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 4, 2020

UO Fishing Report - 12/4/20

Trout are shaking off the deep freeze and have been more active after recent, warmer days and nights. Afternoons have been hot, even on top! GAWRD’s holiday Delayed Harvest stream redosings now give you shots at both naive Frosh and educated fish, the Sophs and Jrs. (See page Atlanta-2 in here: https://issuu.com/coastalanglermagazine/docs/atlanta_f6cbb10e171441/1)

It’s 6pm and our three hours of steady rain just quit after dumping half to 3/4 inch, which is now bumping up streamflows. Check flows before you go in the morning to ensure your target stream will be at a safe wading level. https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv?site_no=02176930 For your best bet at fish fondling this week, hit the top of the daily water temperature swings by aiming for the afternoons. If the water slides up toward 50 degrees, you might even get lucky and hook some trout on top! Best trout bugs right now: eggs, rubberleg stones, mops, and small buggers as lead flies. Then add a size 16-18 pheasant tail, hares ear, or rainbow warrior nymph (or their soft hackle versions) as your droppers. Nightowls can try for Lanier stripers under the lights, or wait til daylight and then birdwatch or graph-watch to find striper schools herding shad and bluebacks. Best fish-flies are Cowen’s Something Else, a Game Changer, and the old standard of a gray/white Clouser minnow. Latest Tips and Trips:

DH Streams: UO friend KevinP said that Smith DH has fished really well for the past several weeks. The biggest challenge has been picking dates and times to avoid the crowds. His best fish nosed just short of 20 inches.

Sautee goretexed-up this afternoon (4th) and hit Smith DH for a few hours in the rain. He texted, “Just got Home. 13 total. All rainbows. Half and half on the pink squirmy and the brown/black rubber legs. Last one on a mop fly. Stream and parking lot to myself. Great evening!”
The UGA Fiver Rivers clubbers reported, “ on Chattooga DH, weekday fishing is where it's at. Fish were still young and dumb and liked the cream mop and rainbow warriors in the deeper (2-3ft) tailouts behind the typical stocker pools. Brookies ate streamers, slow-jigged as deep as you could get them.

Sautee’s 12/3 wild trout report: “With the sun predicted to be out all day and air temps climbing to the mid-50s, it looked to be a good day for trout to thaw out from the morning low of 27 and forage once the water temps started to rise. Hit a local wild rainbow stream about 12:30. Action was slow with a few small rainbows coming on a #18 hare’s ear being bumped along the bottom. Around 2 PM a sparse hatch started in the sunny spots. The only dry fly I had that was close was a #16 Adams, so I tied it on and dropped a #18 grey soft hackle about 18” off the back. Caught a couple more on the soft hackle and had several rises and give my Adam’s a sideways glance before refusing. As the fishing slowed down, I decided to get my dropper down faster so I tied on a #18 beadhead hare’s ear soft hackle, but to float it I needed something more substantial than the Adam’s I was using. The only solution I had with me was a #14 brown elk hair caddis so I tied that on as an indicator. Who knew that would turn out to be the hot fly for the day. Over the next 2 hours, fish rose repeatedly to take my caddis. However, the best fish of the day was an 11” wild rainbow that took my dropper. Another fine rainbow in the 9-10” range also took my dropper but shook me off before I could get him in. It turned out to be an excellent day on the water and was a great surprise to catch so many on top with a fly I didn’t expect much from except to serve as an indicator. The afternoon sun turned out to be the key factor in making this a fine day to be on a quiet blue line with nobody but me and the fish!”
UO neighbor “KM” reported his first sighting of little black stoneflies on a local, low elevation stream. So get ready for this winter bug to start emerging this month on our higher streams and bring a few trout noses to the top on warm afternoons. What bug? https://www.fieldandstream.com/articles/fishing/2014/01/winter-trout-flies-hatching-stoneflies/ UO’s private waters are still fishing very well for clients and guides, especially when the waters warm by midmorning. Eggs and stoneflies are working in big waters, while smaller nymphs produce better when river flows run low and clear. Pescador gave this Athens flatwater report: “Warm water fish are still eating on sunny days. Found some nice crappie willing to eat a small streamer.” My Euronymphing mentor, Landon, provided this Lanier report: “We’ve done decent on some docklight fish the last couple weeks. They are pretty spooky so taking a couple casts and bouncing around on lights has been key.” Capt Mack’s latest lake intel: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Fishing-Store/CaptainMacks/posts/ This week’s GAWRD fishing report is also chock-full of extra stream and lake intel! Check it out here: https://georgiawildlife.blog/category/fishing/ That’s the latest from our Unicoi Outfitters gang. Stay distant and safe and protect your family, friends, and health care workers this season. Good luck!

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