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!


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