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.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dredger's Cold Weather Tips

From Jeff Durniak - Ga DNR Region III Fisheries Supervisor

Welcome to January in Montana!

Your very best bets this week may be
a) staying at home, or
b) finishing your holiday shopping at a nice, warm retail store.

This frigid weather will really slow down a lot of our sport fish species and make your "catching" much more challenging, especially if you're new to the game.  Just look at the stream temperatures and you'll see the odds stacked against you!  http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv?02330450 In these frigid conditions, even our Burton Hatchery fish will not consume their daily doses of trout chow.  Hatchery managers will be
lucky to fit in an occasional afternoon feeding when the sun shines and the water inches up closer to 40 degrees.

That should give anglers some realistic expectations about the number of strikes they'll have when water temps plummet.  Some anglers call it "zen fishing" in the winter, as the strikes from stream trout are so subtle, they are barely perceptible.  We use small flies dead-drifted on the bottom, and cast repeatedly into good-looking, slow spots in an attempt to bump the fish in the nose.  They simply won't move far for food right now.  We set the hook whenever we "think" something should happen and do not wait until we see an obvious strike!

For those brave, fleece-draped  souls who still need a fishing fix, there are still some great opportunities in northeast Georgia.  I doubt if those anglers will experience any crowding, either! A look ahead shows a small  "window of opportunity" on Friday and Saturday afternoons, a brief spell of warmer weather between the two arctic
blasts.   Lakes are still warmer than streams, too.  Those who time their trips correctly to take advantage of increased water temperatures should have some luck.

The good news is that the next extended run of warmer weather should turn on a lot of fish, so be ready to fish the tail-end of a 3-4 day warm spell.

This week's best bets follow:
* Delayed Harvest trout waters (getting a fresh dose of stockers this
* Downstream escapees from DH trout waters (Hooch in Helen, Chattooga
below Hwy 28, Ami below Hwy 53)
* Trout tailwaters due to their warmer water from the reservoirs
(Hooch, Toccoa, Smith Creek)
* Stripers on big lakes like Lanier (54 degrees F) and Hartwell

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