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, June 30, 2022

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 6/30/22

Welcome to the July 4th holiday report. While it’s still hot and dry up here, our daily air temps have moderated a bit and we’ve started receiving a few afternoon showers. Y’all should still employ your best summer drought techniques to maximize your angling success this weekend.

For trout, best bets remain the extreme headwaters, the icy tailwaters, and the smaller, colder stocked streams before lunch. GAWRD’s Friday stocking list should be a long one, so take your pick and cover some stream length for your best chance at a trout supper.

Rivers and ponds are still very good. Just check local tackle shops or the closest USGS gauge to ensure that a sudden storm hasn’t turned your river into chocolate milk. Carry some crawfish flies to bump bottom, some streamers for midcolumn, and poppers for the top and see what the bass choose each day. Small popper-dropper combos are hard to beat for bankside bream. Try a black fur ant if they get picky.

Hank says Lanier bass are pretty good, while summer carping is spotty. It’s about about water clarity for those freshwater redfish. Speaking of redfish…

We have some great fish stories from our vacationing buddies, so make sure you read our full report on our website and at the link in our bio, right here on IG. They might convince you to bite the bullet on a gas fill-up and hit a distant hotspot, too.

Good luck and be safe. The holiday crowds can be crazy on our bigger waters like Lanier, so fish early to avoid the boaters and skiers.  Stop by either UO store if we can be of service.

Wes’ Hot Fly List:

Dries: 409 Yeager yellow, stoneflopper, Charlie boy hopper, royal wulff.

Nymphs & Wets:

Cdc pheasant tail, green weenie, squirmy, split top, copper John.

Streamers & warm water:

Double barrel popper, amnesia bug, bugger changer, swimming frog, finesse changer.


Here’s a rerun of last week’s report: Small trout streams are still low and clear and warming. We need some consistent rain! If you insist on trouting, then go very high and bring your thermometer.  Check the water temperature first and aim for 66F or less. Focus on the drought refuges (pools) where adult fish will be packed in and highly competitive. If you don’t spook them with a faulty approach, your dry will be eaten. Keep the fish in the water while you unhook and release them.

Stocker Streams:


UO friend Splatek: We hit a mountain stocker stream last weekend on a catch, clean, and cook mission, finishing with some s'mores over the fire.  We threw so many more fish back than we kept. The mountain trout are bigger than I remember. We caught some real good ones. The kids had a great time.”


RSquared’s TN report:  “Steve W and I ventured north of the state line to Reliance Tennessee and the beautiful Hiawassee River. Fishing was good using hopper/dropper rigs. We caught several Rainbows & a few Browns. However, we were unable to catch one of the recently stocked Cutthroats!  With warming summertime temps & stressed trout in most of our Georgia streams, I highly recommend fishing this awesome tailwater!”


The Smokies remain in the same tough shape as our headwater streams: low and warm. Head real high in search of colder water temperatures and willing wild trout. 

Daily intel here:


Private Waters:

UO manager Jake:  “I stopped by the mill yesterday morning and made a couple of casts before heading to the shop. Had four striper blowups and managed to connect and land two of them. Still plenty of stripers around for anyone looking to have some early morning or late evening fun.” (See first photo)

Note: call our Helen shop to learn more details and possibly book a summer river striper trip. You’ll need at least a 7-weight rod and will be asked not to target trout on these dawn and dusk ventures.

Warmwater Streams:

UO friend Landon: I did part two of the DNR’s Chestatee bass sampling.  I prospected on top early, but didn’t get a lot of action.  Ended up switching to a ned rig on conventional gear and started whacking ‘em really good. Caught the big fish again today, a 20 inch shoal bass. Sorry, don’t have the pic yet.”

Flat Water:

HenryC’s Lanier report: “Bass fishing is looking pretty good on Lanier. Top water is certainly happening but is much different from the last two seasons. If you want to be effective you need to fish the south end of the lake and look in the creek mouths.  Fish some points but mostly the humps with brush on it. That's where your go-to places will be. Gurglers, pole dancers and crease flies will be the ticket and having an intermediate or fast sinking line with a game changer is also worth keeping in the boat. Carp fishing has been good "when" conditions allow. With the forecast showing rain almost every day, the river gets dirty and your chances for success go way down. You have to pick your spots to have success.”


UO Helen manager Wes: “Israel and I went down to South Georgia with a few buddies last weekend for a few days of fishing. The heat and humidity was high but the fishing was excellent! 

Our main target was bowfin with the occasional pickerel and warmouth as bycatch. Between the 4 of us we probably landed around 50 fish in a couple days.”


UO owner Jimmy: “A few days ago I had an opportunity to spend a couple of days casting to Redfish in Port Aransas, Texas.  Day one was hot and frustrating with very few shots at fish.  I did get one to the boat but not in the boat.  My friend Steven didn't hook up that day.  Day 2 we had planned to fish only half a day but, as well-laid plans are wont to do, they changed.  On this day we had tons of shots at Reds but only one taker for Steven and none for me as the clock ticked toward high noon.  Finally, just as the buzzer was set to go off, I hooked and landed one.  Success at last.  Just seeing lots of fish that day had been exciting but landing a Red was more exciting.  The icing on the cake was the big Jack Crevalle I tied into on our way back to the marina.  Everything was going great; until it wasn't.  Turns out, my left foot was inside a loop of my fly line.  When the line went taught, I felt the sickening feeling of operator error.  I WILL BE BACK for those guys!  Talk about a wolf pack!”

UO buddy Sautee’s CO report: “Hit the stream at 12:30 after a brief shower.  Winds blowing in the high teens. Water temp 46 degrees when I started. No bugs flying but with wind blowing and having seen many woods ants I figured a black ant on top was my best bet. I switched flies many times for the next 2 hours with no takers as the skies cleared and the sun came out. About 3:00, the water temp hit 50 and bugs started coming off: BWOs, PMDs, and several other mayflies of various size and color. I put on a #14 BWO and the brookies were ready to rise to it. Fished next 1.5 hours switching between BWO and Adam’s, all #14.  Fighting wind, willows and sunshine I found the fish in deep water and seeking shady spots. When the wind blew in more rain clouds at 4:30, I hopped out and headed back to the lodge for a meal. Good half day on a CO mountain stream at 8600 feet.”

Our Real Distant UO friend:

“I hope all is well at UO. Here’s another dose of fodder from the old world. 

Here’s a nice grayling for ya from the Ribnik River in Bosnia. He was pushing 50cm. You should’ve been there to see it. Grayling rising all day long, eating tiny bugs. Shuttlecock emergers in lt olive and pink were top flies today.

Big green drakes coming off, salmon flies, big black caddis, half dozen various mayflies small and large, and what does the grayling eat?, size 20-22 emergers. 

Lost a bunch of good fish when they spit the tiny hook back at me, but brought enough to hand to call it a fantastic day.”

Have a long, fun, safe holiday weekend. Stop by either shop if we can help plan your fishing fireworks.

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.


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