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, March 26, 2021


 What Do We Do Now?!!!!

Last night's rains have all streams red and ripping; even Smith Creek below the dam.  As of this moment as I'm putting together a "fishing report", a lot of streams are unsafe for wade fishing.  Headwater streams could be fishable by Sunday but the larger rivers will take a few days; particularly if we get more rain over the weekend.  

If you're curious about how much rain we got, the USGS gauge in Helen indicated it reached a level 20

Smith Creek DH
times the normal high water flow when we recommend anglers stay out of the Chattahoocheewhich is around 200 cfs.  So, as you can imagine, it will take some time to drop back.  The good news is that these floods are "stream shapers".  They drop in trees and clean and re-arrange stream cobbles so there may be some new fishing spots to explore when the waters recede.

Some other streamflows across north Georgia as of 8:00 Friday evening:

  • Chattooga River at Hwy. 78 is at 4.37'.  It's dropping quickly but we don't recommend fishing it until it's down to 2' or less.
  • Toccoa River Delayed Harvest is at 3,162 cfs.  We don't recommend wading it when it's over 375 cfs.  This is a very tricky river to wade at normal levels.  It can be deadly at flood levels.
  • Chatthoochee River at Helen is at 1,410 cfs.  See above for safe wading levels.

When they do recede, match your offerings to the flows.  Use bigger flies if the water is still high and cloudy.  And never be afraid to add more split shot!  When flows drop and clear drop down in the size of your flies and choose natural colors for your dries and nymphs. 

Before the storm hit, Georgia DNR ran a heavy stocking schedule on most trout streams.  So, barring them getting washed away, fishing in the coming week could be really good.  For a list of streams that were stocked this week, follow this link.  As you'll see, there are a lot of trout swimming around north Georgia right now. 

Plan "B" may be to hit the ponds and lakes. Vogel, Rock Creek, Winfield Scott, Dockery, and Nancytown lakes have all been stocked this past week.  If you're after bass, stripers, or crappie on our larger lakes, be on the lookout for flood debris that has washed in from upstream rivers.  Muddy water and speed can be an expensive combination if you're boating.  The muddy water areas of lakes will warm quickly so bass and crappie will head toward the shallows.  On large reservoirs, aim for the "mudlines", those transition zones of cloudy waters between blood red and crystal clear.  Those are the prime sites for shad and their predators, spots and stripers, which are hidden in the murky waters.

Wes' Hot Fly List 

This week leans toward some of the high water favorites when finesse takes a back seat to protein.  Squirmy Worm in red, pink, or black.  Girdle Bug in black or dark olive.  Zirdle Bug in black.  Y2K Bug in pink/chartreuse.  Copper John in copper or red.  Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail.  Simi Seal Leech in black/purple.  Sparkle Minnow in sculpin pattern.  Muddy Buddy in black.  And most importantly, a large bag of split shot!

Angler reports on public waters have been slim this past week.  We have the following:

Dukes Creek

We can almost always count on our buddy Ron Wilson to get out on the water and, more importantly, 

give us a report.  "It was a tough day on Dukes Creek last Saturday.  We walked over the hill and fished all of Section 2 after lunch.  Totals amounted to 10 fish between the four of us with a 14-incher being the big fish of the day."  Editor's note:  Friday afternoon there were standing waves on Dukes Creek near the parking lot.

Private Waters

Fishing has been great at Nacoochee Bend this week.  According to Unicoi guide Palmer Loggins, "Soft hackles on the swing were the ticket.  It didn't matter what color.  Some fish were caught on egg patterns but nothing like the soft hackles."

We Give You A Reason to Head to Helen & Clarkesville

Okay, so the fishing may not be good enough for you to come our way but maybe the things Jake, Wes, and Hunter have for you are worth getting out of the house.

