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, October 14, 2021

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 10/14/21

Get ready for the big cool-down that will finally bring us some legitimate fall weather on Saturday.  Chilly air will drop water temperatures and likely send fish toward subsurface feeding, so plan accordingly. Little wild trout might still hit your dries after lunch, but your nymph dropper might see more action. Same goes for river bass, with more fish interested in streamers or jigs instead of your summer poppers.

Stream conditions are great, just like the weather. Flows are good and the water is super-clear, so practice your stealth and maybe downsize your tippet and bugs by a size to get past discerning fish eyes.  At midmorning today, a high Hooch trib was clear, flowing well, and 62F. The Hooch at Highway 115 had clear, 65-degree water for shoalie fans.

Best bets are bluelines with a small dropper below your dry, NC Delayed Harvest streams with about any pattern with a hook in it and rolled along the bottom,  pond bass and bream on a last hurrah before cold water slows the bite, and some reservoir recons (with prayers) to find some shallow stripers. 

We are two weeks into the NC delayed harvest season and two weeks away from Georgia’s program kickoff.

It’s a good time to remind folks, especially our flyfishing rookies, to match their bugs and techniques to the education level of the DH stockers. Review our past article, Delayed Harvest University, in the November 2020 issue of The Angler Magazine - Atlanta edition and you might score more trouting touchdowns this season.


Angler intel and Wes’ hot fly list follow on our Facebook page and blog.angler.management. Good luck as we really welcome fall and dress for some cool-weather success.

Wes’ Hot Fly List

Dries: Orange stimulator, elk hair caddis, parachute Adams.

Nymphs: Bird Turd, Slush egg, Tungsten mop, Flashback red tag jig, micro mayfly, hare’s ear.

Streamers & warmwater:

Sparkle minnow, muddy buddy, mini leech, finesse changer, solar flare Boogle bug, bluegill slider.


We had few reports last week, as a lot of folks evidently were watching ball games instead of wetting a line. Athens Jay snuck up high above Helen Saturday afternoon and landed a small handful of little wild rainbows. He said they were hesitant to hit his dry (orange stimulator), but much more eager to inhale his hares ear dropper.

There were two great speck reports and awesome pics from IDBIS Creek on North GA Trout Online’s small stream forum.

Trout Streams:

Dukes Creek:

The trophy stream will be tough in gin clear water. Google old Dukes Creek articles in Georgia Outdoor News for tips. The bottom line is stealth, light tippets (5-6x), and perfect drifts of small, dark nymphs.

Angling addict RonW checked in twice this week. Here’s his first fish tale:

“Kurt and I fished "The Creek" with a buddy of ours on Saturday 10/9.  The day started rough for me when I realized I forgot my waders 70 miles from home.  Luckily, I was able to swing by Unicoi Outfitters at 8am and get set up.

We got into fish right off the bat and pretty much stayed connected all day.  I landed a nice 14" and 16" bow from the first run I stepped into. Best of the day for me was a bow just shy of 20". Kurt and Jacob both stuck some good'uns over 22".

There are a lot of small, parred' up wild fish and plenty in the 12-16" range too. Some monsters were spotted but couldn't be fooled. Looks like the creek is making a comeback. Numerous flies worked on the day.....I don't think it mattered too much as long as the drifts were right and you stayed outta sight.   Can't wait to hit the creek again soon.”

Other GA streams:

Try one of the great dry/dropper combos suggested this week by our friends responding to our Facebook and Instagram posts. Lengthen your tippet to 3-4 feet to sink your nymph down to the trout. Right now, leaf-fall isn’t bad and you should have fun as long as the wind doesn’t blow.

If you have few takes, lengthen the tippet some more, or pull out your Indi- or Euro game and roll some nymphs on light tippet right along the bottom.  Summer  survivors are wary and picky, so give them your A-game.


Web reports show that North Carolina streams are fishing well.  (See Preston’s post on the GA Trout Anglers FB group page) DH streams draw weekend crowds, so aim for a Sunday afternoon or any weekday for more elbow room.  Fresh DH trout are great confidence-builders for new flyfishers, so tote a rookie along with you and play Champion Guide. Their smiles will be your catch of the day. 

RonW had another report:

“Kurt and I both played hookie from work today (10/11) and hit Fires Creek. The fishing was great and the catching was even better.  There's some nice healthy stockers in there willing to eat just about anything. That will change real soon as they become educated to bright flies and sharp hooks.   Legs and eggs, buggers and squirmeys all worked but the fly of the day for me was my Purple CDC Nymph...aka The Ronco Special. Kurt absolutely tore them up on his pink perdigon. We easily caught a few dozen each before we called it a day. Nothing like putting on wet wading boots! If I had it my way, they would never dry out.”

Private Waters:

They’ve fished great this week.  Guides and anglers have just had to change flies quite a bit until they find the flavor of the day. Flavors have varied from eggs to worms to mops and to rubberlegs.  Carry a full nymph box, or lean heavily on your talented UO guide, if you’re coming up to our water, Nacoochee Bend in Helen.

UO Helen shop manager Wes has a real fresh report: ”I fished with Allen and his son Caden yesterday on the Bend.   The fish were hunkered down so getting to the proper depth was important. Rubber legged stones were the ticket in the swift water.”


Rivers are clear due to the rainless week. Try some streamers and crayfish patterns fished slowly, as the cooler water will slow those bass down. On the upside, the tuber flotillas should be done for the year, and you’ll have a lot more river to yourselves.

Small Lakes and Warmwater Streams:

They might slow down a bit with cooler weather and water, but should still fish decently. Our reports have been from this past, warm weekend.

Landon checked in briefly:

“Fished a local creek other day in between deer hunts.  A 3-wt with poppers is a fun combo for its resident bream.”

UO staffer Joseph:

“Here’s a pic of a pickerel I caught on a small lake today.  I was focusing on brush piles fishing articulated streamers with aggressive strips and long pauses. It was a fun day on flat water.”

Quick add!

The Athens bunch just checked in with this 11th hour report:

An outing to a local Regional Reservoir on Monday produced a half dozen nice largemouth bass on baitfish flies. A little gray-backed zonker with a composite loop belly thrown on a slow sinking line was the ticket. Bass were busting shad in the backs of creeks, under the bridge, and even out in open water. The main difficultly was chasing down activity in my kayak. The reservoir is relatively new, and I’ve explored maybe 10% of it. It’s only been open to fishing since 2018, so time will tell regarding what kind of fishery this will be.” 

That’s the latest intel for anyone daring enough to slip outside between football and baseball games. Don’t forget your heavier clothing and a pair of waders, preferably  leak-tested beforehand.  From Dawgs to Braves to trout and bass, we hope everyone’s a winner this week. Call or stop by either UO store if we can coach you up on the latter!

Unicoi Outfitters:




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