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Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Fishing Report, 03-06-2012
RAA Fishing Report, 03-06-12
The DH section of the upper Toccoa River in the vicinity of Dial, GA, is running a little high, but deep-dredging with nymphs and streamers are taking fish daily. Rainfall easily affects this watershed with both volume and clarity changing dramatically behind springtime thunderstorms. Use caution when wading under high flows. There's a bunch of very slick granite slabs throughout the 1-mile DH stretch of the river. Rainbows and browns dominate the catches, but a brookie can surprise you at any time.
The Toccoa River tailwater at Blue Ridge Dam, which suffered the abuse of the TVA in September 2010, is clearly producing better fishing, with several 20-inch-plus trout reportedly taken over the winter months. Numbers of trout caught on the tailwater are also improving along the length of the riverway, so it looks like the heavy stockings made by the GDNR over the last several months are helping to restore the action the Toccoa tailwater has long been known for. To support the community's call for special fishing regulations on the Toccoa tailwater, please see the regulations proposal (dated Sept. 8, 2010) and the reports of the follow-up public meetings on the matter by visiting the website of the Toccoa River Watershed Coalition at: http://toccoariverwatershedcoalition.org/Watershed_conservation.html#dec2meeting
The DH section of the Nantahala River, NC, is fishing as normal for March -- it's GREAT! If you've never fished this blue-ribbon winter/spring fishery, you owe it to yourself to enjoy a trip into the scenic Nantahala River gorge. Dry-fly fishing is busting out on the "pretty days" and those "pretty days" are going to get more frequent as the weather continues to warm through spring. This is your best nearby location for completing the Appalachian Slam -- catching brookies, browns and rainbows in the same day from the same water. And some of those fish caught can easily stretch beyond the 20-inch mark of a trophy trout.
The Hiwassee River tailwater at Reliance, TN, is fishing very well. The upper two miles, where drift boats are easily working the water under the flows of a single generator at the Appalachian Powerhouse, features long "flats" water that's punctuated underwater with large boulders, sharp ledges, deep troughs and woody debris that point your way toward catch rates of 20 to 40 trout a day. Streamers, nymphs and dry flies all have their place on this most beautiful of places to throw a fly line. The lower 5 miles of the usual 7-mile upper river fishing area is fishing well, too, with dry-fly action growing daily under the spring sunshine. However, the flow of one generator across this section makes the many riffles, boulder gardens and large shoals difficult to wade for anglers of all skill levels. Side channels are clearly a safer wade than the primary river channel, and where the river widens to more than 200 yards across, there are plenty of pools, runs and other areas in the braided water to cast a dry, nymph or streamern to the river's numerous browns and rainbows.
The DH section of the Chattooga River on the GA-SC border southeast of Clayton may be the prettiest trout water -- in one of the prettiest canyons -- of all across the southern Applachian Mountains. Three miles of the river, upstream from the Highway 28 bridge, are under the special regulations of delayed-harvest fishing through an environment that repeats the traditional riffle-run-pool setup of classic trout streams. The great underwater fly-fishing here of the cold months will be sustained with even better dry-flly fishing through the spring months thanks to the river's strong populations of aquatic flies. Some of the finest hatches of tan and olive Caddisflies; Baetis, BWO, Hendrickson and Sulphur Mayflies ; and giant Golden Stoneflies will emerge over the next three months. Catches here include browns, rainbows and brookies, with true 20-inch-plus trophies possible on any given cast.
And if you're a bass fisherman, I can attest that the bite for spotted bass and smallmouth bass is on the mark right now! Pre-spawn conditions are at their best on lakes Blue Ridge, Nottely and Chatuge, with the bass moving up to pre-spawn staging areas on the points and long primary banks where the bottom is best for spawning. Crankbaits, hair jigs and spinnerbaits are all responsible for a share of the great bite taking place in 8 to 15 feet of water. I imagine fly-rod anglers could have a good time, too, with both smallmouths and spots that are feeding aggressively ahead of the spawn.Pick an especially warm afternoon with cloud cover for the top action, but fish can be caught on any day in almost any condition when you're in the right place with the right lure.