  • 40% off all winter clothing; Simms, Patagonia, and Orvis
  • A big shipment of the "Project Cicada" fly just arrived.  Cicada patterns are mostly on backorder from most suppliers but we've got the hottest pattern out there.
  • Our fly bins are all full to the gills with spring selections for trout and bass.
  • We have a large selection of new fly boxes on hand for warm water, dry flies, and nymphs.
  • For our fly tyers we have the largest selection of materials we've ever had.
  • Some rods that have been hard to get are now in stock:  The Orvis Clearwater 7'6" 3 wts. are in as are the Echo small steam rods and Euro Nymphing rods.
  • All the new Orvis packs; slings, waist, and chest.
That's it for this week.  Stream fishing will be touch and go for the next few days in our area.  Use good judgment if you decide to go.  And remember, if you get in trouble, no one can go upstream and turn the water off so you can get out.  It just keeps on coming.  Please be safe out there! 



Thursday, March 25, 2021


How about some free fly fishing lessons from the comfort of your own home? Check out the Orvis Fly Fishing 101 series of five online videos. Subscribe soon and give the sport a shot this spring. Try it and you'll like it. We sure do!

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

GAWRD's 2021 Trout Fishing Outlook


2021 Trout Fishing Outlook


If you are looking for an opportunity to wet a line, how does the thought of 700,000 trout hitting the water entice you?

Thanks to the long-standing partnership between the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resource Division and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, anglers can look forward to another great year of trout fishing.

“The Georgia trout stocking program is typically supported by four trout hatcheries. With the Lake Burton Hatchery renovation wrapping up, we will be stocking primarily from the other three hatcheries,” explained WRD Trout Stocking Coordinator John Lee Thomson. “Good rainfall and a mild winter have allowed for great growth at these locations. Our regular distribution effort will begin the last full week of March, and all waterbodies scheduled to be stocked will have received trout by the end of the month.”

Some early trout stocking efforts have begun, with regular stockings scheduled to begin the last week of March. Popular waterbodies that receive regular trout stockings include Cooper Creek in Union County, Little Amicalola Creek at Amicalola State Park, Holly Creek in Murray County, and Johns Creek in Floyd County and the Tallulah River in Rabun County.

The daily limit is eight trout on general regulation trout waters. Anglers are reminded to respect private property rights along streams flowing through private lands, and to obtain permission before fishing on private property.

Get info online! Information on trout fishing and stocking is readily available online. You can even sign up for a weekly trout stocking email at https://georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Trout.

If you need more fresh statewide fishing news, check out our blog report every Friday at https://georgiawildlife.blog/category/fishing/.

How to Support Trout Management in Georgia

Georgia anglers can support fisheries conservation and trout management several ways:

  • Buy a Fishing License: Did you know that your license purchase allows the Georgia WRD to continue to do important research, maintain and operate public fishing areas and more? Purchase a Georgia license online at https://gooutdoorsgeorgia.com/.
  • Buy a License Plate: Purchasing a Trout license plate supports Georgia’s trout conservation and management programs. These efforts positively impact trout production, stocking and stream restoration throughout north Georgia.  More info at https://georgiawildlife.com/licenseplates.

For more information, visit https://georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/Trout or call (770) 535-5498.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Captain Stan's Legacy

We are proud of our dearly departed friend and former White County warden, Stan.

