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 18, 2021

UO Fishing Report - 6/18/21

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 6/18/21



To win the game this week, prepare two game plans. Your first is your drought plan, as our running waters are currently low, clear, and warm at lower elevations. River residents  are spooky and sluggish in the sun.  For trout, be on the stream at dawn, or any time if you’re on shaded, high-elevation headwaters.  For the other species, cast during the first and last two “shadowed” hours of the day.  With the exception of some web reports about Toccoa trout, we think the  Brood X cicada mania is now history. Most spring aquatic insect hatches are also history, so try terrestrials as your first pick from the box.

Your second game plan is your flood plan. If the Fathers Day cyclone drops 3-5 inches of rain as predicted, that’s a game changer. While streams are blown out, hit the ponds and lakes, especially where streams flush in some food and dirty water for cover.  As streams recede to your safe wading level, pound the big, dirty flows with big, ugly bugs, streamers, and spaghetti. The uglies are buggers and Pat’s rubberlegs. The streamers are the ones Wes listed, and any trout imitation if you’re aiming for stripers. Spaghetti is a squirmy or San Juan to match the earthworm hatch.

“Hit the curve” by rereading my high-flow tips in last October’s Coastal Angler magazine(p 16 of 60):


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


Call the shop if you need a little more intel or a raincoat!

Wes’ Hot Fly List:

Dries: Micro chubby Chernobyl, Fathead beetle, Transparent Ant, Yellow stimulator (#12, 16), foam stone.

Nymphs: Tungsten mop, Tungsten drowned ant, Soft hackle pheasant tail, Micro mayfly, Knotty girl, green weenie (be on the lookout for inchworms).

Streamers & warmwater: Crittermite, May’s identity crisis, Kreelex, Stealth jig, Roamer, black woolly bugger, brown Hairy Fodder.


Little streams are low, clear, and still cool (low 60’s). Dredger hit the Smokies earlier this week. Residents were super-spooky in the skinny water and he had a slow day on mid-elevation bows and browns, despite 64-degree water.

 A few hit his stimulator, but more ate the dropper, either a #14 sexy Walts or a #16 hares ear behind a small dinsmore shot.

He came to his senses very late in the day, and fish were more cooperative up in the headwaters. Cahills and sallies danced at dark, too. 

So, aim high and stay late in the park, unless you’d like to watch some elk next to the Cherokee visitors center at dusk. If so, drive slow! The lush grass in the Hwy 441 median is an elk-attractor and potential fender bender!!!

Delayed Harvest: forget them til next fall. Find cooler water for trout.

Private Waters: UO guides Como and Hunter reported decent action at Nacoochee Bend for their clients.  The keys to success have been: 1) an early start, when the shadows are long and the water is coolest, 2) small nymphs and soft hackles, 3) fished on perfect dead-drifts in faster water, where fish are feeding and have to make quicker decisions. The sulkers hanging out in the slow pools have been much less cooperative. The best action happens before 10AM, when the sun hits the river -  hard.

Hunter has a good story on yesterday’s bycatch (def: nontarget species). Enjoy:

“John had a fun fight at Nacoochee Bend.  We ended the day throwing dry/droppers at the mill dam, sight fishing trout in the shallows.  However,  after getting a good drift over one trout and setting the hook, we quickly realized it was no trout.  It went full-bore ahead towards the mill dam, ripping line from the reel.  After several nice runs, and a lot of chaos, we were able to net a juvenile striper on a 5wt rod with 4X tippet! It was a cool sight to see and a fun way to end the day!”


Sautee stayed up late last night to scribe this report for y’all: “I aimed for shoal bass at a favorite local watering hole on 6/17.  

Landed 7 shoal bass and 3 sunfish for the evening. First 4 bass came on the hairy fodder early in evening, before the sun fell.  Switched to a stealth bomber (white) as the shadows overtook the river for 1 shoal bass and 1 sunfish.  Last 2 bass and last 2 sunfish hit a popper (chartreuse head with yellow tail), as the sun set and the frogs started singing.  Most fish wanted the topwater bugs moving (stripped/popped) and only a couple came on the dead drift.”

Landon:  “Fished an east-side river yesterday and caught a handful of spots in slow water under woody structure.  They took a hairy fodder, dredged and bounced ”


Small Impoundments:

These will continue to fish well, as long as you’re there for the first or last two hours of the day.  Toss your bugs against the bank and under the tree limbs. During the rest of the day, try some weedless, weighted streamers and crayfish flies on Fluoro in deep timber. Check out the bream intel in our 6/16 post.


RonW ditched his fly rod and hit the big pond with a boatload of coworkers:

“Fished Lanier last Saturday with some co-workers of mine. The fishing was great for most of the day until we left at 1pm.  Several species caught. Unlucky for me, I apparently was on the wrong side of the boat all day as I only caught 1 lone striper.  Bluebacks were the meal ticket, of course.”

HenryC’s intel:

“Right now I am bouncing between fishing Lanier for spotted bass and the occasional striper as well as the Chattahoochee River for carp around the Bull Sluice section. Fishing this past week was pretty good with carp being picky as usual but willing to eat flies like the hybrid, carp tickler and the carp scampi. Fish in the 8-15lb range were sight-cast to and it's important to use 9 foot leaders with either 8 or 10 lb tippet. The Lanier bite is best in the AM and we were tossing topwater flies on humps with brush and sea walls. The bites are explosive with bass up to 4 lbs being seen.  A line-class record largemouth was caught by angler Diane Minick this past week!”

Ed note: Diane’s duo won a guided trip with Henry, which he had donated as a Casting for Recovery fundraiser. Attagirl Diane and attaboy Henry!



There’s your dual-intel as you brace for the storm and welcome the river  recharge. Have a happy Father’s Day, likely indoors. Then hit the streams next week, when they start dropping and clearing. Good luck.

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