View Full Version : hiwassee river

11-08-2009, 09:31 PM
I was wondering how the Hiwassee river fishes now as compared to how it fished in the 70's 80's and 90's. I've heard that it once produced many trophy trout,particularly in the trophy section and that now you can't hardly ever catch quality fish there. Any opinions would be appreciated.

11-08-2009, 11:06 PM
I would have to say that the Hiwassee is about the saddest story to tell when it comes to a declining fishery. It is basically a plunk and take river now. It is still a beautiful place and one of my favorite places to get away, but the fishing is sad. There is a nice "quality zone" where you will not see any signs of trout, but is some extremely beautiful areas. I still like to hike down in the zone now and then. The drought of a few years back really took its toll as well as the mismanagement of the discharges and the spilling of 70 plus degree water hasnt helped matters any either. I have seen them dump thousands of brown trout fingerlings and now I challenge you to catch a brown. There was a time when I would go to the rock wall and look down and always see a dozen or two 20-30 inch trout just chillin below (they would not bite anything ever that I put in front of them, they would always move out of the way, but I always tried). They are now all gone and I havent seen or heard of anyone seeing a large trout on the Hiwassee in a long while. I live very close to the Hiwasseee, I caught my first trout there as well as my first trout on a flyrod and would like nothing more than to see it restored to the way it was merely 3 years ago.

11-09-2009, 02:06 PM
Hiwassee is fishing fantastic right now. Everybody go down there immediately, and I wouldn't waste any more time on the Clinch, SoHo, or Caney the rest of the year....

In all honesty, I have to agree completely with Shaggy. I do not know what happened to that river over the past 3 years, it used to be such a fun place to fish especially in the Spring. The BWO, Hendrickson, Caddis, and Isonychia hatches used to be phenomenal. After my last trip there, I told myself I wouldn't go back unless there were some reg and water management changes. The quality trout zone has some of the best water you will ever see, but there were nightcrawler cups everywhere. I feel that there were a lot of poachers working over the area, and I just can't bring myself to go back.

If you want somewhere to go and just enjoy the scenery while ocassionally picking up a fish or two, it can give you that many times over.

David Knapp
11-09-2009, 03:38 PM
Water quality issues have definitely affected the river but there are still good fish in there. I can show you good browns...they just take some time to locate. Last winter someone caught a brown that I believe was 25 inches or so. It isn't the same river as it used to be though... If you want to target large browns, then be on the river January-March and take time to hunt...

11-09-2009, 10:41 PM
I think the river is still a great fishery. I catch fish all year long, however it has definitely become a numbers place and not a size place. I enjoy the variety of bugs that come off on a regular basis, and the fish there definitely like the dry fly. As for the poachers and bait chuckers, i see that everywhere. A few weeks ago on the clinch down at the jail I saw 2 guys loading 2 stringers full of fish...slot size, what slot size? Maybe they didnt get the memo.. However, I do agree with the others, the flow on the hiwassee is definitely a problem. I think alot of that also has alot to do with the fact that it is a major rafting destination, they want that giant flo in the summer, even if it means splilling 70 degree water that will kill the trout...

11-10-2009, 01:22 PM
The generation in the summer is not the problem, in fact, it is a great thing. In the past, my understanding is that the generation was almost 24-7 during the summer and it was good cold water that helped the trout survive the summer. They cut back in the winter when the temps were down. The spilling that occured over the past few years was a problem, this water was warm and carried thru the bypass. I have never been certain as to why they did this.