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.

Friday, July 31, 2020

UO Fishing Report -7/31/20

Welcome to Fishing Friday! We think that everyone can sure use a break from all the stress surrounding us, so turn off your TV’s and radios and enjoy this dose of good news.  Whether you can get out locally to wet a line, or stick close to home and enjoy a virtual moment or two with us, we hope that this Unicoi Rx will help all of you, our friends, to refresh your mind and spirit.

First, how about a “breath of fresh air?” We’re adapting the “Moment of Chill” concept from the Orvis Company ( https://www.orvis.com/momentofchill ) to our local lands and waters so you can enjoy nature, whether it’s in person or virtually. Today we’ll visit Unicoi Lake.

Now on to the fishing intel.  Let’s start with trout.  Given the summer heat, the trick is to head high up the mountain, early in the morning. 

TroutBumTrey, our young buck at the new UO General Store in Clarkesville, said that he and a socially distant buddy had slow action on a Rabun County mainstream near his home. The action improved as soon as they hung a right turn up a cold tributary.  They each landed a handful of wild rainbows on dry/dropper combos of a chubby Chernobyl on 5x, with a short 6X dropper down to a copper john or tungsten bead pheasant tail. UO guide Hunter reported similar results for his clients, high in the hills above our Helen shop. He said wild rainbows were usually tuned into a small (16) yellow stimulator.  During the rare times they turned off the stimmy, he came back with either a #18 tan caddis or the chubby with an 18” dropper down to a small pheasant tail or Frenchie, and was back in the action.  He stressed the need for stealth, light tippets (5, 6X) and a raincoat for the daily 30 minute storms. The good news is that consistent rains have boosted summer streamflows, and the headwater wild trout are happy and hungry.

For stockers, shop clients reported good luck on spring holdovers that have been washed downstream into remote reaches of WRD-stocked streams.  Small, flashy nymphs were the ticket. The short public section of the Soque gets a lot of pressure, but folks getting there first have had some shots at a few big summer migrants in search of cold water. Try a big dry before dredging with large nymphs or small buggers.

For more intel on stocked streams, as well as all other public streams and lakes, it’s hard to beat the Friday fishing blog and trout stocking lists from our friends at GAWRD.  Check them out here:



Our guides have reported relatively slow fishing for river bass, especially shoalies, in July.  The combination of muddy water from daily thunderstorms, along with heavy floater traffic (yaks and tubes), especially on weekends, may have them hunkered down.  Jake and Wes have had more luck chucking streamers than the surface stuff recently.  If you go, have some buggers, hairy fodders, and other minnow and crayfish imitation in your box, next to the poppers.  If the rains subside and rivers drop and clear in August, the topwater bite should improve.  Jimmy got out for a mental health moment one evening after work this week.  A nice shoalie crushed his surface diver and put a smile on his face.

Our migrant stripers are in their typical summer moods, too. The bite has been best very early, very late, or after a rainstorm cools off the river and stains it. Dark and/or subtle streamer colors are working much better than white or bright ones, especially in clear waters.  Try a super-fast strip first to imitate fleeing prey.  If the predators are sulking and won’t charge your bug with a reaction bite, then drop the dark flies deep and twitch them slowly back to you.  Hunter had luck this week on the slow retrieve of his Muddy Buddy fly (we’ve got them in the shop).

Another staffer gassed up here and packed his lunch, and then went a bit farther north for a solo day trip.  He was met with muddy red waters, but moved upstream to get above the morning storm’s first surge.  He abandoned his initial idea of dries and Euronymphed instead in the flood flows, which were slowly clearing and dropping.  With wading staff in one hand, he hi-sticked with the other in the soft pockets behind boulders and against the bank, and ended the day with a real nice handful of wild bows and browns.   Flexibility was the key to success, so be prepared and let the stream conditions tell you what to do.

We’ve had enough rain to keep our streams flowing well, so we haven’t yet had a good reason to detour to the small lakes.  They should be fishing well, early and late, but we’ll save them for later yakking in August, if the great stream fishing ever dies.

Good luck this week, whether you get outside and stay distant while astream, or stay close to home and just “fish” with us here on your favorite web channels.  Call either the Helen (706-878-3083) or Clarkesville store (706-754-0203) if you need a hand with supplies and intel for your own mental health day to the woods and waters.  Thanks for your patronage.   Stay safe, everyone.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Hot Fun!

Hot fun with Rodney Tumlin and Nacoochee Bend summer stripers. Watch this video of his epic battle:


Sunday, July 5, 2020

Summer Bassin'


Jim was able to grind it out the other day and find some good ones!  Summer is just getting started. Get with us if you wanna go after some north Georgia shoal bass.