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  Piedmont Lakes Fishing Report

June-July 2014
By Mike Marsh

Mike Marsh’s book, Fishing North Carolina, unlocks fishing secrets at 100 lakes, rivers, ponds, sounds and piers. To order Fishing North Carolina ($26.60), Inshore Angler – Carolina’s Small Boat Fishing Guide ($26.20) and Offshore Angler – Coastal Carolina’s Mackerel Boat Fishing Guide ($22.25) mail check or MO to Mike Marsh, 1502 Ebb Drive, Wilmington, NC 28409 or visit www.mikemarshoutdoors.com for credit card orders.



Catawba River Reservoirs

Lake Wylie

Jerry Neeley (Carolina’s Fishing Guide Service, 704-678-1043) said bass action is the hot ticket.

"The early morning topwater bite is especially good in June," he said. Torpedoes and Devil's Horse propeller baits work best, with a yellow-and-black Devil's Horse my favorite."

Bass anglers must be on the water before dawn for topwater success. After sunrise, fishing humps in the main lake with crankbaits or Carolina rigs is the best bet. Top crankbait patterns are shad, bream and parrot. Carolina rigs work well when cast to points in water depths of 12 feet or more. Anglers should find fish with depthfinders before fishing deep structure.

Bass anglers must be on the water before dawn for topwater success. After sunrise, fishing humps in the main lake with crankbaits or Carolina rigs is the best bet. Top crankbait patterns are shad, bream and parrot. Carolina rigs work well when cast to points in water depths of 12 feet or more. Anglers should find fish with depthfinders before fishing deep structure.

Crappie anglers should shoot docks early in the morning and fish tight lines in Crowders and Big Allison creeks after the sun is up.

Tight-lining tactics will catch white perch in 25 feet of water at the main points. A Sabiki rig baited with perch and weighted with a half-ounce is the best rig.

Catfishermen should use cut perch or bream to catch blues up to 60 pounds in the creeks. The best bet is fishing at 6 to 8 feet early then moving to 20 to 40 feet after 8:30 a.m. Anglers should fish multiple rods and troll at one-half mile per hour with Santee rigs.



Lake Hickory

David Williams (Riverview Sports, 828-632-7889) said bass should be thumping topwater lures.

"The largemouth bass will bitie early and late in day or at night," he said. "Hawg Caller and Lunker Lure buzzbaits and Rebel Pop-Rs are great topwater lures."

During the day, bass will head down 15 to 25 feet. Deep diving crankbaits, including the Bill Norman DD22 and Rapala DT16 and DT20, or big jigs will catch them on points with brush or rock piles. Any point that has water moving across it will be an excellent fishing spot.

Stripers will be in the river or the river channels, with just downstream of Rhodhiss Dam the best place to fish. However, anglers will also have good luck from the bank or a kayak downstream of Lake Hickory Dam. Best lures are Zara Spooks and Zoom Flukes fished on lead-heads.

Crappie anglers should fish minnows at deep brush piles.


  Lake Norman

Capt. Gus Gustafson (Fishing with Gus, 704-617-6812) said the catfish bite is the cat's meow.

"It is the peak for catfish, with some of the biggest blues and flatheads of the year," he said. "If you are fishing for white perch, hook a live perch and drop it to the bottom and to catch a flathead. Blues of 15 to 10 pounds will be in 10 feet of water and Chicken parts are the best baits."

White perch bass will strike minnows and Sabiki rigs. Anglers can drift the coves using electronics to find them.

Spotted bass will bite topwater jerkbaits and flukes on windy points or cast to shady sides of docks. The fish will be shallow early and deep late. If they are schooling on a point or hump, anglers can hook one every cast.

Crappie will bite under bridges. Anglers can use lights to attract them and minnows to catch them.

  Lake Wateree

Andy Owens (Vengeance Tackle & Guide Service, 803-669-2624) said Wateree bass are on fire.

"Lake Wateree has been one of the hottest lakes in the state this year for bass numbers and sizes," he said. "A few years ago, the average winning weight for a bass tournament five-fish limit was 20 pounds. This year, the average winning weight is close to 26 lbs, with two tournaments won with 29 pounds 34 pounds."

Summer is time to bring out topwater baits, with buzzbaits, poppers and frogs good choices. Anglers should try a variety of colors and use a moderately fast retrieve. Once the early morning topwater bite fizzles, casting jigs, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and soft plastics around docks, brush piles, deep humps and creek channel bends works well.

