Currently, the water temps are hovering around 58 degrees. 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 36 feet below June’s water levels.
Lake Hiwassee Striped Bass: Stripers have been on the move and should remain in this pattern for the next few months. We’ve been picking up most of our fish in the backs of creeks early in the morning using free lines and planer boards. Big lively bluebacks and gizzard shad will work the best for this scenario. As the sun gets up, try working deeper water along creek channels that hold bait. Keep in mind that this can all change if very cold weather moves in. Stripers will then seek warmer water and stay very shallow.
Spotted Bass and Smallmouth: January and February can bring on some cold water temperatures that will slow these bass down, but that doesn’t mean they won’t eat. We catch some very large spots and smallmouths this time of year. Look for these fish to move a little deeper in the water column. Search around rocky points and just off shallow humps around the lake. Of course, live bait works best, but deep diving crank baits and trick worms on a drop shot are always great techniques for some big Hiwassee bass.
Walleye: If water temps continue to fall, these walleye should remain shallow. Look for these fish from Ramsey Bluff boat ramp all the way up the Hiwassee and Nottely rivers and in the backs of Beaverdam and Persimmon Creek. Try slow trolling shallow running crank baits and planer boards with small bluebacks in low-light hours. Once you’ve marked fish, you can also try jigging small jigs 6 to 12 inches from the bottom.
Although the weather maybe very cold, January is a fantastic month for catching some very big fish on this lake. So dig out your long johns and winter coats, and give Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service a call. Let us put you on some of Lake Hiwassee’s best trophy fish during the fishing trip of a lifetime. And, for all your bait and tackle needs, go check out Hughes General Store in Blairsville, GA. They carry everything you need for a successful day of fishing. Now bundle up, hit the water, and go “get your fish on”! Good luck!
Forecast By: Shane Goebel
Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service &
The Angler Magazine Fishing Team
Lakes Hiwassee, Chatuge, Nottely and Blue Ridge
Western NC & North GA