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, February 11, 2022

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 2/11/22

The warm, dry week gave us dropping flood flows and rising water temperatures: a perfect combo for trouting. Folks who were able to get out were glad they did. Deep nymphing worked well, since better flows made stream trout more comfortable and eager to feed.

Lanier is still slow on shallow stripers, but good for bass. Henry gives y’all the skinny in our full report on the UO home  and Facebook pages.

We have some yo-yo’ing air temps in the week ahead. Hit an upswing, when the air warms the trout streams toward 50F, and you’ll have some fun.  From rainbows to spots to the Super Bowl, it should be a super week. Call or come by either UO store if we can help you out.

Wes’ Hot Fly List:

Dries: Griffiths Gnat, Parachute Adams, comparadun BWO.


Mini leech, girdle bug, three dollar dip, trout crack, jigged CDC pheasant tail, black and olive WD40’s.

Streamers & warm water:

Sparkle minnow, dungeon, micro changer

GA public waters:

Smith DH:

Smith ran a bit high and slightly off color to start the week. Flows then dropped slightly and the water cleared. Mops did well in the cloudy water, while midges were hot throughout the week.  Make sure to bring some WD40’s and enjoy the better flows.

Chattooga DH:

Our awesome agencies cut more than 25 trees out of the GA access road, so fans of the upper end will have an easier hike in. Many thanks to sawyers with SCDNR, GADNR, and the US Forest Service. And a little birdie told me it may fish better in the days ahead, so pack some squirmies, eggs, and buggers along with the small, dark nymphs of your winter success.

Flows are still running about 2.2 on the Clayton gauge, which is still a bit high. Know your own safe wading limit (check your smart phone notes page for your past trip notes).  Use a wading belt, a staff, and a fishing buddy, along with your intellect, to have a safe day on bigger waters like the Chattooga. Remember that dry change of clothes in your car, too.

Hooch Tailwater:

UO friend Mo:

“Hey Jeff, I hope you’re doing well. Here’s a little fodder from the tailwater over the weekend. 

We started about 10am just below Lower Pool and worked our way upstream with Euro rigs. Ron was throwing a streamer all day and managed a few fish to hand. 

Kurt and I were catching the wild browns on tiny stuff, 24-20 midges and frenchies. A few rainbows also came to hand on the same flies. Nothing bigger than a foot but they sure were pretty fish. 

It was a sunny but chilly and blustery day with higher winds making the whole affair little more challenging. Tough conditions but 

the fish cooperated most of the day. Had to be on the bottom tho, in their lane with perfect drift. 

We walked off the river thoroughly chilled but happy with fishing and catching. With everything else blown out curtesy of the pre-weekend rain, it felt good to have a fishable stream nearby.”

And his accomplice, Ron W:

“I committed to throwing streamers all day. I had several chases but only 2 to hand, a nice chunky bow and a colored up wild brown. My new position at work has doubled my workload and is eating into my fishing time!”

PS: we had a report of the annual Shad/blueback winterkill. If you want a shot at a trophy Tailwater brown, it will be a good time to Chuck big, white zonkers in the upper Tailwater.


Landon ran up to tribal waters and reported: “My 7-month trout hiatus has ended!  Flows were still pretty high, so I cherry picked the easiest access pools for safety's sake. Fish were fickle until the afternoon sun turned em on! Tan mop with a trailer of a small cdc soft hackle on a jig hook were ticket. I used a long, thin leader to get down and a  big 3/0 shot when necessary in the real big pools. I even found a couple of bigger wild rainbows in this stretch. Alas, the browns eluded me.”

Private Waters:

Once flows receded to safe levels, our clients have been hammering the trout on warm afternoons. The better flow and deeper water have the fish much less skittish and wiling to eat. Small nymphs, both beaded and beadless, have been the ticket. Small dark soft hackles are always a good bet, too.  Just sink everything toward the bottom. During my brief stop yesterday  evening, I watched two Nacoochee Bend anglers hook up together, twice!

Flat Water:

HenryC said:

“Fishing is still relatively slow. BUT this is February and it's supposed to be slow if we look at how Lanier has fished the past 15 years. There is however a way to go out and fly fish Lanier with low expectations and still make lemonade out of lemons. First, fish on the moons (both new and full). 3-5 days before up to 3 days after. Second, fish early or late. Most feeding will be done in lower light conditions. Third, if you want to get a tug on your line then maybe concentrate on bass (both spotted bass and largemouth). There is always a decent bass bite in February if you want to toss sinking lines. The stripers are still deep so this is another option. 

If however you’re wanting to catch a winter striper then you must cast small flies, sinking lines and use your fish finder to locate big schools of fish in the 20'-30' range and count your line down 40 to 50 seconds before retrieving.”


That’s the latest from the warm, sunny skies of northeast Georgia.  Take advantage of one of the beautiful days ahead to wet a line. In fact, I’m going to take my own advice - right now.  Time to load the truck and go!  Good luck on your own adventures this week, folks. Bye!

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.

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