“Puddle jumping” is what many of you can expect to do this week, as our rainless streak continues. If you saw yesterday’s post, then you noticed that our forecast for trout waters was low, clear, cold, and leafy. Despite the challenges of low flows and leaf fall, mountain trouting has been excellent. It’s all about those prime water temperatures. And we have a slight warming trend aimed our way next week, which will enhance angler comfort.
Other prospects are river bass, deep and slow, and reservoir spots and stripers if you can track them down. Regardless of your catching, this beautiful fall weather guarantees everyone some fine fishing trips in the days ahead. Just bring warm clothes til the sun rises above the treeline and warms your buns. You might even dig out those hand warmers that you stashed in the basement after last winter.
We have several great reports, timely intel, and Wes’ hot fly list in this report.
One note of caution: dry weather, low humidity, and winds have our national forest mighty dry. Please be careful with your campfires until our woods get a good soaking. Good luck this week.
Wes’ Hot Fly List:
Dries: Parachute Ant and Adams, Elk Hair Caddis, Chubby Chernobyl.
Nymphs & Wets: Mighty May, Sloan Baetis, Rainbow Warrior, Split Top, Tan Mop, Red Squirmy.
Streamers & Warm Water: Sparkle Minnow, Woolly Bugger, Finesse Changer, Sweet Baby Cray.
Same as last week. They are high and dry, and their scared residents will be packed into pools or squeezed under logs. Thos streams are very skinny. Puddle-jump to find the available predator cover (depth, turbulence, boulders, logs, and rock ledges) and you’ll find fish. If they see you first, you’re toast. But if you have good turkey hunting skills and a long, light leader, you’ve got a shot. A lot of mountain climbers have enjoyed the wild trout prospecting over the last week.
Ian at R&R Flyfishing in Townsend said the fishing has been very good and leaves are now at their peak in Smokies Park.
Also recall Byron’s daily park report, here:
Notice that our headwaters are cold in the morning. Wild trout action picks up after the sun gets high and warms up the water.
RSquared: “Cohutta TU members began arriving at the group campsites located at Rattler Ford before lunch on Thursday. The mountains of Western North Carolina were putting on a show with their brilliant fall colors from the deciduous trees that are native to this area. It did not take long for tents to be erected and plans made for fishing the afternoon.
Measurable rain has been absent from this area for weeks, leaving the rivers and streams gin-clear and running low. However, despite the adverse conditions, the recently stocked DH streams had plenty of willing fish. Cohutta anglers took advantage of the naive salmonids and everyone caught fish during our final campout of the year.
The wild trout of the area were much shyer. The low, clear water had the wild fish hiding under rocks, logs, and undercut banks. It was difficult to entice them to hit our flies, but those that tried were rewarded with a few fish.
This campout is known for its food and fellowship and our camp cooks, led by Nelson Withers and Larry Vigil, did not disappoint. As always, the meals, cooked in cast iron pots, were amazing. At night, the campfire blazed and tales of the day’s fish were told. After breakfast on Sunday, camp was broken and goodbyes were said. This was a great end to what has been an amazing year of Cohutta SOTM's (Stream of the Month). Come join our club!
There’s a bit of GA DH news in today’s GAWRD weekly fishing report. See Reservoirs for the link.
You’ll do a lot more fishing than catching, since the stocking trucks are long-gone. Best bets are the two tailwaters and remote, downstream sections of bigger streams that were heavily stocked last summer. Breaking news: two sites were stocked this week. Check the GAWRD weekly fishing blog, linked below.
Web reports have both tailwaters fishing well. Watch the Hooch reports by Devin at the Orvis-Atlanta store. On the Toccoa, note that GAWRD started a voluntary creel survey. Give them your fishing trip data and help them enhance the management of that great stream. From WRD Facebook:
“We have instituted a self-report Trout Angler creel survey on the Toccoa Tailwater in Fannin County to help biologists evaluate current angler use, guiding, revisit rates, effort, satisfaction, catch rates, trout harvest sizes, and harvest rates. Anglers can quickly access the short survey on-site by scanning the QR code on the signs posted at each public river access point.”
And I found this old hatch chart, which you might wish to bookmark.
North Georgia Private Waters:
Jake reports: "Israel and I spent Thursday afternoon on the Soque River with Zack, Ted, and Mike, and had a banner afternoon as the water temps spiked with the afternoon sun. We caught fish on dry/droppers and double nymph rigs and even had some success on streamers.
Devin: “We did well on the upper Chattahoochee this week, mostly on streamers.”
Caleb: “We had lots of success Thursday morning on the Soque. Indicator nymphing brought in lots of fish, but stripping a sparkle minnow through the deeper runs produced bigger fish.”
No reports, as the rivers aren’t warm anymore and most folks’ attention has turned to trout. There is still a good chance to pick up some big fish by slowly bouncing the bottom with crayfish flies, soft plastics, and lazy streamers. Plus, there will be few folks on those rivers and all of the sweet spots will be yours. Have you broken the 20-inch mark on a shoalie yet?
Hank the Yank: “Fishing on Lake Lanier started looking up last weekend. Saw some groups pop up and down quickly but no fish were brought to hand. Then the front and the wind came in and shut everything down. We got a few spots on fly this week but the striped bass were ghosting us (sort of like Alabama's defense last weekend). Water temps are perfect so hopefully a rebound is in order...”
Landon: “Lanier was windy as heck on Tuesday. We caught a couple of spots on jerk baits and had one school of stripers come up for about 30 seconds. They dove before we could get to em. Since we were wet and windy, we decided not to stay out for the nite Bomber bite. It should pick up next week.”
There is some fine lake intel, including Lanier turnover info, in today’s GAWRD weekly fishing report:
UGA 5Rivers Clubber BenS: we went north of the border last weekend. The stocked trout were not eating anything on Saturday, however, the resident wild rainbows were. This was the case for most people on the river. We were using dry/droppers down to a Squirmy, and they were rising to the dry (Parachute Adams) occasionally as well as taking the Squirmy (red or pink). We were also replacing the Squirmies with Mop Flys (grey or tan) and they worked, too.
Sautee: “Went back into the park Wednesday afternoon when air temps hit the mid-fifties. After several consecutive nights of temps dropping into the high twenties, water temps have reached a low of 40 degrees. The days of wet wading have faded to memory as of two weeks ago. With falling temps and brook trout spawning, feeding activity has slowed down considerably and this southerner is having to learn the nuances of Colorado fall fishing. Fish were not looking up yesterday, so leaving an October caddis on as an indicator, I, again, began cycling through my favorite droppers. After several changes that produced no interest from the resident fishes, I tied on a grey #18 soft hackle, trailing it about 24” behind the dry. And WHAM!, fish on. The soft hackle turned out to be the right choice and over the next hour and a half, I was able to land a dozen browns ranging from 6-10”. Fishing a 3 wt., 8 and 10-inch browns are a boatload of fun, exhibiting deep runs and enough aerial acrobatics to keep me pleasantly entertained throughout the late afternoon. Tight lines everyone and we look forward to our return to Georgia in a couple of weeks!”
That’s the latest “leaf season” news from our part of the world. It sure is nice to no longer sweat through 90-degree days. Don’t miss this perfect season to get outdoors.