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 28, 2021

UO Fishing Report - 5/28/21

First, we honor and thank all of our military heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice. Because of these men and women, we are able to enjoy and deeply appreciate this beautiful country, our way of life, and all of our freedoms. 

That includes the freedom to fish! We have a real nice holiday weekend ahead with dry skies, cooling air temperatures, and crystal clear waters.  


And crowds. So we suggest a weekend theme of “off the beaten path.”  “Out-wake or out-walk” the holiday crowds at popular sites by getting up early or staying late to hit your favorite waters at first or last light, hiking farther away from parking areas at bigger streams, or prospecting lesser-known and less-accessible headwater creeks to have more water to yourself.

Best bets are headwater trout, shady river bass, dusk pond bream, and reservoir blueback-chasers and cicada-inhalers.

Enjoy our extended report , 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, tan Caddis, Deckers yellow sally, Yellow stimulator, parachute ant, and Micro chubby.

Wets and nymphs: Yellow soft hackle, Yellow sally stone, Lightning bug, Frenchie, Girdle bug, black fur ant, Squirminator, pheasant tail soft hackle, small hares ear nymphs, WD40.

Streamers and warmwater:

Kreelex, Mini dungeon, Krystal bugger, #4 black woolly bugger,  hairy fodder, Bluegill mini slider, BoogleBug, Finesse changer, gray/white Clouser, Bugger changer, Pole Dancer.


UO staffer Lee slipped away to the mountaintop and filed this report: 

“Several days of 90ish temps in May got me thinking about standing in a small stream casting for wild fish.  

So Wednesday after work I headed to [REDACTED].  Average water depth was about ankle to calf deep, so I initially cast to a couple knee deep holes with zero results....and those spots looked really fishy.

Third spot was maybe calf deep, barely above average, but it looked like it might hold fish just below a small sweeper.  First cast and BAM, a 5 inch wild rainbow...about par for this stream.  After shaking him off the barbless hook, I tossed back to the same spot and caught a carbon copy of the first.  I figured two fish from one hole on this creek was pretty good, so I threw back to the same spot and got bit again....but a much bigger fish, this one was a solid 9 inches measured on my rod handle....the largest trout I've ever landed here!  Another cast into the same spot yielded the fourth trout from an area about the size of a paper plate!

After a few more casts I moved on, hitting likely spots, usually with one or none, but there were a couple holes with multiple fish...including one more that gave up four rainbows. Mostly fish in the four to six inch range, all were caught on a number 16 tan elk hair Caddis.  Rod of choice was a 5'6" 3 weight...perfect for dries on this stream, where a long cast was 20 feet, but most were 10 feet.  Total fish to hand was about 12 to 15, with about half that again that released themselves.  And I ended up with three big fish between 8 and 9 inches.  All in all, a great hour and a half respite from the heat.”

Delayed Harvest:

Between legal harvest and warming water, pickings will now be slim in Georgia DH streams.  Most will still receive regular trout stockings (as part of the GAWRD catchable trout program) as long as they stay below 70 degrees, so try bait, a squirmy worm, or small woolly bugger for the new  and short-lived residents.

The cooler North Carolina DH streams, however, will still fish well and are worth the drive for anglers willing to travel. That state’s DH season ends in early June. Again, try your early-May flies and techniques up there.

Private Waters:

Private waters have still fished well for morning anglers. PM action has slowed with rising afternoon air and water temps and lower streamflows.

Wes checked in: “I did a couple Bend trips in the last week. With the warm weather the best activity has been from about 8am-11:30am. 

Soft hackles, chubby Chernobyl’s, girdle bugs, and frenchies have been the producers.”


RonW survived his mountain expedition and filed this report: “Moe and I fished a high elevation Creek in the Smokies last Saturday. We climbed up "Steep Creek" and gained several hundred feet in elevation, tossing dries all day to angry brookies.  Moe even landed a nice little bow at about 3800'. It was a fantastic day on the water with great weather and even better company! 

Definitely need a few Motrin after this creek!  It is a super gnarly creek with many obstacles, one being an absolutely massive hemlock that you have to climb over.  You get in the creek and you're committed to it for about a 1/2 mile. It just keeps going up and up and up! I don't think my body can take it fishing it more than once a year. But the specks made the gain worth the pain.”

A jealous UO buddy CameronF shared this:

“Another one of Rodney Tumlin’s NPHS protégés and decorated TU member Tucker Taylor went out fishing today and wanted to turn in a couple pics for your fishing report. He went fishing without me when I had a last minute job I had to take care of that day. He used junk flies to catch all of them, dredging with the euro rig “somewhere in NC.”


We’ve had no recent north GA reports, but our low, clear rivers will fish well for anglers floating not wading them early, late, and along shaded banks. Be ready to share the water with midday tubers, yakkers, and canoeists. Don’t forget your 8-weight and some big gar flies and striper streamers.

Landon  checked in after his trek south of ATL: “Liked “If yall can swing it, the middle GA rivers are on right now! A stealth bomber with a beefy size 6 bugger or pats rubber legs worked well this AM. Spider lillies out if you know where to find ‘em.”

Flat Water:

HenryC sez, “Catch the Lanier blueback spawn before it ends next week.  Look for fluttering baitfish and surface swirls from spots and stripers.  Look for spawning herring around structure: mid lake humps, points, and seawalls.

Try a topwater fly like a Pole Dancer right at first or last light if you want some surface action.  Then go a bit deeper.  Retrieve your 4-inch game changer or Clouser with three short strips and then a three-second pause. Repeat as needed til you hook up.  If you don’t see predators on the bait, pull back a bit and let your intermediate line sink down 5-10 feet. Predators might be hanging just off the bank.

Lastly, the “cicada apocalypse” has started in north GA. Tune into cicadamania.com and fish those waters where expired bugs have started falling and predators, from carp to cats to bass,  are cashing in on easy calories. You have about a month to give this 17-year event a try.”

GAWRD provided another great report for us today, complete with stocking news and cicada intel:


Really Far Afar!

UO buddy Darren had a great spring trip “far south of the GA border” and hit the bone/tarpon/permit trifecta. He shared some pics and his desire to return there soon.

There’s your holiday fishing report to help your long-weekend plan. Take time out on Monday for a silent moment of thanks, and then celebrate the day by creating a new, lifetime fishing memory. Good luck and Happy Memorial Day from our  gang at Unicoi Outfitters (706-878-3083).

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