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.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Outdoor Adventure Day 9/24

10th Annual Outdoor Adventure Day at Unicoi State Park!
By Ken Riddleberger, Northeast Georgia Game Management Supervisor

            Looking for a fun-filled day of outdoor activities for the whole family?   We have just the ticket!   The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is hosting Outdoor Adventure Day on September 24th at Unicoi State Park near Helen.  

            The event will be from 10:00am to 4:00pm, weather permitting, in the large field along Smith Creek downstream from Unicoi Lake Dam.   Activities geared for kids and adults of all ages include canoeing, camping, hiking, trout fishing, fly tying and casting, airgun shooting, archery and skeet shooting.  There will be live wildlife shows with birds of prey, snakes, and other Georgia wildlife.  Smith Creek will be stocked with trout during the day and will be open to fishing.   September 24th is a free-fishing day, so Georgia residents can fish without a license.   Bring your fishing poles and some bait or lures.   Crickets and worms are good choices for live bait.   If you don’t have a pole, but want to try trout fishing, don’t worry.   Loaner poles, tackle, bait, and even some streamside helpers will be available.  Just drop by the fishing tent to get set up.

            Did you ever wish you could try fly-fishing, but never had the time?   Now’s your chance!   Experts in fly-fishing from Trout Unlimited and Unicoi Outfitters will be on hand to provide instructions on fly-casting using their equipment.   You can also try your hand at fly tying and, with help from North Georgia Trout Online members, go home with a “woolly bugger” you created.

            Tired of fishing? Let’s try some shooting sports.  You can start on the archery range.   Volunteers with the Traditional Bowhunters of Georgia will coach you shooting bows at a variety of 3-D targets.   Adjacent to the archery range, DNR staff and volunteers will teach basic shooting skills using airguns.   You’ll be hitting bull’s-eyes before you leave.
            Next, graduate up to skeet shooting.   A skeet range will be in action all day.   DNR and US Forest Service instructors will be with you to guarantee you break some skeet.   Shotguns, ammo and everything else you need are provided.

            Need a break?  Check out the live animals.   Live animal shows will be ongoing throughout the day.   See a variety of live reptiles and live hawks used in the sport of falconry.  Talk with experts from Smithgall Woods Conservation Center.  Interested in camping and hiking?  Members of the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club will be on hand to give you tips on making your outdoor adventure enjoyable.

            If you prefer a relaxing time on the lake, sign up to paddle a canoe on beautiful Unicoi Lake.  Instructors will teach you the basics and you can take a canoe trip around the lake on your own.  Experts from Unicoi State Park will be there as instructors.

            Although the activities are outdoors, you don’t have to “rough it”.  Restroom facilities will be available and a vendor will have lunch items on-site for you to purchase.  Should you want to take a break from walking, hop on the hay wagon which will be running all day in a continuous loop to get you from one location to the next.   If that’s not enough, there will be a free raffle for some neat hunting and fishing prizes. 

            This event celebrates National Hunting and Fishing Day and National Public Lands Day.  The Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the nonprofit group “Friends of Unicoi State Park” will co-sponsor the Outdoor Adventure Day.  A Georgia ParkPass ($5/day) is required for each vehicle and can be purchased upon arrival.

            Directions to the event are easy.   Take GA Hwy 75 North through Helen, then turn right on GA Hwy 356 in Robertstown.   Go over the Unicoi Lake Dam and past the entrance to Unicoi Lodge for two-tenths of a mile.   Turn right at the brown sign for the trout stream and tennis courts and you are there!  Make plans now to come celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day with Georgia’s Conservation Community.  For information about other National Hunting and Fishing Day events, visit the Wildlife Resources Division website at www.georgiawildlife.com or call 770-535-5498.

How to Become an Expert

Our good friend Craig Riendeau is one of the best river bass fly anglers we know.  He also happens to be one of the most innovative bass fly designers in the country; a talent he has parlayed into some notoriety via Rainy's Flies.  He's written for Fly Tyer Magazine and is a member of the FlyWranglersTV.com team.  When I received this email from Craig yesterday, my immediate thought was  to get this information on our blog.  So, if you've ever wondered how the experts actually become an expert, take note; it's the power of observation!

