Lake Hiwassee Monster Winter Stripers

By Shane Goebel

Trophy Striper Season is here! If the thrill of a 30 pound striper exploding on the end of your line, as if a bowling ball was dropped on it from a two story building, than winter striper fishing in Western North Carolina is for you. These are by far the most wicked fighting freshwater fish around, and we are very fortunate to have several area lakes stocked with these monster fish. So, after opening all those Christmas gifts, come get your fish on with Lake Nottely and Lake Hiwassee’s #1 striper guide service, Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service. Also, remember all of our December half day trips and Christmas gift certificates are only $200. Check out our Facebook page or for more details.

Lake Hiwassee is currently about 23 feet below full pool. Water temps are still in the lower 60’s. Lake clarity is clear and stained in the backs of creeks.

Striper fishing has been excellent lately. The bigger fish are really starting to come up in the water column and are headed towards shallow humps and into the creeks. We’ve already had many stripers in the 15 to 25 pound range. Look for these big stripers anywhere around the lake; however, most of our fish are being caught in the mouths and backs of creeks. This is a great time of year to start using bigger bait. Start off by pulling planer boards and free-lines early in the morning. Live bluebacks and gizzard shad are working best. Top water bite has been wicked good and should be getting even better as the water continues to cool, so as you’re pulling baits, keep a Red Fin or a spook tied on and work those banks and points. As the sun comes up and the day gets warmer, the fish will move a little deeper. Switch to down lines and weighted free lines. Remember, this is the time of year to keep an eye out for seagulls. Where there are birds, there is bait, and where there is bait, there are fish.

We want to wish everyone out there a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thanks for an awesome year of fishing, and we hope to see you in 2019. Remember, December is a fantastic month for catching a lot of stripers on this beautiful mountain 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 only 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