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, October 30, 2020

UO Fishing Report - 10/30/20

This week’s theme is “drying out and cutting out.” Our skies are blue, the winds are down, and we have a nice, dry week ahead of us. That’s good because north GA is cutting its way out from Zeta’s impacts.  I did my “stream conditions” circuit this morning and drove past three sites with downed powerlines in just the short stretch from Unicoi Lake to Smithgall Woods.  Conditions are still tough up here, so beware of access limitations and be patient as hard-working staffs from DOT, power companies, GAWRD, and the U.S. Forest Service restore power and vehicular access across our region.

Our advice: take the weekend off from trout stream fishing. Head toward a lake or, better yet, clean up your yard (or help your neighbor) then prepare for next week’s fishing trips.

We do have a few tips and then a lot of good filler to compensate for our lack of trip reports due to the storm. Here you go with our post-Zeta intel.

Your best fishing opps, in priority order, are reservoirs, small lakes, and headwater streams near paved roads. On reservoir headwaters, go slow and watch out for storm debris, especially sunken logs sulking just beneath the surface, waiting to eat your prop.  Keep your life jackets on!  UO’s flatwater friend, Mack Farr, has some of the most detailed and timely lake fishing intel. We always enjoy his weekly reports on Lanier and Hartwell. Whether you’re tossing flies, lures, or bluebacks, Mack’s lake intel will get you in the game this fall. Details here:


Most small lakes should be accessible and a safe bet. Vogel just got a load of WRD trout last Friday to kick off its winter season for yakkers, canoeists, and bank anglers. County water supply lakes, state parks, and USFS lakes like Russell and Winfield Scott should be accessible. You’ll do more fishing than catching, but it will still beat working.

Headwater streams are high this morning, but clear, and should be wadeable for most anglers.  The challenge is their vehicle accessibility. It’s not a good weekend to expect to drive way back into the National Forest or WMA to hit your favorite blueline. Give the wildlife and forestry techs time to cut your road out for next weekend’s safe travels.

Instead, if you must tempt a trout, aim for small creeks close to paved roads. A few near our Helen shop are places like Smith at Unicoi Park, Spoilcane, Soapstone, Dukes for reservation holders, maybe Boggs, and the Russell Highway tribs.  Do some homework yourself and find others “close to the open road.” Your best tool is the interactive trout map on the GA trout fishing page. Do a little “learning and earning” on your own and your catches will be more satisfying. Dry/ dropper combos, described in our past reports, will do best as these small residents hold onto bottom boulders and try not to wash away. Hit the soft spots behind big boulders and ledges and against the bank. A bead head or flashy pattern might help in the faster flows, too. Our Helen shop staff can help you with hot flies and maybe an X or two scribbled onto your top-secret copy of your GA trout map.


After that, your safe weekend trouting opps are shot. Bigger streams are clearing, but are high and ripping and remain unsafe as they shed Zeta’s rainfall. Just look at these flow spikes for several of our favorites:









Don’t be a hero. Wait them out til they drop to your own safe wading level and then get your wading staffs, belts, and longh rods out. It will be midweek, at least, until they recede.

The GA Delayed Harvest season will kick off with Monday’s bucket brigades.  

(See bottom: https://georgiawildlife.blog/2020/10/23/georgia-fishing-report-october-23-2020/)

Fishing should be good as streamflows drop through the dry week ahead.  Remember to cover some ground with junk flies (eggs, squirmies, and small buggers) until you find a pod of fish.   Add some movement to your flies to attract their attention.  The fish will spread out and smarten up in the weeks ahead, but they’re real easy at the outset and great confidence-builders for flyfishing rookies and kids with single-hook spinners.

More Delayed Harvest fishing tips will soon appear online and at your local tackle shops when the November edition of The Angler magazine hits the shelves. Watch for our column, “Delayed Harvest University.”

While most trouters are sidelined by the storm for a few days, it’s a great time to inventory our flies and resupply them for colder waters ahead. This is easy for veterans, but can be intimidating for our new fly flingers.  Never fear, UO is here! We want to un-complicate fly fishing and get all you rookies hooked on the sport that we love.

