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, November 24, 2022

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report -11/25/22

I was gonna wait until Friday for this report so I could see how the rains would affect weekend trout waters.  But the updated forecast suggests that we’ll only get about 1/4 inch by noon tomorrow and then it will clear out til late Saturday, when an inch or more of rain could blow out larger streams on Sunday. So you still have 1.5 days of decent opportunity ahead of you.  If the water is stained, throw some squirmies!

Given that weather window, here’s a UO holiday gift that might help you plan your post-turkey stream treks. If you think your plate was full today, just wait til you see the heaping helpings of reports from our staff and friends.

Your bottom lines are: 1) headwaters should fish okay, especially on your wet droppers. Warmer air temps have those wild fish slightly thawed out from last week’s freeze. Aim for the afternoon warmth.  2) DH streams will fish well. You have fresh, naive dumplings from last week and the experienced, first batch of fall stockers to choose from. Streamflows are still low, but water temps are pretty good. Stay deep, though.  3) lake spots and stripers are still a run-and-gun game, but hefty size is making up for numbers. A double-digit striper is worth the boat gas burned.

Good luck. Check out our full reports via the link on our home page and our weekend sales at both UO stores. Get outside and burn off some of today’s calories!

Wes’ Hot Fly List:  

Dries: comparadun BWO, Griffith gnat, parachute Adam’s, micro chubby for dry dropper.

Nymphs & Wets:

Peach egg, oops, Ruby midge, lightning bug, soft hackle partridge, split case BWO.

Streamers & warm water:

Simi seal leech, sparkle minnow, finesse changer, clouser minnow.


Thawing out from last week. Still skinny, so try dry/dropper rigs. Anything on dries will be a bonus; most fish should aim for your small, dark wets and nymphs. Use droppers with a tungsten bead or add a size 6 or 8 tin shot about 5 inches above your unleaded bug.

Smokies intel here:


Ricardo grabbed both his  boys and did a trout trek north from Columbus last week. They stopped by our Helen shop first for hot flies and timely intel. They were lucky enough to snag one open Smithgall spot, so older son Zach gave the trophy stream his first shot. And scored! He landed three bows to about 17 inches and lost an epic battle with a monster. His hot bugs were a pink squirmy with a tiny soft hackle midge dropped off the back.

Monday found the trio perched along Smith Creek DH.  As I watched, both boys were scoring and therefore earned some honorary Rabunite handles. They’ll now be known streamside as Zacuum and BigBrookie! Caution: don’t fish behind them because there won’t be many leftovers for you.

Delayed Harvest:

Here’s a reminder that GAWRD spiced up our streams for the holiday. Our SC friends did the same:



Roswell’s Hartley trio hit Dukes and Smith last Saturday and had a good day. They got a few nice bows in a frigid Smithgall AM session that froze fingers and inhibited their knot tying. They thawed out on Smith after lunch and steadily picked off fish on small egg and nymph patterns, often with a twitch.

Rookie flyfisher Gavin (age 13): “I just am starting out fly fishing and it is really fun and interesting.  I am so grateful for guys like Uncle Ken and others for reaching out and helping young kids like me get started and giving some pointers. I think that people should just try it. We had fun at Smith Creek on Monday and I caught two trout.”

UO buddy RonW:  “Kurt and I ventured up to the Toccoa DH last Saturday (19th) . We arrived at 8am to be the first ones there, not surprising as it was a toasty 26F outside.  Fishing was slow for me, with only a few fish to hand all day. I committed to the streamer again as I was wanting to try out some new patterns I tied up.

Kurt fished legs and eggs for most of the day and did much better than me, with over a dozen to hand. The highlight of the day was when a Northern Hogsucker smashed my Woolly Muddler.  A 1st for me and a new species on the fly.  It was another fantastic day on the water as always. Hydrotherapy needs were met and zen mode was reached. Now, bring on the turkey.”

New UO buddy Athens Matt: I fished the border river DH one day last week, starting around noon. Caught a bunch of rainbows and a couple brookies.  Most were around 12in and a couple were pushing 16in. I was euro nymphing with tungsten prince nymphs and hare’s ears.  Although flows were low, it was a nice afternoon on a beautiful piece of water.”

UO buddy RSquared: “Friday was a beautiful, clear, cold day. Steve W. & I drove north to fish my favorite Ga. DH stream. Steve waded while I floated the length of the DH section in my belly-boat. It quickly became evident the stocking truck had not been there since the initial release of trout. I had to fish hard by dredging nymphs to land a handful of brightly coloured rainbows. However, the stocking trucks were rolling this week and all of our DH stream's now have fresh fish in them!!! “

Rodney’s second story: “Monday the North Paulding High School Fly Fishing & Cold-Water Conservation Club formed a bucket brigade & helped Ga. DNR stock the Amicalola DH. When the work ended, volunteers from the Cohutta Chapter of Trout Unlimted helped the club members fish. Every student caught trout. For two student's, it was their first fish on a fly rod!”


