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 23, 2021

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 7/23/21


This week’s advice is a rerun of last week’s intel due to similar F-Squared: flows and forecast. Pack your summer, low water equipment and techniques for most days. In addition,  bring your stormflow tricks in case you’re lucky enough to have an afternoon shower boost and muddy streamflows. I often pack 7/3, 9/4, and 9/6 or 9/8 flyfishing outfits when I am road-tripping this season. I also toss into the Tacoma my fly vest and my river bassin’ sling pack.  I’m ready for anything from blueline specks to river bass, and let the water conditions dictate the “club” I grab out of my angling bag.  

Best bets continue to be blueline wild trout, cold stocker streams on today’s GAWRD list, river bass when clarity’s at least 3 feet, river stripers at dawn and dusk, and pond bass and bream at low light.  Wes’ hot fly list and angler reports and tips follow on our long version of this report on our Facebook page and at blog.angler.management.

Wes’ hot fly list:

Dries: Quick-site beetle, 409 Yeager yellow, Parachute black ant, yellow sally, parachute Adams.

Nymphs: Drowned ant, Soft hackle partridge yellow, micro mayfly, Green weenie, Yellow sally nymph, Copper John, Green mop, girdle bug, 

Streamers & warmwater:

Black wooly bugger, hairy fodder, , Triple double rainbow, Clouser minnow, Finesse changer, poppers with rubber legs, stealth bomber


UO guide Israel: “This week I had a public water guide trip to stocked waters and my own personal hunt for wild fish.  We had. success using san juans after the rain in softer pockets and edges along the banks.  A few wilds hit a fat head beetle, but the worm pattern was most consistent in the high water.”

Splatek (aka Davy Crockett) checked in: :Snuck out last Friday to pull a few cam cards in the bear woods. After getting tired of walking, I dropped into a drainage that I knew would take me back to the main creek and eventually my truck. 

This “little” drainage was bigger than I thought with some nice, deep pools. I always keep my tenkara rod in my hunting pack so I knew all I had to do was tie on a simulator. The stream was narrow, but running with deep gin clear water. Surprisingly, the canopy was open so I pulled back on my fly to bow and arrow cast to the top of the run and let it fling. The fly landed softly on the water and I immediately saw a flash and a swirl of water under the fly; But no take. Second cast, I caught a standard sized speck. He was hooked deep so I knew I’d be keeping that one. Walked down to a flat area where there was another good run. Third cast and this fish demolished that dry fly. I decided to make a fire right there on some flat ground and eat the little one with some fresh picked chanterelles and take the big one home to try out a smoked trout dip recipe. 

Both meals were great. But there is something about eating a fresh caught streamside lunch that’s unbeatable.

I also hit our local warmwater stream with MiniMe this week. Spencer had a great time micro-bass fishing with dry flies. A good’un is in the eyes of the beholder. Enjoy the pic.”


Wes was busy this week: 

“I got out a couple of times for river stripers and did well.  The combination of high water and low light really helps stack the odds in your favor when chasing these predators in the summertime.

UO staffer Joseph Clark:  Here’s a pic of the striper I caught last night at the Bend.  The high and slightly dirty water was perfect for convincing the smart ones to eat. I had a good time with Wes!

We caught them on game changers but with the water color, any bigger baitfish pattern would have worked well.   We were just stripping it in with pauses. I even caught one swinging it in faster water. Having heavier, weighted flies helped us to get down to the fish in the high, fast water.

UO buddy Darren: “ I had some luck this week wading a big Lanier trib for stripers in the stained water. A real big, articulated white streamer did the trick.  I do enjoy these summer vacationers.”

Wes: “I also did a guided river bass trip this week. The fish were very scattered out, so covering water was key. We were able to catch a few on the surface on stealth bombers. However, the most productive method seemed to be tossing a 3” baitfish pattern and stripping it fast through likely pockets.”


“Here’s a cool pic I got of a dobsonfly this evening on the upper hooch while I was shoal bass fishing this evening. I also caught a few on a stealth bomber in some flat, slow water by casting up under rhododendron.

UO buddy RodneyT:  I got Number 5 for the 2021 Georgia Bass Slam: a Spotted Bass on the Etowah with Boogle Bug poppers. All 5 were caught on a fly rod. This makes my third annual Bass Slam!”

Small Lakes:

Joseph:  “Here’s some pics of hefty bluegills that I caught from a NC friend’s pond on woolly buggers and poppers. I also caught a lot of smaller bass on a black bunny leech.”


Jimmy and Kathy gave Lanier a try last weekend and said the topwater bite for spots, and an occasional striper, had slowed. They found a few spots. Best bets will still be offshore humps with brush and marina seawalls, both a dawn.

Clarkesville store:

UO staffer Lee: “We had a small but spirited crew gathered on Tuesday night to tie Wes’ hot summer bass bugs. It was a good time and folks are looking forward to our next sessions. See the Clarkesville store Facebook page for the schedule.”

The dog days of summer continue. The good news is that any dog that rises early, stays late, or hikes way up the mountain can have some really good days in the woods and waters of north Georgia. Call or stop in either one of our stores if we can “point” you in the right direction.

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