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, March 17, 2014

Great Day on the Nantahala DH

by Landon Williams

Saturday I headed back up to the Nantahala Delayed Harvest with a fishing friend of mine. We were on the stream by 10:30 and were greeted by bugs all over the place. There were a few of the big Quill Gordon mayflies floating around and many of the streamside rocks were crawling with small dun caddis and winter stoneflies. We were both into fish almost immediately and it stayed that way throughout the course of the day. I stuck on the grey caddis pupa with a tungsten bead that worked a couple weeks ago and it produced a few
fish for the short time I kept it on. The caddis dry bite was not nearly as consistent as it was in my last Nantahala report and was nonexistent by noon. I switched over to a
size 12 parachute Adams and immediately started hooking more fish. After a while I noticed smaller and lighter colored mayflies that flew right alongside their bigger cousins. I clipped off my tungsten bead nymph dropper and stuck on a parachute size 14 March Brown parachute (dark elk hair tail, tan hares ear dubbing, Tan mallard flank parachute post, grizzly hackle) and kept the it on for the rest of the afternoon! Both flies consistently produced fish all afternoon with one edging out the other at times depending on if an area had more of one type of mayfly versus the other. My buddy came behind me and did very well with his euro nymphing setup throughout the day. He outfished me numbers wise by a bit but as many as we were both catching, I was happy to catch a few less for the thrill of a rise! He mostly used tungsten bead hares ears variations on very light tippet. 

I do have to say though that 
the highlight was the big fish of the day that I landed, a 21-22" brown trout that I sight fished for. The fish came out from underneath a deep ledge in a run with some current and chased a rainbow that I had hooked on a dry fly. The rainbow managed to escape unharmed but gave me the opportunity of finding a big fish's lair as an unintended consequence!  I stuck on a tungsten bead mohair leech and drifted it past the nose  of the large brown. I immediately set the hook on the first cast after seeing the fish move over a few inches and  open his mouth! The brown even jumped a couple times during the fight, proving to be quite the acrobat. 

Saturday was about as good as it gets; a bunch of fish on dries and even a big one as a kicker!  Hopefully, some of you will be inspired to get outside after this week's rain event and find some dry fly action yourselves!


Friday, March 7, 2014

Fiberglass Manifesto Giving Away 2 Copies of "50 Best Tailwater"

The folks over at Fiberglass Manifesto (one of the coolest blogs in the flyfishing world) are giving away two copies of "50 Best Tailwaters to Fly Fish".  Plus, they've got a really good review of the book so take a look at it here.

If you're on Face Book, "50 Best Tailwaters to Fly Fish" is featuring the Toccoa tailwater and Jake Darling today.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dukes Creek Delight!

Now, this is what it's all about.  Recently, Barbara and Ricky Ozmar joined our local Foothills Chapter of Trout Unlimited and have, literally, jumped in with both feet.  They've volunteered for a stream work project on Panther Creek, tied flies with Ron Thomas at the shop and Ricky has put in his application for Georgia Trout Camp this summer.

This past Saturday they stopped in the shop on their way to fish Dukes Creek.  Unicoi guide Kenneth Comeaux offered to meet Ricky at Dukes Creek and give him some pointers on how to fish it.  Even though Comeaux had to leave after a couple of hours, it seems his advice was well received.


Ricky was able to get back on the creek the following day (Sunday) and fish it all on his own.  This great brown trout was the result.  You think we've "hooked" another one?  I think maybe we have. Congratulations Ricky and many thanks to Kenneth Comeaux for paying it forward.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Congrats to DNR Biologist Chris Looney

We just received this press release from Georgia DNR and we want to extend our congratulations and sincere appreciation to Chris Looney who works out of the Gainesville office.

Chris Looney with a Fairly Nice  Chattahoochee Brown


SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (Mar. 3, 2014) – Three fisheries personnel with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division recently were recognized by the Georgia Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, with two of them tying for “Fishery Worker of the Year.” 

Craig Robbins and Chris Looney both will share the honor of “Fishery Worker of the Year,” and Jimmy Miller received a certificate of recognition from AFS.

The mission of the American Fisheries Society is to improve the conservation and sustainability of fishery resources and aquatic ecosystems by advancing fisheries and aquatic science and promoting the development of fisheries professionals.  This award is presented to individuals in recognition of efforts that have made a significant impact on fisheries research or management in Georgia during the past year.

 Chris Looney: In charge of standardized sampling on lakes he manages; oversaw completion of the Mossy Creek boating access area on the Chattahoochee River; helped design and implement new striped bass research and monitoring protocols at Lake Lanier; presents ongoing research and information to citizen groups; serves on the DNR Search and Rescue Team.

Monday, March 3, 2014

52 Shades of Gray

by Landon Williams

Fresh from the Nantahala in North Carolina, here’s a trip report to whet one’s appetite for Spring’s arrival.

Today, Sunday, March 2nd, I decided to drive north for a change of pace and fish the Nantahala DH. The temperature never got close to 70 in the “Land of the Noonday Sun," but it was very pleasant up in the Gorge and I even unzipped my jacket during the hottest part of the afternoon! I didn’t arrive until about 11:30 and moseyed around before finally hitting the water a little after 12 PM.

On stepping into the stream there was one thing I noticed all around me, GRAY. Usually gray is a color that we associate with tiredness and lifelessness. In some sense that was true. The huge rock walls around me and the hibernating limbs of the trees gave a fairly lifeless appearance beside the sounds of the water roaring through the gorge. But on closer inspection of the streambed, lifeless would not be a word that I would use.  All around, the “groceries,” were starting to hatch and buzz around. First to come into sight were all of the caddis flies. I counted at least three different types, including a small size 18 black caddis, a size 16 dark charcoal gray caddis, and a bigger size 14 lighter gray colored caddis. There were also a few of the larger mayflies, Quill Gordons and smaller Blue Quills but they were few and far between. 

That’s all fine and good but you are probably asking yourself, “How were the fish biting on them?” Well even though the smaller caddis were the most numerous, the fish did not seem to want to touch them and preferred the larger 14 grey caddis instead, even though they were very sparse.

However, due to the fact that I still had a little bit of winter cretin still left in me, I decided a dropper nymph below the dry would be a smart move. I stuck on a size 16 grey caddis pupa with a black nickel tungsten bead about 4 feet below my Caddis dry fly. The fishing was nothing short of phenomenal to say the least. I landed over 60 fish in the course of the afternoon with the caddis pupa only slightly edging out its floating cousin but only by a narrow margin! Later in the afternoon, between 4:00 and 5:00, I found a couple of stretches where the bigger mayflies were hatching fairly well and I caught several on a parachute Quill Gordon dry fly. The key to getting bit with the dries was to keep them perfectly drag free as any sort of movement of the fly was usually met with a refusal.  I pulled more fish out of the deeper boulder fields than anywhere else as I think the gradient slackens just enough for the fish to pile up in the deeper troughs and current seams so they can hunt for food.  Fish count wise it was split between rainbows and browns, including many wild fish of both species. Unfortunately a brook trout never found its way onto the end of my line to complete the hat trick, which is fairly unusual for the Nantahala.

 Hopefully some of this information will help or encourage someone to get on some dry fly action here soon. It was gorgeous out today and if you didn’t wet a line, I feel for you!

-The Owner of a Rough Life.