To that end, how about “Dredger’s Bottom Six?”  If you buy or tie these six patterns and fish them correctly, you’ll  have great shots at cold-weather trout.  We’ll tell you how to fish them on a later post.  And around February, we’ll clue you in on a basic selection of spring dry flies so you’ll have shots at surface sippers.  Right now, as water temps drop and trout head deep, here’s the most basic box of bottom bugs to get you rookies started this November at your favorite Delayed Harvest stream.

Dredger’s Bottom Six

1. #12 peach globug

2. #12 red squirmy worm

3. #10 black woolly bugger

4. #10 brown Pat’s Rubberlegs

5. #14-18 pheasant tail nymph

6. #14-18 gold ribbed hare’s ear nymph

This “bottom six” consists of two junk flies, two meaty ones, and two slick imitators of the tiny nymphs covering the stream bottom. Make sure you get 3-6 of each of these patterns, in case you lose a few to the stream bottom or Moby Dick.  You sure don’t want to run out of your “hot” fly in the middle of your trip!

For the junk fly duo, stock up on some size 12 light-colored (peach or apricot) egg flies, also called globugs, and a size 12 red squirmy worm.  They are nice and bright, and trout love eating fish eggs and worms! These attractor flies stand out in stained water, too. If you tie your own, google “Orecks Easy Egg” and find my favorite pattern’s recipe in the Rabun TU newsletter.

The meaty duo consists of a #10 black woolly bugger and a #10 brown Pats Rubberlegs (stonefly imitation).  Big, natural-colored bugs also attract a lot of attention, especially from bigger fish.

Your last fly duo is aimed at picky fish.  They are the pheasant tail and gold-ribbed hare’s ear nymphs. Get them in sizes 14, 16, and maybe even a few tiny size 18’s.  We usually hang one of these as a dropper fly off the bend of the hook of our first fly (one of the four previous patterns) and give trout a choice between a full meal or a snack.

Stock up on these 6 basic bugs now. You can add more patterns to your fly box in the future (hints forthcoming in November Angler magazine column), but these first six will get you into the game right at kickoff.  If you need some help stocking up, just call our Helen shop (706-878-3083).  You might wanna add one of those lucky UO fishing caps, too, for good measure. Remember our free shipping on your tabs over 25 bucks.

That should cover the “what fly” question for you rookies. Stay tuned for our “how do I fish them” post in the near future. Before you know it, you’ll be just as “ruint” as we are, and totally addicted to cold-weather trouting. Good luck from all of us at Unicoi Outfitters. Stay safe and distant. Don’t mess with high water nor with crowds. We want to hear your own great fish stories for decades to come!


Monday, October 26, 2020

Angler Adoption Agencies - 10/26/20

As fall trouting kicks into high gear,  our newer fly fishers can really benefit from club membership.  Groups like the local Trout Unlimited chapters, the Georgia Women Flyfishers, the Atlanta Flyfishing Club, student clubs, 

and online communities like North GA Trout Online are filled with a mix of angling vets and neophytes.  You can find new fishing buddies, get some free lessons (from casting to fly tying), discover new hotspots, and receive hot intel from members just finishing their trips.  

Some of these “angler adoption agencies” are listed here:






You know, fishing buddies or older family members  were the folks who nurtured us during our rookie years of fly flinging.  YouTube is great, but it still finishes a distant  second to a talented buddy.  

Whether you Zoom or meet streamside and converse from a safe distance, the buddy system is a keeper.  Join a club, find new friends, and catch more trout this fall.  That recipe worked for us at Unicoi Outfitters and we’re sure it will work for you.  Good luck this fall!

Friday, October 23, 2020

UO Fishing Report -10/23/20

Welcome to your “second last chance.”  All streams have dropped, cleared, and warmed during these bright, sunny afternoons, so plan your social distance destinations before we turn cold around Halloween.  Bring a raincoat for the 50% chance of weekend showers and remember that cloudy weather might actually help your catching.


