Conserving, protecting and restoring cold-water watersheds of North Georgia.
Conserving, protecting and restoring cold-water watersheds of North Georgia.
Courtesy of guide Matt Morrison of Cohutta Fishing Co.
Photo: 22-inch lower Toccoa River brown trout caught on an Elk Hair Caddis in black by shop staffer August Briggs.
Toccoa Tailwater: The tailwater has been fishing great lately. The black caddis hatch started early for us in the beginning of February. The hatch is winding down, but there are still some caddis flying around on the warmer days. So, if the weather looks nice that day, make sure you have a few size 16 Black Elk Hair Caddis in your box.
So far, this month has been very rainy for us, and according to the weather forecast there is more on the way. Usually after about a half-inch of rain, the tailwater may start to get blown out. But if you’re wading and willing to brave the rain, the river at Tammen Park will stay clear since all of that water comes from the dam.
On those rainy days, a Pat’s Rubber Legs and a worm will usually get the job done. If not, try black Wooly Buggers or try some flies that are black, purple, or blue. These colors show up well in low-light conditions. On normal days, my go to rig has been a Pat’s Rubber Legs with a caddis emerger ,such as a Holy Grail, behind it. I’ve been going back and forth between bobber rigs and dry-dropper rigs. That way, in deeper holes I can make sure I’m getting deep enough. But in shallow pockets, it doesn't help to slap a bobber down on the fish. If you’re wading, stick with a dry-dropper because most of the holes at the access points are fairly shallow.
If you're looking to get on some dry-fly activity, warmer days at midafternoons have been best (somewhere between 3pm-5pm). As this warmer weather continues, keep an eye out for other bugs hatching. There should be a variety of mayflies coming off soon. Keep some Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears and Parachute Adams in a variety of sizes ready.
Spring is here, so get in on some awesome fishing before the heat of summer comes! Call the shop to book your spring float trip at (706) 946-3044.
Upper Toccoa: With all the rain we’ve been getting, wade-fishing isn’t much of an option on the upper Toccoa River right now. Every time it drops close to a wade-able level, we get more rain spiking it back up. As I’m writing this, the upper river is currently flowing around 700 cfs. These flows are great for float fishing when the water isn’t blown. Pat’s Rubber legs and Rainbow Warriors have been king on the upper’s delayed-harvest zone for me. With these flows, I’ve mainly been using bobber rigs and split-shot, trying to make sure I am getting the presentation deep enough.
Small Streams: The small streams of the upper Toccoa River watershed can be your best bet when everything else is blown out. Usually these are the first to clear up, even if they blow out. And some days can produce really good fishing when these creeks are high. Dry-dropper rigs with a Pat’s Rubberlegs and a caddis emerger or Pheasant Tail has been finding fish
You might be wondering why I have been running a stonefly on all of my rigs. Stoneflies are great for when the water is high and stained. They are easy for fish to see in murky water because they are bigger, but stoneflies also begin to hatch in March and April. Before they hatch, they get really active, and unlike most bugs, stoneflies don’t float up to the surface to hatch. They crawl out on rocks and logs to hatch. While they are moving around on the bottom, it is easy for the current to sweep them off, making a big easy meal for trout. And the last reason, BIG FISH LOVE STONEFLIES!
This Month’s Hot Flies:
Cohutta Fishing Company supports Blue Ridge Mountain TU. Drop by the store in Bluie Ridge for the best in fly-fishing gear. Be sure to mention that you’re a member of Trout Unlimited to get an in-store discount! Also, If you feel inclined to do so, we’ve attached a Fish Log for the Toccoa Tailwater to fill out. Call us any time if you’re looking for a quick fishing report or have questions! (706) 946-3044.
Located in the mountain town of Blue Ridge, COHUTTA FISHING CO. stands out as a Premier Fly Shop, Outfitter, and Guide Service in North Georgia.
From the moment you step into our store, we strive to provide the best customer service possible, with friendly and knowledgeable shop staff and fishing guides.
If you’ve never touched a fly rod, we offer schools, guided fly fishing trips for Trout, and information that can help you get your feet wet.
For the advanced angler, we offer guided fishing on world class fisheries in Georgia and destination travel trips, both in country as well as abroad. We also stock the shop with gear and tackle selected with expertise and input from our fishing guides that can up your game from companies like: Simms Fishing Products, Orvis, Thomas & Thomas Fly Rods, Nautilus Fly Reels, Filson, Fishpond, Montana Fly Company, and more!
Call us! (706) 946-3044
By Bob Borgwat/ReelAnglingAdventures.com
In North Carolina and Tennessee, it's October 1 ...
In Georgia it's November 1 ...
Both dates mark the season opening day for catch-and-release fishing on selected waters across the southern Appalachian Mountains, where the local fishing regulations limit anglers to flies and artificial lures only, most of them including restrictions that call for single-hooks only.
It's a time of year when fly-fishermen make up the majority of the anglers you'll see on these special trout waters that carry these restrictions well into 2022. Before you fish, check each state's fishing regulations for specific rules and demarcation of the DH water you plan to visit.
It's no secret anymore. The best trout fishing in wintertime across the southern Appalachian Mountains is often found in the "delayed harvest" trout waters of Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.
The program restricts trout fishing on these sites to catch-and-release fishing only, using artificial lures/flies with single hooks. All trout caught must be released immediately unharmed.
DH Rules Found Here:
On Nov. 1, just 10 miles outside Blue Ridge, a short-but-sweet, mile-long stretch of the upper Toccoa River opens its DH season through May 15, 2022.
Stocked four times from November through March, the area locals call "Sandy Bottoms" attracts wading anglers and floating anglers alike along a rugged stretch of national forest off Old Dial Road. The short stretch is popular with anglers in small drift boats and float tubes. Wading anglers hope river flows drop to less than 300 cfs to safely navigate the riverway on foot. Click here to read the Dial river gauge.
Other "DH" waters in Georgia include Smith Creek at Unicoi State Park near Helen; Amicalola Creek east of Jasper; the Chattooga River east of Clayton; and the Chattahoochee River near I-75 in the Atlanta suburbs.
Just 35 miles from Blue Ridge, the Hiwassee River "DH" section includes 7 miles of prime Tennessee trout habitat on the largest river in the region. Both wading and float-fishing is supported on the scenic river at Reliance, where the "DH" section stretches down the tailwater from the powerhouse release gates to the railroad trestle in Reliance.
Beware: The HIwassee is big water -- up to 200 yards wide -- with variable flow rates and big shoals of class II and III whitewater. Waders watch for minimum flows of 150 cfs, while drift-boats require minimum flows of 1,800-3,000 cfs to safely clear the rocky river bottom. Click here to check river flows daily.
About an hour's drive east from Blue Ridge, out around US Highway 76 near Topton, NC, arguably the most ideal fly-fishing water in the region lies at roadside along Wayah Road. Here, the Nantahala River DH section winds and tumbles its way 4 miles down a steep gradient that features plunge pools, boulder gardens, long glides and stair-stepped ledges. On "the Nanty" ou can learn everything you need to know about fly-fishing just beyond the pavement's edge. Eventually, the "DH" is stocked with about 18,000 trout by the time the season ends on June 4, 2022. Play the water level here by ear ... there is no reliable water gauge available to read on the Nantahala DH.
Other DH waters nearby in North Carolina include a mile-long piece of Fires Creek near Hayesville; nearly 3 miles of Big Snowbird Creek near Robbinsville; a 2+ miles long stretch of the Tuckaseegee River near Bryson City; and 6 miles more of "the Tuck" at Webster.