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, November 8, 2019

UO Fishing Report - 11/8/19

Weekend warriors, we gotta luv those USGS Real Time stream gauges! Area trout streams are flowing clear and their water levels are back down to normal for this time of year. We only got 0.2 inches of rain in Helen last nite (11/7) so there was only a slight bump in Hooch flow. The weather’s cooling off, so the best time to fish wIll be during the warmth of the midday sun, as chilly stream temps rebound a bit.

Lake fans should have a good time, too, as water temps are down into the 60’s and a lot of bass and stripers have come shallow to chase threadfin shad and blueback herring schools. Don’t miss the GAWRD weekly fishing blog, fresh outa their oven around 3 pm each Friday: https://georgiawildlife.blog/category/fishing/
And if you can “catch” a ride with Henry Cowen or one of his recommended buddies like “Fluffy,” now is the time to book that Lanier guided flyfishing trip for stripers and spots. The Guru, Dredger, and our buddy Alan struck gold yesterday (11/7) and jumped several nice striper schools on top. We lost more than we landed, but put several stripers to 27 inches in the boat. Tune into O’Neill’s Saturday morning radio show on WSB for Henry’s weekly updates.
Here are a few more best bets for northeast GA and southwestern NC.
Smith Delayed Harvest (DH): still a great place to bring new fly anglers. It will be crowded at midday due to good weather and fresh stockers. Try a contrarian approach of fishing early or late to beat the crowds. Just dress warmly if you arrive at dawn! Try some small (#10 or 12) twitched & stripped woolly buggers or dead drifted eggs, squirmies, or Pats rubberlegs (girdle bugs). Get the buggers deep! If they get picky due to pressure, downsize to 6x and a flashy rainbow warrior to pick up a few bonus fish.
Ami DH: Same deal as Smith. If you’re hitting the deep pools, ensure your tippet is long enough to get the fly down to the fish. Add several feet of thin tippet and an extra shot to slice thru the water column.
Chattooga DH: the two DNR’s said the big USFS bird has flown. Fish are now throughout the DH, but it can be famine or feast til you find those honey holes. Again, try a small bugger, twitched and stripped deep through the prime pools. Fish quickly upriver until you strike gold, then stay put to catch all his friends. If they turn off the bugger, then drift a rubberlegs, squirmy, or Glo bug they the pool. Blairsville’s Ron Sharpe has good luck yesterday afternoon (11/7) on a girdle bug. See our Facebook page for my 11/3 report.
Toccoa DH: this is big water, but the USGS gauge suggests wadeable flows for careful anglers. This is basically the Tooga with a road alongside it, so follow our Tooga tips here, too. Just be very careful wading or floating this reach. Special thanks go to USFWS Rock Creek Hatchery for the fat rainbows in this river!
NC DH streams: Fires Creek and Nantahala DH should fish well once they warm up around lunchtime. The stockers now have a month of experience under their belts and are no longer gullible to junk flies on crummy drifts. The wild bows and browns have always been smart. Try some smaller stuff (pheasant tails, zebra midges, and Euro nymphs) rolled along the bottom. See my 11/4 Nan trip report in the Unicoi Outfitters forum for more intel. There may still be a stray fish or two that will sip a dry fly in the slow backside pockets. Maybe you’ll see an eagle, too!
Bluelines: brooks and browns will be in full spawning attire. Cold water and no flying bugs give them few reasons to come up for a dry, so make sure you fish a deeper dropper (pheasant tail, lightning bug) under your buoyant strike indicator (parachute Adams, bushy Caddis, or yellow stimulator).
Backcountry solitude: try the copter stocked sections of Chattooga’s mainstream (a mile below Burrell’s Ford down to the top of DH at Reed Creek), or the remote reach of the West Fork below Three Forks. See Wes’ report on our Facebook page.
Trophy Trout Waters:
(Hooch in Helen, Soque, NCF)
They’re fishing really well right now. As with all fishing, some “catching” days are better than others. These are smart fish due to their experience with anglers, but good guides can switch flies and dial in some memorable fish for their clients. See a couple of this week’s trip reports on our FB page.
So grab your fly poles and run quickly to trout waters near you. They are fishing really well while our water temps haven’t yet plummeted for the winter. Stop by the shop in Helen before or after your trip for hot flies, fresh tippet, and the best local intel for this area. Right now we have our deadly dozen DH flies picked out and waiting for our guests. We’re also online and in the virtual phone book at 706-878-3083 for distant friends. Good luck, fishing folks!

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