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 28, 2023

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report 7/28/23


Too. Darn. Hot.

That summarizes last week’s results and this week’s prospects. Scarce rainfall and steamy nights have shut down the bite on our wild trout waters, but trouters can still chase lethargic mountain stockers and spunky tailwater residents in their winter water.  The bass bite is still good in rivers when they’re clear between showers and on Lanier’s offshore humps.  It’s prime time out west, and we have some great reports and pics from our Rockies vacationers. 

Just like the dead of winter, the heat of summer is a mighty fine time to tie, so look ahead to your cool season fly needs and start tying now to restock your trout boxes. We can never have too many caddis, pheasant tails, and squirmies, right?

Here’s what we scrounged up from our few reporters who braved our heat wave or flew past it to Montana. Enjoy our full report at blog.angler.management.

Wes’ Hot Fly List:  

Dries: Parachute ant, yellow or orange stimulator, micro chubby, foam beetle.

Nymphs & Wets:

Hard body ant, green weenie, prince, hares ear, squirmy worm (for stockers). 

Streamers & warm water:

Double barrel popper, jiggy craw, mr wiggly, low fat minnow, finesse changer.


Our state’s  bluelines are real low and just too darn hot to fish for wild trout.  The three high Hooch tribs that I checked at 9AM today ran 67, 68, and 69F.  Give their little wild residents a break until this weather breaks with cooler nights and some recharging rains. Chase our resident warmwater species or harvest a few WRD stockers during a morning trout trip with your kids. Check the latest stocking list here:


Smokies streamflows are a bit better than ours. Waters are warm at lower park elevations, but better up high for any blueline fans hankering for a road trip. Check out Byron’s daily park reports here:


New UO friend CooperH said his duo fished two White County streams one morning this week and caught a handful of stocked and wild bows on dries.

Dredger visited one of his favorite bluelines this week, but the water was too warm for trout survival after their release. Instead of fishing there, he detoured to Unicoi Lake and got a brief flyfishing fix via a handful of small redbreast sunfish that ate his orange stimulator.

Stocker Streams:

Hit them early in the morning.  Stockers are domesticated strains and don’t survive well in the wild. By program design, they’re meant to be harvested, so take some home for supper. Light lines, small hooks (#10 or #12), and small baits usually work better for warm summer stockers with limited appetites. The same goes for your flies, so try swinging small (#16-18) soft hackles on 5X or 6X tippet.


They are a best (only?) bet for this state’s late summer trout, thanks to their stored winter waters. Squirmies and buggers work well on recent stockers, while hatch-matching midges and small nymphs or soft hackles, dropped off the back of your favorite, fluffy  dry fly, work well on wild fish and holdovers. Always check the generation schedules before you go and have an exit strategy if you detect a sudden, unexpected rise in flow. A PFD is a great idea, too.

UO friend Mo:  “Our trio fished the dam last Saturday. It was windy, the water has definitely started losing its clarity and fish were snooty. We all managed at least a dozen each to hand, however - a mix of scrappy browns and rainbows - but we LDR’d or lost just as many at our feet due to subtle takes and tiny flies. 

Still, a great day on the river and great catch rate for about five hours we spent on the water. Had some takes on the dry but most of the action was subsurface. Tiny midge imitations in #20-22 worked very well. Had to be on or very near the bottom to get a bite. A Size 16 dyret was responsible for the takes up top.”

Private Waters:  No reports. Larger streams are shut down for the summer to give their trophy trout a break. 

Warmwater Streams: 

New daddy Landon snuck away for a few hours and found a handful of small shoalies that took a liking to his stealth bomber.

UO owner Jimmy: “We were off the new moon by a few days and the fishing really showed it. Topwater and streamers were slow to produce as we started our evening trip fishing through a torrential downpour for about 20 minutes.  It was fun as Devin wanted to know more about where and how to fish for Shoal Bass. You go when you can!”

Dredger ran north of the border on Monday afternoon in search of some summer smallies. Before departing, he saw that the  online gage showed a flow spike and tempered his enthusiasm, but he went anyway. He packed his Plan B trout stuff in case of a muddy water detour.

But he found three feet of visibility and a few river fish with good eyesight in dingy water. Only one dink ate his topwater bug, but he managed a half dozen dredged bronzebacks up to 16 inches on either a woolly bomber or a chartreuse bunny clouser.


HenryC: “Bass fishing on Lanier is still going strong with fish being taken on topwater flies and lures (lures are more effective). Fish have moved off onto the deeper side of the humps and points with 25-35' being the magic depth. Throw over the brush and you will get the strikes. Fish can be caught throughout the day and if you fish when COE is generating the bite further south is even better. Walk the dog baits are still best.”



UO buddy CDB: “Spent the last week high in the Colorado mountains. Staying at 9,100 feet made the warm weather quite pleasant, actually. Highs in the low 80s on the warmest days. 

Wet wading was at times breathtaking. And not just because of the fish! In the canyon below Cheeseman dam, the water was shockingly cold. A long hike in, but well worth it. As seems to be the case with most western Tailwaters, the fish were really focused on the smaller stuff. No luck on streamers.  The Trico hatch was a near spiritual experience. Size 22 trico. Don’t ever look at these in your home water either.  They are small, but they can be quite productive, sometimes on the largest trout.   PMDs were also good. In the canyon proper, things really haven’t changed in 20 years. RS2 flies were a consistent producer again size 20-24. They always have small RS2, WD-40’s, and Tiny Tailwaters with me. They’re consistent producers on all of my favorite western streams. The fish here, as in many of our western waters are stunningly gorgeous.   

As a note, if you head out, please make sure you thoroughly clean your waders and boots before going.   And if you fish multiple streams, takes a couple minutes to scrape off the gravel, and clean them. Some basic 409 cleaning solution, and a spray bottle goes a long way if you’re in a remote camp. Let’s protect these gorgeous beauties!”

I stopped by Armuchee yesterday to visit with some of my old work buddies. WRD’s John “Deadly” Damer had another great summer fishing vacation with his father and brother. Their Montana streams produced some really nice bows and browns on caddis and mayfly dries, as well as ants and beetles. Thanks to heavy snows last winter, regional streamflows were excellent.

AWOL UO’er Joseph is still rubbing it in with his Alaska pics and videos. Looks like he’s enjoying his summer gig while we enjoy his photos.

That’s the latest from the steamy northeast Georgia mountains. Take advantage of low, clear river flows for resident bass while you await a cool summer storm and hot trout bite during the brief storm surge.  Don’t forget to restock those fly boxes, too. Stop in either UO store for a shot of air conditioning and some flies or tying supplies to prepare you for fall.

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.


No comments:

Post a Comment