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, January 15, 2021

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 1/15/21


706-878-3083 Summary: It’s the middle of January and our fishing conditions are “low, slow, and chilly.” Streams are running low and clear. The good news is that they are not ice-cold, with rivers running in the 40-45 degree range. Those water temps give you a decent shot at some fish. Headwaters are running a few degrees lower and, with a few exceptions on warmer days, are a bit slower than mainstreams. As we’ve said before, match your flies to flows. Low and clear water suggests smaller eggs, rubberleg stones, or buggers as your first fly on 5x tippet. Then go tiny on the dropper, with a size 18 pheasant tail, hares ear, rainbow warrior, WD-40, or Frenchie trailed behind on 6x tippet. If the water is skinny, lighten up your indicator, too, or give Euronymphing a try. Keep an eye out in soft currents for hatching blue wing olives (#20) or little black stoneflies (#18). You might be pleasantly surprised by an hour of dry fly action on warm afternoons. If you don’t have a dry stonefly, grab a black or gray elk hair caddis, press down, and give it a mohawk haircut. The long, slim profile should fish well. Here is Wes’ weekly hot bug list: -Frenchies #16 and #18 -Black hares ear #16 -Slush eggs in pink and orange #12 -Gray RS2’s #20 Fresh angler reports follow on our longer Facebook edition. Good luck and put your health first if you go. Drive, hike, and wade carefully. And remember your best fishing friend every winter: the sun. Headwaters:

Sautee hit a White County blueline earlier this week and said: “My favorite rainbow stream produced well again. Fish were hunkered down with sub-50 degree air temps and there was no interest in my dry/strike indicator, unlike every other trip so far this year. Fish are certainly in winter mode. Nonetheless, it was a good day using a #16 tungsten bead head soft hackle hares ear. With fish hunkered down, the tungsten bead head was the key component in getting the fly down fast in front of hungry wild fish. In small stream fishing because of tight spaces due to overhanging rhododendron, you don’t always have the luxury of placing your fly far enough upstream of the spot where fish should be hanging out. That means getting your fly down in the water column quickly helps you produce more takes. Fishing is still good in high elevation, clear streams, but be in stealth mode with fast sinking flies to be most effective! “

Jimmy said: “Upon arriving at the Chattooga DH only to discover 17 other cars parked there and along the highway, Mark and I decided to go fish a beautiful, unnamed wild trout creek yesterday afternoon (14th). Considering we had bluebird skies and crystal clear water that was pretty chilly, the fishing was predictably slow. However, when you allow yourself to enjoy your surroundings, and you have it to yourself, you realize there are some things more important than "catching". The hookups we did have came on tungsten bead Prince Nymphs fished deep. “ DH: Smith has been hit or miss. Hits are by vets and misses are by rookies. Stealth, light tippets, and tiny bugs on the bottom are earning the higher batting averages. No recent reports on Tooga, except for the crowd found yesterday. It oughta fish the same as last week. Have an egg attractor within a foot of your split shot and drop a little pheasant tail 12-18” off the back. Consider putting a small tin split shot on the tippet between the two flies to get that dropper down, too. Try a #4 or 6 Dinsmore. Rabunites call this winter technique the “Dinsmore split.” Hunter tried the Ami and gave a truthful report:” Hey the newbies gotta know that even fishing guides have slow days, too! It was a tough Sunday on the Ami. Caught one in the first few minutes around 11:00 then nothing for the next few hours. Didn’t get a water temp for you though. The first one ate a black rubber leg stone. When the sun did manage to hit the water though there was a fair amount of midges coming off but no takers on any midge pattern in any life cycle form. Still good to be on the water though.” Smithgall:

RonW checked in: “Moe and I met up at Duke's on Saturday 1-10 to socially fishstance after snagging two spots the day before. We got into the fish almost immediately. A few on a tungsten BH CDC nymph. A few more came on the egg. We worked all the "passed up" water most of the day and it paid off big time. We spotted a few fish from up above the water and then went in and caught them, which is always super rewarding. The breakfast of champions was on the menu all day. biggest fish landed was 19" and few more in the 16-17" range. Great times as always on the water!”

Landon snatched a Wednesday no-show slot at lunchtime and reported:” Slow til about 3 when I had fished up to there. Then found ‘em wedged in a honey hole like cordwood. Broke off a couple, but landed quite a few in an hour there. Fly didn’t matter. They ate “5 shot and a good drift” in the deep pools. They were glued to the bottom and the ones I saw eat didn't move but a couple inches. Typical winter fishing.” Private waters:

UO manager Jake’s report: “Fished Nacoochee Bend on Sunday afternoon with new anglers, Sam and Brock. It was a cold day, but the fish became active once the sun was high in the sky. We were into fish consistently, but the highlight of the day was Brock’s big rainbow which had Hardman Heritage Trail hikers stopping to watch the battle. Brock’s big fish drug us up and down the river a few times, but he remembered his coaching lessons we covered during the beginning of his Gilligan Special and was able to get his trophy in the net. We landed fish on a variety of different patterns including Prince Nymphs, Soft Hackles, bigger stoneflies, and Rainbow Warriors.”

HenryC sez: “Stripers are eating a little better now. Both north and south lake are showing fish. Birds are helpful as are coves that are a tad warmer than the main lake or creek. Small flies are the ticket and early and late in the day is best with PM having a slight advantage. Look for fish under birds as well as in the backs of the creeks and coves.”
https://www.henrycowenflyfishing.com/ ‘21 Rendezvous canceled: All friends of the Rabunites should note that their annual winter shindig at Dillard House will take this year off to protect everyone’s health: https://www.facebook.com/rabuntu/ Good luck this week, whether you’re home perfecting your Oreck eggs, taking notes from Orvis podcasts, or carefully heading astream for some mental health maintenance. Call or come by the Helen or Clarkesville store if we can help you stay afloat in today’s turbulent times.

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