Lake Hiwassee – Monster Striper Season

By Shane Goebel

January is here! It’s time to put those awesome Christmas fishing gifts to good use, and there’s no better place to start than on this excellent Western North Carolina reservoir. Or, if Santa forgot to leave the rods and reels, book a trip with Murphy, NC’s #1 and only fulltime striper guide: Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service. We specialize in striper and hybrid fishing on these mountain lakes and have what it takes to put you on some huge fish.

Currently, the water temps are in the low 50’s. The water clarity is clear in the main lake area, and the backs of creeks are slightly stained. Water levels on Lake Hiwassee are extremely low, about 32 feet below June’s water levels.

Striper fishing here has been pretty good lately. We are still averaging 10 to 15 nice stripers a trip with a lot of big smallmouth to add to that number. We’ve already had several big fish in the 20 to 40 pound range. Most of our fish are being caught early in the morning on planer boards and free lines in the mouths of creeks. We’ve also had an incredible bite with weighted free lines once the sun gets up. This is pretty typical for this time of year, as the fish look for slightly deeper water as the day progresses.

In the upcoming month, look for stripers to be searching for warmer water, especially on cold sunny days. You can catch these fish in the backs of creeks, around shallow humps and in the river. Pulling planer boards and free lines with live blueback herring and gizzard shad will be your best technique for landing these wintertime monsters. Keep an eye out for seagulls and schools of baitfish. It’s not uncommon to see stripers crushing bait right under those birds. I like to cast a Red Fin or a fluke right into these guys for some nice top-water action.

January is a fantastic month for catching a lot of stripers and smallmouth on this Western North Carolina 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 stripers during the fishing trip of a lifetime. We are Murphy, NC’s premier full-time guide service, specializing in striped and hybrid bass. We also serve Lakes Nottely and Chatuge (in North Carolina), and Lake 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 and have the best live herring around. So, come fish with the pros for the opportunity to be featured in Angler Magazine, and let us help you get your fish on!

Shane Goebel is the Owner of Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service and a member of The Angler Fishing Team. Contact him at or (828) 361-2021 / 1-(844)-4-ANGLER.