Jeff Durniak's Weekly Fishing Report 10/16/20

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IMG_0416.jpg The weekend looks great! Just wear a sweatshirt for the chilly mornings and be ready to shed it at lunchtime. The dry week following Delta has allowed nearly all trout streams to return to fishable flows, so go!

The biggest basins, such as the Chattooga and Toccoa, however, are still shedding Delta’s 5-8 inches of rainfall and are running high. To play it safe, most folks ought to aim for smaller streams for just a few more days until those big rivers drop a bit more. Your hot tip, as described at midweek, is: if they won’t come up to you, then go down to them!

The front this morning will drop air and water temps. Winds will give you more leaves to deal with on your drifts. The good news is that we’re still in the prime trouting zone, with water temps running in the 50’s. However, if those temps drop down to 50 or lower after a chilly night, droppers will work better than dries until the fish get warmed up by the afternoon sun. (Hope you’ve got a stream thermometer by now!)

That’s good news; you can eat a nice breakfast and take your time getting up here to trout waters. Then try sinking a small Pheasant Tail or Sexy Walts a foot or two under your Stimulator or Elk Hair Caddis to coax those sluggish fish to brunch. Droppers without a tungsten bead may fish better with a size 6 or 8 Dinsmore shot crimped six inches ahead of it. If the water’s deeper than three feet, you might even forsake the dry and try a full-blown indicator rig to dredge those cold bodies from the bottom.

Enjoy the nice week ahead while maintaining your distancing diligence and personal safety. Delta dampened our report volume a bit as it sidelined our trusted sources for several days, but we still have a few great reports to share after the waters dropped at midweek.

Smithgall veteran Landon had a good “high water” Dukes trip, with a bunch of rainbows landed. The best was 19 inches! Squirmy Worms and leech patterns were the stained-water tickets. Once upon a time, he gave some good tips here for Smithgall rookies:

We have no fresh blueline reports, but they should still bring joy to prospectors, especially the afternoon guests. Try a stimmy or caddis dry and, if they’re shy, add a small Pheasant Tail or soft hackle dropper about 12-18 inches below it. The dropper’s gotta be real short to fit through the narrow casting tunnels of our rhodo-choked bluelines.

Leftover stockers and NC Delayed Harvest fish should now be well-scattered by high water. Aim for flood refuges such as bedrock ledges (perpendicular to flow), slow pools, logjams, and boulder fields. Try a Pat's Rubberlegs or some small, bright nymphs and soft hackles if they’re beginning to turn their noses at your opening day junk flies like squirmies and eggs.

Bass rivers are still high and off-color from Delta’s massive dump, and not a great bet yet. The Hooch at Hwy 115 was still a bit high, with only two feet of visibility, when I crossed her at 10 AM today.

Our great flatland friend, Henry Cowen, said he and a buddy chased several striper schools this morning (16th) and put a seven- pounder in the boat. Here’s his intel: The fish were in open water, over 60-90 foot bottoms, on the lower end of Lanier. Anglers should bring both spin and fly gear, and a good set of binoculars. The schools are up and down quickly and anglers must hustle to them to get a shot or two before they dive.

That’s the latest from our end. Be safe at home and on the water. Good luck this week as we all enjoy cool fall weather, warm fall colors, and hopefully


Tight lines and tall tales to y’all,
The Dredger.
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