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, June 9, 2023

UO Fishing Report 6/9/23

Let’s call this week’s report “full summer mode, with a slight hint of spring.”  Last week was warm and very dry again.  Area trout streams are very low and the larger ones, where the tree canopy can no longer shade the entire channel, are heating up.  We’re not even fishing the afternoons in our rivers.  Colder water in headwaters and tailwaters makes them your trouting best bet. Fish the normal “hot” summer trout colors of tan & yellow (buoyant dries), black (ants & beetles), and green (inchworms). If it ever rains again, match the storm hatch with a red squirmy.

Your hint of spring is this cooler air that moved in last nite and that may hang around for several days. That will drop trout stream temps and enhance your catch rates.

Spawning gar have gone back downstream, but vacationing stripers remain in their upstream summer refuges. Resident river bass and bream fishing will improve with warming water and dropping flows. Pond bass and bream are still a great bet, while HenryC sees an uptick in reservoir spotted bass and carp action.

Enjoy the few pics and short prose in this post. But those of you who dig deeper and read our full report on the blog will catch more fish. Period. Wannabe anglers can give fishing a shot for free tomorrow, since Saturday’s another free fishing day as GA celebrates National Fishing and Boating Week.

Good luck. Be thankful that we’re just hazy and not smoke-choked down here, far away from Canada. We sure hope it rains hard for our our dear friends to the north!

Wes’ Hot Fly List:  

Elk hair caddis, micro chubby, parachute ant, knobbler sally, stimulator.

Nymphs & Wets:

green weenie, drowned ant, micro flexi girdle bug, Duracell, pheasant tail.

Streamers & warm water:

Amnesia bug popper (for bream), double barrel bass bug, polar changer, game changer popper, sweet baby cray.


Rain is scarce and headwaters remain low and clear, but cool enough for good action.  Spoilcane was 66F Wednesday at 5PM. 

Residents are spooky and many have already retreated to their summer drought refuges. Stealth is king. You may also need to drop down in fly and tippet size (and number of false casts) for softer landings and fewer spooked trout on your casts. This dose of colder mornings will help the bite, but we need some rain and higher flows to really boost the action.

UO buddy JT: “Early one morning, I hiked a couple of miles into a small blue line in northeast Georgia. My goal: catch a wild slam. 

The water level was low, but the temperatures were quite moderate. I ran a dry-dropper,  consisting of a Green Drake/Neversink Caddis & a green/grey gold-bead Hares Ear. The fish grabbed at both, but the dry was the favorite. 

Overall, after catching the elusive wild brown and a rainbow, the day was cut short by a rogue storm. Also, Fish were rising everywhere at around 11:00, but it died down until 3:00. If you can, try to get your spring action in while you can, even on smaller streams.”

My former co-worker, John “Deadly” Damer, told me about his great headwater brown trout trip. His pics and prose should be in today’s WRD weekly fishing blog.


NC streams are also very skinny but are cooler due to higher elevations.  The park’s overnight low air temps dip into the 40’s!  They are your best bet to “extend spring trout fishing” on freestone streams.  See Byron’s daily prospects here:


Stocker Streams:

The WRD trucks are running and stocker fishing is still superb. Just aim for mornings and cooler, shaded streams at higher elevations. Kids can enjoy the USFS kids fishing rodeo tomorrow morning on the Tallulah River. Kudos to our Rabun TU friends for their support of the event. More info on the USFS and Rabun TU FB pages.  Adults can enjoy those leftover stockers after the kids event concludes. Try a tiny black bugger and a #16 soft hackle dropper, swung then stripped slowly back upstream.

See the weekly trout stocking list here:



RonW: “Kurt and I hit B-Dam again today (6/3) and it didn't disappoint. We had boots in the water around 9:30 and were on fish immediately. 

We both started with dry dropper again  and stayed with that setup all day.   We netted around 20 fish each, all rainbows for me with most coming on the CDC/PT dropper. I did land 4 on the dry, 2 of them were blind and 2 were risers that I was targeting.  Kurt wore them out as well and landed a few nice browns, one of which he was nice enough to let me get picture of.

It was another great day on the water with  a great friend for some much needed hydrotherapy after a crazy work week.  We battled the wind most of the day, caught a bunch of fish and still found some risers....no complaints from this guy here.”

UO buddy CDB: “I had the opportunity to fish a section of the Toccoa, some non-DH trout waters, and some private water this week. With one exception, the common theme seemed to be “bronze” and deep. Pheasant Tail variations and a variety of bronze colored small jigs like CDC pheasant tails, dark Walt's Worms and small bronze mops were pretty solid producers.  All the takes were on the bottom fly fished about 6-10 inches off the bottom.  The exception?  The day after the hard rain, red squirmy worms were effective most of the morning. 

Streamer action was slow; a few fish early on black or dark olive colored patterns. 

