Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Outfitter in Helen, Georgia

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Unicoi Outfitters

Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Outfitters

Phone icon706-878-3083 Email iconflyfish@unicoioutfitters.com Link iconunicoioutfitters.com
7280 S. Main St.
Helen, GA 30545

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The Story

Enjoy the expertise of the staff at Orvis-Endorsed Unicoi Outfitters when you go fly fishing in Georgia. If you're coming to the Atlanta, Georgia, or Greenville, South Carolina area and have some leisure time at your disposal, Unicoi Outfitters can have you on the water fishing in less than 90 minutes. We have USFS special use permits to guide on the Chattooga River (America's first designated Wild and Scenic River as well as 26 streams in the Chattahoochee National Forest across north Georgia.

In addition to the multiple public fishing opportunities, we have access to several private streams managed for trophy trout, including exclusive access to the 1.5 mile section of the Chattahoochee River at Nacoochee Bend adjacent to our shop.

The guide staff at Unicoi Outfitters are all fanatical fly anglers with a passion to introduce their guests to the amazing fishery resources found here in north Georgia. From the novice to the experienced, we cater your trip to your wants and desires. If you're traveling solo or as a family or business group, we have the ability to outfit everyone and give them a truly unique angling experience.

In 2019 Unicoi Outfitters celebrates its 25th year serving the fly-fishing community, offering the best in guided fishing, fly-fishing tackle, and supplies in north Georgia.

In 2018, Unicoi Outfitters was honored to be chosen as the Orvis-Endorsed Fly Shop of the Year. This honor is given to only one Orvis-affiliated shop each year and is a measure of our commitment to provide the very best in angling opportunities to our guests. We have also been recognized as a Gold Level Business Member of Trout Unlimited for our contributions to the conservation of cold water resources in the Southeast. Our role as a leader in the conservation of our fisheries is at the heart of all we do. Come to north Georgia and experience the diversity!

Unicoi Outfitters opened in 1994 on the banks of the Chattahoochee River outside the quaint Alpine village of Helen, Georgia. Since those days of erratic operating schedules because staff members decided to go fishing rather than open the shop, we have grown into a fully-stocked shop that carries all the best in fly-fishing gear and is open every day of the year except Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Our goal is to help you have the best angling experience possible when you hit the water. The experienced staff in our shop will guide you in selecting the most appropriate rod, reel, line, flies, and accessories to improve your odds for a successful trip regardless of whether you are joining us on a guided trip or fishing solo. We’ll even give you a map showing you the best places to fish and tell you how to fish them.

We stock fishing kayaks, the largest selection of coldwater and warmwater flies in the region, an extensive inventory of fly tying materials, vises and tying tools, technical fishing apparel, boots, waders, and quality polarized eyewear. We think you’ll find Unicoi Outfitters to be the most well-stocked small fly shop you’ve ever visited. And if we don’t have what you’re looking for, we’ll order it and have it shipped directly to you.


  • October-June: Trophy trout fishing on private waters
  • October-June: Public water fishing for wild and stocked trout
  • November-May: Lake and river fishing for striped bass
  • April-November: River fishing for shoal bass


Rainbow, brown and brook trout on private trophy water, stocked, and wild fish on public streams. Shoal bass in the Chattahoochee River. Landlocked striped bass and spotted bass in Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River


Fishing with Unicoi Outfitters typically involves southern Appalachian mountain and foothills streams with moderately-easy access to all but the most remote wild trout destinations. Some hiking along developed trails may be necessary when accessing the Chattooga River or on walk-in wade trips for shoal bass. All of our private trophy trout streams offer very convenient access with very little hiking.

Typical Weather:

  • FALL: Average high temperature between 61-79 degrees F; average low 36-56.
  • WINTER: Average high 50-54; average low 27-29.
  • SPRING: Average high 62-77; average low 35-50.
  • SUMMER: Average high 83-86; average low 59-63.

Average rainfall is 4-6 inches per month, with the fall being slightly drier.


