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, May 20, 2022

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 5/20/22

We sure could use some rain up here!  Low, clear, and warming river conditions continue. That means picky trout but very good river bassing.   Best bets for trout will be cooler, high elevation streams, the bigger waters before 11am, and the icy tailwaters. Yellow is still a great May color for your bugs.

Stripers are a bit more scarce up the rivers, as the spawn is over.  Surface action is slower on reservoirs as those shallow temperatures approach 80 degrees.

Here the latest from our UO staff and friends, via the long versions on our home and Facebook pages.  Please join us in a rain dance to enhance our stream success up here next week.

Wes’ Hot Fly List

(Same as last week)

Dries: stimulator, 409 Yeager yellow, elk hair caddis, yellow stimulator, yellow humpy.

Nymphs & Wets:

Pats rubber leg, soft hackle partridge, jig CDC pheasant tail, mop fly, psycho prince.

Streamers & warm water:

Amnesia bug (for bream), Boogle bugs, kreelex, hot cone bugger, finesse changer.


They remain low and clear, so stealth, thinner tippets, and a yellow Sally or Adams should keep you in the game.

UO friend Sautee:

“Got on the river at 5:30. Fishing dry dropper of several combinations. Missed first 3 fish and then picked up 6 over the next 2.5 hours. At 8:20 the switch flipped and bugs started pouring off. Tied on a #14 yellow elk hair caddis. Picked up 6 more in last 25 minutes on top.”

Stocker Streams

They’re still a good bet, especially during the cool mornings. Lighten your line, reduce your weights, and shrink your baits in the lower flows. 

DH streams

NC’s DH streams will still provide good action, especially in the shade and shadows.  Dark-30 opportunities continue, so stay late and toss some double dry rigs (cahill first and a caddis trailer). Remember to twitch and skitter, too.


UO friend Mo: I hope yer fishing today. Here's some fodder from this am. The trio descended upon Settles Bridge this am in hopes of finding some hungry trout.  

They were snooty to begin with but we found some browns and rainbows in there. Had the place to ourselves till about noon, at which point we made our way out.

A #20 frenchie trailing a bigger, heavier, nymph produced well again today. Never had to change flies all am. Getting down quickly and dredging was the ticket. 

Ron and Kurt wore em out pretty good today and even I managed a couple fish to hand.”

Private Waters

They are still fishing real well, especially in the mornings.

UO manager Jake:

“I fished the Soque and Nacoochee Bend on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, and had mid teen numbers both mornings, with a nice 25 incher from the Bend on Wednesday. The key for me this week has been long leaders, lighter tippet, yarn indicators, and small bugs. Most of my damage came on small Pat's Rubberlegs, Squirrel Nymphs, Ruby Midges, Clear Water Emergers, and I even caught a few fish on small Soft Hackle Pheasant Tails. The streams are low and clear, and the fish are settling into their summer routines, but down-scaled approaches are still producing quantity and quality. With rain in the forecast this weekend, hopefully we will see a bump in flow, which will help things going into next week.”

UO guide Israel:

“Today on the Soque. Been having success with Chubbies and Stimmies on the surface. Soft hackles are still producing well. Dropped off a dry fly or run a nymph rig. Cant go wrong with the partridge and orange.  Caught a few wild fish on a green weenie, too!”


The park is still fishing well.

Note: Daily fishing reports here:

Little River Outfitters - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains


UO friend Gayland:

“I went to Montana May 1st through May 10th.  Caught some pretty trout and stayed cool in the Montana snow showers and windy weather.   It was great fun and relaxing.   I waded on the Missouri below Hauser Fam and below Holter Dam.”

Warm Rivers:

“Steve W. & I fished one of our favourite local creeks. We came away with a mixed bag of trout, Coosa Red-eyed Bass, & Red Breasted Sunfish. One of the Redeye's was long enough to qualify for the Georgia Bass Slam. As water temperatures heat up, I turn much of my attention to fishing for the 10 different black bass species that inhabit our states rivers,streams, & lakes. It is a great way to stay on the water during our summer months without needlessly stressing  our cold-water resources. I am currently working on my 4th consecutive slam. I would encourage all those that pursue our wild & native trout to give the Bass Slam a try!”

Flat Water:

Athens Jay: “TU Fundraiser trip today. Grandad took grandson who is new to fly fishing. Started with Pat’s Rubberlegs under an Air-Lock with good success. Graduated to White Boogle bug popper/dropper and got some good surface strikes. Bluegill are spawning tight to the bank, especially under overhanging tree limbs making it important to do the side arm thing. We had a great time on the pond.”

UO staffer Joseph:

“Here’s a schoolie striper I caught on a dock light. I seemed to have more success on above ground lights rather than green lights in the water .The stripers are very few and far between as water temps are rising. But the bass are eating good and are aggressive. “

Hank the Yank: “Lanier is fishing ok these days. The previous full moon allowed us to see some schooling stripers during the mid to late morning timeframe as well as midday. Groups are chasing herring and are up and down quickly. Bigger flies are the norm right now for these last lick stripers. We are turning our attention over to spotted bass, which has been interesting to say the least. Fish are schooling some as well as singles chasing herring on the surface. Anglers must throw on top of the fish in order to get an eat. Not the easiest of fishing but extremely visual. Larger flies are called for here with game changers, coyotes and kinky muddler flies your best bet. You can also toss a pole dancer or larger gurgler on a floating line and get them to eat it off the surface. While catching numbers isn't the norm just yet it is still fun watching all the surface activity on the pond. “


That’s the latest intel up here as we start on some summer patterns. Stop by either UO store or give us a call if we can help. Now go have a lucky day.

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.


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