The region’s warm and low waters should give you another season-ending shot at river bass (deep) and small stream trout on top.  We also have some timely intel on the Georgia DH kickoff, so read on!

An expected half-inch of weekend rain might bump up streamflows, which should rebound quickly with another run of warm, dry days next week.  (Remember my rainfall tips in The Angler magazine- Atlanta edition’s October column) You will, however, have to deal with falling leaves, especially if there’s some wind. 

Match your bugs to the stream conditions. If the water is big/high/stained from a rain, use bigger and brighter bugs to get their attention.  Great trout treats are globugs (egg flies), rubberleg stones, squirmy worms, and big (#10 or 12) sexy walts or mops.  For river bass, drag the bottom with big crayfish, worm, and helgrammite imitations. Rivers are warm, but not warm enough for topwater bass action.

When trout water is low/slow/crystal clear, the fish can study your bugs and casually decide whether or not to eat, so you oughta scale down. Use smaller versions of the above bugs as your first fly.  The second, dropper fly should be even smaller and natural, like #16 or 18 hares ears, pheasant tails, lightning bugs, frenchies, and sexy walts. I’m partial to silver tungsten beads if there’s a decent current. I think the beads catch the trout’s attention while leaves and twigs clutter the water column.  For river bass, shrink your lure and lighten your line: try 10-12 lb fluoro. Remember to aim for any shade, which hides the shoalies and spots from the herons.

Note the time change overnight on Saturday, 10/31.   This means we can fish the evenings easier, since they’ll arrive sooner and allow us to return home earlier for a good night’s sleep. That will be a nice change from our spring sleep deprivation after chasing Dark30 hatches!

There’s your forecast and tips. Now here comes your latest intel. Aren’t you glad you subscribed to this UO fishing feed? Tell your fishing friends to sign up, too!

NC DH Great

UO young bucks Abe and Trey  hit Fires Creek and did well on legs and eggs, micro streamers and foam Beetles. They landed mostly wild rainbows, with a few hatchery fish to top off their catch.

I drove up to watch “Lumis” practice his dead drift technique on Nantahala DH. He did well, scoring the species hat trick (brook, brown, rainbow) within the first two hours. Several more fish added to his morning total. His winning clear-water combo was a #14 orange Glo bug and a trailing #16 bead head pheasant tail. We met longtime UO friend  “Bama Vic” streamside.  He also had a great morning dredging the Nan.

We did see some October caddis, BWO’s, and midges stirring with the midday sun, but didn’t stay long enough to try for risers. Warm afternoons should encourage some surface action for dry fly fans, so have a dry/dropper setup ready for the second half of the day.

Timely GA Trout Intel

I called GAWRD trout stocking coordinator John Lee Thomson last week for some fall prospects.  He said to keep an eye on this Friday’s stocking list, as he hopes to take advantage of the wonderful fall weather. This weekend might be a good time to grab the kids, their spincast rods, and some bait and make some memories together.


For GA DH streams, he said state and federal hatchery staffs were geared up for stocking on Monday, 11/2.  Anxious DH anglers may wish to plan accordingly.  I got a similar story for the Chattooga from my friends at SCDNR, who are aiming to refresh that river during the week of the 2nd. SC does have a fall stocking program in addition to DH, so the river usually has some trout near access points for folks heading that way before the 2nd. Exact DH stocking dates are weather- dependent and top-secret.

Private Waters

Mom’s 10/21 Nacoochee Bend Report:   “Just wanted to reach out and say thank you for such a wonderful day today! My son and husband had a great time with your guide, Hunter, on your Gilligan Special.  My son cannot stop talking about what a fantastic experience it was. He’s said he’s asking for a repeat for all future birthday gifts.  Y’all made the process so easy for these new fly fishing guys and they had an absolute blast. Here’s a couple pics from the day. Thanks again!!”

UO manager Jake said his clients had a big time at Rainbow Point on the Soque last Saturday.  They got a “species slam” before lunch. The river was still up but clear and wadeable. It was all bottom-bumping with a chunk of weight, as fish were hugging the bottom. Highlight of the day was this big, buttery, hookjawed brown.

