Unicoi Outfitters is north Georgia's premier guide service and fly fishing outfitter, located on the Chattahoochee River near alpine Helen. Look for fishing reports, gear and book reviews, and general musings here from our staff and guides.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

1st Fly Fishing Trip

I wanted to share this email and photo we received from Jay Worley about taking his daughter Emma on her first fly fishing trip. It brought back memories I have of fishing with my Dad. Thanks for sharing with us Jay and Emma.

Hey, I just wanted to send you a thank you for your hospitality while visiting your store. Not sure if you remember but we were in there yesterday morning getting a few items for my daughter’s (Emma) first fly fishing trip. We fished the Upper Toccoa River near Rock Creek. Here is a picture of her with her first trout on a fly rod. She will be the first to tell you that she caught it all by herself and was very proud of it. She was using a Y2K fly because she liked the bright colors and it was easy to see kind of like her crocks that she was wearing. Please feel free to post if you would like.

I was probably 25 years old or so before I started fly fishing with my father in law so getting to teach her at a young age is really special. My father in law (Her Poppy) who taught me was along for the trip as well. My son is 4 and his time is just around the corner.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lake Blue Ridge Drawdown Begins

In the wee hours of Friday morning, the gates of the dam at Lake Blue Ridge were raised and the drawdown has officially begun. The flow as seen here is a little higher than a normal generation and is up in the trees along the bank in some places. It might be a little while before we get to fish the river. Looking on the bright side though, when the drawdown stops, any fish left should be ready to take a big fat streamer. We will keep a keen eye out for any breaks in the generation so keep checking our blog for updates.

Luckily, the Blue Ridge area has a tremendous amount of trout water available to the angler. Time to dust off the short 3 weight and hit the smaller streams at the higher elevations. Noontootla, Rock, Coopers, and their tributaries hold lots of beautiful wild fish that are eager to strike a easy to see attractor pattern. The upper Toccoa has been producing some nice smallmouth and redeyes in the past couple of weeks.

For more information about the BR lake drawdown, click on this TVA link.

Drawdown schedule given to us from Mike Holloway, President of the Blue Ridge Trout Unlimited Chapter:

Blue Ridge Reservoir Predicted Elevations
Elevation Date
1686 7/15 – start drawdown
1672 7/29
1658 8/12
1652 8/26
1647 9/9
1641 9/23
1635 10/07
1629 10/21
1620 to 1625* 10/30/10 to 4/01/11
1620 to 1625* 4/1/11 – Start Refill
1631 4/15
1642 4/29
1651 5/13
1658 5/27
1663 6/10
1668 6/24
1671 7/8
1675 7/22
1677 8/5
1678 8/19
*Low water boat ramp(s) are unavailable below elevation 1,627

Monday, July 5, 2010

Bill Oyster Bamboo Rod Building Class

I just completed the first 3 days of a 6 day split class to build my first bamboo fly rod. I am amazed. I didn't realize how much labor and thought that goes into building one of these works of art. Under the watchful eye of Master Bamboo Rod Builder, Bill Oyster and his apprentice, Riley G., five of us started on a journey that is perhaps hundreds of years old.
We are first taken to the edge of total destruction of our rods, and then steered into the light only to be taken onto the next gut wrenching step. It has truly been one of the best experiences I have ever had. I am still trying to comprehend the last 3 days after going from a full piece of bamboo as seen in the upper right of the photo to the chocolate bamboo blank I'm wrapping.
Ever since Bill and his family moved to Blue Ridge, a steady stream of his students have made their way down the street and into the fly shop. They come to show me their newly finished fly rods. They are beautiful and I knew one day I would have to give it a try. In about a month, we will gather again to work for 3 more days to complete our rods. I really appreciate Bill sharing his knowledge and expertise. He is a true master of his art. If you find yourself in Blue Ridge, be sure to drop by and visit the Oyster Bamboo shop on Main Street. Usually, he will have some of his rods on display. Also, you might visit during one of the classes and get to see a bunch of folks bent over their workbenches taking truly a inspiring journey.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


This week, I fished with Pastor Ray from Ohio and Mike from South Carolina. We had a great time, and the fishing at NCF was pretty good too. It's a joy to fish with folks that enjoy this stuff as much as I do--I believe they could have outlasted me on the water--well, maybe not.

We landed several nice fish, lost some good ones, and solved a lot of the world's problems. Hope to see them again before long. Good company just seems to make the fishing even better.

Thanks to both of them,



Our fly tying session at Unicoi Outfitters in Helen will be Tues, July 6 at 6:00 PM. I hope to see some new tyers at the session along with the regulars--we have a great time. Show us how to tie your favorite fly--if its not too big of a secret.

If you're wanting to learn, attend the session, everyone is invited. There are no charges, and equipment and materials are provided. Hope to see you there.

Hope everyone has a great 4th. What a great country and area that we live and fish in--I believe it would be hard to beat. This time of year I think of my Dad and all those who have sacrificed to help give us the freedoms and way of life we enjoy--THANKS!

See ya Tues,