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, July 8, 2022

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 7/8/22

“Summer Slowdown.”

Our summer bake continues. It’s just been too darn hot and muggy for most folks to enjoy their time on the water. The good news is that we’ve gotten some showers to briefly recharge our waters. The bad news is that the rain has run off very quickly, receiving rivers then get too muddy, and the extreme heat has returned quickly. It’s just been the dog days of summer and the reason that many of us have road-tripped to distant destinations.

There is a bit of good news on the horizon, as our extreme heat may subside a bit.  That should improve the fishing.

In the meantime, continue aiming for mountaintops and icy tailwaters for trout, small lakes for low-light bass and bream, and the rivers when they are clear enough for river bass to spot your streamers and poppers. Wake up early to take advantage of the dawn bite and cooler air temperatures.  Then, like the fish, take a siesta: run home to a cool lunch and a nap in the air conditioning.  Here’s the latest fodder from our fishing friends and UO staff.

Wes’ Hot Fly List:

Dries: yellow Sally or stimulator, Charlie boy hopper, parachute Adams, tan elk hair caddis, parachute black ant

Nymphs & Wets:

Cdc pheasant tail, green weenie, small hares ear, black fur ant , squirmy worm when muddy.

Streamers & warm water:

Double barrel popper, Boogle bug popper, amnesia bug, bugger changer, swimming frog, finesse changer, Cowen’s somethin’ else.


These are still skinny and warm. Head real high to find water under 66F and some spooky, hungry fish packed into pools.  NC cheats with an extra 1-2,000 feet of elevation, so blueline addicts oughta head north to the Smokies for more fishable waters.

Daily intel here:


UO friend Splatek: “Minime caught some small stream trout in North Carolina and a Carp from his uncles’s pond.  Other than that, we’ve been staying out of the water. The Hooch is so low!!!”

Stocker Streams:

Got a stream thermometer and an alarm clock?  These are going to be tougher as stocking frequencies and rates subside for the summer and stream temps rise. Watch the WRD stocking lists and aim for the higher elevation, heavily shaded streams. Get out early and check water temps.  Your best fishing will be the first two hours of daylight.  Here’s another summer tip, based on my five decades of stocker chasing: on bigger waters that are warming, “try the tribs.”  Fish the first hundred yards of river below feeder streams and then a short distance up those cooler tribs. Leftover stockers, especially in small lakes, will pack into these thermal refuges. They will be spooky, so use your wild trout stealth game on them for your best shot at a fresh trout supper. That means camo, real thin line, small hooks, and dainty baits. Leave the #2 Mepps spinners at home right now. And watch those WRD lists each Friday!


UO owner Jimmy: “Kathy and I recently had our youngest grandson, Crosby, visiting with us for a few days.  Among other things, we planned a visit to the newly renovated Burton Hatchery in addition to eating ice cream and racing slot cars.  If you remember the old hatchery, or if you have never visited it, please make an effort to go see the new one.  We were fortunate to have Hatchery Manager John Lee Thompson lead us through on a guided tour, explaining the improvements and the new technology being utilized to insure the trout being raised there have the absolute best opportunity to grow into healthy fish for Georgia anglers.  There's no charge for the tour and I promise you'll have a lot more respect and gratitude for our DNR biologists and technicians the next time you're on the stream.”


These will be the best bets for any die-hard Southeastern  trouters.  You may have to travel, but they do fish well through summer. Atlantans will have a short commute to the Hooch, while the other summer hotspots (Toccoa, Hiwassee, Clinch, South Holston, etc) may require a mini-vacation and an outa state license.

Private Waters:

Nearly all are probably shut down for the summer to protect the trout from angling stress during the summer heat. 

We do offer dawn and dusk shots at our Helen summer vacationers.  Call our 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. Best bets are right at dawn and after a storm, when the river is stained. Bring some 4-8 inch streamers in rainbow trout, white, olive over white, and black colors. Tie up some mega Pats rubberlegs on stout hooks, too.

Warmwater Streams:

Hank the Yank said he’s been off the water for a week, as summer storms have muddied his river too much for fish to eye his flies. The good news is that we’ve finally gotten some rain.


Flat Water:

RSquared: “I have been fishing farm ponds for the past couple of weeks with very good success in the early morning and late afternoon hours. Popper-dropper rigs have been producing well for largemouth and bream. Stealth bombers and Booglebugs on top and Sinking Crickets and Bluegill spiders as the droppers have been the most productive for me.    

- Rodney”

UO staffer Joseph: Here are some cool pics of some fish I caught this week. The carp came on a boogle bug and chased it like a bass! The largemouth came on a Texas rig dragging the bottom of a pond in some high water temps.”

Landon on Lanier: “There were four of us in the boat yesterday. We struck out on linesides while fishing with bluebacks,  but caught a few spots to keep the rods bent.”

Slamming Bass:


Real Big Water:

UO friend Russ: “I introduced my oldest son, Nathan, and his friend to some offshore fun last week in Ponce Inlet.    Both snappers were estimated between 20-30#.    Too bad the season closed but both boys enjoyed the tight lines and want to go back.”


Athens Jay: “I just got back from the jungles of Costa Rica. Only spent a couple of hours on the water, but it was fun. I did see some permit. I got close but couldn’t get one to eat. Lots of crazy wild birds, frogs, etc, but not much that's fishy. “

Our Real Distant UO friend:

“I hope all is well at UO. Here’s the latest news from the old world. 

More gray fish this week. Went back today and caught a bunch of SNIGs (std nine inch grayling) late pm when they started sipping on emergers. Risers were everywhere. A few good ones were in the mix, too.   This went on for about an hour before it got dark and I had to hoof it back to the car.

That last pic: I sight fished for her with a tiny nymph and 18ft leader. Nothing beats a dry fly bite but when you see a nice grayling turn and eat your nymph it definitely feels just as good.”

Enjoy your summer siestas. If the fishing bug hits you, set that alarm clock and get out at dawn for a few hours before retiring for a cool brunch indoors.  It’s a great time of year to clean up your tackle or travel to distant waters while the Georgia summer bakes us and the fish. 

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.



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