Hiwassee River System

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The Unicoi Turnpike once ran by the source of the Hiwassee River in Unicoi Gap on its way to Great Echota, the ancient capital and sacred Peace Town of the Cherokee Nation. The Cherokees called the river Ayuhwa'si, meaning a "savannah or meadow."

Marine life:

Fish within most of the reservoirs include Black Bass, catfish, Crappie, Bluegill Bream, Channel Catfish, Large Mouth Bass, Yellow Perch, muskie and Walleye.The rivers are stocked with rainbow, brown, and some brook trout.

Hiwassee River

Hiwassee River

The Hiwassee River system which includes the Hiwassee, Ocoee, Nottely, Valley and Toccoa rivers and the lakes along them: Chatuge, Hiwassee, Apalachia, Nottely, Blue Ridge and the three Ococee projects mean fishing, swimming, water skiing and natural beauty for the area. But they also big business and a major influence on the daily lives of the 174,000 people who live in the 10 county area through which the Hiawassee River system flows.

These lakes and streams that make up the system supply water for industrial use, public consumption, and hydroelectric power. They support a sport-fishing industry that creates thousands of jobs and generates millions of dollars in revenue. They attract thousands of visitors each year, providing many more jobs based on recreation, tourism, and second-home development.

As its waters head west, Lake Hiwassee feeds into Apalachia Lake. In conjunction with Lake Chatuge, these three lakes along the Tusquitee River are collectively referred to as the Chain of Lakes, offering boating, water-skiing, swimming, and fishing opportunities against a picturesque mountain backdrop.

In Murphy access is available to the Hiwassee River. This Class I and II whitewater river is 18.3 miles long with a 3-mile stretch designated as a Trophy Trout Stream. Family rafting and tubing trips can be arranged by outfitters in the area.