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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 would be boiling.

"The first of August is kind of slow," he said. "You might try fishing crankbaits on the humps, using 8-pound test line to help get the lures down deep. Big Allison Creek and the main lake humps or places near creek mouths are the best places. The fish should be at 18 to 22 feet, where a Norman DD-22 in blue-and-yellow will catch them. Some bass get back in the covers, so fishing a topwater early and late or on a cloudy day should draw strikes. Casting spooks and propeller lures to secondary points and shallow structure on the main lake is a good tactic, with stumpy points the best spots."

Shellcrackers will bite in the backs of long coves where the creeks come enter. Fishing a live bait on a float rig over the sandy spots is key.

Crappie will be at the deep docks, in 12 to 15 feet of water late in the afternoon. Anglers should fish with 1/32-ounce jigs that have green or red heads and a white body. White perch will school on points, with Boyd's Cove a good place. A two-hook minnow rig will catch them.

Catfishing is excellent, with the fish swimming at 6 feet in the creeks early and heading to the main lake channels as the sun gets higher. Cut baits will catch lots of blue and channel cats.



Lake Hickory

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

"Bass fishing is best at night," he said. "For nighttime fishing, anglers have their best luck throwing big worms, ChatterBaits or something with some vibration. Early and late in the day another good tactic is tossing a Spook or buzzbaits to the points and pockets."

Stripers will be up in the river as long as the cooler water is running through the dam. Striper fishermen should use swimbaits, flukes, bucktails and Spooks or chugging lures. Most of the fish should be in the deeper holes at 10 to 20 feet.

Crappie will be biting deep, in the brush piles at 15 to 20 feet brush piles. Anglers will catch them on Bobby Garland jigs and minnows.

A few bluegills and shellcrackers will be biting. Anglers should fish with live baits anywhere they find a shady pocket

Catfishermen will have good luck, fishing upriver along with the striper anglers. Cut fish, frozen shad, night crawlers and liver are the best catfish baits.


  Lake Norman

Capt. Gus Gustafson (Fishing With Gus, 704-617-6812) said the bass will be on the breaks.

"In August and early September, the spotted bass are on the points at 20 foot breaks," he said. "Early in the day, they will be up close to the docks and riprap, but they will go to the breaks after sunrise. The best way to catch them is with swimbaits, crankbaits and drop-shot rigs. We will also catch some nice largemouth bass at night around lay-downs, boat ramps and lighted docks. Any kind of buzzbait, swimbait or jerkbait works well for night fishing."

Another good bet for spotted bass in late September is watching for surfacing schools on the river humps and channel points. Popping cork rigs with ice flies will catch them, along with Spooks and poppers.

In August, the catfishing at the dam will be excellent. Anglers should fish on the thermocline at about 50 feet early, late and at night. Catfish will also move into the 10- to 20-feet deep coves. Anglers can catch lots of blue cats by trolling these areas in the hot weather.

A few crappie anglers will use lights at night to draw the fish up to the surface. Bridges and lighted docks are the best places to try.

Some of the best fishing for white perch will occur. Anglers should use Sabiki rigs with a ¾-ounce spoon on bottom, jigging at 20 to 30 feet in the deeper areas of the coves and creek channels.

  Lake Wateree

Andy Owens (Vengeance Tackle and Guide Service, 803-669-2624) said catching Wateree bass would be tricky.

Bass fishing in water temperatures that can be in the 80s and 90s can be difficult," he said. "Try starting with topwater lures – buzzbaits, poppers, frogs and large walking topwaters - around rocky main lake points. If that isn't working, fish grass patches on the main lake or secondary points. Once the early morning bite stops, move to the deeper humps and creek channels in 17 to 20 feet of water. Big crankbaits, jigs, Carolina rigs and shaky heads are the best choices for deeper water.

Bream fishermen should look for beds in shallow water at the backs of cover near seawalls and boat ramps. The best bait is a red worm fished on a No. 6 hook. Beetlespins also work well.

Stripers and white perch will be schooling early and late. Anglers should try topwater baits that mimic shad or spinners and spoons.

Catfishermen will catch lots of blue cats weighing 3 to 5 pounds. The fish will bite cut bream and shad, night crawlers, dough baits, shrimp and chicken livers.



Yadkin/Pee Dee River Reservoirs

High Rock Lake

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

"By late August, the fishing ought to be good," he said. "High rock fish have been running up to 13 pounds, but they don't school much on top that time of year. I use ¾- to 2-ounce bucktails, either white with a chartreuse worm or chartreuse with a chartreuse worm. I move down the Yadkin River channel, fishing the channel points and the humps. If you mark four to six fish in a school, most of the time, you will be able catch one or two."

Hill finds the fish with his depthfinder then starts trolling the bucktails at the depths he marks the fish. He uses lead core line and double bucktail rigs.

Tuckertown Lake

Maynard Edwards (Extreme Fishing Concepts - Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, 336-249-6782) said Tuckertown's cover is hides the secret of its hot weather fishing.

"Tuckertown has lots of vegetation that the Yadkin lakes don't begin to have," he said. "Lily pads and other vegetation draws bass to the shade. It even groups them up because they find oxygen and shade. It also provides cover for baitfish. I like to fish a frog, floating worm, soft jerkbaits or Slug-Go in the pads.

Tuckertown also has some big shellcrackers in its pad beds. Crappie also school just outside the pad edges on the deeper drop-offs. A 1/16-ounce Roadrunner is a good bet for catching crappie.

Stripers will be up in the river. The best fishing will occur while the water is flowing through the dam.

Badin Lake

Maynard Edwards (Extreme Fishing Concepts-Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, 336-249-6782) said anglers should head upriver.

"I like to go upriver behind the dam," he said. I use one of my E-rigs (one of Edward's Alabama rigs) with 1/8-ounce jigs and 4-inch swim bodies. I use 40-pound braided line and drag it through the current. I never know for sure what I'm going to catch. Anything that swims will hit this rig - white perch, stripers, white bass and largemouth bass.

In hot months, the largemouth bass may be in water as deep as 25 feet. Anglers should hit the deeper humps with a spoon, jig, Carolina rig or deep-diving lure.

Stripers may also surface late in the afternoon near grassy points. Fishing lures and live baits on planer boards beside the grass is a good bet. Anglers may also find perch and bream in the oxygenated water of wind-blown points.

Badin has some big crappie and they will be on the bottom at 40 feet or suspended at 15 to 20 feet. A down-imaging sonar will help anglers find the fish.

Blue cats move will move upriver behind the dam. Live or cut perch or shad are the best catfish baits.

Lake Tillery

Rodney Crisco (Joe’s Bait & Tackle, 704-982-8716) said hot weather makes largemouth bass "cranky."

"In August, cranking a deep diver is the best bet," he said. "The fish will also hit big plastic worms fished on half-ounce football head jigs. They will also strike Carolina rigs with creature baits cast to the main lake points and stumpy points. There will also be an early topwater bite of smaller schooling fish."

Striper anglers should look in the middle of the lake on to the south end at 18 to 25 feet. The best places to fish are points along the river channel. Deep diving lures or bucktail jigs fished on downriggers and lead core lines are the best bets.

White perch will school at 20 to 30 feet, where cut baits and shrimp will catch them. A good artificial jigging rig is a Flex-It spoon with three ice flies tied above it.

Blue cats will be biting cut bream, white perch and gizzard shad along the river channel. Flatheads up in the river biting live bream on the bottom or on slip float rigs in the deeper holes.



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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