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.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 8/26/21

We’re going to call this week “renewed vigor” as Fred boosted north GA streamflows and dropped water temps a bit. Flood flows have passed, but the forest is still shedding some water, so streamflows right now are “healthy.” That’s good news!  The waters are higher than their skinny summer baseflows that had our fish very wary before the storm .  Streams and rivers have finally cleared, too.

Higher flows and clearer water have given our sport fish some renewed vigor, so go soon and take advantage of these improved conditions.  Best bets are headwater wild trout, river float fishing, and pounding the pond banks at low light for bass and bream. Wes’ weekly hot fly list and some fresh fishing reports and tips follow on our Facebook page and at blog.angler.management.

Wes’ Hot Fly List:

Dries: Quick-site beetle, stimulator, Parachute Ant, royal trude, humpy, tan caddis, chubby Chernobyl.

Nymphs: Twisted mayfly, depth charge caddis, drowned ant, copper John.

Streamers & warmwater:

Bank robber sculpin, stealth bomber, May’s identity crisis, finesse changer.


UO guide Israel hit an upper Hooch tributary on Monday  and had a big time with its resident rainbows. He said,

“The small stream fished great on Monday.  I used nothing but a single ant and got hits in all spots that trout should be in.  The water felt great after all that rain.”

Dredger prospected local waters this morning (26th) and the blueline bows cooperated for him, too. They ate anything “fluffy and high-floating” on a 7 1/2 foot, 5x leader. He landed a couple dozen little wild fish in three hours, with a 9-inch “trophy”topping his small stream catch.

A #16 tan caddis, yellow stimulator, and tan chubby all did well when they rode high.  He stayed busy babying his dry with a chamois-squeeze and then a dessicant-dip after every five casts or surface take, whichever came first. He changed fly patterns only after each bug finally succumbed to multiple slimings and refused to float any longer.

Most fish had pot bellies, showing that they’ve taken advantage of high-flow groceries. And these headwater residents knew how to duck and cover to survive Fred’s flood flows!


Ron W’s gang did a river recon last weekend to Stream X, as its flows just started to drop. It was more of a scouting mission for their forthcoming fall trout trips than a real fishing trip. He reports, “You were right...pretty country up there! We went all the way upstream . Didn't toss a fly until we got about a 1/2 mile above a big tributary.  Moe caught this nice brown on his very first cast. No other fish were caught.  I did get tight twice but couldn't seal the deal.  Water was ripping! 30k steps on a little more than 4 hours sleep...  My body aches, but I can't wait for fall!  Oh yeah, Kurt and I got lit up by yellow jackets too, so warn your anglers to be on the lookout!” 

We had no river bass fishing reports because everyone played it safe and stayed away from roaring flood flows. Now the rivers are dropping and clearing, and the fishing conditions look good for the days ahead. I crossed the Hooch at Highway 115 last night and visibility was about four feet.


While wading might still be out due to higher flows, floating should be an option.  This week will be a good time to strip streamers or bounce some crayfish flies.  You might even consider an intermediate or sink-tip line to get your offerings down in the heavier current.  If you do find some calm water, you can even try popping your poppers to bring fish up in these higher flows. When rivers recede to summer base flows, however, then revert back to your skinny water tactics of dead-drifted surface bugs on thinner leaders.


Landon checked in: “I got permission to fish a nearby subdivision lake. It was full of small bass and some decent bluegill.  This local lake makes “getting a fishing fix” after work very easy.”

Athens Jay also avoided his raging bass rivers and hit flat water:

“Small impoundment fishing in the Piedmont was excellent this week around the full moon. Things got especially good late in the day when the sun dipped below the tree line. My Boogle bug/Rubberlegs combo was great. And this is Stealth Bomber season too! 

Catch the fishable downside of Fred’s recession and you just might have a great weekend trip. The fish have renewed vigor right now and you might, too. Call or visit either one of our UO stores if we can guide you toward some hydrotherapy and its resulting smile. After all, we can all use something to smile about these days!

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