Murphy, NC Lake Monsters – Lake Hiwassee Trophy Stripers

By Shane Goebel

January’s here and the holidays are gone. 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. Located in Murphy, North Carolina, Lake Hiwassee offers some amazing striper fishing. For me, January seems to really kick off the start of monster striper season. So, if Santa forgot to leave you those rods and reels, just 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 trophy stripers. If you want to experience an amazing fishing opportunity then give us a holler!

Currently, the water temps are in the low 50’s. The water clarity is clear throughout the entire lake. Water levels on Lake Hiwassee are extremely low, about 32 feet below June’s water levels but, no worries, it just concentrates the fish.

Striper fishing is EXCELLENT lately! We have been slaying the monster stripers every morning. It’s probably been the most exciting and busiest December ever! The majority of our fish have been in the 15–30-pound range with a few 30 to 40 pounders mixed in. Most of our fish are being caught early in the morning on planer boards and free lines with either live bluebacks, big gizzard shad or huge trout. We’ve also had an incredible downline bite once the sun gets up. This is pretty typical for this time of year. Look for these hard fighting stripers in the backs of creek all the way out the mouths of creeks. We’ve also been picking up some nice fish in the rives.

In the upcoming month, look for stripers to be searching for warmer water, especially on cold sunny days. Continue to work 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 great month for catching a lot of schooling stripers on this North Georgia 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 and Blairsville Georgia’s premier full-time guide service, specializing in striped and hybrid bass. We also serve Lakes Nottely, Chatuge , and Lake Apalachia for smallmouth and trout. 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 owns Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service and is a member of The Angler Magazine Fishing Team. See the website at or call (828) 361-2021