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, September 25, 2020

UO Fishing Report - 9/25/20

Cool weather means hot fall fishing across north Georgia! Dropping water temps now have stream trout, river bass, and pond bream in much better moods this week. 

Northeast GA received 1-2 inches of rain overnight. This morning’s intermittent rain should quit by lunch. Similar to last week, our streams should drop back quickly toward their low baseflows.  My morning recon shows that bluelines are fishable today, while bass rivers might take a couple days to clear. The Hooch in Helen is Yoo-hoo right now, but might be fishable by this evening, and definitely by tomorrow.


Add a great weekly weather report and we have some fine fishing conditions ahead of us. Here’s the latest fishing news from our Helen home base.  Tomorrow (26th) is National Hunting and Fishing Day, and a free fishing day for GA residents,


so grab a new angler and turn them on to our favorite addiction, I mean sport!  

More good news: North Carolina’s Delayed Harvest trout season is right around the corner (Oct 1), so restock your fly boxes with buggers, eggs, and squirmies, grab fresh tippet, and make road trip plans soon.


Know before you go!  My friend, NCWRC trout biologist Jake Rash, told me that all of their abundant DH streams should be restocked by the middle of October, just as in prior years.  He suggested that trouting fans watch the daily stocking reports on the agency’s trout page to ensure the first loads of DH fish have hit their favorite waters before burning gas up there:


That link is certainly worth a bookmark.

UO Buddy Sautee had a good day bluelining “high above Helen” earlier this week. The little wild rainbows succumbed to stealth, first, a drag-free drift, second, and finally a size 16 yellow elk hair Caddis on the far end of his winning combination. He said:

“The recent cooling air temps resulted in cooler water which gave fish just enough incentive to spread out and look up more.  The increased activity meant more “looks and takes” of meandering dries.  Skinny, clear water put the odds more in the quarry’s court but a ninja approach balanced the ledger.  Fish to hand was the reward for deliberate technique.”

UO Buddy Ron W:

“Our Traditional Trio hit "The Park" on  Saturday to fish a creek we fished several years ago...and just like the last time, it didn't disappoint!  After a long hike in and  600' in elevation gain, we finally got in the creek around 10am.  We fished about a half-mile section, gaining several hundred more feet in elevation.  

The Specs were plentiful and  willing to look up all day long. Caught em on Yellow Sallies, Thunderheads, Split Wing Coachman's, Trudes  and just about anything else that was presented in a drag free drift! Fly of the day for me was a Yellow CDC Sedge Caddis. I brought over a dozen to hand on that fly alone before a rather large brookie stole it from me. The weather,  scenery, fishing, and company made for a Epic day on the water...I can't wait to get back out to Idbis creek! “

Leftover Stockers:

UO Guide Hunter Pittman said his Sunday client had a great time swinging small woolly buggers for stockers in the “hills above Helen.” Cover some ground with the downstream casts and bugger swings and you might have a great trip, too.  Hit the bigger waters with late-season stockings, and aim for remote downstream reaches. Suggestions:  Hooch, Tallulah, Wildcat, Cooper, Rock, and Toccoa tailwater.  If in doubt, hire Hunter for a day!

River Bass Report:

Our UO bunch held its annual staff fishing day last Monday. It was a great day of fellowship while afloat, with some nice river bass caught. The key to success was flexibility.  Jake said surface  bugs and streamers worked before lunch, but hardware was the ticket in the afternoon, with some swimming plugs and dredged soft plastics working well. Jimmy said that if he’d have thrown a small bream popper instead of a big bass bug, he would have worn out the redbreasts all day long!

Wes had a good guide trip on Wednesday (24th). Mike O from Atlanta and his dad had slow pickins’ before noon, then the action picked up as water temps rose above 60 degrees. Streamers were the ticket, with best bass in the boat hitting the 17 and 18 inch marks. The biggest fish of the day, however,  was a five-pound spot that inhaled a small redbreast, hooked on a small popper.  The huge spot was a great fight while it held onto the bream. With no hook in the bass, however, it finally gave up on lunch and sunk to the depths after spotting the raft.  Bottom line: It’s a great time to book a river float with Jake or Wes!

UO Buddy Jay’s  Athens Area Pond Report:

“I had a fishing emergency last night! I only had 90 minutes but I hit prime time topwater bass bite! Holy cow it was explosive, with 15 surface grabs in that short period.  Maybe late summer terrestrials had them looking up. The boogle bug sure was the ticket.   Thanks for the tip last week. Go Dawgs!”

That’s the latest from the UO bunch and our angling cohorts. Enjoy the fall weather and its improved fishing opportunities from the cooler waters.  Shoot us an email or call us at 706-878-3083 if we can help you restock your boxes for the fall.

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