Small stream wild trout should still fish well, especially in the afternoons. Break out your brand-new stream thermometer and look for 50+ degree water for your best shot at surface sippers. If the fish are cold, add that pheasant tail dropper and get down to them. Abe also did well flipping small spinners to wild browns in bigger, downstream waters near his home.

That’s your stash of the latest UO intel. Thanks for your business, which keeps our shop doors open and our Friday fishing reports flowing. Call either the Helen (706-878-3083) or Clarkesville (706-754-0203) Store if we can help with your fall harvest of fishing memories. Good luck. Stay distant, smart, and safe.


Friday, October 16, 2020

UO Fishing Report - 10/16/20

The weekend looks great! Just wear a sweatshirt for the chilly mornings and be ready to shed it at lunchtime.  The dry week following Delta has allowed nearly all trout streams to return to fishable flows, so go!

The biggest basins such as the Chattooga and Toccoa, however, are still shedding Delta’s 5-8 inches of rainfall and are running high.  To play it safe, most folks ought to aim for smaller streams for just a few more days until those big rivers drop a bit more.  

Your hot tip, as described at midweek, is: if they won’t come up to you, then go down to them!  

The front this morning will drop air and water temps.  Winds will give you more leaves to deal with on your drifts.  The good news is that we’re still in the prime trouting zone, with water temps running in the 50’s.  However, if those temps drop down to 50 or lower after a chilly night, droppers will work better than dries until the fish get warmed up by the afternoon sun. (Hope you’ve bought a stream thermometer by now!)

That’s good news; you can eat a nice breakfast and take your time getting up here to trout waters.  Then try sinking a small pheasant tail or sexy walts a foot or two under your stimulator or elk hair caddis to coax those sluggish fish to brunch.  Droppers without a tungsten bead may fish better with a  size 6 or 8 dinsmore shot crimped six inches ahead of it.  If the water’s  deeper than three feet, you might even foresake the dry and try a full-blown indicator rig to dredge those cold bodies from the bottom.

Enjoy the nice week ahead while maintaining your distancing diligence and personal safety.    Delta dampened our report volume a bit as it sidelined our trusted sources for several days, but we still have a few great reports to share after the waters dropped at midweek.

Private waters are on fire. Our guides have had great trips with clients as streams recovered to fishable levels.  Linda Jack from Tampa caught this monster rainbow trout while fishing with Unicoi Outfitters guide Ron Thomas at Noontootla Creek Farms (NCF). Linda said it was one of the hardest fighting trout she’s ever landed!

UO’s good friend, FL outdoor writer, photographer, and Fly-Fishing instructor Rusty Chinnis, 


said he also had a great time this week at NCF with Unicoi guide Chuck Head. They had great action on the colorful, resident rainbows. Rusty really enjoys his annual fall trips to Helen and does it all, from bluelining to trophy hunting, before returning to his tarpon flats. We enjoy hosting him.

Photo credits:


UO shop managers Wes and Hunter said that clients fishing Nacoochee Bend and Rainbow Point have had great fishing for “numbers,” with some bigger fish mixed in. Veteran anglers are landing those trophies, while our newer fly fishers are paying their dues to the sport  while practicing some long distance releases (LDR’s) on the biguns. Swinging streamers and soft hackles have worked really well.

Smithgall veteran Landon had a good “high water” Dukes trip, with a bunch of rainbows landed. Best was 19 inches! Squirmies and leeches were the stained-water ticket.  Once upon a time , he gave some good tips here for Smithgall rookies:


We have no fresh blueline reports, but they should still bring joy to prospectors, especially the afternoon guests. Try a stimmy or caddis dry and, if they’re shy, add a small pheasant tail or soft hackle dropper about 12-18 inches below it. The dropper’s gotta be real short to fit through the narrow casting tunnels of our rhodo-choked bluelines.