Guided fishing starts at $230 per half-day.
Complete pricing information is available at www.unicoioutfitters.com/rates

What is Provided:

Guided fishing includes rod, reel, waders, and flies. Clients are welcome to bring their own gear.

Gear Recommendations:

For trophy trout, a minimum 5 wt. outfit is required. 7 wt. recommended for shoal bass and 8 or 9 wt. for stripers.

Chest waders are recommended for wading trips.

What to Bring:

  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Georgia fishing license and trout license if fishing in trout streams (may be purchased online or at the shop)
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks
  • Water


Do you take children on fly fishing trips?
We find that children 10 and over can have a great time fishing with us.

Can you handle group outings? We feel we can provide a great experience to groups of 10 or less and regularly host small corporate groups.

Do we have to provide our own gear?
Unicoi Outfitters welcomes you to bring your own gear if you like. If you would prefer, we can provide you with appropriate Orvis gear at no additional charge on our guided trips. Flies, waders and boots are all part of the package. Just bring your hat and sunglasses and we're ready to go!

Is it all fly fishing or do you offer any conventional gear fishing opportunities?
All our trout fishing trips are fly fishing only. We do offer both shoal bass and striper trips using conventional spinning tackle.

What if I've never fly fished before?
Unicoi Outfitters prides itself on teaching newcomers to the sport, and we have a special introduction to fly fishing called the Gilligan Special'it's the three hour tour that leads to a lifetime of adventure!

Additional Activities:

Northeast Georgia is a tremendous region of historical significance in the development of our country. The evidence of Pre-Columbian Native Americans communities is found all along the rivers we fish. Our area was home to the Cherokee until gold was discovered on Dukes Creek and thus began the tragedy of the Trail of Tears.

The influx of Europeans to north Georgia was marked by severe mining and logging to the point of decimation of the mountains and the streams during the 1800s. Thankfully, Mother Nature is resilient and today you can only find remnants of these activities hidden among the almost 900,000 acres of the Chattahoochee National Forest. These days it's whitewater rafting on the Chattooga River, hiking into the depths of Tallulah Gorge or climbing to the top of Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia. The Appalachian Trail begins on Springer Mountain just a little over an hour west of our shop. If you're looking for an adventure for the day, there are numerous waterfall hikes and mountain bike trails in the area.

If entertainment is your goal, the Alpine village of Helen, GA straddles the Chattahoochee River and provides many of the family activities found in and around amusement parks.

