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.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Amicalola and Smith Creeks Delayed Harvest Reports and Tips

We just received a fishing report from Dredger's recent trip to Smith Creek that resulted in a "good handful" of both browns and rainbows. The recent rains and subsequent flows mean plenty of habitat and underexploited fish in riffles and runs.

Got Pheasant Tails? The November stockers are getting smarter and are moving less as the water temp drops. The December stockers (Amicalola last week and Smith this week) are naive and will eat Y2K bugs. In the spring, pull out your Adams and caddis dries, on the hook bend tie a four foot dropper down to a #6 shot and a Prince nymph, and fish those same spots for more active fish who will "look up" too, in warmer water when bugs hatch.

Tip: At the Amicalola DH at Highway 53, fish it like it's five Smith Creeks running parallel. Fish each one and then move across the ledge until you're in the adjacent Smith Creek. By fishing across the Ami before fishing upstream, you might catch a few more with your short-line techniques in each current seam and pocket of slow water among all the fast chutes.

And on those big pools and deep runs above you at the fishing piers, be ready for 10-15 feet of leader and lots more weight if you're serious about digging fish outta those holes.... Tough casting and tough fishing, but good catching.

Always remember to change your weight and depth of indicator as needed with each new pool, run, or riffle. I change those before I change flies. That's why I use removable shot and easy-sliding indicators.

There is no one "right way" of fishing, but this has worked for me and I hope it helps ya'll.

Biologist Nick went to the Amicalola DH at Highway 53 and fished the ledges for a few hours Saturday. He said he watched four other anglers "fish over" the fish and then leave. But, after an adjustment, he had a good day.

He started with some split shot in front of a leech with an egg dropper and had no luck. Seems that the egg was too far away from weight and was floating too high in the water column. As soon as he put a small shot between the flies, too, he started catching rainbows. The theme is that the cold water now has fish hunkered right down on the bottom. Anglers have to get down to them and also have to detect more subtle strikes. Hopefully Nick's tips will help a few more anglers to enjoy some winter trouting success.

Both Amicalola and Smith Creek DH's offer some good opportunities to metro anglers willing to drive a bit farther north than their normal Hooch tailwater destinations.

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