UO friend Hillis: “Monday and Tuesday of this week a fishing buddy and I fished the DH sections of the Tuck (well, we tried to fish the Tuck), Nan, and Fires over a two-day period. My fishing buddy prior to our trip checked the release schedule for the Tuck.  I should have checked it also, but I didn't, and we should have checked it that morning, but we didn't. Apparently  the release schedule changed, as about an hour into our fishing the water started to rise. Fortunately we were close enough to shore to exit without any problem. I had one hook up while on the river, but did not land it. My fishing buddy caught a couple. 

It was early afternoon so we decided to drive to the Nan and fish it. It was cold and dreary, and water was low. Arriving around 2 we fished for 2-3 hours.  My buddy caught several, but I failed to catch any. We did not catch many fish the first day out, regardless it was a fun day. 

The next day we fished the DH section of Fires. As with the Nan, the water was very low, maybe the lowest we have seen it, but we had a decent day. I found fish podded up in a deep pool. Every time I thought about leaving the hole I would catch a fish and as a result I would decide to stay a bit longer, so ended up fishing the same hole for quite a while. Couldn't get any action on any of my techniques or flies until I started stripping and twitching (furious twitching) an olive woolly trailed by an olive beaded soft hackle caddis or a hot spot pheasant tail.  Fish hit both the woolly and the trailer.  The twitching drove the fish wild.  Most of the time they missed, but they hooked up enough to make it a lot of fun. Our duo had a great trip north.”

UO guide Palmer: “I fished the Tuck last weekend. Fish were taking streamers of various size and color as well as junk flies.”


UO buddy Splatek: “MiniMe’s mom took him to last week’s Whitewater Park bucket brigade on the Hooch with the GAWRD hatchery folks. He had a blast stocking trout and then catching four on pink leeches.”

Given the recent bucket brigade, the Whitewater Creek and Paces Mill accesses should fish well if the Tailwater doesn’t get blown out.

Stocker Streams:

Broken record:  slim pickings during the off-season as hatchery space is filled with subcatchables being grown for next spring.  Try Vogel Lake, the 2 tailwaters, and any public accesses below DH reaches, where you can pick up some wanderers. Both GA tailwaters  got a pre-holiday helping from GAWRD.  The border river’s bridge crossings are good spots, too.

Private Waters:

UO guide Israel: “The Soque has fished well. Given the low flows, the small stuff like a ruby midge, root beer midge, and partridge and orange soft hackle have been the best producers.”

The story has been the same at Nacoochee Bend: smaller eggs, nymphs, soft hackles, and midges have been most effective as flows receded.

Warmwater Rivers:

UO buddy Landon: I waded the Upper Oconee a couple days ago. The had a bit of stain, so I bumped low and slow with a black trickworm on a shaky head to land 3 spots up to 15 inches.”


HenryC: “Striper fishing on Lanier remains unpredictable. That being said,  there have been some great opportunities BUT anglers need to make every shot count. You might get 1 shot or a dozen on a trip. You have to fish within your emotions of seeing BIG fish busting the surface and maintaining your composure to make the quick cast, retrieve properly and keep your head in the game. It's not easy fishing for those having not seen this crazy commotion going on for 30 or 60 seconds before it happens again. However that being said, it's way too much fun to experience. Bass fishing is okay at best. This season feels like we are slightly behind our normal fishing calendar.”



UO staffer Joseph: “Here’s some redfish from the forgotten coast. Sight fishing conditions have been tough with high winds and cloudy days but I managed this guy on a small ep crab today.  Overall there’s a ton of fish shallow and shots at fish are not scarce. The hard part has been seeing them before they see you with those lower light conditions mentioned earlier. “

UO owner Jimmy just returned from four days of Bahamas bonefishing with his FL  buddy, Rusty. 


Jimmy said the fishing, food, and fellowship among their 6-member group were great. The first bone was a big one and burned him. After that, he shook off his saltwater “rust” and landed enough bones up to five pounds to be tired at the end of each day. They were hot fish and he had his doubts whether he could land anything bigger.   Poor boy; our hearts really bleed for him…

We hope you enjoy this second helping of holiday intel.   Stop in either UO store to warm up, snag some fresh intel, and knock out a holiday gift or two. Remember our Black Friday deals, too.  Good luck!

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.


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