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 9, 2021

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 9/9/21

Air temps, water temps, streamflows, and water clarity are lining up to provide a prime fishing week ahead of us. Get out there and wet a line!

Headwaters are still running a bit higher than our normally low summer baseflows - - and that’s good news. With cooler nights returning, that will make high-elevation wild trout a best bet once again. I checked a small Hooch trib above Helen today. It was crystal-clear, about 64F  at midday, and flowing well.   Instream residents should easily spot and pursue your surface fodder, so grab your short rod, a fluffy dry, and best stealth game and hike high for wild bows and specks.

GAWRD trout stocking usually gets thin after Labor Day, as hatchery space is dedicated to the grow-out of next year’s crops. You can aim for last week’s long list of holiday-stocked waters, or hold out some hope for the Friday reports of occasional fall stockings.

Rivers are still receding, but the best news is that they’re clearing after a rainless week. The Hooch at Highway 115 and Duncan Bridge had ample flow today and clarity of about four feet. Water temp at 115 was 70F at mid-morning.  On forthcoming cool mornings, try your bass streamers and crayfish patterns. As the waters warm in the afternoon sun, tempt resident bass and bream with your favorite, rubber-legged surface bugs.

Small lakes are your last best bet.  Surface temps are sliding  down and that should fire up resident bass and bream.  Try a popper first to see if they’ll come to the top. If not, then go deep like UO staffer Joseph did.

There’s your short version of the UO report. All of the prime intel, fish stories, and Wes’ hot fly list can soon be unearthed on our Facebook page and at blog.angler.management, when I finish the unabridged version this evening.  Enjoy the early hints of fall and the great flyfishing action they will bring. Call or stop by either UO store for more advice and hot flies for the cooler days ahead of us in the mountains of north Georgia.

Wes’ Weekly Hot Fly List:

Dries: chubby Chernobyl, parchute Adams, royal stimulator, tan elk hair caddis.

Nymphs: prince nymph, depth charge caddis, micro mayfly, hares ear.

Streamers & warmwater:

Feather changer, bank robber sculpin, Kreelex, boogle bugs.


UO associate Hunter:

“Dad and I had a streamside reunion on a headwater stream “somewhere above Dahlonega.”  We caught a handful of little wild rainbows and even a few bigger stockers that had evidently migrated upstream in search of colder water. 

Of course, dry droppers with foam hoppers and various tungsten nymphs like waltz worms were effective. Fish were split equally between the dry and the dropper.  We also had success with small streamers. Most fish were tight to cover like root balls and large logs. It was a great day with Dad.”


UO staffers Joseph and Atticus road-tripped north of the border in search of another species. Joseph reports: “Here’s a pic of one of the smallies we caught yesterday. We were fishing small, articulated streamers, focusing on slower moving water in between shoals, as the river was running very high and fast.”

UO-Helen manager Wes:

“I had a good, local river bass float the other day with J.R and Howard. We had a great first few hours before the bite dropped off in the afternoon. Baitfish patterns were the main producers.”

Small Lakes:

UO staffer Joseph said, “Here’s a pic of a nice largemouth for this week’s fishing report.  I caught it out of a private pond.  It inhaled a Texas-rigged soft plastic worm.  I tried the fly for about an hour but the bass were not interested. It seemed like the heat had them glued to the bottom. So I went down to them.”

Piedmont Carp Report by Jamie from Athens:

“Plenty of fish in deeper water but fewer packs on the mud flats. The ones up shallow were happy, hawgin’ along the bottom, and readily took a well placed fly. Top producers were slow-sinking mop tail soft-hackles around vegetation and heavy hybrid carp worms on mud bottoms.”

Here’s something different, courtesy of Michael from Athens:  “I hit my local pond for an evening of flyfishing and had a surprise, catching a catfish on a beadhead nymph!”

North ATL buddy Splatek, aka “Gretsky”:

“I was able to sneak out after work  for a quick,  local warmwater trip with MiniMe.  On our first cast, we doubled up on tiny bream. It was a great evening of father&son time together.”

Good luck catching another dose of cooler air and water. 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! Call or stop in either UO store if we can be of service.

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