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, January 28, 2022

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 1/28/22


“Low and clear equals long and light.”  Remember that slogan and you’ll have more success on our thin regional streams. Right now longer, thinner (6,7X) tippet and tiny natural bugs will bring more looks than bright and bulky ones. The stream drift currently holds midges, BWO’s, and a few little black stones, so match those hatches. Try a dry/dropper combo in slow pools and runs during warm afternoons. A #18 Adams, stonefly, or gray caddis can float a tiny WD40 below it, even with a tiny tin shot crimped on your 2-foot tippet.

As for the lakes, Henry C said daytime stripers are still spotty, spots are abundant on long points, and he’s the guest fly tyer on Monday’s (31st) Orvis Facebook live session with Tom Rosenbauer. Landon added that stripers are making nighttime guest appearances under the lights.

Y’all might wanna sideline tomorrow and let this North Pole front pass. Then, if not addicted to the NFL, warmth, and your recliner, get back into the fishing game when afternoon highs return to the high 40’s or better, starting on Sunday.  Air temps near 50F will push PM waters back up to the mid-40’s and give you a shot at some scores. And remember that tailwaters run a bit warmer thru winter.

Grab more flyfishing pregame intel on our Facebook page or at the Fishing Report tab on our UO home page. Good luck. We are at halftime of our winter game. So far, so good on our scores!

Wes’ Hot Fly List:

Dries: Griffith’s Gnat, parachute Adams, little black stonefly 

Nymphs: WD40, black copper John, three dollar dip, RS2, mini leech purple, twisted mayfly.

Streamers & warm water:

Sparkle minnow, micro changer, bank robber sculpin.

GA public waters:


My noon circuit today had Spoilcane running 44F and Smith DH at 46. Hooch and Tooga temps are on their USGS gauge sites.

RSquared checked in:

“Michael and I fished my favorite little wild brown trout stream mid-week. ( I can do that now that I am retired from public education!) The water was cold and gin-clear. We could not even spook a fish from their lair under rocks and logs. However, just before dark we able to stick a couple. Michael got one on a bead-head hares ear. My only fish was deceived with a Frenchie tied on a jig hook with a tungsten bead. I also managed to break the mid-section of my beloved 3wt Butter Stick. It was a tough day!!! Rodney”

Smith DH:

Dredger hit it on Monday afternoon and did “fair” in low, clear, 42F water.  His small handful of bows liked the WD40 dropper the best. A few little black stonefly adults buzzed by in the sunshine (did you enjoy this week’s video quiz?), but no fish rose to them.  Only one fish hit his bright walts worm in a fast pocket. When the sun set at 5, he switched to dry/dropper and was thrilled with one fish that rose to his parachute Adams. 

Tip for DH stockers: slide up to a nice pool and camp out there.  Let the fish get used to you while you scout them out with your polarized glasses. Watch for telltale tale wags. Then move slowly and start drifting small stuff past their noses.


UO friend Mo: “We fished Dukes yesterday on a cold, sunny day. The temps were in the 30s all day. The stream was gin clear and cooold, and had fish glued to the bottom, barely showing signs of life. 

We spotted some large fins in several runs and sight-fished them with small natural stuff and egg patterns. After fooling a few nice rainbows, Kurt hooks into a hefty fish and nets it after an epic battle, and on 7x tippet. 

A big, healthy brown. Def a special treat since we haven’t seen many in the stream for a long while, esp this size. Several more nice fish came to hand throughout the day but we really had to work for them. 

They didn’t move much, we had to be on the bottom and hitting them on the nose with our presentations. Full winter mode dredging tactics.


Dredger went north yesterday (27th) and discovered that he brought the wrong recreational equipment. He shoulda brought a whitewater yak instead of a fly rod!  Nan DH was deep green, DEEP, and topped with standing white waves. He had evidently discovered the “bypass flows” that Marcus reported earlier.

Lacking a death wish, he employed plan B and settled in the Smokies.  The stream was low and clear and a cold 42F.  He was happy with four 8-inch bows in three hours, along with two herds of elk and two sets of big gobblers. The day was definitely not a complete washout. The WD 40 dropper did better than the frenchie and Walts anchor bugs in the skinny water. Trip highlight was the two elk yearlings frolicking during their evening “recess” with Mom at the NPS Cherokee visitors center’s  field.


He vowed to check the Duke Power intel and report back on Nan flow plans.

Private Waters:

Wes’ Bob-Dylan trip! 

“I had a Nacochee Bend trip this week and had a great day with Bob and Dylan. The water is starting to get low again so make sure you have a clean drift to up your success rate. Most fish were fooled on small nymphs near the bottom. Black midges and hares ear’s worked best. We were able to catch a couple fish eating emergers just under the surface in the afternoon on soft hackles.”

Middle GA:

Athens Jay emerged from holiday retirement:

“It probably sounds crazy to be planning a float trip for bass on a Piedmont river while watching January snow fall. But after a months-long dry spell, I couldn’t say no to an invitation from a trusted friend. It was a cold start but the sun finally came out and we even got to do some wading around the shoals. Some fish were quite aggressive. Big dark streamers fished on a sink tip line worked best. I had best results casting upstream and dead-drifting. But my companion caught fish activity stripping big articulated streamers. Be careful, flows are a little high and water is murky. Falling in over your waders makes for a chilly afternoon (yeah, I did). But putting your hands on spunky wild shoalies does warm the soul.  Finally, I broke the ice, literally.“

Flat Water:

Henry said the stripers are still deep during the day. He’s had a few scattered shots at shallow fish early and late, but it’s been inconsistent. The better bite is spots in 5-15 feet of water on Cowen’s Coyotes tossed on long points.  Take an intermediate and a full sink outfit and look for the bait balls on your screen and the birds in the sky.

He’ll be tying his mullet fly on Orvis Facebook live at 3PM Monday. Details here:

Henry Cowen - On Monday January 31st at 3pm I was invited to join... | Facebook


Landon (aka Nanook)  finally checked back in:

“Andrea said “You need to go fishing” Who am I to argue?! Typical dock light report. Bigger average size but fewer fish on lights compared to the last time we tried in November. Somethin’ else flies on intermediate lines were the ticket.”

Capt Mack should have a new Lanier report posted soon. Last Friday’s report was spot-on.


Reminder: don’t miss your chance at nearly a week of fishing the West  Yellowstone region, including a Madison River float trip. And there are 14 great runnerup prizes. Details on GATU’s annual Dream Trip raffle are here:

Georgia Council of Trout Unlimited

Good luck, folks. Dress warmly, dodge the frozen mornings, and employ your summer stealth games on warm winter afternoons. Call or come by the shop for your pre-game supplies and scouting reports.

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.

PS: good luck to our old Dawg Stafford!

No comments:

Post a Comment