Capt. Stan Elrod Posthumously Wins Guy Bradley Award from National Fish & Wildlife Foundation
SOCIAL CIRCLE – In a teleconference this afternoon, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) posthumously presented Georgia DNR Law Enforcement Captain Stan Elrod with the prestigious Guy Bradley Award for his lifetime contributions to wildlife law enforcement, positive impact on the community and the state, selfless devotion to others, and outstanding leadership. The award is only presented to one state and one federal recipient each year and was accepted by his widow, Julie.
“The late Captain Stanley Curtis Elrod truly was everything you could ask for in a law enforcement officer who works to protect our natural resources and who inspires others to see the immense value of our nation’s native species,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. “His death in the line of duty is a tragedy, but his accomplishments during his 27-year career with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division will live on for generations. In addition to his exceptional law enforcement service, Captain Elrod was instrumental in passing Taylor’s Law, legislation that granted special hunting privileges to anyone 21 years or younger with a terminal illness. He also worked to implement programs aimed at preventing firearm-related accidents among school children. Captain Elrod will be greatly missed by his family, his colleagues, and all of us who cherish the great outdoors.”
Captain Elrod began his career in Law Enforcement in 1993 and worked his way up to the rank of Captain and northeast Georgia Region Supervisor, where he oversaw law enforcement activities in 26 counties on seven impoundments, 16 DNR managed Wildlife Management Areas, and over a million acres of USFS lands. Sadly, Captain Elrod’s career tragically came to an end on September 3, 2020 when he was participating in the agency wellness program. Just after 7:30 PM, while on duty, he was struck and killed by an impaired driver.
“Stan was an outstanding game warden and a great man and is truly deserving of this award,” said Colonel Thomas Barnard, director of Georgia DNR’s Law Enforcement Division. “His legacy will live on in our Division well into the future.”
Throughout his career Elrod had a number of successes to his credit. In 1999, he was named Game Warden of the Year for the entire State of Georgia. He was a founding member of the DNR’s Honor Guard and worked on security teams during the 1996 Olympics and the G8 Summit on Sea Island in 2004. In 2003, he was awarded the POAG (Peace Officers Association of Georgia) Arthur Hutchins Award for Meritorious Service. Most recently, he received the John W. Jacobs Sr. Memorial Award for excellence in law enforcement. This award is given to Officers in the Hall County Georgia area for their outstanding contributions in law enforcement.
In 2005, Captain Elrod began working with a group that would become a passion for him, the Outdoor Dream Foundation. The Outdoor Dream Foundation was founded in 2004 and is a 100% volunteer-driven, non-profit organization that grants outdoor adventures such as hunting and fishing trips to children and youth under 21 years of age who have been diagnosed with terminal or life-threatening illnesses. He not only organized and helped fund-raise for the organization, he was also a Board Member. He went on countless hunts and fishing trips, including several bear hunts with kids in North Carolina, delivered mounted trophies to the kids while they were in the hospital, and on at least one occasion was by the child’s bedside when they passed away. His devotion to those kids and that cause was never-ending. In fact, he had delivered several boxes of shotgun shells to the Davison Farm in Franklin County for their annual Dove Hunt just hours before he was killed. He delivered them early because on opening weekend of dove season, he had planned to go on an alligator hunt with a local family whose son had been killed a couple of months earlier in a car accident. His selfless acts and devotion to others were truly unmatched.
Elrod also made three rides on the Police Unity Tour, a bicycle ride covering 250 miles over the course of three days to raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Memorial is a wall of names which recognizes law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Seven Georgia Game Wardens are on the wall and on May 13, 2021 at the 33rd Annual Candlelight Vigil during National Police Week, Captain Elrod’s name will now be placed on that wall as well. Their names are also on a granite memorial outside of the Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division’s Headquarters in Social Circle, Georgia.
“I am grateful that NWFW has recognized Captain Elrod’s dedication and contributions to Georgia DNR and to protecting our natural resources, our wildlife and our citizens,” said Georgia DNR Commissioner Mark Williams. “He was an exemplary member of the DNR family, and he will be profoundly missed for generations to come.”
The Guy Bradley Award
In 1905, Guy Bradley, a Florida game warden, became the first wildlife law enforcement agent killed in the line of duty protecting the nation’s wildlife. Law enforcement agents like Bradley are essential to virtually every aspect of wildlife conservation, from recovering endangered species to managing waterfowl and big game resources. In 1988, NFWF established a national award in honor of Bradley to recognize individuals for achievements in wildlife law enforcement. The award focuses on activities which directly aid or advance the law enforcement goals and mission of state and federal fish and wildlife agencies. It is an opportunity to recognize officers who, during their careers, put their life on the line for wildlife.

