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 25, 2023

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report 8/25/23

It looks like we’ve got to bear this summer heat just a bit longer until some cooler nights arrive next week. Hopefully some rain will accompany the break in the heat wave, too.

Currently streams and rivers remain warm, clear, and low!  Given those conditions, avoid headwater trout streams unless they’re on north slopes or across our northern border.  Hit those streams during cooler mornings.


Best bets right now are 1) river bass and bream and 2) stockers and tailwater trout when the sun isn’t baking you, and 3) tying fall flies in your air-conditioned dens. The river bass bites have been good. Just aim for the low light of dawn, dusk, and tree -lined banks.

Check out our complete intel in UO’s full report at 


Caleb’s Hot Fly List:  

(He pinch-hit for Wes this week)


tan ek hair caddis, parachute ant, 409 Yeager

Nymphs & Wets:

Black zebra midge, drowned ant, Squirmy worm, Walt’s worm

Streamers & warm water:

Sculpin sparkle minnow, amnesia bug, shad finesse changer, black mohair leech


Forget most GA streams, unless they are real high and facing north. Two tribs high above Helen today were already 68 and 70F at 9AM!  

That’s too hot to fish them. My WRD friend, Burton Hatchery manager Colt, said Moccasin is topping out at 70 as it enters his hatchery. 

NC’s 5,000 ft-high mountains and more abundant rainfall make their higher trout streams a better bet if you need a wild trout fix. I did some recons this week and found afternoon water temps of 62 in the headwaters and 66 a few miles downstream in the high elevation streams of the Nan National Forest and the Smokies. Their flows have dropped and the water is crystal clear, so fish are super spooky. Lower elevations are heating up, so go high.  Go early if you can for the colder water and lower light. Stay til 6PM for the park elkjams near Cherokee. Check Byron’s daily angling intel here:


Stocker Streams:

Just hit them early and keep what you catch, up to your legal limit. Given the combined stressors of hot water and angling stress, they’ll soon be good for either raccoons or y’all.

Stay current with WRD’s Friday  stocker reports here: 



No reports this week. On the Hooch, affected by Lanier stratification, the dissolved oxygen will be better below Highway 20. On both the Hooch and Toccoa, the lower ends of trout water may be heating up, so use your thermometers and aim for upstream, cooler sites. There’s a good Toccoa overview in today’s WRD weekly blog:


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

Warmwater Streams: 

It’s still a great time to hit them with a medium fly outfit (5-7weight), some poppers and streamers, and long casts, thanks to a wide river channel and no trees to snag those backcasts. Low, clear water will bunch up the predators as they try to avoid being eaten themselves. Don’t let this low-water window of opportunity pass y’all by.  Despite some local storms last nite, both the Hooch and Chestatee were clear when I drove over them today.

Ole reliable RSquared checked in:

“This past week I was able to fish in the Helen area of White County for the rare & beautiful Chattahoochee Bass. I was blessed to land several fish, two of which were long enough to qualify for the 2023 Ga. Bass Slam. The bass were hitting Boogle bug poppers on top and squirmy worms sub-surface.” 

 UO manager Jake had a good week. His best shoalie stretched to 22.25 inches. He says: “River bass fishing has remained consistent this week. With the low flows and clear water, anglers should downsize their offerings and be stealthy in their approach. The mornings and late evenings have been the best producing times, as the temps are skyrocketing once the sun gets high. Pick up some small topwater bugs and cool off wading your favorite warm water stream this weekend.”

Dredger made several trips north of the border this week and did okay on smallies. Nothing big (best was 12 inches), but all were fun.  Some took a black stealth bomber tossed under the late afternoon shade of tree branches. A few more took the black RLD dropper under the bug. And the best bunch ate a white stealth bomber, dead drifted during the last hour before dark. Fish these bass like wild browns and you’ll do okay. And you might spot a bald eagle, too.

Athens MD reports: “ I’m in Charlottesville, VA for the month of August, and despite being really busy, I was able to get out on a local river on a recent Sunday evening to wet-wade for smallmouth bass. Water was low and clear, and taking a moment to stand and observe revealed a number of fish in the deeper pools. They nipped at my Barr’s Meat Whistles in various colors, but really responded to small gray feather gamechangers on a sink tip line. The fish landed weren’t huge, but a couple of misses by larger fish in the really deep pools have me planning a trip back one evening soon!”

UO guide Devin found his first smallies far to the north and said he had a blast with this new species. He fished the upper peninsula of Michigan with Superior Outfitters in Marquette, Michigan.  The Dead Ned crayfish pattern did the trick.

Small Lakes: No reports. Try them at low light, especially when the water is a bit cooler at dawn. A lot of fish will pack under overhanging tree limbs for ant and beetle snacks.


Hank sez: “Lake fishing for spots is still going on fairly consistently. There are days where topwater is slower than other days but overall it's worth going and tossing topwater flies and lures on points and humps with brush on it. Some schooling is taking place and if they aren't seen on top then tossing a fluke on spinning tackle is a great searching pattern. We are now on the August blue moon so fishing over the next week should be good. 

Carp are still fishable when the conditions exist.  Enjoy the pic of a great father & son duo, our favorite Falcon, LB Nate Landman and his dad. We had a nice trip this week.”



UO buddy Athens Jay took time off from the river to welcome a new litter of pups. He excitedly reports that the first meeting of the year for the UGA Five Rivers Club drew 42 students! That’s a lot of prospective fly anglers and conservationists!

That’s the latest news in our dog day report. It’s a really hot home stretch, but I’m seeing some 60/80 degree forecasts for next week. Here’s to river bassin’ while we await the cool-down. Stop by either UO store for some air conditioning while you stock up for fall and swap fish stories. 

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.


No comments:

Post a Comment