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 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!

No comments:

Post a Comment