Friday, March 19, 2021

UO Fishing Report - 3/19/21

Theme for the week – Variability encourages versatility. Be ready with indicators, dry/dropper, and dries to match March’s variable weather and water.
Small streams will drain soon. Big streams may need a couple of days to drop.  Whatever the levels, be safe wading out there.  You may not get a second chance.

Click above to enlarge charts

Wes’ weekly hot fly list includes:  Girdle Bug (black or dark olive) #8, Mini Leech (Black) #10, Muddy Buddy (white) #10, Sparkle Minnow (black light) #6, Squirminator (Red) #12, CDC Tungsten Pheasant Tail #16, Jigged Prince #14, Red Tag Jig #14 & #16, and a Lightning Bug (silver) #14 & #16.

Angler Reports

Small Streams

Splatek gives us this blue line report: “The rainbows at IDBIS were being punks but Spencer and I managed to coax a few to eat a deep dropper fly.  Most in the 5” – 7” range but Spencer brought in a 12” stud fatty.”   


Sautee from the Chattooga: “I had a fair day on the river.  Fished from 1:30 – 7:00 and the best fly was a #16 Gray Soft Hackle dropper that was responsible for 80% of the fish brought to hand.  Though fish were rising all day, none took our dries (Gray Caddis, Brown Caddis, Adams, and March Browns).  After 5:30 the bite on droppers tailed off so I tied on a #10 Olive Leech and stripped it.  Picked up 4 more before finishing up the day.  Had an equal bag of rainbows and browns up to 13” with no brookies so the hat trick never materialized.”

Smith Creek DH is in great shape for fishing this weekend as is Dukes Creek. 

Private Waters

From Hunter:  “Cody and his son Peyton had a successful day on Nacoochee Bend this week before this front came in. I expect the fish to go back to this pattern late this weekend and early next week as flows settle back down to normal. We had the fish patterned two different ways. A good bit of fish had moved up into the faster water at the heads of pools, these fish were happy to eat eggs, legs, and small nymphs, primarily olive mayfly nymphs, and caddis larvae nymphs, although you could find a few here and there willing to pick up other miscellaneous flies. We also found a fair amount of fish sitting in slower deeper pools feeding on emerging bugs, these fish loved a small olive soft hackle swung in front of their nose. No matter what we went with, olive was the color of choice. Every fish also had an excess of energy with the rising temps this week, so be ready for strong, long fights. As water levels come back down this weekend I would expect streamers to be on the menu, along with your typical eggs, legs, and stones. As water levels drop back down to what they were pre-front, and we get into another prefrontal situation next week, I would expect a lot of fish to get back on the pattern that we found them on the other day.”


HenryC is excited this week and sends this report: “The crazy weather this past week kept the striped bass fishing hot as a campfire!  Lots of overcast and prefrontal weather has had the fish chewing.  Still some fish up in very shallow water but the heavy rain is likely to end this pattern.  The good news is there are big groups of fish all over the lake in open water or in the mouths of the coves putting on the feed bag as the pre-spawn takes shape.  Fish of all sizes are mixed in and lots of fish are feeding on the surface.  Just burn gas and find the fish!  They are fat and happy gorging on small threadfin shad.  The Somethin Else fly is easily your best choice for flies right now.”

Landon says he was glad to have a couple of Coyotes in his box on his last nighttime trip on Lanier.  The fish caught after dark seemed to be making the switch to bigger stuff.  “I saw a couple of Facebook reports that confirmed my suspicions the last couple of days.”

Our buddy Ron Wilson sent this lake report:  "I spent last weekend up on Lake Arrowhead with my cousin and good friend Stuart.  We fished for a few hours Saturday afternoon and evening and then again on Sunday morning.  We caught several fish each on spinners, crankbaits, wacky worms and the Ned rig.  I was looking for beds but didn't spot any at all. Biggest fish of the weekend was my cousin's 5.2 pounder.

