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 27, 2020

UO Fishing Report - 3/27/20

How about another dose of good news? Whether it’s fly tying, watching fishing shows, casting a new rod bought online, basking in the backyard sunshine, or even getting on some open waters, we all need a responsible distraction right now. Hopefully this report will make you smile.

For those of you who are not under a “shelter in place” mandate and want to get some fresh air while socially distancing, we’ve tried to summarize your angling opportunities that are still available. Pack your lunches from your safe home caches and be ready to roll. At the time of writing, it looks like GADNR properties are still open. Undeveloped lands of the Chattahoochee National Forest are still accessible, while the USFS developed sites such as visitor centers and campgrounds are closed. All lands and waters of nearby national parks such as the Chattahoochee Rec Area and the Smokies are completely closed to visitors, as is the Cherokee Nation
https://www.facebook.com/VisitCherokeeNC/ On Lanier, some boat ramps remain open, while the Corps developed sites such as campgrounds and restrooms are closed. https://www.facebook.com/LakeSidneyLanierUSACE/ Remember that many other ramps are operated by local governments, so you may have to check those websites for the status of ramps that are not on the Corps list. https://www.hallcounty.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=746 For facility updates, see the list of agency websites on our prior Facebook post. Dukes Creek remains open to anglers with reservations (706-878-3087), while the Smithgall visitors center is closed Our private waters are open and, with the tight restrictions on angler numbers, provide great social distance destinations.

Now let’s get to some fishing reports! We had three inches of rain Tuesday night, but flood flows are dropping and the weekend is dry and warm. It should be a great fishing weekend everywhere: ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams. Just be careful when wading the big streams!
https://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?02330450 https://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?02176930 See our Facebook post for a Nacoochee Bend Special! https://www.facebook.com/unicoioutfitters Our big fish were crushing streamers during this week’s high water. They should change their tastes back to small nymphs and maybe some dries as the river drops and clears. On the local front, both Pescador and RodneyT have been wearing out pond bream and bass with their fly rods.

The warm shallows have brought fish close to the bank, where they are looking up! Black bass, stripers, and hybrids are chasing bait in the stained, warming reservoir shallows, especially when the sun is low. Upriver migrations should be in full swing for whites and hybrids, and just starting for stripers. There was some great intel in last week’s GAWRD fishing blog, and we’ll bet that this week’s report will be loaded, too. It’s time to take those small boats up the Hooch, Chestatee, Tugalo, Etowah, and Coosa!
https://georgiawildlife.blog/category/fishing/ This weekend is the traditional start of trout stocking season and we expect the state and fed trout trucks to roll. Last week’s stocking list was long, but might be outdone by tomorrow’s posted list. The popular sites are crowded on this traditional opening weekend, so this may be the year to avoid those crowds and socially distance yourselves to less popular waters that are lightly stocked. http://georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Trout

Better yet, hike into some remote wild trout waters. RodneyT reported yesterday, “Some wild fish from this past weekend. Social distancing was rewarded with several wild & native trout which included a nice 13” Rainbow somewhere in the CNF!”
Smithgall has an angler quota of 15 and distancing is easy over its four miles of trout water. SammyC hit Dukes on the 25th and reported: “Fortuitously my buddy Adam and I set March 25 on our calendars - and the Dukes list - months ago. Despite the highest water I’ve ever seen, it was a very welcome relief from our jobs as doctors, and we are thankful to the State and staff for keeping Smithgall Woods and in doing so in a safe manner. The water was turbid and truly ripping - favorite runs were unfishable and unwadable. Pat’s rubber legs and heavy jigs on tight lines, dropped into eddies and slow deep runs were the ticket. Fishing picked up as the day warmed and we landed a half dozen between six and 16 inches and lost a bruiser to frayed tippet just before I could get the net under it. We really enjoyed our day astream.” AthensAlan reported: “Early ‪Saturday morning‬ light showers in Athens gave way to a beautiful sunny and warm day on the Chattooga. The lot on the Georgia side of the river was full but I pulled into one of a couple open spots in the SC parking area. Started hiking up the South Carolina side and counted 8 anglers in the water before stopping and fishing a nice run. The water was still up and a little off-color. I had checked the Hwy 76 gauge before leaving home and it was showing 2.05. Started fishing a size 12 purple haze with a small Pheasant Tail Dropper. Had two refusals on the dry in the first run and no action on the P.T. Decided to go to a smaller size 14 parachute Adams for my top fly and small size 16 caddis for a double dry set up, wasn’t able to get the refusals to come back up for another look. Walked on up river (saw another 6 anglers) and settled In at the upper end of the DH section. Tied on a #16 parachute Adams and picked up the first small rainbow. The action was slow but I was able to entice a couple of small browns hanging close to the bank. Best fish of the day was a pretty 12” rainbow that jumped 4 times and put a nice bend in my 4 weight (picture to follow). ‪Around 5:15 the bugs started coming off and a saw some caddis in the air.‬ Tied a tan caddis on behind my Adams hoping that the fish were going to start looking up, but never saw a rise unless it was a fish coming up to my fly. Watched a nice fish come up from a deep hole and chase my caddis downstream, but was a little quick on the trigger and didn’t let him take it all the way before sticking and missing him. I ended up with six to hand for the day, so not a tremendous amount of action, but was a great mental health day and a beautiful place to practice social distancingšŸ˜Ž” Toccoa Aaron’s Tooga report: “Landed 3 fish total. Missed about 8 lol. Had rises starting at about 10 am. The first little rainbow went after a size 16 copper stonefly/orange biot wings that was hanging off a chubby Chernobyl with 5x. The second was on a single size 14 elk hair caddis on a dead drift. And the third went after a size 14 stimi on a single rig with dead drift action. Of course, the junk flies did their jobs and attracted many hits. Good action on the trusty dusty creme mop. We just weren’t fortunate enough to get them to the nets. It was still a great day on the river.” Be safe and find a way to smile, whether it’s online, at the tying bench, in a back yard game with your kids, or alone on a remote trout stream. At least it’s spring, so the weather and the banter within our angling community will help us smile this week. Call or email the shop if we can help you further with your hydrotherapy prescriptions.

No comments:

Post a Comment