From crappie to bluefin, outlook getting better
Crappie at Lakes Norman and Wylie, along with bluefin tuna off Hatteras Village and Oregon Inlet, appear to offer very good prospects for action.
Additionally, the catfish catch at Wylie continues to improve markedly. It is mostly just fair at Norman, but likely to pick up as the water warms.
Lake Wateree looks to be the choice site for largemouth bass fishing. It took five fish weighing 25 pounds to win a tournament last weekend.
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Bluefin up to 400 pounds and measuring 87 inches were caught off Hatteras last weekend.
Lake Norman: Crappie have moved into the usual spring-time pattern and are being caught on minnows worked around brush 10-15 feet deep. Very good for white perch on small gizzard shad fished 40-50 feet deep. Anglers casting crankbaits to the shoreline for largemouth bass were pleasantly surprised to catch stripers. Sporadic good catches of largemouth and spotted bass on jerk baits and small crankbaits. The catfish are shallow and taking a variety of baits.
Lake Wylie: According to S.C. Department of Natural Resource officers, it’s “very, very good” for catfish, hitting cut baits along main channel ledges and at the mouths of creeks. Limits of crappie, 10-15 feet down around cover, and at this time biting minnows best.
Union County Lakes: Good to excellent at Lake Lee for largemouth, hitting a variety of lures cast to the shoreline. Bass scaling up to 71/2 pounds were caught during the weekend. The bite is picking up at Lakes Monroe and Twitty as well. Good for crappie at Cane Creek Park’s lake near Waxhaw.
Yadkin/Pee Dee River Lakes: Very strong at Blewett Falls for crappie and continuing to improve all along the chain that includes High Rock, Tuckertown, Badin and Tillery. Also very good for blue catfish at Blewett Falls, both in the lake and in the Pee Dee below the dam. The chain’s lakes are starting to yield better largemouth catches.
Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Good at James for smallmouth bass, mainly on shiners. They’re also striking small Alabama rigs. Crappie catches are fair to good at all three lakes. Hickory looks to be best for largemouth fishing.
Fontana Lake: Limits of smallmouth and spotted bass on shiners and Alabama rigs cast to the points and retrieved out to 15-20 feet. Continuing good for trout on spoons trolled along the main channel from the dam to Big Island and back. Limit catches have been reported.
Lake Wateree: Excellent for largemouth, as shown in that tournament catch of five bass with an average weight of 5 pounds. Catfish have moved much shallower and are taking gizzard shad fished 25-30 feet deep along the main channel. Fair for crappie around cover 20 feet deep on minnows and Fish Stalker jigs.
Lake Murray: Fine fishing for white perch in schools 20-60 feet down. Fair for striped bass 3-15 feet deep on planer rigs trolled during the early morning.
Santee-Cooper Lakes: Fair for crappie, generally suspended 20-40 feet deep in the creek arms. Fair for striped bass on tight-lined live shad. Bream have started moving into shallow brush.
Lake Hartwell: Continuing relatively slow for all species, but expected to start producing at any time.
Lake Keowee: Fair for largemouth and spotted bass 20-40 feet deep on drop-shot rigs fished along the main channel and at creek mouths.
Lake Jocassee: Good for trout along the main channel and at creek mouths on minnows and crawlers.
Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Little activity; Oregon Inlet: Good for bluefin tuna, with up to five boated per party on days when the bite is on; Hatteras Island: Good for bluefin tuna, with a 400-pounder reported. Good for yearling red drum in the surf from the storm-ravaged site of the old Frisco Pier to Hatteras Inlet; Ocracoke Island: Reds in the surf; Morehead City area: Reds in the marshes and Newport River on Mirrolures. Good bottom fishing offshore for black seabass. A few wahoo farther out.
Southeastern N.C. Coast: Wahoo to 60 pounds well offshore. Reds are starting to show in the backwaters. Sheepshead at Oak Island piers.
S.C. Coast: Little River area: No activity; Grand Strand area: Tight schools of reds in the creeks and near the “Broken Bridge” at Georgetown. Blues are starting to show in the surf, feeding on glass minnows; Charleston area: Reds on the backwater flats, hitting ZMan StreakZ lures with a shrimp smell. Sheepshead at the bridge pilings; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Reds in the backwaters during the lower stages of the tide on small flies stripped slowly. Also on jigs and Gulp Minnows scented liked shrimp.