Crappie weighing 2½ to 3 pounds are common. Crappie anglers should fish the deeper brush piles and bridge pilings. Trying a variety of jig colors and sizes is the ticket to success. If the jig bite is slow, anglers should tip jigs with minnows or fish minnows on deep rigs.

Blue catfish anglers will catch large numbers of fish with some in the 40- to 50-pound range. During the day, blues will be at 15 to 20 feet. After sunset, they will move to shallower water. Cut bream and shad work well for larger fish. But, for catching large numbers of smaller catfish, anglers should use night crawlers, chicken livers and stink baits.

Bream should bed in June. Anglers should look for beds in the backs of pockets, around seawalls and in grass patches. Red worms and crickets are the best baits and Beetlespins are the most popular lures.



Yadkin/Pee Dee River Reservoirs

High Rock Lake

Jerry Hill (Triad Fishing & Guide Service, 336-247-1265) said the lake is full of big stripers.

"We will have good striper fishing in the river," he said. "From the first of June into July, they will be on the main lake forming some big schools. We will catch them from 12 to 15 feet deep by trolling ¾-ounce or 1-ounce bucktails with green or lemon-lime curly tailed worms.

Anglers can expect to catch stripers of 9 to 16 pounds by fishing along the main river channel edges, on the long points running into the channels, or on the humps. The way to find stripers is locating the baitfish schools they are feeding on with an electronic depthfinder.

Another method for catching striped bass is trolling live shad with side planers under the trolling motor power. Some anglers fish live baits with free lines or down lines by drifting their baits at the same level where they see baitfish on their depthfinder. Crappie will move to deep docks and brush piles. Bass will hit topwater lures early in the morning, with Carolina rigs, jigs and crankbaits better bets in the middle of the day.

Tuckertown Lake

Maynard Edwards (Extreme Fishing Concepts & Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, 336-249-6782) said Tuckertown is tops for bass.

"Tuckertown is a great summertime lake because it's oxygenated and full of bass," he said. "It's a good topwater and flipping lake.

Anglers should fish Senkos, floating worms and jigs in the standing grass. Flipping a jig is also effective on the bluff banks along the main river channel.

Crappie will bite live baits and jigs fished on double-hook tight lines. Shellcrackers will strike worms in and around grass beds.

Badin Lake

Maynard Edwards (Extreme Fishing Concepts & Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, 336-249-6782) said anglers should go after Badin bass.

"Badin has been on fire for two years," he said. "The warmer the water, the better the fishing. The best time is during the week when the water is flowing. We catch lots of big schooling bass on the humps and long points."

Best lures for topwater fishing are Spooks, chuggers and poppers. Crankbiats are also good bets.

The lake has some of the biggest crappie on the Yadkin chain. Badin is deep and clear, so the fish can be 42 feet deep. Anglers should look for them in the main sections of Gar and Gladys Fork creeks. Down-imaging sonar is the way to find the fish. Anglers should troll a jig and a minnow on a double-hook tight line rig with a 1-ounce sinker.

Striper anglers should fish Alabama rigs behind the dam or anchor the boat and use side planers or float rigs baited with live shad. The fish will also school on the main lake humps, where trolling live baits early and late will get results. On some of the points, anglers will catch stripers and bass together by casting deep diving crankbaits.

Lake Tillery

Joe Aldridge (Joe’s Bait & Tackle, 704-982-8716) said largemouth bass will be biting black shaky head worms fished on Carolina rigs or jigs cast to bridges and long points that have some structure.

"A Zoom Magnum Trick Worm or Ol Monster in green pumpkin or black is the best lure," he said. "Early in the morning, floating worms and topwater lures work well, especially a clear Zara Spook or smaller Zara puppy."

Striper anglers should troll bucktails on lead core line and downriggers in 20 to 25 feet of water along the channel edges. A Road Runner or banana jig in green and white should get their attention.

White perch will school in 20 to 30 feet of water at the river channel edges. If the power plant is moving water during the week, the topwater fishing is topnotch. When the fish are up, anglers should cast a 1-ounce Nungesser, Flex-It or Hopkins spoon rigged with two ice fly trailers.

SCrappie will be on brush at 20 to 25 feet.

Blue cats will be biting live or cut gizzard shad along the river channel. Flatheads will be biting live bream at 12 to 15 feet.



Fishing Report Quick Links:
Lake Norman
Lake Hickory
Mountain Island
Lake Wylie
Lake Wateree
High Rock Lake
Tucker Town
Badin Lake
Lake Tillery

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