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, December 18, 2020

UO Fishing Report - 12/18/20


Summary: Flows are good after a slight bump from 12/16’s half-inch of rain. Water temps are tolerable - for the fish. As for us, we should wear wool socks and fleece pants under our waders!

https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv?site_no=02176930 Fish in the forties will be slower than their former selves at fifty degrees, so expect lower overall catches. But the water is still above 40, so you’ll still enjoy some catches if you employ the standard winter mantra of “low, slow, after lunch, and in the sun.” And the best news is that we have a slight warming trend toward Christmas. Every extra degree counts! And keep an eye out for possible holiday gifts from the GAWRD elves. http://georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Trout For trout, hit the afternoons with your winter techniques of deep and slow with eggs, rubberleg stoneflies, small buggers, and maybe a small nymph dropper off the back. Good nymph patterns: pheasant tail (nymph or soft hackle version), hares ear, rainbow warrior, lightning bug, prince. Aim for the sunny spots! Use a short tapered leader and then a long piece of 3x or 4x tippet to slice through the water column. Finally, knot a foot of 4x or 5x tippet to connect your long leader to your fly, and get some good, drag-free drifts along the bottom. (See “Winter Chuck and Duck” in here: https://rabuntu.org/about/educational-programs/secrets/) For stripers, find the bait via the birds or your Humminbird (fish finder). Henry C says most predators are still deep and on small bait, but birds will show you some surface action. Do more searching than casting and you’ll catch more stripers. Enjoy the latest angler reports and tips from our extended UO family. Headwaters Jimmy slipped out to a local headwater stream last Sunday afternoon. He tossed a dry/dropper combo on his short blueline rod and picked up a nice handful of wild rainbows in a couple hours. One was a real trophy for the tiny stream and stretched to ten inches. None were brave enough to come up to his parachute hares ear dry, and all preferred the small, tungsten prince dropper. Smith DH Web posts and anglers visiting the shop report decent fishing in the colder water. Stealth and deep-dredged eggs and small nymphs are producing. Weekends are busy and your success will be lower if you’re fishing behind a bunch of folks. Try these two techniques. Tip 1: rest a pool when it’s finally yours. Eat a snack, rerig your leader, and admire nature around you for 20 minutes. Then catch them with stealth! Use lighter tippet (6x) and small flies (#18 and 20 pheasant tails, zebra midges, WD40’s, rainbow warriors) that will be different than the standard fare that has pounded them for hours. Sneak up and toss in without false casting and spooking the nervous residents. Tip 2: go on an uncrowded weekday. And Euronymphing works well on any day. Tooga DH UO friend @certifiedflybum reports, “Sunday was a great day to be outside. The sun was bright and warm on our backs, but the fish did not care that it was nice out. The colder weather, plus rainwater from the day before, kept the trout tight to the bottom in deep pools or soft pockets of three feet or better deep water, it's December after all. Success finally came by changing one's mindset from fall to winter techniques, keeping line drifts painfully slow or to a near stall giving the fish time to consider moving on the fly. In the early afternoon sunlight, the fly of the day was an orange bead head with white chenille weighted to tick the bottom. And in the late afternoon, casting dark micro streamers with a bit of flash into soft water and suspending the flies in the drift working the edges of sun and shade got motivated trout curious enough to bite. The slow conditions made the few that did play the reward of the day.” Where are these places? GAWRD shows you here: http://georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Trout All streams are on the interactive map. And you can also scroll down to “artificial lure streams” and click on the DH stream names for individual maps. Private Waters Hunter said, “The family rented a cabin with some private water. After getting them on some nice fish I made a few drifts myself and ended up getting into a long battle with this guy. The 10’ 3Wt. protected my 5x tippet and let me get him to the net. He ate a black rubber leg stone with plenty of lead wire wraps, part of my go to set up that’s a rubber leg stone and either a small rainbow warrior (or similar) or a soft hackle.” UO veteran guide Ron said his clients had some very good days at Rainbow Point on the Soque by deep drifting black stonefly nymphs. Lanier Hank the Yank sez, “Stripers are still scattered all over lake as the weather is cooling and water temps get into the mid 50’s. Fish are starting to bunch up a little more which hopefully means sinking line bite will start soon. Best bets are to still look for surface feeding fish or toss flies on loons. South end of lake is still best by far.” www.henrycowenflyfishing.com More great Lanier striper and spot intel courtesy of UO’s flatwater friends, Mack and Clay: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Fishing-Store/CaptainMacks/about/ https://www.facebook.com/CatchingNotFishing/ Stay distant and safe. If you go, then go local and slow, and be careful in the outdoors. We don’t want to add any more work for our healthcare heroes during these very tough times for all Georgians. May we all count our blessings and then put 2020 behind us. Can I get an Amen to that? Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Unicoi Outfitters.

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