Lake Hiwassee April Stripers and Smallmouth

By Shane Goebel

April is finally here, and it brings with it some “rip-roaring” fishing action on Lake Hiwassee. So, enough sitting around suffering from cabin fever—the weather is getting warmer and spring is in the air. Time to get out of the house and hit one of Western North Carolina’s best lakes with Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service.

Lake Hiwassee waters are on the rise, and by mid-April, we should have access to Hanging Dog boat ramp. Currently we are around 38 feet below summer pool. Water clarity is clear for most of the lake except for the backs of creeks, which are slightly stained. Water temperatures are in the mid 50’s and a bit warmer in the coves and creeks.

Striper fishing has been excellent. We have been wearing out some super nice fish out here. These Lake Hiwassee monsters are in their full spring pattern and chasing bait in the mouths and backs of creeks. Bait has been plentiful this winter, and these striped bass are quickly gaining in size. For the next month or so, look for fish in the backs of creeks, up the Hiwassee and Nottely Rivers, and around shallow coves. Pulling planer boards and free lines with live bluebacks and shad will be your best techniques. Also, look for a great top-water to start. I always like to have a Zara Spook or a fluke at the ready to nail those top-busting fish.

Smallmouth fishing also remains very strong. Look for this to continue for the next several months. At the moment, we are catching some huge 5 to 6 pound smallmouth. These bigger smallmouths will soon start to work their way to shallower water. Start looking for some large schools halfway in the backs of creeks and up the Hiwassee and Nottely Rivers. It’s not uncommon to see a bunch of spotted bass mixed in with these smallmouths. Try a combination of tactics such as trolling planer boards and down lining live herring and bass minnows. Jigging small to medium flutter spoons at the bottom is also another great way to get these feisty bass to strike.

Walleye are starting to make their way into the rivers and creeks from the deeper water to stage in spawning areas. Try fishing bright-colored lures in yellow, orange and red. On occasion, trolling Rapala Jointed Shad Raps, Cordell Wally Divers, and Bomber Fat Free Shad will tend to work more efficiently than live bait. Sometimes, the more erratic movement and vibration of artificial bait will cause the walleye to strike. For the most part, however, we try to target these fish by slow-trolling live minnows and blueback herring pulled behind planer boards and down lining night crawlers.

April is a fantastic month for catching some big fish on this lake. From smallmouth bass to hard fighting stripers, we have many great opportunities to catch a number of fish species on Hiwassee Lake. Give Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service a call and let the area’s #1 rated guide service put you on some of Lake Hiwassee’s best trophy fish during the fishing trip of a lifetime. We are Murphy, NC’s only full-time guide service, specializing in striped and hyrbrid bass. We also serve Lake Apalachia for huge lake trout, and Lakes Nottely, Chatuge and Blue Ridge. And for all your live bait and tackle needs, check out Hughes General Store in Blairsville, GA. They carry everything you need for a successful day of fishing. So, come fish with the pros for the opportunity to be featured in Angler Magazine—let us help you get your fish on!