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, October 14, 2022

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 10/14/22

Let’s call this week’s prospects “drought troutin’ and afternoon bassin’”. The weather up here in NE GA is absolutely beautiful and the leaf colors are coming on strong, especially along the lower elevation roads. Our morning air was 40 degrees in Cleveland and in the 30’s to our north, while daytime highs are reaching the 70’s.  It’s a perfect time to get outside.

Best bets this week are wild trout wherever they survived the summer heat, private water trout in the pay-to-play operations, and dredged river bass in the afternoon warmth.

We only had one-tenth of an inch of rain this week, so our droughty trout streams have dropped even further. Continue your low water techniques of camo, stealth, lighter tippets, and smaller flies for best success. Although flows are low here and in NC, water temps remain perfect (50’s to low 60’s) for salmonids. Trout will eat if they don’t spot you first. The freshly stocked DH fish in NC have been suckers for anything cast their way, but will smarten up right after another weekend of angler assaults, so be ready with smaller, natural flies soon.

(Have you read my new fall trouting guide on our blog?)

It might be our last call for river bass as water temps drop out of their prime window. Hit the rivers as they warm in the afternoon sun, dredge some streamers and crawdad flies, and try slowing down your retrieves. On the good news front, it might be time for size over numbers, so keep chucking some meaty flies and you might land a trophy shoalie or spot for your troubles.

The lake surface bite turned off last week, according to HenryC. Hopefully that will turn around soon. Cover a lot of water and watch your sonar for bait schools, and you might be the sole beneficiary of a striper blitz.

Check out more pics, Wes’ hot fly list,  and our full report on our Facebook page and at blog.angler.management (link in bio). You’ll be glad you did. Good luck this week!

Wes’ Hot Fly List:

Dries: parachute Adams, orange stimulator, royal trude.

Nymphs & Wets:

Flashback pheasant tail, mop, squirmy worm, peach egg, girdle bug, micro mayfly, and small, dark soft-hackle wets.

Streamers & warm water:

Sparkle minnow, bank robber sculpin, finesse changer, small black woolly bugger for DH trout and leftover stockers.


GAWRD trout biologist Sarah had a nice blueline report in today’s WRD blog. She also posted a neat video of brook trout spawning.


Delayed Harvest:

The NC streams are running low, but the fish are still cooperating when not spooked. Several of our friends had epic days “educating” those fresh stockers. Remember that they’ll soon smarten up, so have your better drift of smaller bugs ready to go.

UO fishaholic friend RSquared: “I ventured north of the state line where the DH season is in full swing. I was able to show two former North Paulding High School students one of my favorite streams. The water was very low & gin clear. However, it was full of recently stocked, hungry & naive Brooks, Browns, and Rainbows that were willing to take almost anything we offered them. In the coming weeks, they will be smarter & more selective in their feeding.”

UO buddy Lumis;

Went to XXX creek today since the NC DH opened up recently. Took a friend with me and it was his first time fly fishing. It was packed with people. The day started off slow since the water was very low and it didn't seem like there was evidence of stocking. Turns out that they probably just stocked the holes mostly and the fish hadn't spread out yet. Once we found ourselves an empty hole to fish, we started pulling out a mix of rainbows, brookies, and browns. Unsure if the browns were stocked or wild but there were some very large browns in there that absolutely refused to eat or even look our flies. We caught around 2 dozen on a mix of stocker flies.”

UO buddy RonW: “I made a solo trip up across the state line today to check out another DH stream.  I arrived shortly after 8am and nearly had the place to myself.  I drove up to the top of the DH and worked my way down, crossing the stream serveral times and covering a little over a mile of water. 

The trout sure were picky for being a bunch of new  "dumplins".  I had to work and cover water to find fish. I plucked out several on my Olive Rubber legged, mostly brookies at first.  I caught them on the drift while slightly jigging it, also on the retrieve just twitching it back upstreamand also across the current.  They didn't want the egg dropper at all other than 2 skinny brookies.  Got a few on a #18 frenchie as well. 

I changed out the dropper to a #18 black soft hackle and the "switch turned on". Fish after fish came to hand on either the bugger or the softie.  I continued working downstream, picking up a fish ot two in almost every spot. 

I came to a really nice deep run and had an absolute giant come out the depths and chase my Bugger. He thumped it and I'm not sure if he missed or if I got too excited and yanked it out of his mouth.  He checked it out a few more times but wouldn't commit. He went back to his lair and was turned off to the Bugger after that.  I changed out the bugger for a #12 tungsten black stone and ran it thru there. 1st drift with the stone and the line went tight.  Fish on!  After a good 3-4 minute battle, I had a beautiful 18" brown in the net.  

 I met a guy named Jim from North Carolina whom I offered up the run I was fishing to him and his buddy.  He found my fly box I was missing and told me where he put it.  I went and retrieved my box and came back to see them on my way down stream. I gave him one of my Rubber legged buggers as well as one of my purple roncos as a thank you. I told him to tie on a girdle bug for his buddy and run it through there. I saw him on my way back up about an hour and a half later and sure enough the girdle got his buddy hooked up tight with a goodun.

