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 27, 2012

Best New Fishing Gear of 2012

Field & Stream has come out with their picks for the best new fishing gear of 2012, and we thought you might be interested in a few of our brands that made the cut:

First up is Sage with The One as Best New Flyfishing Rod.  Specifically, the 586-4 8 and a half foot 5-weight.  But they're all super rods, and we keep some in stock.

To go along with The One, the Ross F1 was chosen as Best New Fly Reel.

Next up is the Best New Rain Suit:  Simms' Prodry Jacket and Bibs.  We've seen this line, and it's a great rain suit.

We've always thought Fishpond had a great line of fanny and chest packs, and this year F&S agreed, picking the Fishpond Nimbus as the Best New Fanny Pack.

These are all great brands we've been proud to carry for years and we're happy to see these folks get the recognition they deserve.  If we don't have the items in our store, or available at our online store, just give us a call and we'd be happy to order any of this great gear and have it shipped directly to your address.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Tie-Athlon Benefitting Smithgall Woods

Flashback PTs from Michael McFarland
Ron Thomas and his "Tie 1 On" fly tying group, the Georgia Foothills Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and Unicoi Outfitters are teaming up to help raise funds for Smithgall Woods, home of one of our favorite trout streams: Dukes Creek.

It's a simple concept:  Gather teams of fly tyers together who have gone out in their communities and secured sponsors who pledge to donate an amount per fly to Smithgall Woods.  At the end of the event, a winning team is selected, and Smithgall Woods receives donations based on the pledges received.

The Tie-Athlon will be held on March 24, 2012 at Unicoi Outfitters in Helen from 10am through 3pm.

It's important now to register your team because there are a limited number of openings available, and also, once registered, you'll be able to go out and solicit pledges for Smithgall.  The more people you can get to pledge, and the more per fly, the greater the benefit to Smithgall Woods.

Here are the links to the forms needed:

1)  Tie-Athlon Application and Information
2)  Tie-Athlon Pledge Form

So, get those applications in!  If you have any questions, contact Ron Thomas at rbtgofish@yahoo.com.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Caddis, Caddis, EVERYWHERE!

While sitting in class this past Tuesday evening, (trying not to fall asleep), I was trying to decide where I was going to go fishing yesterday. I'm not a mathematician, but I was able to figure out that sixty degree weather plus no generation, added up to me needing to be on the Toccoa River Wednesday morning. After making a few phone calls and rounding up a group at the last minute, I scurried home to get all of my things together for the next day. 5 o'clock came early the next morning after getting only 4 hours of sleep, but I kept telling myself, "The first boat down the river catches all the fish." With warm weather coming in, and the anticipation of caddis hatching, I was more than ready to get the boat in the water. Chuck, Danny Hatcher, Lamar Allen, and I met at Tammen Park just as the sun came up, slid the boats in, and put our stuff together as quickly as we could. We tore out downstream, and were catching a few fish on some nymph rigs, but could see some small bugs flying with a few fish rising to them. I wasn't really paying a lot of attention to the very few fish that were rising, but this would all change very soon. About noon, black caddis began fly in huge swarms, and my attention was quickly drawn towards them. I hadn't seen a hatch like this in probably 3 or 4 years, it was HUGE! If I had to compare it to something, it was a lot like a duck migration through Stuttgart Arkansas, possibly even better. We quickly picked up the dry dropper rods that we already had rigged and started fishing. We were catching a lot of fish on the dropper, until the fish finally realized that they were suppose to eat all of those things flying around. As we floated on downstream, it seemed as if everywhere you thought that there should be a fish, there was. At one point, I counted 7 cast that I had 7 rises on. It took us a while, but we finally achieved what we came to do. Halfway into the trip, Danny Hatcher hooked and caught this beautiful male rainbow on 6x tippet. He had been missing a few fish, and I was giving him a pretty hard time, but he managed to hit the nail on the head when this guy decided to bite.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Who You Callin' Crazy?!

So with all the great spring-like winter weather we've been having lately, the forecast for 25 mph winds and 25 degrees for north Georgia wasn't about to cancel our planned outing on the Toccoa this past Saturday.  It did bring about a change from drift boat fishing to wade fishing but our group was still determined to get out on the stream.  Work and family commitments for all of us had become all encompassing over the past few weeks and none of us felt we had gotten in the number of days fishing we all richly deserved.  TVA had the perfect mid-day open schedule that gave us a good excuse not to feel pressured to be on the river early in the AM.  It also gave us reason to be off the river before dark as the generators kicked back on at 4 PM.

At 11:30, we're sitting in a warm vehicle watching the river slowly recede to a wadeable level.  The wind buffeting the Tahoe with strong gusts that cut like a knife when you stepped outside to do the things that old guys do who have been riding for an hour and a half.  By noon, passers by were staring in amazement at the three figures resembling the Michelin Man ease into the relatively warm waters of the tailwater.

Just minutes into fishing, Alan hooks and long distance releases a fish.  Another fish rises right in front of him as his muffled shout out to me tells me his blood is pumping now.  From further downstream, JD gives a Rabun yell as he lands the first fish of the day; a nice brown.  And that's pretty much the way the afternoon went for the next 4 hours.  There has been that great Toccoa black caddis hatch going on the past few days but not this afternoon.  No bugs on the surface and only one fish caught on a Tungsten Bead Pheasant Tail.  The rest we all caught on egg patterns and the infamous "Coach K" that Chuck Head and Jake Darling have had so much luck with at Dukes Creek.

To say the weather was less than desirable is an extreme understatement.  It spit snow all afternoon and the brief 30 & 40 second intervals of sunshine were magnificent.  The fishing was steady with several browns in the 12" - 13" range and some nice healthy rainbows thrown in for icing on the cake.  You know, my stock answer for fishing in harsh weather the past few years is that I get to fish often enough that I don't have to do it when it's uncomfortable.  But today was one of those days when I think all of us did need to stand in a river and soak up a little re-creation.  It was good and even though the tips of my fingers are still slightly numb almost 48 hours later, it was worth it.