That’s your up to the minute report for northeast Georgia.  Be careful in high, off-color water if you get out this weekend.  Let us know how you did!

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Lanier Heats Up

We wanted to share Henry Cowen's post on striper fishing. Not because Jimmy's in the photo but because it has been epic the past few days.

The past two weeks of fishing on “the pond” have been awesome. Fish were both over open water and back in the shallows. Fish were found north and south and the warmer water temps woke the fish up.

With 2-3” of rain coming over the next few days it will force the fish out of the shallows and to open water for the pre-spawn. A great pattern is going to begin over the next several days as the fish start to migrate north to spawn...I love this time of year!

Friday, March 12, 2021

UO Fishing Report - 3/12/21

Welcome to low, clear, and warming streams. Based on our own success this week, it’s a great time to toss dry/dropper combos at prime trout lies! Stream temperatures are rising above 50 degrees and kicking in some decent bug activity, especially on the warmest afternoons. When there are enough bugs on the surface, trout noses follow. Carry a variety of dries to match the hatches on big waters. Headwater wild trout will also look up more often and won’t be as picky.
Flatwater fans also have some good targets this week. Pond bass and bream are sliding into the warm shallows. The same goes for reservoir stripers and spots. They follow the shad, which are headed toward the warming banks.
Wes’ hot flies list includes Dries: Parachute Adam’s #16, Griffith Gnat #20,
gray Elk hair caddis #16 & #18. Wets: Pheasant tail nymph #16 & #18, Slush egg #14, Improved Yallar Hammer Nymph #12, Holy grail #14 & #16, Bead head trout crack #18, Flashback Baetis #20.
Streamers: Bank robber sculpin #2, Triple double rainbow #4, Kreelex #6, Black woolly bugger #10.
Detailed angler reports and tips follow.

Jimmy hit double digits on little wild bows at a local blueline in a few hours last Sunday afternoon. They preferred the pheasant tail dropper to the Adams dry by a 3:1 margin. We think that ratio will flip after the past week of warm weather. Bluelines, after lunch, are a best bet in your days ahead.
Delayed Harvest:
Smith is still crowded on weekends, so go early or late. Try some smaller nymphs and midges, since the recent stockers have already seen a ton of junk flies. Try our “tangled trout” technique described on Thursday. Also, stay til dusk and look for some risers as the sun sets and adult bugs return to lay eggs.
The river has fished pretty darn good. It can be finicky, however, and changing flies and techniques to match the bug “activity of the hour” will enhance your success. It was “Pot Luck Tuesday” for Dredger and SC buddy Todd. The clouds subdued the bug hatches, with some mayflies, caddis, and midges buzzing in the short periods of sunshine. The catch was slow and steady for Dredger on small Adams, tiny gray caddis, and hares ear droppers when rises quit. The trick again this week was hitting the soft seams, 2-4 feet deep, on the sides of the main current and at the tails of pools.
Shallow water made it worthwhile for some fish to sip dries. Todd did well on his bugger/soft hackle combo. It was mainly bows and browns, but a sole brookie completed Dredger’s hat trick.
Toccoa DH:
Traditionally this has not been a dry fly hotspot, but it fishes well with an attractor/nymph rig. Try an egg, worm, or leech as the attractor and follow it with a pheasant tail or prince. Again, look for the slower flood refuges and get a good drift through them. Where you find one chunky rainbow, you’ll typically find a handful. Fish from the bank or float it, as flows are still high for safe wading over much of its length.
Private Waters:
These have fished really well, especially for experienced or guided anglers. The lower, clear water can make these “experienced” fish picky, so matching the bugs in that day’s drift has been the key. Watch Wes’ hot fly list for your better bets. And your best bet is tying on the pattern that your awesome UO guide suggests! Here’s a great example.
UO guide Chuck Head and angler Tom Nall recently battled the elements and were successful in their “hunt” at Noontootla Creek Farm. Enjoy the leading photo.
UO manager Jake had great trips with his clients at Nacoochee Bend and Dukes Creek. Both streams are fishing really well for folks with a stealthy stalk, a good drift, and the hot fly of the hour (mainly small nymphs).
PS: guided fishing trips are great gifts, too. Check out our gift certificates for that special angler in your life.
Landon checked in: “I caught good numbers of 1-2 lb bass and crappie in a small public reservoir Monday. I fished a small clouser under a large indicator and slowly twitched it back to me. I had lots of fun watching the takes!”
Hank the Yank says Lanier is “waking up:” He reports, “Stripers are just starting to wake up. The upcoming warm weather figures to get things rolling quickly. There are two patterns to try when thinking March stripers: open water schooling or blind casting the banks. Both patterns will work. There are fish spread out all over the lake and in ALL the creeks. North has the biggest groups while south has the better blind-casting opportunities. Intermediate lines are best if blind-casting shallow. Full sinking lines are best if looking for the big schools over open water. Best flies are somethin’ else, coyotes, Clousers and game changers.”
That’s the latest intel. The rest is UO to you. Take advantage of some April weather in March and...