It ended up being another fantastic day on the water. I fished from 8:30 till 2pm, caught a few dozen trout, 4 slams, and a stud brown on a second chance offering.  I was home in time to cook dinner and watch some football.  I'll be tying up some more black stoneflies ASAP. “

Stocker Streams:

GAWRD  stocked a few streams during the last week of September, so it’s slim pickings now.  But if catching is not the only important part of your trip, the fishing is still good.  The crowds are gone with the stocking trucks and the weather is fine. Enjoy a lot more stream to yourself. Again, cover a lot of water to find the washdowns or some resident wild fish. You might even stumble upon a BWO or midge hatch in the afternoon warmth, so keep your eyes peeled behind your polarized sunglasses.

A certain neighbor state does some fall stocking, so you might venture to the border for some Wild and Scenic action on bridge wash-downs.  Strip a small woolly bugger deep and cover a lot of stream to prospect for scattered stockers.



UO friend Landon: “I waded the Hooch one morning this week.  The Stain has picked up from Lanier stratification, but fishing was better than expected. I did well on a Size 14 rainbow warrior trailed by a zebra midge.  I was surprised there were still as many rainbows as there were in that stretch.

(Ed note: it’s stratification and not turnover each fall.  True Turnover happens around Christmas. Right now the upper Tailwater re-oxygenates by Highway 20 due to turbulence.


Chris Scalley had a good Hooch report in today’s GAWRD fishing blog.


Private Waters:

UO guide Caleb: The rain didn’t stop the trout from biting on Wednesday. I had a great morning at the Bend with this client. We were indicator-nymphing and almost all takes were on squirmy wormies or egg patterns. We had a few bonus hits on a size 10 olive/brown girdle bug.”

UO guide Israel:  “My clients have been most successful by running dry/dropper combos in the low water. Not much was hitting the surface, but we had good success success was the soft hackle pheasant tail dropper. These are from our new Soque River property.” 

UO guide Ben: “My two clients had a good morning on the water! Nacoochee Bend bows were eating small, non-beaded nymphs and soft hackles fished on 5 and 6X tippet in the low, clear water.”

Call the shop soon (706-878-3083) to reserve your preferred fishing dates, as our fall calendar is filling fast!


If you’d like to learn how to flyfish, check out our Gilligan Special. 


Warmwater Rivers:

No recent reports, as most folks’ attention has now turned to trout. The river at Highway 115 was low and clear today. I bet the crowds are now gone til next summer and you’d have a good float. Just use some brown trout techniques (stealth, longer casts, fluoro tippet) on them and you’ll get bit on your streamers, crawdad flies, and jigged soft plastics.

I did have one great September photo left over, so here’s to our company manager, Big Fish Jake, and his humility!


Hank the Yank said the Lanier surface bite died for him last week, but he’s hopeful that our cooler weather will drop reservoir temperatures and tempt Shad and bluebacks back to the surface.   He said: “ Slow on the pond. Scattered fishing for stripers and even the bass have become ghostlike...”


Academy Jack found some Lanier stripers, so check out his report in today’s GAWRD fishing blog.  Hopefully you’ve already signed up for direct delivery of that weekly intel to you via email or text.



UO friend Sautee: “Yesterday afternoon was another great day on the water. Windy with water temp of 46. Thought fish wouldn’t be looking up so I  tied on a half Chernobyl #10 for an indicator and a pheasant tail dropper. No action for a while, even after changing dropper 3 times (hare’s ear, prince nymph and rainbow warrior). Nothing. 45 minutes into the day, the wind dropped significantly and my first fish hit the half Chernobyl. Suddenly, every fish was looking up and hitting my indicator!  So, I cut off the dropper and fished the orange and brown half Chernobyl the rest of the evening. Good numbers of brookies and browns,  and hit the trifecta on my last fish of the day, a 10-inch rainbow. It was an unexpected surprise to fish on top all day and have the success I had. It made the long walk back to the car a joyful stroll through Rocky Mtn National Park.”


UO owner Jimmy: “My grandson, Crosby, was catching rainbows on the San Miguel River near Telluride, CO.  The guide was Jacob Ramirez (Crosby's "favorite" guide).  They were fishing a hopper/dropper.  The dropper was a size 16 Jig Halo nymph.  By the way, he was fishing a 2 wt. fiberglass rod!”


Remember that Jimmy will be giving a Sunday program at the Orvis-Atlanta store. See our prior post this week. Fishing manager Devin also posted a nice video fishing report to the store’s Instagram page today.

Enjoy the weather and the low, clear water. It’s a great time to explore these streams and memorize the trout hiding spots now, so you can return and cash in during winter’s high water. Daily air temps are perfect, trout have turned on, and the Braves and Dawgs are still in the championship race. Good luck choosing your hobbies this week. As for us, we’re certainly gonna fit in some “hydrotherapy” around the ball games. Call or stop in either UO store if you need hot flies and/or tips for your own October escapes.

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.


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