The Hiwassee River’s riverbed is fairly level as it travels along the valley floor and great for fishing and fly fishing due to its accessibility. All mountain rivers are either located on forestry lands, county lands or private lands. Valley lands are primarily private owned though in many cases county roads both paved and unpaved skirt these waterways in many places. To find access to these fishing locations it best to use a county map or gain permission from private property owners to access the riverbank. Maps concerning National Forest property will locate river access from unpaved roads yet most forest river and stream access is often overgrown with fewer access points though the isolation in these forest locations is its own reward. Lake Chatuge was founded in 1942. TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) constructed a 2,950 foot earth-filled dam across the Hiawassee River. Originally for the purpose of flood control and to bring affordable electrical power to the area.
Lake Chatuge has an abundance of scenic coves along its 133 mile shoreline are great for fishing, swimming, boating, camping and other water sports. Lake Chatuge which travels between Hiawassee Georgia and Hayesville North Carolina. The entire lake is approximately 7,200 acres, 3,700 of which are in Clay County.
The Weir, just north of the dam, offers picnic tables and a launch for canoes and tubes for a trip on the Hiawassee River to a take out area near Fires Creek Wildlife Management Area.
There are three public boat ramps on the North Carolina side of Lake Chatuge: Jackrabbit Mountain Campground, off Hwy 175; Gibson Cove Campground, off Myers Chapel Road; and Ledford Chapel Wildlife Access Ramp, on Hwy 64.
Fishing: Thirty-two species of fish inhabit Lake Chatuge, with Small Mouth Bass, Large Mouth Bass, spotted Bass, Sunfish and White Bass predominating. Striped White Bass hybrids are stocked annually.
Fishing licenses are required for all except residents using digestible bait, whether fishing in streams or the lake; short-term licenses are available for visitors.
Flowing westward the Hiwassee River winds is way across the extreme southwestern tail of Western North Carolina. Finding its way to the mountain town of Murphy, Cherokee County North Carolina the Hiwassee River joins the Valley River converging on the northern tip of Murphy. Together the two rivers flow through a gorge a short distant to Hiwassee Lake and merge with the waters of Nottely River in the Nantahala National Forest. Hiwassee Lake is located north of the town of Murphy below the southern edge of the Lower Unaka Mountains also known as the Unicoi Mountains. Hiwassee Lake is a long channel lake with many side channels to explore for fishing enthusiast. The lake is also used for recreational boating though there’s no large body of water on the lake, which often draws most boating recreation.