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, October 27, 2023

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 10/27/23


Welcome back to another week of “flats fishing” for mountain trout.  Skinny, clear water has us thinking that we’re stalking bonefish instead of brookies and browns. But trouters with stealth, long leaders, and tiny bugs continued to score well. Fall dry fly fishing is a blast! The intel in our blog (what, how, when, and where) will boost your own catch rates. Don’t forget that GA DH streams open for business on November 1st, too!

Lake stripers have been temperamental, especially on top during the day. The nite bite is heating up, according to Grant and Joseph.  Bass were the better bet for Jake and Ben this week.

Fishing should only improve with dropping water temps and hopefully some rain in the forthcoming month.  Fishing’s pretty good right now and should be excellent when colder nights and higher streamflows hit us in November.


Remember to clean, inspect, and dry your gear between trips to different streams and states to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species like whirling disease. If you can afford such, consider a second pair of wading shoes.


Folks who dig deeper here will find our hot UO intel and boost their catch rates. Good luck this week!


Wes’ Hot Fly List:  

Dries:  Elk hair caddis, orange stimulator, parachute Adams, BWO, olive and cream midges.

Nymphs & Wets: Plus one, soft hackle pheasant tail, zebra midge, RS2, Twister egg.

Streamers & warm water:

(Trout) muddy buddy, jiggy fat minnow, (bass & stripers) clouser minnow, finesse changer.


UO buddy RSquared: “Low, clear water has made fishing for wild trout very technical. You will experience better success on some of the larger wild streams in WNC.  I have been using a neversink caddis  dry and dropping a size 16or 18 pheasant tail on 7x fluorocarbon below it. You will now have to compete with the countless leaves falling in the streams!”

Athens Jay: “Georgia trout waters are extremely low and in need of rain. When you spot fish in slow, calm water- they are very spooky and may ignore everything you present to them. I had better luck ignoring those fish, and scouting for deep runs with greater current velocity so that fish had to make a quick decision about eating. I had luck with a #16 brown Perdigon and a #12 variegated brown Rubberlegs, both under a tan Chernobyl (nothing  but Warpaint Shiners caught on the dry). Stealth is really important, and I fished a longer leader/tippet than usual. “

Delayed Harvest:

UGA 5Rivers Club leaders Vann and Conner: “Hey Dredger, We had a great weekend in Brevard. We were fishing the East Fork of the French Broad for most of the weekend, and they were hitting consistently on caddis/adams (usually size 18 and 20) and orange simulators (size 14 and 16). They were also hitting on size 16 and 18 pheasant tails and hares ear as well. We are going to get some of our other members to shoot you a report as well.”

Fellow 5River clubber Cooper: “On Saturday, North Mills was difficult! If you wanted to catch a trout you had to blend in, be quiet, and fish natural flies. Later that day the club moved to the East Fork of the French Broad River. The water was low so fish were willing to rise. Double digits were caught with a double-dry, Parachute Adams & Light Cahill, and a dropper with a hares ear shape and olive green color.

Dredger slipped back up to Nan DH last Monday and had a big time with his flimsy dry fly rod. Surface sippers were keyed in on the tiny, emerging BWO’s. His #24 olive midge was good enough to match the hatch and he picked off risers in just one long, slow pool for 90 minutes. More trip details are in yesterday’s UO post.


Don’t forget the November 1 kickoff for Georgia’s DH streams. Give those fine state & federal fish-tossers that full day on the 1st to distribute trout with their bucket-toting TU volunteers. Then have some fun from the 2nd onward. For new folks, remember the GADH online stream maps. On the WRD trout page, scroll down to the “trout fishing opportunities” tab, then click on the DH stream names in blue font. Start your digging here:


Stocker Streams:

Leftovers are still around, especially on the larger streams that likely got more fish.  Cover a lot of ground to pick off the leftovers, which are mainly browns. And some stockers are now looking for real bugs, so consult Wes’ hot fly list.



HenryC: “I used one of my cancelled lake days to hit the Hooch and fish for trout with a couple of good customers. Fun was had and a wild brown about 14+" was caught on a yellow streamer. Thank goodness for fish with dots...”

WRD biologist Hunter Roop and his partners have some excellent tailwater intel and pics in today’s WRD weekly fishing blog:


Private Waters: 

UO-Helen manager Wes: “The name of the game while fishing private waters right now is stealth, patience, and a clean drift. I did a couple of guide trips this week and we were able to catch some nice fish. However, with the low flows, a longer leader and a drag-free drift are more important than fly selection at the moment.

Soft hackles, pheasant tails, Zebra midges, and eggs worked well for me this week. Dropping down to lighter tippet like 5X & 6X will produce more strikes as well.”

UO guide Caleb: “Rainbow Point on the Soque fished very well Thursday morning. Early we caught several on a size 20 PMD and couple on a WD-40 underneath it. Once the sun poked its head out we had to switch tactics. A double nymph rig was on fire using a small pheasant tail and an egg pattern.”

UO guide Ben: “Peyton and his dad had a great time fishing Rainbow Point with me this week.  This brown trout was definitely the highlight of the trip.”

Check out our guided trips here, then call the shop (706-878-3083) to reserve your slot:


Warmwater Streams: no recent reports, as most of our folks’ attention has now turned to trout.

Small Lakes: No recent reports. Subsurface bassin’ should be good for another month or so before dropping water temps slow down the bite.


 Ben Smith, Jake Darling, and Jacob Brewster had “a good day on the lake,” catching some nice bass on one of Georgia’s great highland, herring fisheries.  They found fish both deep and shallow. Stop in UO’s Clarkesville  store for the skinny on lures and techniques to lip more of these fat fall spots and largemouths in our mountain reservoirs.

Hank: “Positively beautiful sunrises and sunsets are in store for Lake Lanier this fall. Unfortunately I moved all my trips this week out a week as the bite just disappeared. The likely culprit is lake stratification.  Even the bait guides struggled this week. But not to worry as we fully expect this will change again shortly, maybe on the backside of this weekend’s full moon. This happens every year and thankfully it's short-lived. Once we get thru this phase, the fish again will feed on top and visual fishing will be at its best for the next several months! You can catch a trip with me here:


UO staffers Grant and Joseph: “Striper fishing on Lanier is picking up.  We’re starting to see more and more bigger fish on the lights. Find some night lights away from the wind and in deeper water to find the bigger fish. Using a full sinking line and letting a heavier fly sink is the key,  unless you are able to see the fish swimming shallow and chasing bait.”

UO buddy Landon aka Gilligan:  “No stripers coming up during our Lanier trip, but we did find some healthy spots chasing bluebacks for the little bit of fishing we did. Our Fuel/ water separator went out on the engine and we coudln’t get it going again. We used the trolling motor to get to the 2-mile ramp and wait for backup to rescue us!”

Enjoy this fine fall weather on your favorite water. Stop in either UO shop (Helen and Clarkesville). We’ll be sure to show you the low-water tricks to score more treats while we await November’s rains. Good luck and thanks for your business and friendship!

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.


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