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, August 14, 2020

UO Fishing Report - 8/14/20

We’re gonna go with “hit or miss” as this week’s theme for our Friday fishing report.  It isn’t surprising, given that we’re in the middle of August, a traditionally slow time for catching across north Georgia.  The abundant August “misses”  are warm water and high, muddy flows from frequent, intense afternoon storms.  But have faith!  We hope to give you some timely tips and fresh intel that should enhance your odds for some “hits” this week.

On the trout front, think real high or real low.  High equals headwater streams,which still have good flows from frequent rains and are staying cold enough to maintain wild trout appetites.  The same summer techniques and fly patterns that we’ve been preaching will continue to work through August on blueline bows, specks, and even browns when the sun’s down. Don’t forget your raincoat!    If you have kids, watch the GAWRD trout stocking list, updated each Friday, as it targets cooler waters, and stick a small black woolly bugger, peach glo-bug, red squirmy worm or even a small Panther Martin spinner on the end of their line for some stocker success.  For the “real, real high,” check out the trout report to follow.  For the “real low,”you need to be below a really big dam, one that still holds winter water.  That’s  the Hooch below Lanier for our metro fans and in north Georgia, that means Blue Ridge Dam.

Try a wade trip at the dam, at Tammen Park, or at Curtis Switch.  Horseshoe Bend, way down near McCaysville, often is too warm in late summer for a good trout bite.  The Toccoa is also a good float for careful folks.  Whether you wade or float, you must be tuned into the TVA dam generation schedule.  The high water during a sudden generation is dangerous, so don’t take chances.  Blue Ridge Dam info is here: https://www.tva.com/environment/lake-levels/wblue-ridge


UO Buddy “Sautee” rambled far north on 441 yesterday to catch an extra thousand feet of elevation and the resulting colder water.  Enjoy his “real high” report and tips:

“Decided  to try a new (to me) trout stream in GSMNP this week since last week’s trip to higher, cooler waters was such a success. Foggy when I reached the Park and about 20 elk, including one nice bull greeted me as I drove past the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. Arrived at the trailhead at 8:00 AM, hiked 1.5 miles and plopped in the stream about 8:45. Water was crystal clear and running a little low. Started with my go-to yellow caddis hoping once again to catch’em looking up. Over the course of the next hour and 10 minutes, I switched flies repeatedly hoping to get some interest, but to no avail. Had a couple refusals but that was the best I could do. When I switched to a black foam beetle and added a #16 hares ear dropper about 14 “ off the back, things livened up. The first fish I landed was an 11” brown that ate the dropper. Thereafter was a steady diet of 6-9” rainbows that took the dry and the dropper. With my success climbing I switched back to the caddis with no luck, changed over to a yellow sally and caught a couple, then went to Adams and caught a couple more, but I was seeing more refusals so switched back to the beetle and dropper. The hares ear was the best fly of the day producing more fish than all others combined.The beetle was my best dry, but still not too productive. At 12:35 the lightning started and the sky opened up as it is prone to do during the summer months in the Smokies. I hung out under a hemlock long enough to decide the rain was settling in for a while and then hiked my way back out to a dry set of clothes waiting for me in my vehicle. There is still good top water fishing to be had even this late in the summer. Go out and have yourself a good time!”

The bass rivers seem fishable right now, but that can change in only 15 minutes if a thunderstorm rolls through.  This morning the Hooch sites in Helen and at Highway 115 were clear enough to fish.  Down at Duncan Bridge, it muddied up a bit (likely from the Soque), but still had 2-3 feet of visibility.  If you fished shallow where bass and bream could still see your bug, you’d probably get bit.  The Chestatee gauge also suggested that last nite’s  storms missed it, and it may still be fishable.  

The larger lakes are slow for shallow water fans as the fish go deep and sulk for summer. Jake took a day off to drown a Ned rig in a GA Power lake this week and had a slow time, with only one spot, one largemouth, and one “kitty” landed. We’ll need some cool fall weather to bring the larger lakes back to life for angling fans.

While we don’t have fresh reports from small lakes, experience suggests that they should do fairly well during the low light of dawn and dusk.  Toss small poppers for bream and large ones for bass right against the bank or at any downed tree in the water. At dawn and dusk, a lot of fish are looking for terrestrials to lose their footing and drop in for dinner.  Small rubber spiders are real good at this time of the year, too.  Grab a canoe or yak and work the perimeter of the lake for an hour or two when the sun isn’t cooking you and the fish.  When they won’t come up, go down to them with a popper/dropper combo.  Tie 2-3 feet of 4X or 5X tippet to the bend of your popper’s hook, and knot a trout nymph to the far end.  Use your popper as a strike indicator to save your day.   To make up for our lack of reports, we’ll substitute some intel on a couple of local spots that we frequent.  On Unicoi Lake, we do better in the upper two-thirds of the impoundment, where it is shallower and greener from the nutrient inflow.  In contrast, we do better on the lower two-thirds of little Lake Russell on US Forest Service land near Cornelia, because the upper third, above the boat ramp, is too shallow and weed-choked.  We also catch bass right in the middle of the lake as they chase really small fingerling fish- maybe bream schools?  Watch for busting bass and cast at them.  You might be rewarded.  

On any lake or river trip, always plan an exit strategy before you launch. The storms this week have been intense in both lightning and rainfall, so figure out where you can take shelter quickly. Watch the weather apps on your phone and be ready to get out of the water in a few short minutes.

That’s about it for this week, a typical one for August anglers in Georgia.  It’s  almost like winter: the pickins’ are slim, but if you do a little homework and aim accurately, you might have a few more hits than misses.  And none of us has to worry about frozen fingers and toes right now!  Good luck.  Call either shop if we can help point you in the right direction.

No comments:

Post a Comment