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Winter Fishing on the Hooch

Chattahoochee Winter Stone Flies c2020 Chris Scalley

The Guide’s Angle, by Chris Scalley – River Through Atlanta

Winter hatches on the Chattahoochee tailwater are underrated and overlooked as most Ga anglers are fair-weathered with our mild climate.

Remember the River remains in the ’50s as it exits Buford Dam so the air temperature can be much cooler than the River temperature. As long as the wind is not too strong hatching insects will actually simply stay on the surface longer making them more readily available to the fish. If it is windy whatever is hatching gets swept off the surface. If you have excessive winds 15plus mph try nymphs or streamers. Hatches to look for are small Blue-winged-olives, cream midges, and little winter stoneflies. All of these insects range in hook sizes from #26 up to a whopping #18 both surface and subsurface patterns are best so bring the small box of flies. “Head-hunting” is the best approach if you want to target rising fish on dries. It is better to be observant and wait for rising fish that can be seen rising multiple times so you have an accurate location to place your fly and drift. The water in the wintertime is “gin clear” and randomly working seams and bubble-lines is not effective with dry flies. Waiting for the rise is worth the wait instead of prospecting likely holding water risking spooking fish with the line. Be sure to gink your fly, tippet, leader, and line for maximum mending capabilities.