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, April 5, 2024

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 4/5/24

This weekend is looking prime and next week looks real good, too. Air and water temperatures are warming back up and the winds are finally dying down. Fresh stockers have hit trout waters, bass are in prespawn mode, and stripers are both in the shallows and running up the rivers on spawning attempts. Pick your favorite  target and give it a shot this weekend.  Check out the hot intel from our guides and friends and Wes’ hot fly list here:


 (Link in bio)

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.


Wes’ Hot Fly List:  

Dries:  Rage Cage Caddis, Drymerger March Brown, parachute Adams, BWO, stimulator, or small micro Chubby Chernobyl as a headwater dry for your droppers.

Nymphs & Wets: 

American nymph molted brown, soft hackle partridge, holy grail, girdle bug, Mop fly, pink tag jig, psycho prince.

Streamers & warm water:

(Trout) Squirrely bugger, sparkle yummy, muddy buddy, bank robber sculpin. (bass & stripers) clouser minnow, finesse changer, Cowen’s coyote, polar changer, crittermite, jiggy craw. 


They’re super clear with seasonal flows and are finally warming back up after our cold spell. Dry fly action should be the name of the game once again.


UO buddy RSquared:  “Saturday, I visited one of my favorite high -altitude, native trout streams. My long hike in was rewarded by several Southern Brookies that were looking up & readily taking my #14 tan Elk Hair Caddis. A great day of hydro-therapy!”

UO buddy Spangler: “ Our duo headed to Helen Thursday while the younger was on spring break. We fished along a chunk of the wind-blown shore of Unicoi Lake and only managed a couple panfish. I had hoped to find some

Bass shallow on a popper-dropper rig, but no dice. It was still too early and cold for them to be shallow. 

After lunch, we planned to hit the DH stream, but after we walked down and scoped out a few spots we both agreed it was way too crowded. We decided to head up to a headwater stream for some wild fish. The move paid off quickly, as Little Jason landed this huge brown trout on the first cast! He was using a green and black Trout magnet jig under a bobber, I mean, “indicator.” I had just lobbed it out into the head of the run  to demonstrate how to fish it and as I handed him the rod we both saw a flash and the fight began! We both caught a handful of little wild rainbows, too. Elder Jason had luck on a euro rig, floating the sighter along undercut banks with a little all-purpose  CDC collared nymph called the Jack Daniels. High sticking was tough with the wind so floating the sighter with a pinch of Loon Bio Strike was the way to go. The wind didn’t make it easy but we adapted well and put fish in the net!”

Delayed Harvest: 

Most NC streams just got refreshed, and I expect a new dose of stockers in our Georgia DH streams this week. Be on the lookout for today’s stocking report. 3PM UPDATE: they’re indeed on today’s list that just posted. Try double-nymph rigs under an indicator on cool mornings and dry/dropper combos when you see flying bugs and rising fish on warm afternoons.

The spring hatches should kick in after this cold front passes, so be ready with your April dries. Here’s a rerun of a great north GA hatch chart to help you out.


Newer  flyfishers can locate DH waters via state wildlife agency websites. For GA, Scroll down to Opportunities “ and then click on the Georgia DH stream names (blue font) in here for stream maps:


Go on a similar web hunt for NC streams here:


UO buddy CDB:  “Got an early start and hit a NC DH stream this week.  Upon my early arrival, I was greeted by…snow?  Yep. Snow.  Good to be back in the warm sunny southeast!

Plenty of fish. Fresh ones were eager to hit small yellow eggs. As far as I could tell, the holdover fish were more interested in microjig streamers and leeches as well as small hares ears and Walt’s worms. Pick your poison, either way you’ll pick up fish!  

Lots of little caddis flies were crawling around on rocks but the cold weather put the bugs down for the day. As soon as it warms back up, I would switch to a dry/dropper rig.  For now, bring your gloves and an extra layer of clothes!”

