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, June 11, 2021

UO Fishing Report - 6/11/21

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 6/11/21



Welcome to “foam bug summer.” It’s that season again to toss some high floating, rubber-legged terrestrials at your targets. It’s true for everything: headwater specks on small chubby Chernobyl’s, pond bream on boogle bugs, river bass on stealth bomber
s, and lake carp on cicadas.

In addition to “foam and rubber legs,” carry a raincoat and a stream thermometer. Pop-up storms have been heavy and abundant. They’re great because they are recharging our north GA rain forest. Storm surges also cool off trout streams, wash in groceries, and give you good shots at stained-water trophies. Watch USGS river gauges and call your favorite fly shop for “current” stream conditions, which will guide your travel plans.

Your best bets are headwater wild trout, high elevation stockers for kids and hungry forest campers, lake bass and bream at low light, and river bass when rivers clear enough for them to see your bugs. Oddball opportunities include river stripers and gar and cicada-inhalers if you can find the bugs.

Don’t miss today’s GAWRD report, since it’s chock-full of intel on big Burton bass, a new abundance of brookies, a scarcity of snakeheads, and headwater speckulation tips.


Detailed reports and Wes’ hot fly list follow on our FB page and blog.


Call the shop if we can help you further. Good luck!

Wes’ Hot Fly List:

Dries: 409 Yeager, Micro chubby Chernobyl, tan elk hair caddis, Yellow stimulator,, and parachutes in these patterns: adams, sulfur, black ant, and royal coachman.

Wets and nymphs: Yellow soft hackle, pheasant tail soft hackle, silver Lightning bug, Frenchie, Girdle bug (pats rubberlegs), red squirmy, black fur ant, brown and black WD40’s, and green weenie or mop.

Streamers and warmwater:

Kreelex, Mini dungeon, Krystal bugger, #4 black woolly bugger,  brown hairy fodder, white stealth bomber, cicadas, Boogle bug, Finesse changer, and Cowen’s coyote.


Little streams are low, clear, and cold. They get big and slightly brown after each heavy shower, but drop and clear within just a few hours. Try the usual fluffy or foamy dries for skinny water, and toss shot-laden  squirmies or stonefly nymphs when the water is high and stained and the bigger fish come out to eat.

Delayed Harvest:

UO staffer Lee and an accomplice ran up to Nantahala DH on harvest-eve. Bugs were sparse last Friday night, but fish were still looking up. And abundance of freshly stocked brookies fought over their stimulators when drifted through pool tails. Finally, around 8PM, a smattering of yellow sallies showed up and turned on the fish, both stockers and the resident, wild bows. That last thirty minutes of targeting and picking off the risers with their size 16 sallies was worth the drive.  Enough fish may still be left up there, despite harvest, for y’all to give it an evening shot soon.

Private Waters:

Our larger trout streams  are fishing decently in the mornings. The action is over by 11 or noon, as water temps nose toward 70 degrees. Low, clear rivers are tough on rookies, but great fun for experienced folks who want to perfect their dragless drifts before venturing West this summer.

Wes had a Nacoochee Bend guide trip this morning and called in this report. The action was good til about 11. The morning started with a slight stain from yesterday’s rain, and Bend bows ate squirmies and stonefly nymphs. As the river cleared and dropped, Wes switched them to the ever-reliable #16 soft hackle pheasant tail, which fish ate on the swing. We’d said to aim for some current and turbulence.  Feeders were there looking for groceries, while only sulkers hung in the slow water and had no appetite.

UO guides Palmer and Hunter have had some good mornings with their clients on the Soque.   It’s been a similar theme of squirmies/rubberlegs at first light or high water, then small stuff (pheasant tails, lightning bugs) as the sun rose and water cleared.  Enjoy the pic of nice brown trout caught by Palmer’s talented angler.

Hunter shared a story on his recent Soque trip. It sounds like he earned his guide pay on that day! 

“Charles hooked a nice trout at the base of a large root ball and kept it in front for a bit before the fish decided to head south. It took off running downstream towards a large log jam on the far bank.  We tried to turn it but it was no use and just dove headfirst into the log jam. I thought it would surely break off! But I could tell it was still on, so I ran across stream, jumped into the log jam, and started w

untangling the fish from the trees while keeping my net below him in case he came off. The fish had managed to go over, then around, then back under, then over, then back under again several different logs,  and managed to hook the loose dropper fly on a log at the very bottom. I was just waiting for the fish to come off and swim away while I was untangling it, but somehow it stayed on!  Even with light tippet and barbless hooks, he stayed connected. I was able to untangle him and get him in the net for a well-deserved grip and grin. After all that, I think Scientific Anglers fluoro tippet has won me over!”


When I crossed it this morning, the Hooch at Highway 115 was off-color, with maybe 3 feet of visibility due to the afternoon storms. Rivers will fish well when and where the bass and stripers can see your bugs. For bass, aim for the shady, shallow (3-4 ft deep) banks when it’s dingy, or toss big, bright streamers with lots of flash or a spinner blade (ex:Coyote) in slightly deeper water. For stripers, toss BIG (4-9 inch) streamers in muddier water than what is acceptable to bass.  You can fish deeper water as the storms subside and rivers clear next week. Striper success is indirectly related to visibility.  They need bad eyesight to be fooled with a fly.

Wes and new UO staffer Joseph had some fun trips for stripers and gar. Enjoy the pics. Wes said the water’s gotta be stained to convince the wily stripers!

Small Impoundments:

I hope you enjoyed my video of cruising largemouths, looking for a meal in a local lake when storm clouds blocked the sun.  Try something in foam and very leggy, tossed under the overhanging tree limbs at low light.


Athens Jay shared this report: “Paddleboard this afternoon. Popper (boogie bug) and dropper (black/purple Pat's Rubberlegs) produced multiple doubles. Two beefy bluegill on a 5-wt will sure take you for a ride.”


HenryC’s intel:

“Carp fishing is still going strong as the waters continue to warm up here in metro Atlanta. However we are nearing the end of the 17 yr cicada brood X event. We might have another week left at most. Then it will be back to the more traditional approach to carp. 

Lanier bass fishing is still pretty good BUT the warm temps are sure to send fish over deeper brush and structure. For now you can still manage some good fish early in the day on top water flies as well as tossing intermediate lines and game changers, wiggle minnows and coyotes over bumps with brush on it and sea walls.”


That’s the latest from our warming mountains. It’s still very cool in the shade of the national forest, so come up, wet-wade, and cool off soon. Stop in or call either store if we can be of service.

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