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, August 11, 2023

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report 8/11/23

This week’s report is as skinny as our trout streams. Few folks took fishing trips around here in the recent hot weather, which is coming back soon after these few storm fronts pass.  Best bets are tailwater trout, pond and lake bass, and a plane ticket to the Rocky Mountains. Check out our full report at:


Wes’ Hot Fly List:  


Parachute ant, Royal Wulff, yellow humpy, micro chubby.

Nymphs & Wets:

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

Streamers & warm water:

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


Boy, are our bluelines skinny! And those south slope streams are still too hot to fish for trout on most days. The storm fronts have been fast and weak, with rainfall running off so quick that streamflows plummet back to drought levels in just a few hours.  


Try north slopes and North Carolina’s high elevations to find colder, fishable trout water.  Notice how much higher the park streams are flowing! Check out Byron’s daily park reports here before your burn your expensive gas. And remember your daily Smokies parking pass.


I did sneak out this morning, right behind the storm front, and found some 66-degree water high above Helen. I landed a bunch of little wild bows up to 7 inches on a small orange stimulator and a tan elk hair caddis when one fell apart after multiple attacks. 

Fish were in drought mode and packed into the scarce pools and deeper, shaded riffles and runs. I walked past a lot of skinny water to find decent spots to fish. It was still a fun 2.5 hour session while the clouds were out, keeping air and water temperatures down.

Stocker Streams:

I’m rerunning last week’s info. Harvest a few WRD stockers during a morning fishing/swimming trip with your kids. You can have some decent stocker success up to about 68-69 degrees.  

See todays’s fresh WRD stocker report here: 


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.

Tailwaters: No reports again from our regulars this week. Web reports show that both the  Buford and Blue Ridge tailwaters are still fishing well.  Just go when the sun is low so you don’t get baked by the midday sun.

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

Warmwater Streams: 

No action this week from my UO contacts, as periodic storms have kept our local rivers very muddy. 

I did sneak up to Helen yesterday evening, after the storm muddied up the Hooch. 

By 7PM it still had quite a bit of stain and I was fired up for an epic night of striper action in this cloudy water! My hopes heightened when, on my third cast, a striper blew up on my game changer as I swung it through a fast run. It was a short strike and I struck out.  In fact, all I got was one more follow in the next two hours.  Like the Braves, I went home defeated. But it was still nice to chuck the 8-weight for an evening of anticipation. It only takes one eat to turn a skunk into a home run, so I’ll be back.

Small Lakes:

No reports. They should still fish well at low light and in the shade.


Hank’s still on ‘em:  “Bass fishing appears to have slowed a tad this past week likely due to not being on a good moon phase. Didn't raise as many fish BUT we did raise and hook a few stripers on topwater. While striper season won't likely begin until October,  there are a few fish chasing bait near the surface, but nothing you can count on. We will be on the new moon next week and will determine whether the topwater bass bite is starting to fizzle. Once we get toward end of summer we tend to see better fishing when the Corps is generating, which occurs in the late afternoon.

Carp fishing is an unknown as the weather and inconsistency of generation schedule is not allowing us to fish much.  C’mon September!”



UO’s friendly Cajun guide, Como, just got back from a great trip to Colorado. He hit six rivers and three lakes during the 10-day jaunt and caught bows, browns, brookies, and greenback cutts. A hopper/perdigon dropper was the winning combo in most places, while tiny (#22-24) midges were required to fool tailwater fish. Alas, no fish pics, as Como sadly reported that the smart phone in his pants pocket wasn’t as waterproof as he had hoped.

Fellow Rabunite JK is working at Yellowstone Park this summer. He’s keeping us entertained with fish and bear stories from his off days as he hits all of the park’s noteworthy waters.

UO escapee Joseph checked in from Alaska: “The bead bite is here! The salmon have been here for a couple of weeks now and we are finally starting to get some action on bead fishing. The bigger rivers still seem to be slower but the smaller creeks are heating up quickly. We fished one of the tributaries on Tuesday with these guests and ended up having a 25 fish day. Lots of rainbows with some bigger grayling in the mix. Fishing is only going to get better from here on out. Enjoy this pic of Noah’s second grayling ever!”

That’s the latest batch of skinny news from our warm, skinny waters. Get some home chores done and restock your fly boxes for fall, as we continue to wait for some cooler and wetter weather to wake our fish up from their summer slumbers. Stop in either store for a shot of air conditioning and consolation for your short menu of angling options. We feel your pain.

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.


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