Rated 5 out of 5 by from First Outing on Nacoochee Bend To say that this fishing trip was so much fun is an understatement. Make it a bucket list item. You will not be disappointed. It was indeed enjoyable and satisfying to hook and land large trout. All were rainbows a minimum of 2.5 pounds with the largest being estimated at 7.5 pounds. A critic would say that fishing private water stocked with trophy trout is only one step above targeting fish in a barrel. Well, my fishing buddy, Trip, and I agree to an extent. This experience was not like a wild trout trip or even a routine trip for standard stockers. It was purely about the fun of trying to land big fish in running water on a fly rod. As an analogy, it was like hunting plantation quail versus purely wild quail. Still, one has to hook and land these brutes in their natural environment. The fight is not easy. Trip and I lost more trout than we landed unless one counts a long-distance release as having caught the fish. Hey, we released all netted fish anyway since Nacoochee Bend is a catch-and-release-only body of water. Trip and I estimate we failed to net about 60% of the trout we hooked. Our excursion began around 0830 on Monday, March 22, 2021. It was chilly, but tolerable. The bites started rather slowly due to the chilly temps, but the weather warmed up nicely - low 70s, sunny, low humidity, and no wind! By late morning, Norman Rockwell could not have painted a prettier day! Trip and I fished the middle and lower sections of Nacoochee Bend. The water level was a little too high on the upper section. The entire trip was a walk-and-wade outing. So, no watercraft of any type was allowed on this private stretch of river. We nymphed the entire trip (i.e., no dry flies or streamers). We used a tandem set-up that included the following: stone fly-squirmy worm, stone fly-midge, stone fly-egg, brass bead head green fly-egg, and brass bead head green fly- brass bead head green fly. All combinations landed fish. One of the more interesting fishing spots was at the waterfall at the grist mill (granary). The slabs were abundant and fierce. Many spit the hook with only a few being landed, but one hawg was the biggest one of the day. Excursions can be guided or unguided. Our outing was guided. Our guide was Andrew (I will use first names only). Awesome guide! His knowledge and patience were complemented by his personality. Thank you, Andrew! Please know that one must book through Unicoi Outfitters for access to Nacoochee Bend since it is a privately managed trophy water. Security cameras and trail cameras are in use 24/7. In closing, this trip was a great way to spend a day. We enjoyed it simply for what it was – a fishing trip for trophy trout. Hooking and landing trophy trout is indescribably fun, challenging, and the memories last for a lifetime! A fishing excursion on Nacoochee Bend should be on every southeastern fly angler's bucket list for the same reasons.
Date published: 2021-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fun day on the River I was lucky enough to get invited to take the Gilligan with my father in law this past weekend. We both fish, but neither of us have much fly fishing experience. Guide Ken Comeaux took us out, taught us how to use the gear and put us on trout in no time. I missed a few and Ken never lost his patience with me. He made sure we both caught something before we left and I don't think he was going to let us go without a catch regardless of how much time we had left. All Unicoi Outfitters staff that I encountered were very helpful and professional. These guys know the river and they are sitting on a bunch of Nacoochee whoppers, trust me. The trout are here.
Date published: 2019-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Epic Trout and an Awesome Guide I was only in town for a quick trip but I made sure I booked a half-day guided trip. I met my guide George at 7:30 and we got setup to fish. He took care of everything and all I had to do was cast where he told me to. Country club fishing at it's finest! It took a while for the first fish to end up in the net but it was followed by several others. I had one of the best experiences of my fly fishing life! George was great and we passed the time with fun conversation. He put me to work all over the river to increase my odds for succes. He made suggestions to correct my foibles, gave me tips on fishing for trout instead of saltwater species, and generally provided an exceptional experience. When the really big one got away he shared my pain. :) After we wrapped up our session, George filled me in on some nearby opportunities to fish public water to maximize the short time I'd be in the area. He also provided some superb recommendations for dining. I can't recommend Unicoi's excellent staff enough. I'd highly suggest stopping by the shop if you're in the area and absolutely hit the water with their awesome guides if you have the opportunity.
Date published: 2016-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding guide, outstanding teacher! My wife and I were about to stay in a North Carolina cabin near Fires Creek, and we wanted to fly fish, but knew nothing about it. In just a few hours of practice, using the "Gilligan's Special," guide Phil taught us the basics of casting and fly selection. We fished in the waters behind the mill in Helen GA, and had a great time. I plan to do it again...
Date published: 2016-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great 2 days w/ large trout both days Our guide, George was very knowledgeable and patient since this was my first large fish on a fly rod. I hope to do this again in the future, thanks Coach!
Date published: 2016-04-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful time!!! Our grandson Colt has fished with Chuck from Unicoi Outfitters a few times and always had a great time. He is a natural. But, Chuck took our youngest grandson on the Soque and Ruger did great for his first fly fishing trip. Always enjoy the Unicoi Outfitters family11
Date published: 2016-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Experience Í've fished for 50 years and have been a salt water guide for the last 6 years and my opinion of this group is AWESOME! The Gilligan was just right for me and my sister in law. Our guide George was very patient with two folks that had never fly fished before. I would highly recommend this Gilligan experience for newbies and anyone else that is not really confident with a fly rod. Making a 50 foot cast with a fly rod brought the same sense of accomplishment as a 600 foot cast with a surf rod. This was very memorable and I plan on taking it to the next level when I return to Helen.
Date published: 2016-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Gilligan My girlfriend and I went out with Ken Comeaux for a 3 hour tour, haha. I have been once and she has never been. Ken was patient and friendly and funny. He answered all of our questions. Helped us get on fish. Best guide, great store experience!
Date published: 2015-12-22
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