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, September 2, 2021

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 9/2/21

Welcome to September! We have a nice dose of cooler air leading us into a great holiday weekend. I’d call this week’s fishing prospects a “Rerun.” And this rerun might be even better than the original show! 

That original was last week’s post-Fred report. View it here:


Some cooler air and higher water after Fred fired up our sport fish. Now our “rerun” is the post-Ida prospects. They’re even better than the original for two reasons. First, we only had half the rainfall that Fred dumped. Second, we have even cooler air temps for the holiday!

Best bets again are headwater trout, float fishing for river bass after another day or two of storm runoff, and pond bass and bream. Ponds are stained and their color is perfect to pull bass and bream into the shallows.

And I verified the headwater prediction just a few hours ago, so…

See our full report, with Wes’ hot fly list and angler intel, on our Facebook page and at blog.angler.management.  I’ll have it posted shortly.  Good luck as you “labor” on your favorite waters this weekend.

Wes’ prediction and hot fly list:

“The national forest streams should fish great this weekend with the extra water. 

Two weeks ago they fished great after Fred came through!”

Hot flies:

Dries: chubby Chernobyl, X-stimulator, swisher’s PMX, royal trude, tan caddis.

Nymphs: pats rubber leg, copper John, squirminator, wooly bugger, psycho prince, Walt's worm, green mop.

Streamers & warmwater:

Polar changer, bank robber sculpin, sparkle minnow, 


UO guide Israel: A green weenie worked great on the wild trout sunday!”

Dredger finished his streamflow post today and then invited Battenkill to the headwaters high above Helen. The small stream was still ripping pretty good, but the rainbows acted like piranhas when D’s fluffy tan caddis drifted by, slowly. And that was the key: SLOW. He had to find the slow flood refuges, which were full of hungry residents. Tip: hi-stick the slow stuff, especially bankside eddies. You might even try a longer rod, if you have one, to reach across the main current and short-line your bug in those prime eddies.

Dredger and Batt had a big time in their 3-hour tour, with a bunch of little guys and a nice handful of 7-8 inchers plucked from the soft spots. Trip highlight was a white shark hooked in slow, skinny water and providing high anxiety during a several-minute tug-of-war. The elated  angler taped his best blueline bow of the year at 12 inches. 


UO guide Israel: “ our local river bass were bonkers for topwater bugs on Monday, right before the storm!”

Small Lakes:

Athens Jay was sidelined by work, but lined up this awesome pinch-hitter:

“Piedmont small impoundments report by Michael from Athens:

The evening bite has been the saving grace, especially near twilight. A hopper-dropper or even a dry-dropper rig set up to fish relatively deep (3ft plus) has consistently produced nice 7+ inch bluegill, shellcracker, redbreast sunfish, and the occasional largemouth bass. Setting that hopper-dropper rig up with two subsurface flies—one “point” fly and another off the tag from a double surgeon’s knot, euro-nymph style—let’s you test out a couple depths at the same time, and often produces two fish at once (sometimes one cast will even produce two species at the same time!). Those largemouth bass and double sunfish hookups will strain your 3 weight for sure! If you choose the right spot at the right time (again, near twilight) the topwater bite can also be fun on foam flies, small poppers, or classic dries. 

Go-to surface patterns include GFA hoppers in black and yellow/green, chubby Chernobyls in yellow/green, classic foam poppers, and even larger (up to size 8) versions of the venerable humpy dry fly. Nymphs fished as droppers or alone include brown and black versions of the rubber-legged dragon, variations on the guide’s choice hare’s ear with a hot-spot collar, and small woolly worms with red “tails”. 

There’s your holiday intel, from fresh streamflow videos to a midday blueline report. Usually reruns aren’t as exciting as the original show, but we think After-Ida might even top After- Fred in terms of your weekend fishing fun! Good luck and be safe this holiday.  Call or visit either UO store if we can help you celebrate. Please remember to clean and dry or sanitize your wading equipment to prevent the spread of nasty diseases. GAWRD will appreciate our commitment to this common cause!

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