Leftover stockers and NC Delayed Harvest fish should now be well-scattered by high water.   Aim for flood refuges such as bedrock ledges (perpendicular to flow), slow pools, logjams, and boulder fields. Try a pats rubberlegs or some small, bright nymphs and soft hackles if they’re beginning to turn their noses at your Opening Day junk flies like squirmies and eggs.

Bass rivers are still high and off-color from Delta’s massive dump, and not a great bet yet.  The Hooch at Hwy 115 was still a bit high, with only two feet of visibility, when I crossed her at 10AM today.

Our great flatland friend, Henry Cowen, 


said he and a buddy chased several striper schools this morning (16th) and put a seven- pounder in the boat. Here’s his intel: The fish were in open water, over 60-90 foot bottoms, on the lower end of Lanier. Anglers should bring both spin and fly gear, and a good set of binoculars. The schools are up and down quickly and anglers must hustle to them to get a shot or two before they dive.

That’s the latest from our UO gang. Be safe at home and on the water.   Remember that in addition to instore service, we also offer online and curbside service at both the Helen (706-878-3083) and Clarkesville (706-754-0203) to help you with your distancing.  All orders over $25 ship free!  


Good luck this week as we all enjoy cool fall weather, warm fall colors, and hopefully 


Tight lines and tall tales to y’all from the UO staff.

Friday, October 9, 2020

UO Fishing Report - 10/9/20

Welcome to “Dealing with Delta.”  The hurricane aimed today at the LA coast will weaken into a tropical storm, them turn right toward us, and rain on our weekend fishing parade. The goods news is a) we’ll help you deal with Delta b) high water helps our streams, and c) great weather awaits us on the storm’s far side.  Here we go.

North GA’s current forecasts suggest a soggy Saturday, a stormy Sunday, and blown-out Monday...maybe Tuesday, too, if rainfall totals exceed an inch.  Fishing fanatics may be able to angle on Saturday (especially early) as the first storm bands hit. Fishing could be productive as streams begin to rise and color up. A good raincoat is a must. You might also fish near your parked car in case a bad storm aims for you. Your best tools for Saturday success are your weather app and your brain- use good judgment and be safe!

Heaviest rains are expected overnight on Saturday and continuing on Sunday, which will be a washout. That day will be a good one to “tie or buy” and restock your fly boxes for fall and winter trouting. I know two good fly shops that can help with your mission.

Weekday fishing conditions will depend on total rainfall.  Monday will likely be blown out on every stream.  If rainfall exceeds an inch, blowouts can continue for another day or two, especially on large waters, until those stormflows have enough time to run off.  Best bets: 1) call fly shops first for current stream conditions, 2) apply my October Angler Magazine column tips and read those USGS stream gauges (Hooch-Helen even has a river camera!), 3) plan to go high to bluelines or low to ponds and lakes.  On lakes, tribs will dump in stain and groceries, and headwaters can be a good bet for emboldened bass and bream on the prowl.

When fishing high and/or stained water, use bigger and/or brighter bugs to get some attention. Look down on your driveway for the “storm hatch.” Yep, earthworms. Best bets: squirmies, San Juan’s, Pats rubberlegs, buggers and leeches, and bright egg patterns. The latter look like Purina pellets for naive stockers right now, and they will mimic  “spawning hatches” of fish eggs in our upcoming months.

While blowouts are bummers, they do have a bright side, literally.  “Good flushes” really clean and shine our mountain streams, washing away summer’s silt and algae and loosening stream gravels for fall-spawning specks and browns. Floods also spread out freshly stocked trout, so Delayed Harvest (DH) fishing will be better.  Fish will finally be spread among all the good niches, rather than wadded up in just a few good “pool schools.”

Here are some recent fishing reports for your entertainment. Just like stocks, here’s a disclaimer: “past results don’t guarantee future performance.”  These low, clear water reports won’t help you until our waters recover sometime next week. But the intel and pics are always a hit with our audience. Here you go:

First, remember our 10/7 “beat the storm” post and pics. The take-home there was to distinguish your bugs from the leaves and twigs cluttering fall trout waters. Best fish from my Smokies trip was a 15-inch brown that ate a #12 sexy Walts.   I had 7-8 cookie cutter 10-inch browns on my black pats rubberlegs before I lost it.  And discovered it was my last one (rookie error)!  At dusk, I saw a few surface sippers in the slick tailout of a long pool and picked off two small wild bows with a #20 BWO Emerger. It was a nice way to end the day.