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Untangling Trout

How do you tangle with trout in the trees?
  Pass along your hot tips and we’ll share ours. They’re in the March issue of the Coastal Angler Magazine - Atlanta Edition.  Pick up a copy of this free magazine at your favorite tackle shop or check out the online version here:


We’re on page Atlanta-2, which is 16 pages into the document.

Good luck tangling with trout in the trees. We hope you untangle a few more and and get some fine photos of your memorable catches this spring!

Monday, March 8, 2021

Count ‘Em

Click on this link:


If you're good at spotting trout in a river, the more you watch this slo-mo video, the more huge dark shapes you'll see in this pool.  Try enlarging it to full screen

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Hank Goes National

Are you on the hunt for spring stripers? Let Henry help! Tune into the latest Orvis podcast with Tom Rosenbauer and listen to Georgia’s adopted Brooklynite, Lake Lanier guide Henry Cowen. Henry’s tips for finding and feeding freshwater stripers in both reservoirs and rivers are priceless.

And if you forget what Henry said, it’s also in his new book, a true bargain at $16.99. We have some for sale.
Congrats to our flatwater friend, Henry Cowen, for hitting the national scene again with his benevolence. With Hank the Yank’s intel and a stout eight-weight outfit, you’ll be ready for the spring striper run near you!

Friday, March 5, 2021

UO Fishing Report- 3/5/21

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 3/5/21


This is a great week to wet a line, whether on a stream or a lake. Warmer weather has both bugs and fish stirring. Your colors of the day are blue, brown, and gray. Blue is for blue skies and sunshine that kick up water temps. Brown is for the nymphs that you’ll use a) mid-column or b) bottom-bumping before the afternoon sun promotes the hatches and gets trout snouts poking through the surface. Brown and gray remain your colors on your dry flies -both mayfly and caddis. They worked for me yesterday and should work for you this week.

Junk flies will work, too, since both DNR’s just redosed the Delayed Harvest streams here and in SC.
HenryC says the reservoir stripers and bass are stirring a bit, too. His intel and that from our “shocking” friends at GAWRD will have you reaching for your eight-weight fly outfits soon.
Weekdays will be less crowded than weekends, so flex your schedule if you can.
Wes’ hot fly list this week includes
A) Dries: Elk hair caddis gray & olive #16 & #18, Parachute Adam’s #14, 18 , Stimulator olive #16; B) Nymphs & wets:
Sparkle soft hackle olive #14 & #16, Black magic soft hackle #18; hares ear #14 & #16 nymphs and soft hackles, Root beer midge #18, Knotty girl dark brown #10 and Lightning bug pearl #16; C) Streamers: Bank robber sculpin tan #6, Hot cone wooly bugger #8, Finesse changer white, and Mini finesse changer tan/olive.
Don’t forget a few good egg flies, squirmy worms, and small woolly buggers, too for the Delayed Harvest “freshmen.”
For our non-Facebook fans, this extended report will also be posted to the Unicoi Outfitters blog: http://blog.angler.management/
Good luck this week. Keep your distance and watch for risers in the afternoon shadows.
Here are more angler reports and tips from our staff and fishing friends.
No recent reports, as our contacts got distracted with chores this week. We expect these streams to fish well, especially in the afternoon warmth. Try a caddis or Adams first and see if the wild fish will come up. If they’re cold and stubborn, drop a hares ear or pheasant tail 18 inches behind the dry until the sun warms them up.
Delayed Harvest:
Smith remains busy, and will be even busier with good weather and fresh stockers. Be first or last there, be stealthy, and aim for the shade and shadows.
Chattooga DH:

