From the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks, fishing action across the Carolinas is revving toward its full-bore autumn peak.
There are good-to-excellent reports this week from most lakes and also the coast.
Top freshwater locations appear to be Fontana Lake in the hill country and Lake Norman in the Piedmont. The Morehead City and Charleston areas rate best overall for saltwater angling.
Lake Norman: Very good for hybrids, spotted bass and white perch in mixed surfacing schools from around 4:30 p.m. until dark. The fish, striking spoons and live baits, are most active at the mouth of the Stumpy Creek arm and near the State Park. Topwater plugs with propellers also are working well for the spotted bass. During morning hours the spots and perch are taking minnows 30-50 feet deep at the ends of main channel points. Fair for crappie on jigs and minnows around cover 15 feet deep. Fair to good for catfish on cut baits near the mouths of the McGuire Station and Plant Marshall hot holes.
Lake Wylie: Good for largemouth bass in the creek arms on crankbaits, jigs and topwater lures. Good for crappie on minnows worked around cover 10-20 feet deep. Good for bream just off the shoreline on crickets and earthworms during the full moon period.
Mountain Island Lake: Fair to good for largemouth on artificial worms and crankbaits with the best at points in the reservoir’s lower half. Crappie around cover 10-15 feet down.
Union County Lakes: Good for crappie at Cane Creek Park and Lake Monroe. Mainly bream and catfish at Lakes Lee and Twitty.
Yadkin/Pee Dee River Lakes: Good for crappie the length of the chain from High Rock through Tuckertown, Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls. Badin appears a bit the best, with especially large crappie being caught in areas near the dam.
Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Good for smallmouth bass at James on shiners and trolled spoons at points in both the Catawba and Linville arms. Fair to good for catfish and largemouth at Hickory, along with scattered striped bass. Little activity reported at Rhodhiss except for fair catches of crappie.
Fontana Lake: Excellent for smallmouth and spotted bass on crankbaits, jerk baits and shiners cast to rocky shoreline. “They’re hitting like crazy,” marina manager Ronnie Crisp said Tuesday from Fontana Village Resort. “Some fishermen are catching their limits of five bass in an hour.”
Lake Wateree: Limits of striped bass, concentrated in schools, on large shiners. Largemouth bass in the creeks on artificial worms, crankbaits and topwater lures cast to docks and rocky shoreline.
Lake Murray: Very good for white perch in big schools on minnows and small spoons. Plentiful channel catfish on cut herring, shrimp and stink baits white drifting over the points. Good for bream along the shoreline on crickets, earthworms.
Lake Thurmond: Good for crappie, suspended 10-15 feet deep over brush that’s 25 feet down.
Santee Cooper Lakes: Good for crappie on minnows worked 10-20 feet down around brush and logs. Very good for bream.
Lake Keowee: Continuing fair for largemouth and spotted bass in the lower part of the reservoir.
Lake Jocassee: Fair to good for trout on live bait drift-fished 40-60 feet deep. The trout also are striking spoons trolled very slowly.
Lake Hartwell: Good for channel catfish on traditional baits.
Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Fair and improving daily for blues, puppy drum and trout in the surf and at piers, where anglers also are taking black drum, puffers and spot. Oregon Inlet: Good offshore for blackfin tuna, dolphin and wahoo when sea conditions are favorable. Blues, flounder and trout in the backwaters. Hatteras Island: Good to excellent offshore for blackfin tuna when conditions aren’t too rough. Sailfish and wahoo are showing well, too. Red drum continue to be boated and released in fine numbers in Pamlico Sound. Fair to good for blues, pompano, puppy drum and whiting in the surf from Rodanthe to Hatteras Inlet. Ocracoke Island: Black drum, blues and reds in the 30-inch range in the surf. Trophy-sized reds at night in the surf at the south point. King mackerel just offshore and excellent catches of triggerfish on bottom. Morehead City area: Good to excellent offshore for blackfin tuna, sailfish and wahoo. Excellent for king mackerel just off the beach. Excellent for albacore and blues in the 3-pound range at the Cape Lookout shoals, including for flycasters. Good for blackfin tuna, sailfish and wahoo offshore. Pompano, reds, spot and trout in the surf and at piers.
Southeastern N.C. Coast: Very good for big red drum and trout at the Little River jetties, Carolina Beach Inlet and Riches Inlet. Smaller reds (puppy drum) and trout in the backwaters. Blackfin tuna, sailfish and wahoo offshore. King mackerel from close-to-shore out to 10 miles. Kings, pompano, spot and whiting at piers. Flounder, spots and whiting in the Cape Fear River near Southport.
S.C. Coast: Little River area: Reds, or spottails, at the jetties, along with trout and scattered flounder. Grand Strand area: Good for flounder, reds and trout in Murrells Inlet and at Winyah Bay near Georgetown. Black and red drum at the Murrells Inlet and Georgetown jetties. Pompano, spots and whiting at piers. Little activity offshore. Charleston area: “On fire” for trout in the backwaters, where they’re striking Zman Swimz lures. Numerous big red drum at the jetties. Good for wahoo offshore when sea conditions are favorable. Fine fishing for bottom species offshore. Beaufort area: No report.