Craig's 4 lb. 13 oz. Shoal Bass

"Jimmy, I found a new way to catch shoal bass, dry fly fish for them.  OK, it's not your usual dry fly fishing but the principles are the same.  I fished one of my favorite rivers yesterday and the water was extremely low and clear.  You could actually see the bass if you looked hard enough (and they weren't under a ledge).  It was tough going till I accidentally drop a popper in the river.  As I watched it float away, a good bass came up and ate it.  The power of observation!  OK, so I put on another popper and cast it out there and just let it drift, bang, fish on.  I ended the day with a dozen bass, half over two pounds plus a bonus 4 lb. 13 oz. pig , all caught this way.  So you're going to have to start stocking #4 chartreuse rubber legged poppers with the dry flies.  Funny thing is that two years ago I caught a 4 lb. 12 oz. shoalie by accident dead drifting a popper but just took it as a fluke.  I was standing on a rock surveying the river ahead with the popper trailing behind me when he hit.  New technique?  I'm going to look into it for sure."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Blue Ridge Fly Tyers Night

Hey Ya'll we are holding a fly tyers night this Thursday from 6:30pm till 8:30pm at the Blue Ridge Unicoi Outfitters Fly Shop. Tyers of all experience levels are welcome, and the best part is that it is free! Coffee and donuts are provided. This is scheduled to go on every 3rd Thursday of the month. Bring your equipment if you've got it. If not we'll have all the stuff for you to use no charge. It's a great opportunity to have some fun and to also maybe learn a new technique or two. Midges will be the main focus, but we'll tie San Juans if you want too. Give us a call at the shop at 706-632-1880 and let us know if you are coming so we'll have enough grub!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

2011 Gold Cup Fly Fishing Team Challenge



Team Dead Drift, Frog Hollow and Unicoi Outfitters are pleased to announce the 3rd annual “Gold Cup Fly Fishing Team Challenge”. You are invited to attend or to participate in this two-day fly-fishing event to be held at Frog Hollow on the beautiful and picturesque waters of the Chestatee River in Dahlonega Georgia and Unicoi Outfitters the famous and beautiful Chattahoochee River south of Helen, Georgia. 

First Round
Saturday November 12th 2011 8:00a.m. - 5:30p.m.

Final Round
Sunday November 13th 2011 8:00a.m. - 5:30p.m.

Entry Fee Per Team $175.00
 Registration deadline November 1st, 2011

To view this event is free and open to the public.

The Gold Cup Team Challenge is an annual two-day event, which will permit a two-person team to match their skills against other teams, to earn a $1,000 grand prize, plus, one full day fishing and one night lodging at Frog Hollow. Team awards will be given for 2nd, and 3rd place. Best Angler award will be given for the most total points by one angler.
Registration to compete is open to the general public, on a first come basis.

A maximum of 20 teams will be permitted; a minimum of 10, two-angler teams must be registered for the event to take place.

A non-refundable registration and entry fee for each team is required. 

In the event an insufficient number of participants register for this event, all funds for individuals will be returned.

A 6:00 p.m. kick-off dinner will be hosted at Frog Hollow on the Friday evening before the Challenge.

This is a two-day two-person team event and will be conducted according to Trout Legend competition standards, FIPS MOUCHE rules, and Tournament Committee member rules and regulations.  Further details on the event, as well as a detailed listing of the rules are posted on the following websites:

A portion of the proceeds from this event will go to Gold Rush Chapter Trout Unlimited, a 501 (C)(3), non-profit organization.

Volunteers, sponsorship, exhibitors, donations and prizes welcome.

The goal of the Gold Cup Challenge Committee was to coordinate an event with a prestigious fly fishing award with the benefits and intent to promote, educate and inform the public about the joy of fly-fishing.

Team Dead Drift:
The Georgia Fly Fishing Team is a group of anglers who compete in local and national fly fishing tournaments.  The team is excited as it makes strides to collectively participate and encourage in the sport of competitive fly-fishing. Those interested to follow the progress of the team as we make steps toward our goals, please feel free to follow and support us!

Team Dead Drift Mission Statement:
Team Dead Drift is dedicated to developing a competitive fly-fishing team to participate in regional, national, and international events.  The Team will strive to assist in educational efforts aimed at teaching the art of fly fishing.  It will also endeavor to participate in conservation efforts (in coordination with other organizations) to protect and preserve the diverse cold water and warm water fisheries throughout the state of Georgia and the southeast.

This press release revised September 2nd 2010

Kenny Simmons
Gold Rush Cup Challenge Director

Ben VanDevender
Team Dead Drift Captain

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tie 1 On

Thought I would let all the "fly tyers" and "want to be fly tyers" know that we will meet this Tues.( Sept 6th) at 6:00 PM at Nacoochee Methodist Church on Highway 17 in Sautee. This month we will be using dubbing loops to tie some basic flies that catch fish--if there are any left after this hot summer. Everyone is invited and tools and material will be provided. Hope to see you in church.