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, April 14, 2022

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 4/14/22

Welcome to your Easter holiday fishing report. Both flat and running waters are in great shape and will provide plenty of opportunities to choose from.  All trout waters invite you, from bluelines to national park creeks to Delayed Harvest streams to stocked trout waters. 

Take your pick and take your raincoat to work around/ through the weekend showers. A half inch of rain or less won’t dampen your success.  An inch or more might get you to move upstream a bit. Some color in the water will turn fish on, so remember your squirmies and rubberleg stones. Each passing, warmer day will encourage insect hatches, so dry fly fans should have more hope.  Pack some tan caddis and cahills along with your go-to patterns.

Ponds and lakes are hitting their prime. Watch for bass to move into the warming shallows. Aim for stripers on their river runs, or in the stained shallows on the upper end of reservoirs where muddy tribs are adding some color and nutrients - and attracting shad schools.

Catch our current, extensive angler intel and Wes’ hot fly list on our home page and at blog.angler.management. Good luck and have a joyous holiday weekend.

Wes’ Hot Fly List:

Dries: elk hair caddis, comparadun Hendrickson, parachute Adams.

Nymphs & Wets:

Mop fly, birds nest, jig CDC pheasant tail, girdle bug, diamond midge.

Streamers & warm water:

Polar changer, Murdich minnow, bluegill slider, triple double leech, muddy buddy.


Our bluelines are in great shape: running full and clear with temps in the mid-50’s. Although insect hatches may still be a bit sparse, headwater wild fish will be looking up, down, and sideways for snacks.  Our soft water streams don’t offer a hefty menu, so residents can’t be picky.  Toss a dry/dropper combo of something you believe in. Good examples are elk hair caddis/frenchie and Adams/hares ear soft hackle.  If you’re lucky, you’ll have enough risers to your dry to cut off that dropper. While flows are good, they won’t hide your inferior stalk. So hunt stealthily before you cast, and limit false casts. Rabunites often say to dress like a rhododendron bush and fish like a blue heron.


Web reports show them fishing well. Earlier stocked fish have smartened up, so try smaller, natural patterns like pheasant tails and hares ears. Fresh April stockers will have a low fly-IQ, so have hope for your buggers, Y2K’s, and squirmies.  On Smith, toss small dries and midges in that last hour before dark.


Stocker Streams:

Are well stocked by GAWRD for the holiday. Check today’s weekly stocking list on WRD’s trout page.

RSquared Report #1:

“Tuesday, after the school-day ended, I took my students from the North Paulding High School Fly Fishing and Cold-Water Conservation Club to Raccoon Creek which is our local trout stream. We had a total of 13 young fishers and 6 sponsors/dads. The club walked the two miles down the Silver Comet Trail to reach their pristine destination in the middle of Paulding Forest WMA. When we arrived, students and chaperones spread out along the stream. Fishing was tough, but several nice rainbow trout were landed by the student anglers. This was the final official fishing trip of the 2021-2022 school year for the club and it marked the end of the 9th year of the North Paulding Club. Year 10 will begin in September! “

Hooch Tailwater:

UO friend RonW: “The Trio linked up at the dam last Sunday for a few hours of hydrotherapy and to see if we couldn't strike gold. I started off in my usual stubborn fashion: tossing streamers with my 9'6wt streamer rod. After a good hour with nothing but a single short strike, I dug in my pack to retrieve my  spare spool with floating line. I tossed on a Euro leader and off I went. I immediately caught a stocker bow within 5 casts on a #18 hares ear. Moved upstream a little bit to "Kurt's run" and proceeded to catch four wild Browns nearly back-to-back. They were all  colored up but one of them was just plain beautimus'.  I linked back up with the guys Upstream of me and caught several more rainbows on  both a nymph and a bugger.  Moe and I ended the day with about a dozen fish each, while Kurt probably caught well over 20.  It was another great day to spend a few hours on the water with great friends! “


RSquared, busy with “research” for us: “Cohutta TU members, Larry V., Jeff W., Don T., Tim O., and myself ventured north of the state line to fish some of Western North Carolina's most storied DH streams. We were rewarded with 3 glorious days of trout fishing. Friday and Saturday were overcast. Sleet and snow peppered our wading jackets as the high, fast water pushed and pulled on our waders. We set our strike indicators deep and used weight to get our flies down along the bottom where hungry, naive trout eagerly grabbed up our offerings. The fly of the trip was a size 14 Hairs Ear tied on a jig hook with a silver tungsten bead. All three species of trout were caught with brookies being the most prevalent. Two almost identical, fat, 18-inch Rainbow hens were the big fish of the expedition!”

UO friend Vance: “Al and I went up to the Nan DH yesterday. 

Not quite what I expected, based on info from my contact at NCWD. Yes the river was "fishable"and yes it was "wadeable" but wadeable only close to the edges and in places that would have had little to no flow under normal circumstances.  We had to lean into the current, with a sturdy wading staff !!! The water was UP, probably 10"-12", and was really rolling. Lots of weights used ( 2 BB's) on a long leader and tippet just to get it down in most every run. We did catch fish all day long: Bows, Brookies and Browns, some in places that would not have held fish under normal flow. Some places we just couldn't access  due to the flow. All the small waterfalls feeding the river were full and flowing strongly, which I am sure contributed to the flow rate. Any rain is going to blow it out. We really had to work and be exact with our presentation, getting it down in the right places with a lot of High Sticking. All in all it was a productive day of fishing,( Al and I both landed at least 15 fish, and I know I hooked and lost another 6-7. ), it was more of a challenge than normal , but that's a good thing. It was well worth the trip up there.”


Stream conditions are good and daily reports are positive. Prospective visitors will just have to watch rainfall totals and avoid any streams that get blown out.



Private Waters:

Israel just finished a full Thursday of guiding and shared his pics and intel: “Got one a chubby. Other than that, it was soft hackles, soft hackles, soft hackles.  Nymph ‘em deep, swing ‘em, or drop ‘em off a dry.  The Bend’s bows took ‘em all sorts of ways today.  Definitely more fish coming up top, so the next several weeks are looking promising for dry fly fans. And anyone can catch a trout, but it takes a truly skilled angler to fool a wily river native, the redhorse sucker!”

Coolwater Rivers:

Landon: “Tried Chestatee on Sunday morning and struck out on stripers, but landed a couple shoal bass up to 2 lbs on a Cowen’s coyote.”

Flat Water:

UO friend RonW: “Sent from my cousin Brian. It appears that the Hogs are on the move. This 9.2 pound LMB ate a ChatterBait and went on a long pull. Caught “somewhere east of Atlanta.”


“Fishing is okay on the pond. Fish are moving up river for the spawn since the water has warmed. The Hooch is clearly been better than the T (Chestatee) for action. You must be in moving water to find this spawning run of fish. For those anglers not wanting to compete with a ton of boats, there are still opportunities to catch spotted bass on points and flats along with a few smaller stripers. Spring is definitely here! The clouds of pollen are now being seen on the lake and sunglasses will help those folks affected by it. For the fish...we'll just spray some antihistamine on your favorite fly and have at it!”


There you go, in the nick of time for any Friday trekkers. Good luck while working through or around the rain to weekend success. Happy Easter from our Helen and Clarkesville teams.

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.

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