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, July 16, 2021

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 7/16/21

This week’s theme is “rain or shine” as our rainforest weather continues across the region. Be ready for low, clear summer flows and spooky fish between the PM storms. But be ready for brief, high, muddy slugs right after the storms. Both conditions will fish well if you fish them correctly: a) stealth and dainty bugs in skinny water; b) big ugly bugs/streamers and heavy tippet in the chocolate milk. Remember a raincoat, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug dope, and a headlamp. Head away from the sun for your best summer bets. Despite this being our “slow” season, today’s UO report is chock-full of successful angler stories, so tune into our long version on Facebook or blog.angler.management.

Good luck, fellow summer vacationers!

Wes’ Hot Fly List:

Dries: Micro chubby, Fat head beetle, Quick-site beetle, Parachute black ant,yellow humpy,  yellow sally at dark, and small parachute Adams (16, 18) in the shade.

Nymphs: Drowned ant, Soft hackle hare’s ear, hares ear nymph, Green weenie, Little yellow Sloan, frenchie. For stained water: tan mop, sexy Walts worm, brown Pats rubberlegs, and red squirmy worm.

Streamers & warmwater:

Black leech, Crittermite, Mini dragon tail, Triple double rainbow, Stealth jig, Bugger changer,  white and blue boogle bugs, white and black Kent’s stealth bombers.


Wes reports: “Smoky mountain bluelining”

Atticus and I headed north earlier this week and fished one of my favorite spots in the Smokies area. We had a banner day on this beautiful and rugged brookie stream. We landed around a dozen natives.  Three of them were over 10” and one southern Appalachian taped just over 11”.  While our legs were sore the next day from the mountaineering,  it was definitely worth the effort!”

Dredger also trekked north to the Smokies last weekend and reported: “I went up late Friday afternoon to fish behind the storms. Water temp was 64F and clarity was good as I slipped into the midsized stream at 6PM.  I hi-sticked a dry/dropper combo through shaded bankside runs and boulder pockets- anywhere with some depth and cover.  The yellow stimmy was a good strike indicator for my deep dropper, but brought few strikes itself. I caught a handful of small browns and bows on the Frenchie, especially as the sun dropped at 7PM. I switched to a tungsten mop dropper at 8PM and its extra calories attracted larger fish.  I caught four nice bows to 9 inches and two decent browns to 11 inches.  The big one must have been a shark week fan, since he breached four times and got two feet of air.  At 830 I switched to just a #16 yellow sally dry and picked a few off the top to end my day. I drove out slowly from the park at slap-dark and was glad I did, as four elk munched green grass inside the Hwy 441 median at the Luftee visitors center.

UO buddy Rodney T also went north of the border and said: “Wild bows on dries in the upper XXX River at high elevation.

The drive was worth it.” Ed note: we think his lucky hat contributed to his success.  Get you one, too!

Stocker streams:

Athens Jay set aside his bass box for a day and did a trout trek. He reports: “Cooper Creek was very crowded but I had a few minutes and thought “what the heck.” Your easy egg pattern caught trout, chubs and war paint shiners. It was a nice, cool break in the national forest.”

The post-July 4th period is actually a good time for stocker stalkers, if they’re smart.  Here are some UO tips to fill your frying pan.  First, check the abbreviated DNR stocking lists each Friday.  Second, stalk the wash-downs. The pool under the bridge is known to everyone as a stocking site and fished by all, so skip it.  Park there, but walk the road downstream for a couple hundred yards before hopping in. Then fish back up to your vehicle. Hit each nook and cranny with two casts and keep moving upstream to cover some ground. My favorite baits are 1/3 of a night crawler or a small ball of Powerbait hiding a size 10 bait holder hook,knotted to 4lb mono. My ugly stick indeed bends, but never breaks, as I bushwhack through the instream rhodo thickets, where few anglers venture.

If you or your kids would like to flyfish instead,  use a short (6.5-7.5 ft) rod, short leader (7.5 ft, 4X), and small (#10 or12) black or olive woolly bugger. Get in at the bridge, roll-cast quartering downstream, stick your rod tip in the water, and twitch and short-strip the bug back up to you. Wade slowly downstream for 200 yards and hit the pockets. Swim the bugger under overhanging branches and just above knarly logjams. Twitch more than strip to give stockers plenty of shots at your wiggling streamer.


Mornings will fish better due to cooler water and fewer anglers, so be the early bird.

You’ll find the wash-downs that other anglers have walked past for weeks.  Drive up to the next likely stocking site and repeat the technique.

Save your afternoons for a streamside cookout (fresh trout?) and then some instream splashing with your kids, and you’ll be known as the champion fishing guide!

Trout Fishing | Department Of Natural Resources Division


Landon hit the Hooch and shared this: “I fished Buford Dam the other day until it got crowed around noon. My dry:dropper rig, fished in boulder fields and woody structure,  caught good numbers on 6x and a good drift. My rig was a stimulator with two tungsten bead midges below it.”

Rivers and Lakes:

UO guide Palmer checked in:

“We floated a Lanier river the other day, when it cleared a bit, and caught most of everything on bass poppers. The topwater action was fun.”

Landon hopped aboard his buddy’s boat and reported;  “Good morning on Allatoona! Spots and a few hybrids were chasing  bait on the surface, off and on, all morning! We caught most on a fluke/ keitech, with a few crushing our chug bug on top, early.”

Hank the Yank remains happy: “Nothing has changed since last week... carp and striper fishing in rivers is very good, especially for trophy stripers. Topwater bass on Lanier continues to be a wonderful option, especially with the full moon only 1 week away. “

Check out Henry’s Facebook page for more intel and some great pics:

Henry Cowen

That’s the latest fishing news from the hot, humid rain forest of north Georgia. Go early or late to avoid the sun and the afternoon showers and you’ll still have a great time.  Enjoy your wet-wades and the fact that you can feel your fingertips and toes. You’ll remember this summer fun when you’re shivering in a December trout stream. Call or visit either UO store if we can help you out.

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