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.

Thursday, April 1, 2021



This week's theme is "Recovery Mode" as north Georgia streams shed their second round of major stormflows.  Cold weather may dampen dry fly action for a few days until the Easter warmup begins.  Right now, be ready with a dropper below your dry on small streams.  On bigger waters that finally drop to safe wading levels, be ready with a double dredging rig and hit the flood refuges; aka slow water.  Behind your split shot, try a small streamer, big Rubber Leg Stone, or Tan Mop as your first fly; the attractor.  Drop a small nymph or soft hackle wet off the back as your "money" fly.  Match your flies to the flows.  On big flows, use bigger and brighter flies.  As streams drop and clear, go back to the smaller natural patterns.  Don't leave home without some size 14, 16, & 18 Hares Ears and Pheasant Tails in both nymph and soft hackle wet patterns.

Bugs will also return with dropping and warming streamflows.  Right now it's transition time as March's gray and brown bugs hang on just a bit longer while April's tan bugs begin to heed the mating call.  Be ready for the restart of hatches next week with some Adams, March Browns, Light Cahills, both gray and tan Elk Hair Caddis, and a few midges.

Lake fishing for stripers on the fly has been tough with all the extreme weather we've had.  Things were going very well until the storms hit.  Lots of muddy water in many creeks and, of course, working its way down the Chattahoochee and Chestatee Rivers.  This should change in the coming days as the stripers begin staging to make their annual spawning run up the rivers.  If you've never tangled with a river striper, be prepared for a wild ride!  You may even lose some of your stuff. 

The hot fishing on the lake is for spots and they may certainly be reached with a fly.  Try hitting as many primary and secondary points as you can but beware that you'll likely be sharing many of them with other anglers since everyone knows about it.

Water Conditions as of 4/1

Headwater streams, as we write this, are high and clear if you're a careful wader.  We recommend staying away from the sections of creeks that have dramatic elevation changes.  Now is not the time to be rock hopping.

Mid-size streams like Dukes Creek, the Chattahoochee River in the WMA, and the Tallulah River are high and lightly milky.  They'll be clearing over the next few days but, for now, you may find it best to fish directly from the bank or in calm water adjacent to the bank.

Smith Creek Delayed Harvest is chocolate milk today since Smith Lake (Unicoi Lake) is muddy.  There may be 2 feet of visibility.  One note of caution, the second bridge on Smith Creek (the one at the end of the big field) has washed out.  

The Chattahoochee in Helen is still raging; 1061 cfs.  Nuff said!  

Further North

And don't think you'll be able to drive further north to find fishable water.  Dredger took a ride up to the Park in Cherokee before this last storm blew through and found it unfishable then.  Since they actually got more of the brunt of the storm than Georgia, it'll be a little while before it's worth the drive up there.  He circled back around by the Nantahala and found it high also but fishable from the bank.  He saw a small handful of #18 Gray Caddis and one lone #18 Blue Quill hanging onto a streamside boulder for dear life.  He also watched a few Blue Winged Olives hatch in the afternoon when clouds rolled in.  A few small rainbows were chasing them.  All in all, the high water put a damper on the bugs and, therefore, the risers.  He was content to watch safely from the bank and never wet a line.  As he said, "Better times are just ahead of us."

Until Next Week

Be safe when wading and have a good Easter weekend.  And don't forget these guys will be here soon!

No comments:

Post a Comment