UO friend “Sautee” and an accomplice met at the trailhead of another Smokies stream yesterday (8th) and socially distanced upstream. He reports: “With Fall settling in and air temps dropping to a comfortable level, water temps have convinced trout that it’s worth their time to expend energy looking for groceries.  It seemed like a good time to head north to GSMNP and once again try our luck on “Elk” Creek.  A scarcity of rain for the last 6 days had the water running low and clear and the fish were acting more like they do in drought mode.  Got off to a slow start fishing dry droppers and was quickly changing the menu often, hoping to settle on something the fish and I could all agree was worth coming out of their apparent stupor.  October caddis didn’t work, stimulators didn’t work, ants didn’t work and droppers of various varieties (with bead heads and without) did not work.  At last, a #14 foam beetle on top and a #14 bead head pheasant tail dropped about 24” off the back started gaining some much-needed attention and worked to bring rainbows and browns to hand.  As the sun receded behind the mountains, fish became more active and the next 30 minutes saw the most action and produced the most fish.  While the beetle saw some action, the dropper really saved the day by getting down to where most of the fish were still huddled. Almost all fish were taken from water 3’ or deeper with most being found in back eddies in deeper pools with riffles being unproductive for the day.  Now is a good time to head north, enjoy the Park, see some color in the leaves, breathe some fresh air, catch a fish or two, listen to the elk bugle and watch them compete for the privilege of populating the Park with grands and great-grands.  Get up there now, before the ice and snow begin to dictate your fishing plans.”

Our private waters have fished really well, so book your trips soon.  Dennis has a great day with UO guide “Coach Mac” at Rainbow Point on the Soque.  They landed lots of trout, with a few bruisers mixed in (pic).  Nacoochee Bend regular Kevin P said he had a great afternoon with the Bend’s bows and “couldn’t keep them off the hook.”  Everything is eating because water temps are prime.

The same was true for river bass. UO managers Jake and Wes had some good shoalie float trips before the storm. Cooling water had them hunkered down, but bottom-bumped flies and lures on spinning rigs produced numbers and some sizes, too, with “ best of trip” fish ranging 18-21 inches. Congrats to 8-yr old Sam on his whopper (pic)!

That’s the latest from our UO gang. Be safe during the storm, be smart in its high-flow wake, and be ready to call us (706-878-3083) if you’re itching to go and wanna know where. We sure do appreciate your business!  May we all survive all these “storms of life” and find a joyful respite in our favorite creek. Good luck this week when the waters recede.

Friday, October 2, 2020

UO Fishing Report - 10/2/20

The great combination of weather and water is producing some excellent fishing right now!  That trend should continue for your week ahead.  The cold nights and warm days are comfortable for us, as we no longer have to avoid summer’s midday heat of a month ago. Cooler days have also dropped water temperatures and signaled “chow time” to sport fish that are literally stocking up for the winter.  This week it’s been like a light switch has been turned on!  Here are your tips and some fresh reports to prep you for your next trips afield.

Headwater wild trouting is great.  Higher flows and colder temps have rejuvenated stream residents. On tiny streams, just toss a small (#16) orange or yellow stimulator.  You might drop down to 5x tippet if the water’s clear. That recipe worked for me on two handfuls of little wild rainbows in just a couple hours, high above Helen, on Wednesday afternoon.

On bigger waters, scale up slightly on dry fly size, make sure it floats like a cork, and add a dropper nymph on three feet of 5x tippet below it. Sautee and Dredger had a big time on “Elk Creek” in the Smokies yesterday (10/1) before quitting early to spot bugling elk herding their harems.  The water was high, but still wadeable and a prime 57 degrees at 3pm. The fish were really eating and the bellies of some bows looked like they just pushed back from the Thanksgiving table.  

