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, April 29, 2022

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 4/29/22

C’mon up; Saturday’s weather and water will be mighty fine! Streams are clear and running at or slightly below normal flows for this time of year. Water temps are perfect. If you’re coming Sunday or next week, pack a raincoat for the possibility of showers. We could use some rain to water our plants and trees and recharge our streams.

Cahills and caddis should continue to dominate the evening hatches. They tend to shrink through the month of April, so make sure you bring  some smaller sizes (#16-20) with you, too. Since we are knocking on May’s door, don’t forget yellow. We’ve already had a report from Will M of some yellow sallies and are sure golden stones are on the horizon. Bring those sallies and stimmies!

River bassing and striper hunting have still been strong in those clear flows.  Yakkers and pontoon fans wishing to flex their 8-weights with big streamers should have some good trips.

Lake bass are still shallow, with occasional visits from stripers. Low light is best, so try dawn, dusk, and after dark, especially around lit docks.

The Blue Ridge Troutfest is Saturday from 10 til 6.  Check your “waze” before coming up, as our locals report DOT road mtc delays on Highway 129.


See our full fishing report on our home and Facebook pages. Good luck closing out a great April. Stop by either UO shop if we can help you out.

.Wes’ Hot Fly List:

Dries: tan elk hair caddis, parachute light Cahill, yellow sally, yellow stimulator, para Adams.

Nymphs & Wets:

Depth charge caddis, frenchie, soft hackle partridge and pheasant tail, girdle bug, hares ear nymph and soft hackle, Y2K for stockers.

Streamers & warm water:

Finesse changer, Murdich minnow, Cowen’s something else (Shad) and larger gray/white clousers (bluebacks) for reservoir predators, triple double leech, muddy buddy, small olive bugger for clear-water stockers.


They are still prime for your short rods and small, bushy dries. Try something yellow if tan’s a turnoff. They should be a degree or two warmer this week, bringing more fish to the top. Hopefully you don’t even have to run a dropper under your dry, unless you happen upon a deep pool and want to explore its depths. Stealth is more important than fly pattern.

Angling addict RSquared said:

“I went old school and fished a few wild streams with a venerable Appalachian dry fly called the "Thunderhead" which was created by the legendary Fred Hall of Bryson City N.C.. Even though it was mid-day and sunny, the revered pattern still enticed several wild rainbows to the surface to feed on my offering. I can assure you that the Thunderhead has earned a permanent place in my dry fly box.”

Stocker streams:

GAWRD’s stocking program continues, with a great assist from their federal partners at Rock Creek Hatchery. My two favorite baits are 1/3 nightcrawler or a small doughball of Powerbait covering a size 10 hook on 4-pound mono. I’ll fish upstream, make 2-3 short casts into each fishy pocket, and repeat, covering a lot of stream and uncovering a lot of bridge wash-downs. Get your kids out there now, while the getting is good. Trout supper, anyone?


GA and NC DH Waters:

High sun, lower flows, and warming water will start slowing the daytime bite. Dredge the deep pools, boulder pockets, and shaded runs with more natural patterns that resemble the caddis larva and mayfly nymphs now in the stream drift.  Suggestion: try a sexy Walts worm as an anchor to get your rig down. Add a dropper of a soft hackle pheasant tail, hares ear, or caddis emerger above it, and drift through those sheltered spots. After your drift, let it swing in the current below you. Then take a few strips back upstream before casting again. Switch to dries as the sun sets.

RSquared took time off from fishing to post a second report: “Sixteen members of the Cohutta Chapter of Trout Unlimited recently spent four days camping and fishing on the fabled wild and scenic Chattooga River. The weather was beautiful and Cohutta members fished from Earls Ford on the lower end to the back country at the upper end and the DH in the middle. Fish were feeding on nymphs and dry flies. Catch rates were a little low for most members but a few anglers experienced some exceptional catch rates. This river is very crowded on weekends. I would recommend fishing it midweek when there is less pressure.”

Hooch Tailwater:

UO buddies Ron, Mog and Mo had a nice trip.  Ron:  “The Trio hit the Dam again last Saturday in search of gold.  We stepped in the water shortly after 10. We were seeing risers everywhere in between the winds.  The fellas caught some on top, mine all came on the dropper.  I caught a half dozen, Kurt got over a dozen and Moe hammered em' again, he probably caught a few dozen or more.  It was a great day on the water as always and some much needed hydrotherapy!  

Only this one nice lil brown for Me, i'm sure Moe's got some nicer pics for you.”

Mo: “Just have one pic of a small stick of butter. A #20 frenchie dropped 3ft under my dry fooled them all day. Never changed flies. A good mix of rainbows and browns to hand.”


It’s the same story as our Georgia wild trout waters. Fish are skittish and pickier during the day, and more vulnerable when the sun dies and adult bugs come out to dance. The farther away from the road or campground that you go, the more comfortable the daytime fish are.


(Ed note: Notice how similar our fly lists are)

Private Waters:

They are still fishing very well for our resident rainbows.  UO guide Israel:  “Nothing has changed since last week.   The pattern continues to be small egg and nymph patterns drifted deep, and then soft hackles swung in shallower runs and riffles to imitate the hatching naturals. We are having to downsize our tippets in the lower, clear water to encourage more takes.”

Coolwater Rivers:

Jimmy and good friend, FL outdoor writer Rusty Chinnis, had a good river float this week. Jimmy sent a pic of Rusty’s striper and this report: “When you're angling for Shoal Bass and something takes your lure on a screaming run...”

Athens Jay got back in the game:

“Middle GA rivers are just right for wet wading.”

Flat Water:

Splatek reported on MiniMe’s feats at the local pond: “Warm water has the bream  hitting bread balls, worms, and just about anything you drop in front of them.”

Lake bassing has been great, while stripers have been sporadic. The herring spawn should improve the striper bite. See Capt. Mack’s intel and adapt it to your fly rigs.


UO young guns Joseph and Grant have done well:

“Here are some pics of some fish Grant and I have caught over the past two weeks on Lanier. Most of our fish have been on points or humps. We have been using intermediate lines with 3-4 inch clousers fished in the middle of the water column with short fast strips.”

That’s the latest news from our neck of the woods.  Take advantage of these fine spring days before they dissolve into the summer heat. Stop in a UO store for flies, supplies, and the freshest intel in this region. Good luck!

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.

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