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 30, 2021

UO Fishing Report - 4/30/21

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 4/30/21



The weather and water conditions are great and April should end strongly.  The rain is even gonna hold off til Monday and give us a nice weekend of playtime.

Caddis and cahills are winding down for the season and the hatches will start pretty darn late, so don’t leave the stream before slap-dark if you want another good dose of dry fly action. Hatches usually get a bit spotty now, too, so you may hit a homer one day and strike out the next.

Since May is knocking on our door, it’s time to transition for trout.  In addition to your box of tan April dries, add two colors. The first is yellow: for big (#10 & 12) stones, small (#16 & 18) yellow Sally stones, and even some sulphur mayflies if we’re lucky to catch that hatch.


The second color is black, as the summer secret weapon starts to kick in: terrestrials. If it’s slow, especially during the day, try dredging a size 16 black fur ant as your deep dropper.   In the shady spots, try the dry version, parachute style so you can see that bright post in the shadows. Small black beetles(#12-16) will also coax fish to the surface with their extra calories.  You might find a few early risers while waiting for the Dark30 “switch” to turn on at 730 or even 8PM. Run the terrestrials past any wetted wood in the shade and see if a reclusive brown will nose up for that bigger meal.

We have two weeks left to the GA DH season, so go soon. Then you’ll have another few weeks left of DH season in North Carolina, where cooler water temps allow that season to reach June.

Rivers are clear for resident bass and even some spring tourists that haven’t left yet: stripers and walleye.

Ponds and lakes are still great. Get to them ASAP while surface temps are prime and the spawning urge has many species, like spots, up very shallow. Hit the low light of dawn and dusk for your best action. Stay tuned to Henry Cowen and other Lanier guide websites to dial in the blueback and shad spawns, when predators literally run the banks at dawn.

Our extended version of this report, with Wes’ hot fly list and guide/fishing buddy reports, follows on our FB page and, for non FB’ers, at blog.angler.management.

Wes’ hot fly list:

Dries: Yellow Stimulator (12, 16), light Cahill (16, 18), tan Elk hair caddis (16-20),Hi-viz micro chubby

Nymphs & wets: tan and cream mops, red Squirmy’s,Tungsten flashback pheasant tails, Trout crack

Sparkle soft hackle, Knotty girl, brown Pat’s rubberlegs 

Streamers & warmwater:

Headcase crayfish, Bugger changer, T&A Bunker (olive/white), Murditch minnow, Polar changer, Kreelex


Lower, clear water and perfect temperatures have created great dry fly conditions. If you don’t spook them, you should get a rise in every pool. Try a small stimmy, caddis, or Adams. There’s no need for a dropper right now.

Splatek went high into the hills to one of his favorite bluelines. He reports, “ I caught  about six native specks in as many casts, all on yellow stimmies.

I also landed about a dozen little wild bows further downstream on an equal split between my stimmie and a frenchie dropper.”

David Cannon showed off a ten-inch native speck from unnamed headwater stream and an 18-inch brown on a dry from unnamed DH stream.

His new book is due out soon and I wonder if all of the streams in it will have the same Rabunite name: IDBIS (I don’t believe I said). Enjoy his pics.

Delayed Harvest:

They’re still fishing well, especially at low light. You’ll have to dredge the depths or shady spots at midday to find cooperators, which feel sheltered from avian death from above. Hatches are happening late, so stay late for that magical last 30-60 minutes.

On a somber note, there was a web report this week of angler vehicle break-ins at the Chattooga and West Fork lots. Authorities have been notified. If you go, take the proper precautions such as carrying minimal gear (just what you carry astream), leaving nothing of value in easy sight inside your car, and  locking up anything else in the trunk.

Two Athenians gave Tooga DH trip reports.

Alan said, “Hey Jeff!

I hit the river Wednesday  night after work. When I walked in from the parking lot at 5:15 it was 78 and warm.  I hiked up the SC side and  picked up a couple of bows on a parachute adams at my first stop. There were no rises and very few bugs coming off. I kept moving upriver and had a couple of refusals to the adams,  so I switched to a small stimulator and one of your Cahills.  I picked up a nice brown and several more bows on the stimulator, mostly when skittered.  I even had one bow take it out of the air before it landed on the water, pretty cool!  A few rises let me target some fish, but not a lot of bug activity kept most Gish hidden.  About 8:00 some cahills started coming off and fish rose to them.  I landed three right in a row on the Cahill on the skitter, but the bugs only lasted about 15 minutes in the pool I was at. I hiked out and left the parking area at 8:50 after enjoying the “lower” river level and a dozen fish to hand. It was good to get back in the game!”

JM also fished Wednesday and reported: “I parked at the pulloff across from the gate on the Georgia side.  I packed in my gear and started near the end of the stocking road.  Somebody put fist size gravel on the road. If you have weak ankles it’s not a good route.  I fished up to Reed Creek and Saw no other fishermen!  I caught 9 browns and 1 rainbow, all on a royal stimulator.  No hatches!

Water level was a little high, but ok!  I had refusals from some big guys!”

Private waters:

They have fished really well for anglers with a good stalk and a good drift in the lower and crystal clear waters. As seen in last weekends video, RonW’s trio had a big time at the bend. All three anglers left with sore arms and wide smiles. Two left with broken nets! They said:   “Bring a bigger net! Yes, Tight-lining was the mainstay. I did strip a bugger for a while which worked well also.  A 3.5mm Pink Tung beaded euronymph seemed to work better than other colors, but shoot, everything worked if it was drifted well. A small brown Pat’s rubberlegs was also a killer pattern.  We fished  4x fluoro and they were not tippet-shy. They were net-shy though.  I lost a couple bigguns for Ron when trying to scoop them up. I'll be hearing about it for a while.

We quickly learned that 5x tippet was too weak for those torpedoes. “


Landon checked in: I had 2 good days this week throwing shallow on Lanier. I tried a Clouser on sink-tip line one day and Conventional gear with a super fluke the next day. The shallow water Bassin’ bite was very good!”

Hank the Yank: “Fishing since last week for spotted bass on Lanier was very good. Fish are shallow and eating top water. This should continue over the next several weeks. This is the time to take a child to catch a fish on a fly or artificial lure. The striper fishing was poor up until the last day or two. We’re re getting off the consecutive cold fronts and the fish are getting somewhat shallow. By next Friday’s report the fish will be chewing on top water flies early and late in the day. It’s a good time to fish area lakes and especially our crown jewel Lake Lanier” 


There you go; April’s going out with a bang!  We sure hope you can go out with a bang, too, this weekend.  Visit or call either our Helen (706-878-3083) or Clarkesville store (706-754-0203) to resupply on your drive to more memorable times astream. Good luck!

No comments:

Post a Comment