Fishing action generally is on the upswing on the Carolinas lakes and is showing signs of improvement along the coast.
Lake Norman continues as perhaps the hot spot, with limits of crappie and spotted bass reported, along with some stripers in the 10-pound range.
Oregon Inlet appears tops on the coast, with offshore waters yielding bluefin tuna to an estimated 400 pounds, blackfin and yellowfin.
Lake Norman: Excellent for spotted bass on shallow flats and humps, hitting live baits, shakey head lures and jigs. Good to excellent for crappie on minnows worked around brush 10 feet deep. Catfish 3-15 feet deep along the shoreline on practically all types of cut bait. Striped bass on live baits.
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Lake Wylie: Limits of crappie on jigs and minnows. The depth of the crappie depends on the warmth of the day. Good for largemouth bass on Alabama rigs and jerk baits cast to channel swings, creek mouths, points and docks in deep water.
Union County Lakes: Excellent at Lake Lee for largemouth and crappie, including many fish caught from the banks. Some of the crappie have weighed in the 21/2-pound range. Fair to good at Cane Creek Park for largemouth and crappie. Fair for crappie at Lake Twitty.
Yadkin/Pee Dee River Lakes: Good to very good for crappie all along the chain that incudes High Rock, Tuckertown, Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls. The start of the annual spring spawning run of American shad up the Pee Dee from the sea to Blewett Falls Dam is thought to be about two weeks away.
Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Good at all three lakes for crappie. Smallmouth bass at James on shiners and a variety of small lures cast to points and rocky shoreline. Stripers at Hickory near the N.C. 127 bridge on Alabama rigs with soft plastic Bass Assassin lures attached.
Fontana Lake: Excellent for smallmouth and spotted bass right against the shoreline on twister grubs in a pumpkin seed color pattern. Largemouth on jerk baits.
Lake Wateree: Improving for all species.
Lake Murray: Very good for white perch in schools 20-70 feet down on small lures and minnows. Fair for crappie around cover 8-10 feet deep on jigs tipped with minnows. Fair for striped bass uplake on free-lined live baits. Some striper schooling has been reported.
Santee-Cooper Lakes: Good for crappie 3-8 feet deep in the backs of creeks. Good for largemouth bass around shoreline cover and grass on artificial worms and Senko lures.
Lake Hartwell: Fair and picking up for stripers and hybrids in the backs of creeks on live herring. Blue catfish very shallow in the creeks on cut baits.
Lake Keowee: Continuing fair for largemouth and spotted bass 40-60 feet deep on mop jigs.
Lake Jocassee: “As good as it gets” for trout, according to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. The fish mainly are being caught by anglers trolling small spoons and minnows from just off the shoreline out to a depth of 30 feet. Creek mouths are producing well, too.
Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Little activity because of rough surf; Oregon Inlet: Good offshore for the tuna – bluefin, blackfin and yellowfin – when sea conditions are favorable; Hatteras Island: Blackfin, bluefin and yellowfin offshore when weather and sea conditions allow trolling parties to venture out. Good bottom fishing for golden tile and grouper. Puppy drum in the surf at the old Frisco Pier site and near Ramp 49 across the dunes. Fair for reds in Pamlico Sound near Hatteras Village; Ocracoke Island: Fair for puppy drum in the surf; Morehead City area: Blackfin tuna and wahoo offshore when sea conditions are favorable. A few reds in the backwaters.
Southeastern N.C. Coast: Fair for reds in the backwaters, with the new Vudu Mullet lures producing well. Little activity offshore except for fair-to-good catches of black seabass.
S.C. Coast: Little River area: Little activity; Grand Strand area: Trout at the 3-Mile Artificial Reef on jigs and strips of menhaden and mullet. Striped bass near the “Broken Bridge” that spanned the Waccamaw River near Georgetown; Charleston area: Very active schools of reds on the backwater flats, hitting mud minnows and Savage Crab lures. Good for sheepshead around bridge pilings and rock piles; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Fair for reds in the backwaters on scented shrimp-like lures and No. 4 flies stripped slowly.