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.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

UO Fishing Report - 1/2/21


Happy new year! It started out wet, so it’s a good time right now for fly-tying and online shopping at home (remember your gift certificates). Trout streams are warmer than normal, but running very high from yesterday’s 2.5 inches of rain. Big streams will take a couple days to drop.
https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv?site_no=02176930 They’ve also been crowded by holiday anglers, so individual catch totals were smaller due to competition for good spots and the cold water between the two holidays. Fishing conditions will improve as flows subside over the next few days and holiday crowds finally disperse. Air temps will also bump up water temps and trout appetites. Best trout bugs, based on last week’s results, will continue to be: egg patterns, rubberleg stones, pheasant tail nymphs, and soft hackle wets, and small Euronymphs (perdigons were hot). Hint: match flies to flows! Use bigger and brighter bugs when rivers are running fast and fish must make quick lunch decisions., Scale down to smaller, natural colored flies as flows subside and your quarry can study your offerings. Lake stripers have been slow and deep. Graphing and “countdown” fishing with fast-sinking fly lines, or nightlight fishing, have put the few stripers in the boat. Something Else’s, Game Changers, clousers, and polar fibre minnows have been the best shad patterns for lake stripers and spots. Recent angler reports follow on our extended version of this report on Facebook. GAWRD and SCDNR apparently tossed some Christmas gifts into our Delayed Harvest waters and the naive fish helped holiday catch rates a bit. Smith anglers did well on eggs, bright nymphs, and tiny Euronymphs if and when they found pools that weren’t already fished by 10 previous guests. Several Chattooga reporters said the catching was slow due to cold water (below 45) and competition for prime pools. Some nice “Walhalla retirees” of the brook and brown varieties were landed, and those trophies compensated for low catch totals. Size 12-14 Eggs (yarn and a pegged Alaska bead), #16 yellow perdigons, and #10 brown Pats rubberlegs were the top patterns. All had to be dredged “low and slow.” Fondled fish were icy to the touch. Hunter had a guided trip to Smith DH and reported: “Father/son duo Scott and Julian explored some public water options on Smith Creek last week. Plenty of fish to hand on small flashy nymphs dropped below a hopper pattern, including this 18” to cap off the day” Sautee did well bluelining on a warm afternoon before Christmas. Half of the little wild bows ate the caddis dry and the other half ate his beaded pheasant tail dropper. If streams warm a bit more this week, headwaters might be worth a look. Private waters fished okay, especially in the midday warmth. Hunter reported: “David and Deb got out for a Gilligan Special last week and, while it was a little slow to start, both managed a fish including this nice dark rainbow that Deb managed to wrangle in. We had the most luck with a typical nymph setup, dropping small natural bugs behind an attractor pattern. I just had to keep swapping it up (changing patterns) to keep the action going. Stripers were slow. Both Henry C and Jimmy gave them a shot, but most were deep, tight-lipped, or both. Henry said: “Fish are deep. No fly fishing until the bait and then the fish get shallow. This should happen anytime... hopefully! In the meantime, you can fish deep points early in AM for a few spotted bass or fish nighttime dock lights to pick some easy fish.” Landon confirmed Henry’s nightlight forecast. Capt Mack also added some new year intel on yesterday’s post: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Fishing-Store/CaptainMacks/about/ It sounds like a good time to read Henry’s book and prepare for striper ascent. https://shoponline.unicoioutfitters.com/fly-fishing-for-freshwater-striped-bass-henry-cowe.html?source=facebook We will close with the same thoughts before the holidays. Stay distant and safe. If you must get outside for a “mental health day,” then go local and go slow (driving, walking, and wading) and be careful in the outdoors. Put a rod length or two between yourselves. We don’t want to add any more work for our healthcare heroes during these continuing tough times for all Georgians. Being smart now will give us the happiest of NEW years, as we hopefully expand our angling adventures in the post-vaccine era. And make many more lifetime memories with our best fishing buddies. Give us a call if we can help you with stream updates, hot flies, or some ideas for your federal stimulus checks. May this new year be very good to y’all!

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