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 7, 2021

UO Fishing Report - 5/7/21

We have a chilly and dry Mother’s Day weekend at hand, followed by a wet week ahead. Headwater flows are fine today while bigger streams are finally receding to normal discharge for May. Given the cooler water temps, hang a dropper below your dry fly until the warmth of the afternoon sun hits the water and trout backs. Then you can sling dries in the shade for early risers, and hope for some Dark30 bug hatches and 30-60 minutes of bent rods right before dark. (google Secrets of the Rabunites and read Dark30). Next week have your squirmies, leeches, and rubberlegs ready for a few rounds of stained water. 

The GAWRD trout stocking program is in full swing, so it’s also a great time to tote the kids to the mountains. Younger kids will do well with worms or Powerbait. Try a size 10 hook on 4-pound test, with one small (size B) split shot a foot above the bait. Experienced children can try a small silver bladed spinner. Teenagers can try their hand at flyfishing by drifting a squirmy worm or stripping a small dark woolly bugger in a big pool on a wide, heavily stocked stream like Holly, Coopers, Dicks, the Hooch, West Fork Chattooga, and Tallulah. A shorter fly rod (under 8 feet) might keep them out of the trees and in the water, and therefore much happier. Try a 6.5 foot Eagle Claw fly rod (about $40) to start out kids on stream trout and pond bream. If they like it, then upgrade. Hint: sneak into the creek just above a bridge crossing, toss the weighted bugger downstream, and let it drift waaay under the bridge. Then stick the rod tip in the water, point it at the fly, and twitch and strip the bugger back upstream. When the stockers smarten up a bit, change your fly and repeat. Kids will hook some stockers and will be hooked on flyfishing! 

Pond and lake fish were disrupted a bit by the big storms. They should come back toward the bank as our weather stabilizes. HenryC is still waiting for the Lanier shad and blueback spawn. Stay tuned and be ready to toss your clouser or something else streamer right against the bank at dawn, where the baitfish flutter and drop their eggs. 

See Wes’ weekly hot fly list and extended report on our Facebook page and blog: http://blog.angler.management/ Good luck. Don’t forget to hug your mom and tell her you love her - - even more than fishing! 

Wes’ hot fly list: Dries: Stimulator, Decker’s yellow sally, Micro chubby, Elk hair caddis, parachute Adams Nymphs & wets: Knotty girl (dark brown), Copper John, Micro mayfly, Soft hackle pheasant tail, Frenchie Streamers & warmwater: Triple double leech, Sparkle minnow, TA bunker, Headcase crawfish, Mini dragon tail, Finesse changer. 

Headwaters: We have no recent reports, as our guides were on big waters and most of our angling friends were traveling. Bluelines will fish well, especially after the morning chill subsides. Try a yellow stimulator or tan caddis and be ready to add a beaded pheasant tail dropper if the wild fish are a bit cold and hesitant. Remember that technique trumps fly pattern, so be stealthy and just try one of the top 12 patterns that I recommended earlier this week. Given the good flows, specks and bows should have some pot bellies.  Ed. Note: Sautee and I hit a local high elevation stream for wild rainbows last night and had a blast. Water is crystal clear so stealth is required but everything was caught on top with size 14 Parachute Adams or Caddis patterns. 

Delayed Harvest: A bunch of Cohuttans did a weekend getaway to the northeast corner. They had a “frustrating and fun” evening on the Chattooga DH, according to ringleaders Rodney and Steve. It was frustrating with all the trout refusals to their dries, but fun when the fish finally ate. Biggest on top was a 16-inch brown, while the bonus was a colorful Bartram’s bass with a taste for cahills, too. If you’re on the ATL west side, consider buddying-up with this fun bunch. https://www.facebook.com/tucohutta/ 

We have no fresh NC reports. Remember that, due to higher elevation, the waters run a bit cooler and the spring fishing runs a week or two behind ours. That’s good news- it should still be prime time up there as those streams subside. Follow the daily Smokies fishing reports by our friends at Little River Outfitters in Townsend: Little River Outfitters - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Private waters: We had several days blown out by high flows, but the rivers have now dropped and will fish well again. Since these fish are “angler-educated,” it’s good to change patterns until you dial in the flavor of the day. Our guides are great at tuning in trout. Palmer checked in: “ we had a few risers on my Helen trip last Saturday. We started with size 14 March browns and scaled down to 18 caddis to match the sparse Hooch hatch. There were just enough bugs around to coax a few bows to look up.” 

Rivers: The bigger waters were blown out for trout, bass, and stripers. They’ll now fish well as they drop and clear. Landon gave us a pre-flood float trip report, with more pics than text. Here’s what we could pull out of him. You can discern a bit more by looking at fish lips in his pics. He said: “Here's my fodder for ya "early" this week. Slow night until last hour/ mile!"

Lakes: Hank the Yank: Henry said a relatively cool April has Lanier surface temps running on the cool side. That’s good news, as bait and predators should stay shallow, longer this spring. The big storms and muddy inflows pushed predators deep, but they should return to the shallows as our weather improves. He’s on the lookout for the Shad a s blueback spawns, so stay tuned to his Saturday morning fishing reports on the O’Neill Williams radio show (WSB AM750), his social media (www.henrycowenflyfishing.com/), and the websites of other great Lanier guides like Mack Farr and Clay Cunnigham. Have you ever hooked a ten-pound striper in two feet of water? You have a good chance in the weeks ahead. In fact, we know certain uniformed anglers who always have some “shocking” reports -like today’s edition. Sounds like the blueback spawn is almost upon us. Don’t miss the walleye intel and the pic of the 14 pound bass. Thanks for the intel, WRD! 

Afar: Pescador got outa school and road-tripped faaar south of the GA border. He landed some odd forms of “bass and bream.” Enjoy his pics. 

That’s the latest from a drier north Georgia. Set your rod down and splurge on your Mom this Sunday. And thank her for giving you such a wonderful life. Visit or call either our Helen (706-878-3083) or Clarkesville store (706-754-0203) for supplies and angling intel. Good luck!

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