Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fishing report, 04-16-12

Experience ... Expose ... Execute ... Engage!
Real Fishing ... Reel Angling Adventures! 
Trout/Bass Fishing Report, 04-16-12
Fly-fishing on the private waters of Tooni Cove Farm and Noontootla Creek Farm ... proves the frustrations of fly-fishing technical trout waters. Fishing pressure is up on these trophy-trout waters, as the numbers of fly-rodders working the waters of Noontootla Creek and the Toccoa River in north Georgia increase with every passing week of spring. And with the almost-daily flogging at hand, hook-ups can be surprising when a slow hour of pitching nymphs in and out of runs suddenly breaks loose, quite literally. Our latest anglers -- a father-son-and-son trio hailing from South Carolina -- found a couple of slow periods broken by the shocking strikes and surging runs of rainbows that pushed the 8-pound mark -- alas, only to have five break-offs across a day and half on these special waters. Nymphing holds as the most productive method as April moves along toward May. But the bug activity was strong this weekend as the afternoon grew long -- among them: large tan caddisflies, golden stoneflies, March Browns and the first appearances of Sulphurs, almost a month ahead of the historical first flights of this gorgeous mayfly. Water temperatures that reached 60 degrees a week ago have moderated to the low to mid-50s, thanks to three mornings of freezing air temperatures here in the highlands of the Blue Ridge Mountains.   

DH section of the upper Toccoa River near Dial, GA ...The guides of Reel Angling Adventures are taking advantage of good seasonal river flows to float not only the special-regulation waters off Aska and Old Dial roads, but we’re extending the float into a 4 ½-mile run through the upper Toccoa’s best trout water. The river is running at prime flows and brook trout have been the main attraction the last few weeks! Looks the GDNR stocked ‘em strong, as the majority of trout taken by our clients throughout the stretch have been brookies up to 14 inches! Dry-fly action is on and off, but watch for trout rising on the seams. Drop a Tan Caddis or Blue-Winged Olive on the twists and turns and you’ll get their attention. Otherwise, keep deep-dredging with stonefly nymphs and pulling streamers. Those stand-bys are taking fish daily. Take advantage of the seasonal opportunities here and book your float trip now!

Toccoa River tailwater at Blue Ridge Dam … A couple untimely thunderstorms ran the lower Toccoa River dirty just the day before two client trips, so we lost those floats on this great tailwater to Mother Nature. Still, numbers of trout caught on the tailwater continue to grow strong but the riverway has been relegated to wade-fishing only for more than two weeks. TVA is running water releases at just 120 cfs, which is too little flow for floating a drift boat. That leaves public opportunities to the public-access sites near Blue Ridge, GA, at Horseshoe Bend Park (McCayesville), the Curtis Swith Road access site operated by the TVA, and Tammen Park, located in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Dam. The usual suspects are taking trout – various spinners and spoons – but don’t overlook the seasonal fly patterns to include Quill Gordons and Hendricksons. 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:

DH section of the Nantahala River, NC ... is fishing as normal for April -- it's GREAT! And it’s better yet later this month after the state stocks its last segment of browns, ‘bow and brookies under the special-regulation period that ends on the Nantahala River on June 3. With water temperatures already at 60 degrees, the spring fishery is expanding quickly through the boulder gardens. Don’t overlook those long stretches of braided water. Some days, you’ll find fish at every seam, chute, lane and plunge. Dry-fly fishing now centers on Hendricksons and tan Caddisflies, but try fishing them with a small dropper nymph such as Copper John patterns in green, natural and burgundy body colors. The “Nanty” 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.

Hiwassee River tailwater at Reliance, TN ... is fishing very well, but TVA has our guide team restricted to wading trips only. For several weeks, the powerhouse operation on the Hiwaseee River at Reliance, TN, has been under the seasonal “pulse” schedule. Daily, this means the TVA operates one turbine for one hour, then shuts it down for three hours, before running it again just one hour and shutting it down again for three hours. This pattern is typical of the daylight hours, but TVA has been operating under this schedule around the clock. With drift boats out of the picture for now, look for great wading conditions up and down the riverway, with the best water standing in reach at the key shoals. Hendricksons, tan Caddisflies and March Browns keep the dry-fly action fast and furious. Some anglers choose to scatter from the riverway when the pulse flows approach and run their anxiety levels up. But in just an hour or so, the flows fall back and the next three hours leave the entire riverway once again exposed to your best wading period of the year. Large boulders, sharp ledges, deep troughs and woody debris point your way toward catch rates of 20 to 40 trout a day (well more on the best days!). Streamers, nymphs and dry flies all have their place on this most beautiful of places to throw a fly line.

DH section of the Chattooga River ... Straddling the GA-SC border southeast of Clayton, GA is 3 miles of the what arguably is the prettiest trout water across the southern Appalachian Mountains. This special-regulation fishing area, upstream from the Highway 28 bridge, features an environment that repeats the traditional riffle-run-pool setup of classic trout streams. While nymphs take their fair share of trout anytime on the Chattooga in the spring, the great underwater fly-fishing is sustained right now with even better dry-fly fishing. Water temperature is a few degrees higher than historically normal flows, but it’s kicking off strong hatches of tan Caddisflies, brown Stoneflies and Hendricksons. We’ve seen a few giant Hexagenia mayflies fluttering around, but your best bet with dries remains the patterns noted above in sizes 14 and 16. Drop a nymph a couple feet under the dry and get ready for action! One of the best choices is a natural-colored Copper John, size 16-18, which does a great job simulating both the Hendrickson and tan Caddisfly nymphs. Fish the tandem rig through riffles and keep an eye out for the flash of a trout taking the nymph, Catches here include browns, rainbows and brookies, with true 20-inch-plus trophies possible on any given cast.

Wild-trout waters across the southern Appalachian Mountains ... Don’t miss the early opportunities to get into the back-country of the tri-state region and get your share of great fly-fishing for wild browns, ‘bows and brookies! Seasonal streams are all open again in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina and, along with the annual streams, prove to be some of the best fly-fishing trips offered by Reel Angling Adventures. Few fishing trips are as pleasing to a fly-fisherman than those that take you poking around these small to medium-sized tributaries that plunge steeply through gorge areas that are accessible only on foot. Some of the best action comes on dry flies of many patterns because the wild browns, rainbows and brookies are opportunistic feeders. These streams are relatively infertile; therefore, many patterns take fish regularly in the pools, runs and riffles that lay among the shadows of tall hemlocks and thickets of rhododendrons. One of the best is one you can easily see yourself – the venerable Stimulator. Try it in a yellow pattern, but keep it scaled back to a size 12 or 14.

And if you're a bass fisherman, the bite for spotted bass at lakes Blue Ridge, Nottely and Chatuge is improving, as the spots move into staging areas just a couple weeks ahead of prime spawning period. Spots are taking crankbaits, soft-plastics, stand-up jigs and spinnerbaits in water from 4 to 12 feet deep. Smallmouths at Lake Blue Ridge already appear to have backed off the primary spawning areas, but the spots are replacing them daily here, as well as picking up steam on other nearby north Georgia mountain lakes. 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. A couple catches of magnum bluegills on the crankbaits has me wondering if the spring spawn of these brute-sized bream is moving ahead of schedule. Could be. The water at the surface last week was 63 degrees. We’re exploring the bream beds next week, so watch for our next fishing report for an update on this great meat-fishing opportunity.

Good fishing!
Experience ... Expose ... Execute ... Engage
Real Fishing ... Reel Angling Adventures!

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