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 27, 2020

UO Fishing Report - 11/27/20

Welcome to “Thanksgiving Leftovers.”  The UO Intel Bird is pretty picked over after serving you up three helpings of timely Facebook fodder this week: Monday risers, Tuesday legs and eggs, and yesterday’s streamflows and new Delayed Harvest stockers.   We do have some nice pics from those trips and some time-tested advice for your week ahead.  Get your smaller plate ready; here we go.

The weather and water will change soon and savvy anglers will change their techniques to match water conditions.  Most trout waters dropped to wadeable levels today, and warm weather tomorrow will keep them prime for one more day.

On headwaters, try one last shot on top with dry/dropper combos. Start with a caddis, stimulator, or Adams dry. If no lookers in 30 minutes, drop a #16 beaded pheasant tail or hares ear 1-3 feet behind it, depending on the depths you’re fishing. Try this rig at Smith DH, too, if fish have been hammered by heavy weekend pressure. Don’t be afraid to pull out your 6x and zebra midges, either. Add a #6 Dinsmore shot if you need to get the dropper down.

The good news on DH streams is their DNR redosing, so you can aim now for both frosh and sophs.  See our “DH University” tips in our November Angler magazine column. 

For new arrivals, try something flashy or buggy as your first fly: egg, rubberlegs, or small black or olive woolly bugger.  If they don’t eat the drift, remember to strip or twitch! For the smarter sophs, drop down a tippet size to 5 or 6x and try a #16 or 18 pheasant tail, prince, hares ear, or lightning bug as your trailer.

Waters are warm now and trout will swim up a foot or two to your fly tomorrow, but cold water after that will glue them to the bottom. Consider changing the number of split shot and the depth of your strike indicator before changing fly patterns. A good drift at nose level is typically more important than fly pattern. If you’re not losing a few flies on the bottom, you’re not fishing deep enough.

Most importantly, find the slower, deeper spots. Most DH fish have now been washed downstream into softer refuges by November floods. Leave the fast riffles alone til emerging spring nymphs chum fish back into them.  Prospect the pools and slower, deeper runs.

Sunday storms and next week’s arctic chill will chauffeur in winter fishing conditions. Be ready to go low, slow, and deep when those stream temps plummet.  In terms of flow spikes, recall our October Angler magazine article on reading flow curves and fishing them safely and effectively. Based on my frozen fingers and shins on Tuesday, dig out your fleece pants and gloves, too!

Private water fish will follow the same temperature trends as the public fish. Fishing’s been good for our clients on egg and stonefly patterns, and then small nymphs when the sun is high and the water is clear. Our guides have that instream experience and can dial in the “hot pattern of the day” for their guests. Hunter guided his gal, Casey, to success this week. He reports:
“No streamer action, but it wasn’t ideal conditions by the time we tried it. We had the most luck on legs, some eggs, but mainly small flashy nymphs.  Rainbow warriors, lighting bugs, and flashback hares ears did the trick.”

We’ve been too busy trouting to sample area lakes, but our flatwater buddy Henry C just checked in.  He said this week’s shallow striper bite was very slow, but Lanier’s spots compensated a bit for the striped fish.  He hopes it picks up after next week’s fronts pass through.  His book is still great, though (I’m up to page 157), so keep it in mind for a stocking stuffer.

And for more great Lanier intel, always check our friend Capt Mack’s page!

Go trout hunting soon before the floods and ice come. After that, bundle up, hit the 11am-3pm window, and add more shot til you bounce the bottom of deep, slow pools.

Good luck. And thanks for your patronage- from our Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials to your regular resupply trips. Stay distant and safe to help family and our health care workers, and share your holiday fish stories with us!

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