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, April 9, 2021

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 4/9/21

After “floating” through two monsoons and 9 inches of rain, we’ve finally welcomed Epic April. Big waters are still receding, while small streams have returned to normal springtime flows and are clear. Water temps are prime and trout bugs are popping. It’s hatch-matching time for mountain trouters! Be ready with the right bugs and the techniques that match the naturals, from dead drifts to twitches and even to upstream skitters. Gotta-have dries include parachute adams and cahills, tan caddis, and yellow stimulators.

The only event that can rain on your weekend trout parade is, literally, rain. If we get more than an inch tomorrow, you might have to allow big streams a day or two to drop and clear.  USGS flow gauges and fly shops can tell you when they recover. While you wait, just head uphill to smaller streams and have a blast.  If rainfall’s under an inch, toss worm or rubberleg stonefly patterns in the dingy water.

Ponds are heating up for bass and bream, so pull your yaks and canoes out of basement storage. Lake stripers and bass are hungry but challenging, since they are literally scattered throughout the reservoirs and up the tributary rivers for stripers’ annual spawning attempts. Hunt more than cast and your catch will increase.

The next four weeks will be great, so get outside and take advantage of them!

Wes has a lengthy hot fly list that won’t fit on Instagram, so check it and our angler reports out on our Facebook page or our blog:


Good luck.  PS: BOLO bears, too.  Hope you enjoyed today’s video!

Wes’ hot flies list follows.

Nymphs: Improved yallarhammer, Frenchies

Psycho prince,Sparkle soft hackles, Y2K egg, Squirminators, Mini mop (beige).


Sparkle minnow, Hot cone bugger


Stimulators, Parachute Adams, Elk hair caddis (tan in #14-18, gray in #18), Doculator (for wild trout)

Warmwater bugs:

Finesse changers, Jiggy craw

Feather changers, Sparkle minnow, Mini dragon tail

Bully bluegill spider, Clouser minnows

Detailed angler reports and tips follow. 


Wes: “I did a wild trout guide trip on Tuesday. With the higher water most of our fish were coming on subsurface flies like an “improved yallarhammer” and “psycho prince”. We were able to trick a couple into coming to the surface for an olive Stimulator.”

Hunter had a guided trip to public waters high above Helen. His anglers caught stocked bows and browns and wild bows. They had success nymphing, tossing dries, and streamer chucking. It was a great trip.

Delayed Harvest:

Smith still has some fish in it that survived the floods. It’s slightly off color today, but very fishable. The two successful anglers I spoke with during my “bear trek” caught some fish on a pink San Juan worm and a tan squirmy worm.


Ole Dredger had a “lost count” Tuesday, with most of the chunk bows and browns caught on top.  It’s chronicled on our Facebook page and blog. Dark30 is here again!


His timely tips: when the sun is high, dredge deep flood refuges with mops and brown rubberleg stones. Even the river natives like a mop (enjoy the colorful river chub).  

When the sun is low

(dawn and dusk), drift and/or skitter a stimulator/caddis combo through the shallows.  Right before dark, change the dropper from the caddis to a cahill.

Private Waters:

Wes: “I did a half-day trip yesterday at Nacoochee  Bend next to our fly shop.  The water was up, which limited the spots we could fish and required a lot of split shot to slow down our drifts. However, the fish were very active. We landed probably 25 rainbows between 12”-22” that fought long and hard with the high water. We even had a couple make long runs into our backing!  We had good luck on  Sparkle minnows, Squirmy worms, Soft hackles, Frenchies, and mops.”


Jay reported from Athens:

“Last night I fished a local pond. Perfect conditions- native azaleas blooming always means fish are going shallow. Lots of evidence of spawning activity. Cream mopfly landed many large bluegill and redear. Bass went crazy for the Blurple (black and purple baitfish streamer - unweighted) fished slow so it suspends in the water column.”


Henry chimed in: “This week’s striper report is all over the place. Lanier is fishing well if you are in the right place and not so well if you’re not. There’s a big group of fish on the south end that sporadically decide to show themselves and when they do, it’s great. When they don’t, you’d wished you went north. There’s fish making their way upriver for the spawn. Those fish are on points and they are easily catchable “if” you hit the right point. That means playing the onesie-twosie game. Catch one or maybe two and move on. Both rivers have fish in them, as the spawn is on. Also, the lake spots are waking up too. That’s a bonus for flyrodders. Lastly some nice white bass are starting to show themselves (thanks GADNR). That’s about it... by next report we should be seeing lots of fish eating topwater.”


The GAWRD weekly fishing report is  chock-full of timely intel, too:


In summary, “it’s all good” across north Georgia, so take a few days off, watch the flows, and match some hatches.  Bring your bug repellent, dry fly floatant, and headlamps. And dontcha dare leave early. Trust me on that one.  Call either UO store if you need a little more help. Good luck!

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