It fished well for me yesterday (4th) once I dialed them in. River temp was 49 at my 1130AM start. The sun was high, the bugs were sparse, and the fish were glued to the bottom. They didn’t like my 14 Adams and 16 gray elk hair caddis to start, as I had just two refusals in the first hour. I was trying to force surface action and the fish would have none of it.
I found success with a #14 hares ear dropped 4 feet behind the Adams, my glorified strike indicator. One or two size 6 dinsmore tin shot, crimped about 8 inches above the nymph, helped it to slide through their deeper security zone. I landed a nice handful of bows, one small brown, and an obese 14” brookie on that dropper. They key was drifting it slowly in the 2-4 ft deep, soft, cobbled seams on the sides of the faster main current.

As the shadows fell at 4pm, little gray caddis came out to dance. And noses poked up! I switched to a #18 gray caddis, greased it well, aimed at swirls, and danced it with an upstream skitter to mimic the real thing. My catch switched to almost exclusively browns, with a few token bows. Last fish was landed as the bugs departed around 530, with water temp at 52. I’m glad I stayed on that beautiful, unleaded day of dropper-then-dry trouting.
For those finned critters, it’s all about the risk/reward of eating without being eaten. With few bugs on top, trout aren’t going to risk themselves to predators and come to your surface offering. As shadows fall and/or topwater calories increase, hungry fish get braver. So don’t rig at your car. Walk in, eat a streamside snack, and listen to the river. She’ll tell you what to do.

Private Waters:
Hunter’s Nacoochee Bend report: “Ruby and Jack got to get out and enjoy this sunny weather on the bend this week. Both got fish to the net, and had several long distance releases each.
Fish were down deep looking for small stuff like midges and caddis larvae till around 11:30. Then the switch flipped and they were hitting a variety of flies, still primarily small bugs like soft hackles and rainbow warriors.”
Palmer had similar action at the Bend and gave us some nice client photos.

HenryC checked in,
“Striper fishing has not changed since last week. Same patterns as we await warmer water temps. Fish overcast days or prefrontal if possible. If not, fish early and late in day. That’s the best feed on sunny days. Best flies are somethin else’s, Clousers and game changers on either fast sink or slow sinking lines. Fish are all over the lake and spreading out. Both rivers are holding fish and the bait guys are catching them on free lines over deep water or clipping points early and late.
On a side note, the crappie fishing was better last week on the moon and has slacked off this week some. That’ll change once the 70 degree weather sticks over the next week or so. Community docks are a magnet for these tasty critters.”
The agency’s 2021 reservoir and river fishing forecasts are out and today’s fishing blog has some truly timely intel. This week, for example, they told us about DH stream restocking and announced that walleye are heading into their spawning grounds. Have you ever seen a 14-pond hybrid Striper? Take a look! Check out the intel here and sign up for their weekly reports:
That’s the latest news as spring visits north GA. I’m sure we’ll still have a few backslides toward winter, but there are some prime days staring us in the face right now. Go, soon and often. Call (706-878-3083), email (info@unicoioutfitters.com) or visit us if we can help you get on some early spring fish. Good luck!