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, June 28, 2024

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 6/28/24

Welcome back to a broken record  of hot, dry weather and low, clear, warm water. It’s a fine time for a road trip!

For folks still staying around these parts, your trout fishing should be restricted to cold tailwaters and high elevation streams before lunch.  River and pond bass and bream are a good bet if y’all hit them early and late. River stripers are around in good numbers but are super-picky in clear water. Try them after a hopeful rain stains the flows.

Check out the detailed fishing intel and more pics in our full report here:


(Link in bio)

Fish early and in the shade for your best success.  Stop in either UO shop (Helen, Clarkesville) for some hot summer bugs.

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.


Wes’ Hot Fly List:  

Dries: tan elk hair caddis, parachute black ant, tiny chubby Chernobyl, small yellow stimulator, parachute Adams,

Nymphs & Wets: 

pheasant tail nymph and soft hackle, drowned  ant, green weenie, zebra midge. Small glow UGA and squirmy works for stockers.

Streamers & warm water:

(Trout) Squirrely bugger, sparkle minnow, and mini shimmer buggers for stockers. (bass & stripers) polar changer, stealth jig, wiggle minnow, craw changer, boogle bug popper, Kent’s stealth bomber.

(Panfish) amnesia bug, small chubby Chernobyl, bluegill spider, dry and wet ants

(Carp) Gorgan craw, squirmy hybrid. 


They’re still low and clear and are warming up even more. At midday yesterday and today, Spoilcane ran 68F,  while a high Hooch tributary was a cooler 66. The measley one-third inch of rain we finally got last nite has already run off. Fish early and try the cooler, north slope streams for a better bite. Consider trips to higher mountains in NC, too.


Stocked Waters:

They will still fish well for both bait and fly anglers who get up early and beat the midday heat.  Take advantage of the stocking program before it cuts back on weekly stocking numbers, by design, after July 4th.  Today’s list is a long one:



The winter water stored in Lanier and Blue Ridge will make those two tailwaters best bets for Georgia trout. Stocked rainbows will hit bright egg and squirmy patterns and some stripped woolly buggers. The Hooch’s wild browns are partial to tiny black midges and stonefly nymphs. Holdover bows and browns on the Toccoa can be convinced with dry/dropper rigs and maybe a big, articulated streamer if you’re trophy hunting.

Private Waters: 

Just about all waters managed by GA’s private operators are shut down for the summer to protect their heat-stressed trout.

Warm Rivers:

Area rivers are clear from the lack of rainfall and warming up with these hot days.  The bass and bream action should start heating up, as well. Try some popper/dropper combos for both. Also strip some bigger streamers for the bass and maybe a bonus striper.

Stripers are still camped out at Nacoochee Bend for the summer, but have been nearly impossible to fool with a fly.   We need a good rain and dirty water for guests to  score, so watch the weather forecast before coming up.  Feel free to call our Helen shop (706-878-3083) if you want to book an opportunity to wade out and catch one on the fly.


Small lakes are still fishing well. It’s a fine time to paddle around their perimeters at dawn or dusk and toss poppers toward the bank. There are plenty of local opportunities for yakkers and canoeists to capitalize on this summer flyfishing action. Stop in the shop for some intel - and maybe a new Feelfree kayak.

Check out John Damer’s Vogel Park report in here:


UO buddy GC:  “I went to Rocky Mountain PFA one morning before I flew west.   I started fishing at daybreak with a Pop R lure, but had no strikes.    As the bugs came out I switched to my fly rod and fished a Boogle Bug, but the bass still were not striking.  I placed a shakey head worm on my spinning rod and fished it very slowly.   I caught a 4 pound and a 7 pound largemouth bass between 10:00 and 11:00 am.”


UO buddy AJ: “Too hot for me to hit Lanier lately!”


UO-Helen manager Wes: “Our crew had a great fishing trip down in south Georgia last weekend targeting Bowfin, Pickerel, and bream. While we had plenty of action on flies, Bert’s Duraspin was by far the most effective fish producer of the trip.”

UO guide Israel: “We laid the smackdown on Redbreast  and Warmouth in south GA. Wes got some on a stealth bomber, while I was throwing crappie jigs.”

UO buddy R-Squared: “Northern Saskatchewan, high's in the low 60's. 27 miles South of the NW Territories. Great fishing on the fly. I’ve landed 42", 36", & 34" Northern Pike. Stripping big streamers is the way to get it done up here!”

UO buddy GC:  “It was a great week in Dillon, MT!  Fly fishing the Beaverhead River and Poindexter Slough.   PMDs are hatching and trout are eating emergers and spinners.  Nymphing is most productive, but dry/dropper rigs are very productive, too.”

UO buddy Henry C:  “Our Lanier fishing friend, Falcons LB Nate Landman, landed a striped marlin on fly in Baja!”

That’s your sultry report for this week. Let’s hope some afternoon storms pop up to cool off our streams and boost their flows a bit.  Stay out of the sun and you’ll have a chance for some summer success as we enter this holiday week. 

Unicoi Outfitters: Friendly. Local. Experts.


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