The Rabunite trio of Rick, Nan, and Dredger hit Nantahala DH last Tuesday, just before the storm front rolled in. It was a nice, warm day with clear water.  However, adult insects were scarce and surface risers were spotty. Dredger had a big slice of humble pie, with about twenty wild fish refusals to all of his dries.   Fresh stockers saved the day for the trio, who caught plenty on their dropper nymphs below their dries. Rick and Nan both enjoyed the benefits of a longer, 10ft rod for hi-sticking the pocket pools in between faster flows.

Stocked Waters:

Stocker fishing should be excellent, too. Grab some bait, lures, or flashy flies and consult today’s list before heading up here:

Private Waters: 

Our private streams have fished very well, especially after warming up from cold mornings. This next, warmer week should provide superb fishing conditions.

UO guide Ben is guiding the UGA duo of Kris and Jay on the Soque this afternoon. It must be fishing well, as Jay just flipped me these pics:

And said:

“Live from the water:

Very windy put lots of ripple on the water. dry dropper, big tan chubby got some violent eats. Lots of bugs coming off including tan caddis and a few big yellow mayflies. Most fish came on #16 soft hackle mayfly in brown. A #12 black girdle bug also worked.

UO-Helen manager Wes: “The fish were fired up earlier in the week on private waters with the warm mornings. Soft hackles and pheasant tails were the go-to flies.”

UO guide Israel:  Soft hackle wets, fished mid-column, were  the key on Nacoochee Bend, yesterday after that temperature drop.”

UO guide Caleb: “I had a busy week at Rainbow Point on the Soque.  Fishing was excellent using multiple tactics. Nymphing was as productive as streamer fishing. A #12 tan and black girdle bug paired with a hot head pheasant tail was effective. A heavy, dense olive streamer brought in some large fish to the net.”


UO buddy Ryan: “I wrapped up a wade trip guiding on the Hooch Tailwater yesterday.  We started with euro nymphing but the wind was horrendous, so we switched to an indicator rig with double nymphs on 5X tippet. Two fat rainbows were landed and multiple fish shook the hook as we dialed in my client’s line management and fish fighting technique.

Dozens of March caddis were spotted hatching, but zero dry fly action was visible.  We hooked multiple fish on the swing, so I'm sure the caddis hatch helped us get some hits higher in the water column.”

Warm Rivers:

Today’s WRD fishing report has us fired up!



UO staffer Ben: “Highland reservoir Alabama Bass and Largemouth Bass have been on the move.  We caught them in 12 to 15 feet of open water by midstrolling. The bass have been in staging areas, getting ready for the spawn. Stop in our Clarkesville store for more intel and hot baits for the GA Power lakes.”

UO buddy AJ: “I took a client out Monday AM, and after covering quite a bit of water, we finally found some actively feeding stripers mid-morning briefly. We had a few shots into fish and dropped 1 right at the boat. I went back out Monday evening for 2 hours and managed to feed a few, both throwing to schooling fish and fishing points later in the evening. I also fished Tues PM after work for an hour and a half and had spots and stripers working bait balls on clay banks and over open water. I caught two spotted bass and a striper on Clouser Minnows. I also played around with a popper and had several bass blow up on it, but couldn't set the hook. Water temps were between 61-63 degrees earlier this week. The cold front and high winds kept me off the water Wed and Thursday, but I noticed  fewer gulls around this week compared to last. It is extremely helpful now to have good electronics and good binoculars in the boat! “

-Alex Jaume

Lanier on the Fly



UO staffer Joseph: “Fishing down in Crystal River has been pretty good. Lots of redfish and snook are moving around the backcountry. This week was fairly windy so we had to adjust our days on the water accordingly.  We got into the mangroves and got out of the wind. Redfish are cruising shallow areas on higher tides and retreating to deep pockets on lower tides. Snook are a little more tricky to see but they seem to be sitting lower in the mangroves. Gurgler patterns In the morning and crab patterns during the day have produced some really fun fishing!”

Let’s all welcome back warmer weather and the hotter bite that it will bring. This is the best fishing month of the year! Don’t let it pass you by.  Stop in either UO shop to resupply before you get on the water. Good luck!

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.


No comments:

Post a Comment