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.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Rx for Lanier Fall Striper Success

Finally, we have cooling air and water temperatures that signal another fall striper season on Lanier. To help you successfully chase these striped torpedoes, UO’s own Joseph Clark, a Lanier regular, offers these tips. He says:

“I really enjoy hunting Lanier’s fall stripers and spots. It’s a challenge and sometimes we zero, but we often connect with some great fish that test our fly reel drags and tippets.

First we hunt, per THE Lanier expert, Henry Cowen. 

If you don’t have a copy yet of his tell-all book, add it to your Christmas list.  Better yet, don’t wait. Grab one at our Helen store or online now:


We use our past experience, recent reports from fishing buddies, the birds (herons, diving gulls, and loons), good pair of binoculars, and our electronics to search for baitfish and locate the predators behind them.

For rods a beefy 7-9 weight stick is needed for casting sinking lines in windier conditions and for fighting bigger gamefish. As far as fly reels go, bigger large arbor reels to accommodate the bigger rods work the best. Reels should also have sturdy drag systems for stopping screaming stripers. 

The SA camo intermediate and the sonar titan are my go-to lines for the lake. The intermediate is ideal for fish feeding near the surface and the sonar titan is great for getting down to the deeper schools of fish. It really pays off to have both lines on rigged rods in the boat at all times. 

I really like to keep my leaders simple for the lake. About 7.5 feet is all you’ll ever need, lengthwise, and my tippet is usually 16-20 pound test. For leaders on a sinking line, it’s okay to use a straight piece of tippet, but I usually find myself going from a 5 foot section of 20lb to a 2 foot section of 16lb.  For my intermediate line’s leader, my butt section starts at 4 feet of 30lb test, my mid section is 1.5 feet of 20-25lb, and my tippet is typically two feet of 16lb test. I also like Scientific Anglers leader material and tend to use fluoro for all of my leaders.

For fly selection, baitfish patterns ranging from 2 to 5 inches are ideal. The two main bait species are 2-3 inch threadfin shad and 4-6 inch blueback herring, so “hatch-matchers” for them are best bets.  There’s a million different flies that will work, but my favorites are Henry Cowen’s  somethin else, Chocklett’s finesse changers, and last but most certainly not least is the clouser minnow. Itpays off to have a few different sizes, colors, and weights in each of the patterns for changing conditions.

Have a good 8-weight outfit or two, some shad and blueback flies, and some good intel and give Lanier a shot soon. Many of the stripers are over 10 pounds this year and will provide a memorable fight. Buy Henry’s book, watch the birds and your sonar screen, and hopefully you, too, will be hooked on Lanier stripers on the fly. Stop in UO’s Helen shop soon for striper supplies and we’ll swap fish stories, too. Good luck!”

There you go: tips from our UO young gun who’s enjoyed Lanier striper success. Follow his tips and make your own memories this fall.

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.


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