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Fishing Forecast

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Crappie at Lake Norman, trout at Jocassee are top catches

By Tom Higgins
Correspondent
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- Photo Courtesy Of TW's Tackle
Joe White caught double his daily limit of red drum with one cast Monday. He was fishing in the surf near Nags Head on the Outer Banks, where reds have been hitting relatively well for several days.

Anglers trying for crappie at Lake Norman and trout at Lake Jocassee in the mountains of northwestern South Carolina have been boating limit catches.

Along the coast, by far the best activity during the past few days has been at Nags Head on the Outer Banks, where puppy drum have been striking in the surf.

Question is, will an Arctic front forecast to envelop the Carolinas put a freeze on action at these locations and elsewhere?

Here’s what was happening before the much colder weather arrived:

Lake Norman: Good to excellent for crappie in the Mountain Creek arm. Brothers Bo and John Crutchfield of Denver and four fishing buddies caught their limits of 20 crappie each last Saturday. They enticed the fish to hit Slick Tail jigs worked around brush 20 feet deep. Fair for largemouth and spotted bass on jigs cast to sunken brush piles and piers. Fair for catfish on cut baits.

Lake Wylie: Good for catfish on cut gizzard shad drift-fished 30-55 feet deep.

Mountain Island Lake: Little activity.

Cane Creek Park Lake: Fair for crappie on minnows. Largemouth bass also hitting fairly well.

Yadkin/Pee Dee River Lakes: Continuing fair to good for crappie in the “Smith Lake” section of Blewett Falls on minnows and Kalin jigs in the Acid Rain and Bleeding Shad patterns. Little activity reported at the other reservoirs – Badin, Tillery, High Rock and Tuckertown.

Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Fair to good for smallmouth bass on shiners at James. Scattered crappie at Rhodhiss and Hickory. Stripers are starting to hit at Hickory, taking large shiners in the stretch of lake below the Highway 127 Bridge and in the tailrace at Oxford Dam.

Fontana Lake: No report.

Lake Wateree: Fair for crappie in the stretch from the State Park to Wateree Creek around cover 14-18 feet down. Fair for catfish on cut baits around deep flats in the reservoir’s lower portion.

Lake Murray: Fair for striped bass in the major creeks on free-lined live baits. Some striper surface schooling activity has been noted at the reservoir’s upper end. Scattered catfish being caught

Santee Cooper Lakes: Fair to good for catfish in lower Lake Marion on cut baits worked along the channel edge.

Lake Hartwell: Fair to good for stripers, hybrids on umbrella rigs trolled 15-20 feet deep and also on free-lined gizzard shad.

Lake Keowee: Fair for largemouth and spotted bass on artificial worms rigged in drop-shot fashion and fished 50-70 feet deep.

Lake Jocassee: Good to very good for trout in the creeks on live baits drift-fished from the surface down to 40 feet. Several large fish have been boated, according to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Continuing catches of red drum and puppy drum in the surf; Oregon Inlet: Some puppy drum in the surf. No report about offshore; Hatteras Island: Puppy drum in the surf from Cape Point near Buxton to Ramp 43 crossing the dunes. Good for king mackerel off Hatteras Village on live baits when sea conditions are favorable; Ocracoke Island: No report; Morehead City area: No report.

Southeast Coast: Little activity.

S.C. Coast: Little River area: Little activity; Grand Strand area: Scattered reds and trout at the Murrells Inlet jetties; Charleston area: Continued good sight-fishing for reds, gathered in schools and cruising the backwater flats. They’re hitting live shrimp along with Trout Trick and ZManStreakZ lures; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Good for reds at creek mouths and on the flats. They’re taking small grubs and flies in light colors.

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