Falls) become extremely retentive at levels over 1000 cfs (3.5 ft--editor's note). They should be warned that a paddler was killed on January 1, 2011 at the first ledge. Water levels were very high. Also, in my opinion, the Ledges should be considered Class IV+ at these levels.
Thanks!
Charlie Walbridge

Link to accident report from January 1, 2011

USGS gauge gives levels in both gauge height and cfs.

The minimum suggested level is about 280 cfs. The Upper Tellico can be run much lower (down to 150 cfs) but it is not the same river. No push, lots of scraping, lots of rocks. 300 cfs is an enjoyable low level.  (Please read comments about the change in opinion on the minimum levels this river is runnable).

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
TELLICO RIVER AT TELLICO PLAINS, TN
usgs-03518500 280 - 1500 cfs III-IV 02h07m 108 cfs (too low)

gauge graph
RangeWater LevelDifficultyComment
280 - 500 cfs barely runnable-med runnable III-IV gauge is important or has warning It can be run lower than this, but it gets scrapy and it's not the same river as at the "normal" levels.
500 - 800 cfs med runnable-a bit pushy runnable III-IV gauge is important or has warning
800 -1500 cfs a bit pushy runnable-high runnable IV+ gauge is important or has warning The Ledges (above Baby Falls) contain a terminal hydraulic at levels above 1000 cfs. Use extreme caution at high water!

Reports give the public a chance to report on river conditions throughout the country as well as log the history of a river.

When River/Gauge Subject Level Reporter
Tellico River [TN] Baby Falls 1.3 Mark Meszaras
Tellico [TN] Tellico n/a Tread Light
Tellico [NC] Babyfalls ledge wheel n/a Charlie Simmons
Tellico [TN] Bear Givhan goin deep at the bottom of Baby 2.0 ft Frank Stansberry
Tellico [TN] Ben, After a Knee Dance 2.8ish milton mann
Tellico [TN] BABY FREAKIN FALLS 1.8ish Brian Morris
Tellico [TN] Double Team at Baby n/a Mike Nail
Tellico [Tn] Top of the world 2.14 Open Boater
Tellico [Tn] Taking the curve 2.14 Open Boater
tellico [tn] not enough speed 2.14 Open Boater
Tellico [TN] Woo Hoo 2.2 Dallas Shaw
Tellico [TN] Elfin the Telli 1.5..... Elf Dallas Shaw
Tellico [TN] Top Ledge - too far right! ~ 2 ft Ryan Moore
Tellico [TN] todd on ledges 1.8 aaron koch
Tellico [TN] Baby Falls Low James Millette
Tellico - 1 [TN] Under Baby Falls 1.3ft Timothy Knapp
Tellico [TN] freewheel, baby falls, tellico low Scott Abla
Tellico [TN] 3rd Ledge, aka: Sammie's Ledge around 1.6' Boyd Ruppelt
Tellico River [TN] (RM) Cry Baby - Left Line 2.48 Robert Maxwell
Tellico [TN] Submarine at Jarod's Knee 2.5 Todd Hoffman