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.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Bug Collecting

If you wonder why we often suggest hares ear and pheasant tail nymphs, and fish them ourselves right now, just turn over some instream boulders on your next trout trip. What do you see scurrying back toward the water?

On my headwater trek with Sautee last week, these critters were common:


That’s why his hares ear dropper was popular with the blueline bows.

Way back in my undergrad days at VA Tech, we studied these clinger mayflies in Dr. Voshell’s Aquatic Entomology class.  Here in the Southeast, these bugs are growing and preparing for their eventual spring emergence. 

Hint for next spring: their wing pads turn dark just prior to emergence. It’s a good indicator for the dries you’ll need in the coming days.  As is this monthly hatch chart:


On your next trip this month, start by turning some instream rocks and sifting through a few  decaying leaf packs. What trout food do you see?  Have you tied up or bought the right bugs now to “match the hatch” on your next fishing trip? Stock up soon!

You don’t have to know Latin to be a good trouter. Just match size, shape, color, and position in the water column to enhance your odds of trouting success. Or simply  ask Wes!

Good luck from our UO gang during your winter nymphing season.

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