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 9, 2021

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 7/9/21

Its “summer siesta” time in north Georgia as our annual pattern of heat, humidity,  and afternoon storms settles in.  Rest your casting arm and take an afternoon nap.   

Your best bets are wild trout in cold, skinny headwaters before lunch, stockers in select streams, river bass in clear water, river stripers in stained water, early lake spots over humps, carp on the flats, and pond bream and bass at dawn and dusk. And maybe  a “road trip” to distant destinations, like the coast or the Rockies, if you can pull it off.  Enjoy the pics from UO friends Athens Alan, wildlife-watching at Rocky Mtn National Park, and Waycross Bert, chasing GA coastal reds with boat buddy Don.


I hear thunder as I write this at noon, so remember Wednesday’s stormflow tips, too. Gotta luv the summer spaghetti hatch!


Wes’ hot fly list and UO guide and friend fishing reports follow on the long versions of this report at our Facebook page and blog.angler.management.

Good luck!

Wes Hot Fly List:

Dries: Micro chubby, Fat head beetle, Hard body ant, Bear’s hi-viz roberts

Nymphs: Drowned ant, Soft hackle hare’s ear, Green weenie, Trout crack, Little yellow Sloan

Streamers & warmwater:

Crittermite, Mini dragon tail, Triple double rainbow, Stealth jig, Bugger changer


Small streams were low, clear, and about 65F at 10AM during my morning route. Get on the water early, be sneaky, and make the first cast count as you aim for each handful of fish, now piled into their summer drought refuges.

Hunter reports: “JT and I spent a half-day exploring some public water above Helen this week before the rains came in. We had a mixed bag of stocked and wild fish. We fished a stretch of water with stocked fish that wasn’t too deep, and did good in the low water with a dry/dropper setup of a large chubby chernobyl and your typical legs, eggs, and mops dropped below. When targeting the smaller wild fish, we had most of our luck on extra small terrestrials like micro chubbies, and a few eats on a greenie weenie dropped below it. “

Stocker streams:

Watch for a shorter list this week, by design. GAWRD typically stocks heavily in the spring to take advantage of abundant cold water and higher angler numbers.   

Go to the “frequency” page in here and read the very bottom of pages 1-2.

Trout Fishing | Department Of Natural Resources Division

Remaining fish from this year’s hatchery crop are then aimed at cooler, high elevation creeks and the chilly tailwaters for dedicated summer trouters.  Head for cold spots like Sarah’s, Tallulah, upper Hooch, Dicks, Rock, Cooper, and Buford and Blue Ridge dams for your summer stockers. Open hatchery space is then refilled each summer with 4-inch fingerlings, grown for next year’s stockings.


Rivers are fishing well for resident bass and bream - when they clear between storms. The Hooch at Highway 115 was 70F with 3 feet of visibility at 9 this morning. Conditions may change with the afternoon storms that just arrived here in White County.

Landon said, “Decent pick on a large Lanier trib before the holiday weekend boat traffic picked up.  We had about a dozen bass and a bunch of redbreast between both of us yak anglers. We tossed mainly small poppers to get some surface eats. Angling action died when the floating fleet of tubes and yaks increased just before lunch.”

Athens Jay:

“Just before the storm, conditions finally got right for wading down here in the Piedmont. I had less than an hour before dark to give it a quick try. Wood is good!

This intruder put up quite a tussle in the flow. Same fly as always.”

Splatek: “Spence and I tried trout worms, whacky-rigged on a euronymph rod in a local warmwater stream.  The rig is making the bream go nuts!”


HenryC:  “Here's the skinny for metro Atlanta.  Lanier is "still" fishing nicely on the fly for topwater spotted bass. There will be plenty of action, especially this weekend with the new moon upon us. Best areas to target are points and humps  over a 15-30' bottom and you MUST fish over the brush. Sea walls are also still fishing well early in the day, with schooling fish seen chasing herring.

Striper fishing down the hooch is also fishing nicely for fly anglers. While I haven't been myself, I am seeing lots of photos of fish from Morgan Falls Dam and below. Finally and not least... carp fishing is very good when the Corp releases enough water.”

Henry Cowen

There’s your high-humidity report from Helen. Pack your raincoat, bug spray, and floating bugs the night before. 

Then c’mon up early, catch some fish, and snooze with a smile during your afternoon siesta.  UO nap king Jimmy recommends a streamside hammock in the national forest.  Call or visit either UO store for more intel.  Maybe we should stock some pillows, too?

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