They caught about two fish on the dropper for every one on top, and the refusal ratio had dropped significantly since their last trip a few weeks ago, in lower and warmer water. Rainbows to 10” and a few browns up to 13” liked stimulator and beetle dries and silver beaded tan mops, sexy walts, and yellow soft hackle droppers.

North Carolina Delayed Harvest streams should kick into high gear shortly, as the agency trout trucks now roll. We haven’t heard any angler reports yet, but will soon. Watch the NCWRC website to confirm DH stockings before you go. Try buggers and junk flies, and move them with twitches or strips, to get the attention of fresh stockers. Many DH streams also have resident wild trout in them, so try the headwater tips, above, to top off your NC trouting day on Fires, Nantahala, or the Tuck.

Cooling water signals the start of our private waters trout trips. October is booking up quickly, so call the shop (706-878-3083) for your fall or early winter reservations.

Bass rivers have cleared and the catching has picked up. It’s just deep rather than shallow due to colder water. Jimmy and Jake both had good trips this week. They suggest carrying both fly and spin tackle, and getting your offerings down deep. Try some crayfish flies first.  If you strike out, then grab the spinner and bump some soft plastics along the bottom. Afternoons have been better due to warming water.

PS: if you catch a tagged bass, like Jimmy did, record the tag number and fish length, then call DNR Shoalie researcher Hunter Roop (770-535-5498) with your valuable data.

Finally, it’s last call for pond bream and bass. Again, hit them in the afternoon warmth. I ran up to Unicoi Lake late Monday afternoon to get out of the house, and roll-cast my bream bugs in the shoreline clearings around the lake perimeter. A nice handful of redbreasts and a couple chunky bluegill were netted. My first one was eyeballed by about an 8 pound largemouth!  Best bream bug was a #10 brown rubber spider. I had to cast right under the overhanging limbs or within 2-3 feet of them, on the deep side, to get bit.  Any farther out and those bream wouldn’t leave shelter, fearing those “white sharks” cruising the depths. Toss your yak or canoe in your favorite pond for one last perimeter paddle and have fun with bream - and maybe a bonus bass or two.

If you’re a reservoir fan, a great source of intel is the GAWRD weekly fishing blog. Sign up for free delivery to your personal e-address.

Notice the Nottely and Chatuge striper/hybrid reports!


It’s time to fetch your dusty waders out of the closet and try them again. Find and repair those leaks, before your wet toes freeze in November! As the sun sets, that fleece jacket will feel darn good, too.

Fall is here. The fish said so, and they’re inviting you north to join their fall festivities. Contact us at either the Helen or Clarkesville store to restock your vests and get pointed in the right direction for October social distancing success. Thanks a bunch for your patronage and good luck on the water this week!

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Hello October! What color comes to your mind this month? For many of us, it’s orange. That’s true for trout, too!  As our larger streams finally cool off, resident trout appetites are restored and fish are on the hunt. 

One of their favorite fall snacks, often unknown to new anglers,  is the  October caddis.  



These big bugs hatch sparsely, but have trout looking for the high-calorie snacks all day long.  Make sure you stock some imitations in your fall fly box. Try a size 12 elk hair caddis with a rusty orange body, or a #12 orange stimulator with plenty of floatant on it.  It’s a great attractor,  and a very good, buoyant  indicator for your trailing # 14 Prince nymph or caddis pupa or larva.  Aim your casts at the bankside shade and shadows, where fish feel safe enough to rise during the day. Dead-drift the flies first,but if you have no takers from prime lies, twitch your bugs a few times on the last 2-3 drifts through them.

Fall’s chill has thankfully arrived, so grab your light fleece jacket and enjoy fly casting once again on bigger waters. Go soon, before month-ending leaf fall complicates your drifts. Toss some orange at ‘em and see what happens. Remember your net, too, as these big bugs can attract big fish!

Give Unicoi Outfitters a call (706-878-3083) if we can help you plan your fall trout hunting adventures. Good luck!