Winter River Season is officially here, so break out those splash jackets and gloves and enjoy the least crowded time of the year on the Ocmulgee! The river has been at a higher level than usual but still under flood stage. These types of levels are good for making long floats more doable, like Pope’s to Amerson. Now is a good time to hit some stretches that you haven’t explored before! Precipitation in the forecast could push the river back up to flood stage by the weekend, so make sure to check gauges and ALWAYS wear a PFD when paddling the river.
While this is by no means the prime time for fly fishing on the river, the fish still eat during the colder months, and patience and the right gear can lead to productive outings. In general, everything needs to be fished slower and deeper, and takes will be much for subtle, meaning that anglers need to pay close attention to their drifts and retrieves in order to pick up fish. Watch the forecast for a warmer day, throw on those waders or bibbs, and give it a shot!
Crittermite, Black #2
Clouser, Blue/White #2
Dragonator, Black/Olive #8
The Flint is also at a great level for paddling right now, and should hold that way with the intermittent precipitation in the forecast. Colder air and water temps certainly call for splash jackets, gloves, and layering on the water, and depending on the level and appearance of small rapids around shoals, you way want to use a spray skirt if you’ve got one! Even though winter paddling can be more work, the reward of having the river to yourself and seeing wildlife that are less cautious is worth it. Always check the gauge for the section you are planning to paddle before entering the river, and remember to wear your PFD!
Unfortunately, what’s good for paddling hasn’t been so good for fishing. Low visibility and small-but-consistent fluctuation in levels, combined with cold temps, have got fish hunkered down pretty good. Low and slow, dead drifting, and swinging are good techniques to find some of the more active fish in the shoals, but this may be a good time to work on the rowing or paddling skills rather than the casting.
Circus Peanut, Black/Red #4
Crittermite, Black #2
Bead-Head Wooly Bugger, Black/Peacock #6