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, March 12, 2021

UO Fishing Report - 3/12/21

Welcome to low, clear, and warming streams. Based on our own success this week, it’s a great time to toss dry/dropper combos at prime trout lies! Stream temperatures are rising above 50 degrees and kicking in some decent bug activity, especially on the warmest afternoons. When there are enough bugs on the surface, trout noses follow. Carry a variety of dries to match the hatches on big waters. Headwater wild trout will also look up more often and won’t be as picky.
Flatwater fans also have some good targets this week. Pond bass and bream are sliding into the warm shallows. The same goes for reservoir stripers and spots. They follow the shad, which are headed toward the warming banks.
Wes’ hot flies list includes Dries: Parachute Adam’s #16, Griffith Gnat #20,
gray Elk hair caddis #16 & #18. Wets: Pheasant tail nymph #16 & #18, Slush egg #14, Improved Yallar Hammer Nymph #12, Holy grail #14 & #16, Bead head trout crack #18, Flashback Baetis #20.
Streamers: Bank robber sculpin #2, Triple double rainbow #4, Kreelex #6, Black woolly bugger #10.
Detailed angler reports and tips follow.

Jimmy hit double digits on little wild bows at a local blueline in a few hours last Sunday afternoon. They preferred the pheasant tail dropper to the Adams dry by a 3:1 margin. We think that ratio will flip after the past week of warm weather. Bluelines, after lunch, are a best bet in your days ahead.
Delayed Harvest:
Smith is still crowded on weekends, so go early or late. Try some smaller nymphs and midges, since the recent stockers have already seen a ton of junk flies. Try our “tangled trout” technique described on Thursday. Also, stay til dusk and look for some risers as the sun sets and adult bugs return to lay eggs.
The river has fished pretty darn good. It can be finicky, however, and changing flies and techniques to match the bug “activity of the hour” will enhance your success. It was “Pot Luck Tuesday” for Dredger and SC buddy Todd. The clouds subdued the bug hatches, with some mayflies, caddis, and midges buzzing in the short periods of sunshine. The catch was slow and steady for Dredger on small Adams, tiny gray caddis, and hares ear droppers when rises quit. The trick again this week was hitting the soft seams, 2-4 feet deep, on the sides of the main current and at the tails of pools.
Shallow water made it worthwhile for some fish to sip dries. Todd did well on his bugger/soft hackle combo. It was mainly bows and browns, but a sole brookie completed Dredger’s hat trick.
Toccoa DH:
Traditionally this has not been a dry fly hotspot, but it fishes well with an attractor/nymph rig. Try an egg, worm, or leech as the attractor and follow it with a pheasant tail or prince. Again, look for the slower flood refuges and get a good drift through them. Where you find one chunky rainbow, you’ll typically find a handful. Fish from the bank or float it, as flows are still high for safe wading over much of its length.
Private Waters:
These have fished really well, especially for experienced or guided anglers. The lower, clear water can make these “experienced” fish picky, so matching the bugs in that day’s drift has been the key. Watch Wes’ hot fly list for your better bets. And your best bet is tying on the pattern that your awesome UO guide suggests! Here’s a great example.
UO guide Chuck Head and angler Tom Nall recently battled the elements and were successful in their “hunt” at Noontootla Creek Farm. Enjoy the leading photo.
UO manager Jake had great trips with his clients at Nacoochee Bend and Dukes Creek. Both streams are fishing really well for folks with a stealthy stalk, a good drift, and the hot fly of the hour (mainly small nymphs).
PS: guided fishing trips are great gifts, too. Check out our gift certificates for that special angler in your life.
Landon checked in: “I caught good numbers of 1-2 lb bass and crappie in a small public reservoir Monday. I fished a small clouser under a large indicator and slowly twitched it back to me. I had lots of fun watching the takes!”
Hank the Yank says Lanier is “waking up:” He reports, “Stripers are just starting to wake up. The upcoming warm weather figures to get things rolling quickly. There are two patterns to try when thinking March stripers: open water schooling or blind casting the banks. Both patterns will work. There are fish spread out all over the lake and in ALL the creeks. North has the biggest groups while south has the better blind-casting opportunities. Intermediate lines are best if blind-casting shallow. Full sinking lines are best if looking for the big schools over open water. Best flies are somethin’ else, coyotes, Clousers and game changers.”
That’s the latest intel. The rest is UO to you. Take advantage of some April weather in March and...

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