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, March 13, 2020

UO Fishing Report - 3/13/20

Ugh, on top of everything in the news, today is ... Friday the 13th! Need a little good news right now? We have it.
Avid angler and Atlanta TV 5 meteorologist Ryan Beesley just announced this week’s theme: “Spring has sprung!” It looks like we have a very good fishing weekend ahead for both flat and flowing water fans. Last weekend’s time change and more hours of sunlight now give us a lot more fishing time. Given our community concerns, from the virus to the economy, it might just be a good time for a dose of hydrotherapy to get us through this tough time. Streamflows and temps look great,
and the weekend looks dry and warm. Midweek rains may deliver another 1-3 inches of rain up here, so go sooner rather than later. Some good reports support our predictions, so here we go:

We had some very good trips on private waters as our larger streams finally dropped and warmed enough to fire up the fish. It’s important to be flexible, though, and change your patterns and techniques until you dial in that day’s successful recipe. Joe from PA fished unguided at Nacoochee Bend last Saturday and had a great time on streamers. He said he landed eight bows to 25 inches, with only two under 20, and gave me his hot flies: a golden retriever and a Christmas tree (bushy black bugger full of crystal flash).
In contrast, Gary B (pic) had a good guided, midweek trip with Ron on a variety of nymphs.

Hunter’s guided party had a good introduction to flyfishing. He reports: “I never was able to find a really solid pattern on the bite, but pretty much all came on the swing. They wouldn’t take a streamer today. Most were on soft hackles, emergers, or midges. A bunch of midges were hatching on the warm afternoon.”
Public water reports to the shop were a bit sparse, but we expect them to fish very well this weekend. As we reported midweek, Quill Gordons hatched on the Soque, so they’re around now on all larger trout streams. Whether you hit hatch day or not is simply the luck of the draw, but those fly patterns should solicit strikes even on the off days. Be ready with both dries and nymphs for this bug, consider driving separately, and “socially distance” yourselves along the Chattooga or Nantahala for a good time, maybe even on midday dries! The March fly pattern lists were in last week’s report, so look back and then check your boxes. Here’s some more good intel from our Vol friends to the north, Ian and Charity:
BOLO (be on the lookout for) the next WRD stocking list, especially if you have kids itching to fish. We now approach the traditional start of the Georgia trout stocking season, so consistent Friday afternoon stocking lists should restart soon. See them here and sign up to have a copy delivered right to you:
In fact, the 2020 master trout stocking list (all waters stocked and their frequencies) has been posted on that site. Newly redosed Delayed Harvest streams are great training grounds for new fly fishers. A size 10 twitched black woolly bugger or a size 12 red squirmy worm, dead drifted, are hard to beat.
Spring has arrived and it’s now a good time to try the region’s rivers and lakes. The headwaters of large lakes should are finally clearing from the red-muddy river floods of a couple weeks ago. More importantly, these sunny, mild days and nights are warming surface waters and attracting shad and bluebacks to the shallows. And we know what follows them. Have your 8-weights, intermediate line, and Cowens something else, gray/white clousers, and game changer fly patterns rigged and ready for a dawn trip to upper Lanier coves. Follow the birds and bait. Check your drag setting before casting! I just bought a Hydros 4 yesterday and can’t wait to baptize it in Lanier.
Walleye, whites, and/or early stripers should be running up the feeder rivers to Lanier, Hartwell, Allatoona, Carters, and other north Georgia reservoirs. The best intel on these hotspots is the WRD fishing blog, fresh each Friday afternoon here:
If you can’t travel far, keep local waters in mind as pond bass,crappie, and bream shake off their winter hibernation.

Pescador has been nailing local small lake bass on streamers. Jay sez: “Bass are moving into shallow water. If you can locate the old creek channel in a pond or lake and fish the drop off, you will find lots of takers. One of our TU members reports awesome crappie fishing as well.”

Rodney’s been wearing out the pond bream: “With the warming weather, I have been fishing one of my son’s farm ponds. I tie these flies. They are awesome on bream! Need to get after some trout!!!!”
That’s a pretty good list of hydrotherapy treatments to help us through society’s rough waters right now. We wish you good fishing. More importantly, we wish all of you good health and safe times ahead as our north Georgia community rallies, helps each other, and survives our current “storm.” May we soak that hot fly in hand sanitizer before sharing it, refrain from carpools and high-fives after a great catch, and take our buddy’s fish pic from a little farther away. May we deeply appreciate our friends and families and the waters of north Georgia as we get through these tough times, together.

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