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 3, 2020

UO Fishing Report - 1/3/20

This week’s theme is “rain check.” With one to three inches falling so far, north GA river fans will be sidelined for 1-3 days until streamflows drop back down to safe wading levels. “Rain check” is also a great reminder to check those USGS stream gauges for updates on rainfall totals, current flow conditions, and indications of when north Georgia streams will drop to fishable levels.

There’s actually some good news hidden in these soaking rains and heavy runoff. Those strong flows “polish” our trout waters. They flush sand and silt and loosen stream gravels. Have you ever noticed how much cleaner our streams appear each winter? Wild rainbows, in spawning mode from now til mid-March, appreciate Mother Nature’s help with cleaning up their spawning areas. Redds are dug easier in clean gravels, and eggs and trout fry enjoy fresher flows thru those incubation chambers within stream gravels.
While our big water game is on hold, small streams are already returning to fishable levels. Needing a break from tying Rabun Rendezvous auction flies, I ran up to Smith DH and Dukes Creek today (3rd) around 4pm and found both of them high, but fishable (see forthcoming vids). With less than a half-inch of additional rain expected overnight, north Georgia’s small streams and ponds (ex: Vogel) will provide some good angling opportunities for new year anglers itching to wet a line. Be careful wading and get down to the fish to score. It’s gonna be tougher than last week, as our air temps drop back down to seasonal norms tomorrow, but we should have some action in waters above 40 degrees.
Here are a few recent reports to aid your own angling plans.
Smith DH: Today’s sparse crowd of rainware-donned folks were having very good luck on eggs and small Euro nymphs. The stream had already receded a bit and had hardly any color to it. The warm, rainy, overcast weather and ample streamflow created perfect fishing conditions. I’d expect a big weekend assault on the creek, so go early, late, or somewhere else until Sunday afternoon, when most folks head home to ATL.
Dukes: should fish well for reservation holders and early-risers lucky enough to snag a rare vacancy from a reservation no-show. Be ready with smaller tippet and flies, as this stream was also high, but already clear at 5 this evening. Rabunites Pat and Tammy Hopton spent the New Year holiday at a Smithgall cabin and caught some nice rainbows, including at least one whopper netted by Tammy.
Should fish decently until the air temp dives. Try a dry/dropper combo in deeper pools.
Private waters: fished well last week. Our guides had good trips on the Soque, Nacoochee Bend (Hooch at our Helen fly shop), and Noontootla Creek Farm. Enjoy the pics of shop manager Jake’s two clients on the Soque and NCF.

Some secret egg patterns did the trick. Hunter’s Hooch guests did well nymphing and then stripping streamers when the water warmed in the afternoon.
Unnamed Border River and Trib:
Looks like Sam did well!
Nan DH:
A random Rabunite and young TUer Cameron F celebrated their new year in grand style. Brooks, browns, and rainbows (stocked and wild flavors) hit the Euronymphs at noon and after 330pm. For two mid-afternoon hours, however, the fish looked up to a BWO hatch, and the angling duo celebrated their earliest dry fly season start, ever, on January 1st!
North GA Bassin’:
UO asst mgr Wes and his buddy, home for the holidays, did well on Hooch shoalies before this week’s monsoon. Buddy landed 20 and 21 inchers. Jake ran up to Burton today (3rd) and said his best five spots and LMB’s pushed 22 pounds. Bassin’ fans can push these two guys for intel or book a trip by visiting their info booth at the Jiminar tomorrow.
More North GA Intel:
Check out the weekly blog by our good friends at GAWRD. This week’s author is John “Deadly” Damer, who tosses a mighty tight loop himself on north GA’s bluelines and on Montana’s Big Mo.
Good luck this week. Big storms are an inconvenience, but they sure beat extended droughts.
Give us a call (706-878-3083). or drop us an email if we can help you further.

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