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, May 14, 2021

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 5/14/21

The weather and water are great. Two, half-inch rains this week bumped up streamflows slightly for a day or so and all waters have now returned to fishable conditions. 


The only bummer is fuel supplies. This morning in Cleveland, only one of nine gas stations had fuel. Hopefully this situation will improve with each passing day of pipeline flow, but check your fuel supply first before deciding on a distant road trip.

Trout streams fished well and should continue to do so, especially if these cool nights continue. The key to May success is 
Low Light
, as the bright sun and dropping streamflows will make fish very spooky.   So aim for a) deep,murky pools in big streams, b) anywhere and anytime on canopied  bluelines, and in April’s bigwater, buggy riffles and runs c) at daylight and d) again at dusk.  Carry yellow and black dries along with your April tans...and two flashlights!

Starting tomorrow, Harvesters get a shot at GA Delayed Harvest stockers, so expect more weekend company. There should still be abundant survivors left in bigger waters next week, so try a weekday evening trip and head-hunt for those risers. Also remember that trout can’t read signs very well, so try above and below the DH reaches, too.

The GAWRD trout stocking list is long, so you have many choices for your kids, armed with Zebco’s and Powerbait.

Ponds and lakes remain in great shape, with water temps keeping bass and bream in fairly shallow water, if not right on the bank. GAWRD is reporting that the blueback spawn is on, so there’s added incentive for some shallow and even topwater action, especially at dawn.

Enjoy our extended version, with Wes’ weekly hot fly list and our guide & UO buddy fishing reports, on our Facebook page and at 


Wes’ Hot Fly List:

Dries: Parachute adams, Deckers yellow sally, Yellow stimulator, Micro chubby, Stoneflopper, Green River super cicada. Carry a couple big Green drakes and Coffinflies in case you luck upon that hatch in the next two weeks here and a bit later as you drive north along the Appalachian spine.

Nymphs & wets: Yellow soft hacklee, Yellow sally stone, Lightning bug, Girdle bug, Squirminator, Depth charge caddis

Streamers & warmwater: Kreelex, Mini dungeon, Krystal bugger, Bluegill mini slider, BoogleBug, Transfoamer, Finesse changer, Bugger changer 


Jimmy reports, “Our local headwaters are in great shape: very clear but plenty cold. The stream

has changed! Have you seen the results of the winter floods up there?  I've attached a photo of a huge gravel bar that was created just at the bottom of the big cascade.

Mark and I caught probably a dozen wild rainbows with both of us landing one in the 8" range.  We had at least 4 refusals for every take as these fish get pickier with time and “experience” with anglers.

They all came on dries, mainly Parachute Adams and a few on Elk hair caddis and X-Caddis.  I also spotted a Coffinfly so it’s a good time to begin the annual lookout  for green drakes in big trout streams with silty pools.”

Delayed Harvest:

We had no specific reports, some rain, no gas, and other hobbies kept our informants off the water. We expect these waters will fish the same as always for May: dead in the daylight, a few bumps in the streamside shade, a lot of refusals as dusk begins to fall, and then 30 minutes of red-hot action right at dark for hatch-matchers who also mimic the real bugs’ behaviors.  Total catch might be below your April tallies, but May’s
warm air and beautiful vegetation will compensate while you wet-wade.  Enjoy the mountain laurel blooms.

Private Waters:

Wes: “I had a couple of very good Nacoochee Bend trips this week.  A lot of the fish we caught the last few days were on the swing, which is always a lot of fun.  Soft  hackles, buggers, and stones worked good on the swing, while squirmies and pheasant tails did the job on the dead drift.”

Hunter: “Our new shop guy, Joseph, did a little fishing after work before this cold front moved through to keep his streamer fishing skills sharp.  He found several fish willing to take a sparkle minnow on the Bend. Joseph thoroughly enjoyed his employment fringe

Afar:  UO buddy CameronF checked in with a Wednesday eye-popper:

“Tucker Taylor was a member of the North Paulding HS fly fishing club with me. We went out today and braved the rain/cold to catch some fish “somewhere north of the GA border.” His monster brown ate a rubberlegged stonefly nymph.”


Hunter: “I fished some chocolate milk with my dad the other day.  Black streamers weren’t doing it, so we decided to throw large topwater flies and create as much of a ruckus as possible so the bass could find our flies.  It worked!”

There is some great bonus intel in today’s GAWRD weekly fishing report (blog). If you haven’t already signed up for its direct delivery, you should! They’ve covered everything happening this week, from bass to bluebacks and stripers to walleye. 


That’s the latest from our mountain village. And, hey, if you have to stay close to home, those local pond bass and bream and Hooch Tailwater trout are darn fine consolation prizes for your mountain trip. I’ll bet the Laurel blooms will hang on til you get back up here next week. Call or come by our Helen or Clarkesville stores if we can help in any way. Good luck!

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