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, July 6, 2023

UO Fishing Report 7/6/23

Welcome to summer in Georgia, as we deal with July’s heat and humidity.  Area trout streams are seasonably low and warm, with your coldwater opportunities limited to the highest mountains and icy region tailwaters.

Rivers are rebounding after recent storms and should provide some decent bass and bream opportunities until the next storm muddies them up again.

Small lakes are still good. Just fish them in the shade and shadows.

Reservoirs are decent for bass, while stripers are slowing as they head deep or way upriver to avoid 80 degree surface temperatures. Here’s the latest intel from our guides and friends:

Wes’ Hot Fly List:  

(Same as last week)

Dries: Stimulator, parachute ant, micro chubby, humpy, elk hair caddis, parachute Adams

Nymphs & Wets: improved yallarhammer, green weenie, drowned ant, tungsten redneck.

Streamers & warm water: Amnesia bug popper (for bream), double barrel bass bug, clouser minnow, finesse changer, micro bugger.


Small streams are low, skinny, and warm. Three Hooch tribs ran 64, 65, and 66F when I checked them from 8 to 9 this morning. Blueline fans have three options: 1) leave wild trout alone and aim for bass and bream, 2) go real high for early morning sessions, especially on north slope streams (use your thermometer), 3) go north to the Smokies, where higher elevations and frequent storms still have those streams in great shape.

Toss the normal summer favorites of tan caddis, small chubbies and stimmies, ants, and beetles. Try a green weenie to match the inchworm hatch.

UO buddy MB: “I got out again Monday morning.  More adventure than fish.  Walked up a gated forest road until it crossed water above a barrier falls. Fished down to falls and then picked up the trail that ended up downstream .  Got a handful of these gems, all this size, on an elk hair caddis and pheasant tail dropper. It was a fun morning of chasing specks.”

The Smokies are looking good, thanks to frequent thunderstorms. Many streams are currently flowing higher than normal.  Check out Byron’s rosy report and hot tips here:


Stocker Streams:

Tomorrow’s stocking list should be a lot shorter than last week’s. There will still be some great opportunities to get kids on some fish. Aim for higher elevation creeks and downsize your baits and lures to finesse those fish in low, clear flows. The Friday list will be here:



UO buddy RonW: “Kurt and I hit the dam again from 8am to 1pm on 7/3 and just about had the Hooch to ourselves. 

We both fished dry/dropper all day, with a fair mix of fish on both.  I caught about 16 or so and Kurt was easily over 2 dozen.

It was another great day on the water with the fish looking up.  We sure are lucky to have such a great fishery right in our backyard! “

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

Warmwater Streams:

UO buddy Landon: “We fished Amicalola Sunday morning after a front of rain. Did okay on Coosa bass for numbers but buddy didn't catch one big enough for bass slam.  A wacky-rigged senko was the bait of choice.  Dahlonega area streams were unfishable, due to storms, to try for shoal bass or Chattahoochee bass.

Small Lakes:

UO friend Athens Jay: “I made a brief paddleboard excursion for the evening bite last weekend. Despite the heat, bass were willing to chase streamers and didn’t seem to have a color preference. I did slow my retrieve a bit, and fished 3-5 feet off the bank. This conehead sparkle minnow worked great as did the black articulated stuff I usually throw. I fished a 7-wt rod with floating line and fluorocarbon leader. “


HenryC: “Little has changed except that the bass and striper fishing is seeing more fish on points and humps then at the seawalls. Water temps are now pushing 83 degrees and the stripers will become less active over the next several weeks as the temps continue to push up. Conventional is easily outperforming fly rod but you can fish either way.

Carp fishing is finished until the Park Service deems the river safe due to the sewage spill.”


Jimmy and his visiting DC buddy, Joel, got on Lanier at dawn last Sunday morning and chased spots and stripers occasionally busting the surface in pursuit of bluebacks. Joel scored a spot and a largemouth on the fly, a pole dancer. 

UO young gun Ben:”Summertime Bass: Summer is here! so where do they go? One big tip I like to give people when fishing in the summer, especially in lakes, is to keep an eye on the thermocline. Below it, the oxygen is low and bass will avoid that deeper water.  Bass generally will relate to varying different offshore structures, such as brush, rock, humps and main lake points, however don’t be afraid to fish shallow.  

What to look for when fishing shallow?  When I say shallow, I mean a depth range of 1ft to 10ft, depending on what the main food source is.  It’s also very important to note that bass love hard structure weather that be docks, shallow rock, and shallow brush.  Picking areas that are shallow but close to deep water can also help,  so try spots near the main creek or river channel.

Here’s a list of my top 5 lures that may help you catch more Bass in the summer. 

1. Top water plugs.

2. Jig or Texas-rigged creature bait.

3. Square-bill crank bait.

4. Shaky head worm.

5. Soft plastic swim baits.”


UO young gun Joseph continues his fine summer employment in Alaska. We’re getting regular doses of fish pics. We hope you enjoy them, too.

That’s the latest intel we’ve gathered since the holiday weekend.  Good luck as we all enter the dog days of summer. Stop in either UO store for your summer bugs, sunscreen, and sizzlin’ intel to help you enjoy some hot action in hot weather.

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.


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