Along the way we picked up a majestic Warpaint Shiner, very cool looking fish!”

Private Waters:  We are  watching water temps and are only fishing in the mornings right now.

UO guide Caleb:

“I had a productive Gilligan Soecial at The Bend late last week. The low water had the fish fairly spooky so presentation was the deciding factor. A hopper-dropper rig was productive using a micro-chubby with a brown girdle bug underneath. It was a really nice instructional trip for my client.”

More on our Gilligan:


UO guide Israel:”On a positive note,  all of our Soque Camp fish hit dry flies during our morning trip this week.  As the sun rose, the water warmed and the bite shut down around 10AM. 

The Hooch in Helen is also warming, so it’s just an early morning bite there, too.  The spawning gar are gone, but the stripers still reside in their summer vacation homes.”

UO guide Como:  “My guest had a really nice morning at Soque Camp. The resident rainbows took a special liking to my own nymph pattern, the Cajun Special in size 16.”

UO manager Jake introduced guides Ben and Caleb to our new water on Wednesday afternoon. Despite the warm, sunny day, the stream still ran a cool 66 degrees. The trio learned the water and tried multiple techniques (indi, dry/dropper, and Euro) with much success. They’re ready to guide clients on this pretty stretch of stream that’s full of spunky rainbows.

New UO buddy JW: “Made the trek up from middle GA Saturday afternoon, battling the Atlanta traffic (reminds self to order a Peach Pass). Stopped by UO for some wet wading gear and had the opportunity to pick Dredger’s brain for a few minutes. I was interested in running a dry dropper off of the euro rig and he set me up with some flies for the job. I headed up to my north face target stream and, after throwing a few horneyheads back that grabbed my nymph, the trout started to hit the surface. Landed this nice bow on the 3wt after it blew up on the yellow micro chubby. The couple hours of fishing made the couple hours in traffic well worth it!”

Warmwater Streams:

RSquared:  “Prior to GA Trout Camp this week, I was able to sling  some "Near- enough" crawfish patterns at several scrappy Shoal Bass!  For the past five summers, as the average daily temperature climbs, I turn my attention to our 10 Black Bass species and give Georgia's wild trout a break.”

UO owner Jimmy: “I got on the river after dinner Wednesday  night and got in an hour hunting Shoalies. Tried topwater and noise makers to no avail. Finally switched to a Ned Rig and brought 6 or 7 to hand before it started getting too dark.”

Small Lakes:

Athens MD: “The June full moon had local panfish all fired up over the last week or so in local small lakes and rivers. Pugilistic river redbreast were all over small nymphs presented hopper-dropper style in the evening. A relatively unusual warmouth approved of a beadhead Guide’s Choice-style nymph in a local lake. Finally, big (BIG) shellcracker in increasingly large sizes chased down brown rubber-legged dragons dredged slowly on or near the lake bottom--sometimes well past sunset. Of course the bluegill still came out to play as well. Get out there with your three weight before it gets too darn hot!”


HenryC: “Fishing is improving for flyrodders tossing topwater flies on Lake Lanier. The spots are starting to school a bit more and you can see them starting to chase herring on the surface. From onesies to groups of ten or more, it's time to chase some topwater on the pond. Some of the fish are 4+ lbs so it's not just small ones. This should continue to get better every week for the next 4-6 weeks. 

Carp are starting to show too. Water is still a little cold and they are positively still spawning but you can find a few singles to toss flies to. This should improve greatly over the next couple of weeks. Hot-town summer in the city!”


Breaking: as I write this report Friday at 8AM, Hank texts me from the lake. Topwater action this morning is great, and Lanier’s stripers have outnumbered spots by 8 to 1 so far!

Can y’all get a fresher fishing report than this???

Your wildlife agency always has a bunch of great weekly reservoir intel and some bonus trout tips in its blog, updated every Friday afternoon:



UO buddy Andres: “Enjoy a picture of a tarpon I caught a few weeks ago in Puerto Rico.”

The Best Bait:

Athens Jay had the best catch rates of us all during the last few weeks. He “cheated on his bait!”  Here’s his latest report fodder: “This is our UGA Warnell Fishes of Georgia Field Course. We spent 3 weeks traveling around the state sampling fish to see what they can tell us about the health of our aquatic systems.  It is a great annual effort to train our next generation of aquatic resource managers, complete with some real-world experiences.” 


That’s the latest from a hazy but not smoky northeast Georgia. Get your wide-brimmed hat, your sunscreen, and your wet-wading gear and have fun. Set that alarm clock early and take advantage of cooler water and better trout appetites at dawn. Or just paddle around a pond at dusk and enjoy the slurps of bream inhaling your bugs. There’s still plenty of action at hand, before summer’s steamy dog days send us and the fish toward cover. Good luck! Stop in our shop if we can help you out. After all, we are:

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.


No comments:

Post a Comment