In like a lion, out like a lamb. This ole folklore is so true for the Western North Carolina mountains. As early spring approaches and brings with it its hard to predict weather patterns, one thing is sure to be consistent, and that is that the fishing keeps getting better on Lake Hiwassee. For me, March has always been the kickoff to an awesome fishing season. With its warmer weather and longer days, it’s my favorite month for fishing.
Currently, Lake Hiwassee is 38 feet below full pool. Water temperatures have been bouncing from the low to mid 50’s. Water clarity is clear in the main lake and just slightly stained in the backs of creeks.
Striper fishing has been super out here lately. We’ve had a very successful January and February. Most of the stripers we are catching have been in the 10 to 15 pound range, and we’re averaging about 10 stripers a trip. This pattern should continue into the month of March and increase as the stripers start their pre-spawn. Continue the same techniques as the previous months, pulling planer boards with live herring in the backs of creeks and around shallow, sloping banks. Make sure you keep your bait close to the surface and work close to the banks. I usually run my shad and bluebacks 15-25 feet behind my planer boards. As you pull boards, it’s always a good idea to work the banks by casting a Zara Spook or a Red Fin. As the sun comes up, turn your focus to fishing the mouths of creeks, as the stripers will follow bait to deeper water. With pre-spawn in mind, more and more stripers will start to stage in the mouths of creeks in March. Keep an eye on your electronics for schooling stripers, and pay attention to where the bait balls are. I guarantee you, if you find the bait, the stripers will be close by.
The smallmouth and spotted bass bite has been extremely good. We are catching some very nice smallmouth and spots in the 4-5 lb. range and in large quantities. We are at least averaging 20 to 30 smallmouth and spotted bass a trip. Several largemouth in the 8 to 10 pound range have been caught as well. These spotted bass and smallmouth have been schooling up on points and shallow areas around the lake. Down-lining live bluebacks has been the best technique for catching a slew of these great bass in 15-25 feet of water. For the shallow water, early morning bite, keep a jerk bait, a Flex-It spoon, or a fluke on hand to work the banks and points.
March will also kick off the start of a great walleye bite on this beautiful mountain lake. We really try to turn our focus on these great tasting fish. Lake Hiwassee walleye will start to make their way in to the rivers and creeks from the deeper water to stage in spawning areas. After this migration the walleye are typically hungry and will feed vigorously on more nontraditional baits. Even though these walleye are willing eaters, some fishing tactics will work better than others. With March weather in mind we usually see some good amounts of rain and an increase in water levels in the lake. This leads to muddier water conditions. Brighter color lures in the yellow, orange and red will tend to work more efficient than live bait. Often times the more erratic movement of an artificial bait will cause the walleye to strike. Especially in calmer waters. Try using jointed Rapshads and lures with some good vibration. For the most part we try to target these fish by slow trolling live minnows and blueback herring pulled behind planer boards.
March is a fantastic month for catching some big fish on this lake. From smallmouth bass to hard fighting stripers, we have so many great opportunities to catch many species of fish 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 also serve Lake Apalachia for huge lake trout, Lakes Nottely, Chatuge 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. Come fish with the PRO’S and get feature in the Angler Magazine. Go get your fish on and Good luck!
Forecast By: Shane Goebel
Big Ol’ Fish Guiding Service &
The Angler Magazine Fishing Team
Lakes Apalachia, Chatuge, Nottely, Blue Ridge and Hiwassee