Unicoi Outfitters is north Georgia's premier guide service and fly fishing outfitter, located on the Chattahoochee River near alpine Helen. Look for fishing reports, gear and book reviews, and general musings here from our staff and guides.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Toccoa Tailwater 2/14/09

Anyone who's been fishing the Toccoa tailwater these past few weeks knows that the midge and BWO fishing has been very good along with a few scattered black caddis. While we've been catching fish on dries (always a bonus in February!), there has almost always been a pheasant tail of some description trailing behind them. And in most cases, the pheasant tail picked up the most strikes. Well, on Valentine's Day this weekend, the fish decided to concentrate on something larger. I hit the river Saturday afternoon around 2:45 after a great meeting and lunch with the Blue Ridge Chapter of Trout Unlimited at the shop. There was no bug activity for the first couple of hours so I fished a non-descript #12 gray soft hackle trailed by, of course, the ubiquitous pheasant tail in #18. It was slow go during that time with a few small rainbows but one nice brown of 13" - 14" on the gray soft hackle.

Around 5:00, I decided to move upstream a half mile even though there were 5 or 6 anglers in the river just downstream from where I planned to fish. I figured they would be going in soon as sundown was not far off. I also decided to change tactics a little and tied on a big black leech pattern (trialed by the pheasant tail). Still not much going on until 5:30 and someone flipped the switch. In the next hour, I caught maybe 10 fish with a couple of rainbows in the 14" - 15" range. And, man, were they jumpers. They were all over the river. The piece de resistance however was the 20" male brown caught right at 6:30 PM. Did I mention I had lost my net about 15 minutes earlier while photographing one of the nice rainbows? Yep, hooked into a big brown that was making four big somersaulting jumps while I was trying to carefully get him in with NO NET! Finally managed to lead him behind a submerged log on the shoreline where he wedged his nose in a cranny long enough for me to calm down and get my camera out. Beautiful fish and the largest I've landed on that particular stretch of river (no feeders on this section). Every fish that evening took the leech pattern so my pheasant tail dropper was just a security blanket on this trip.

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