Freshwater fishing results generally have improved across the Carolinas, but especially in South Carolina.
On Wateree, Murray and other lakes in South Carolina, the weekly report is good to very good for most gamefish species.
Coastal activity is lagging a bit behind because of unfavorable weather conditions, mainly strong winds that have stirred up the sea.
Lake Norman: Excellent for spotted bass almost anywhere along the shoreline – docks, flats, points and rocky areas. Along with largemouth, the spots are hitting jerk baits, swim baits and shakey head artificial worms. Good for hybrids down to 25 feet on flats on live baits as the fish transition to the creeks. Knowledgeable catfishing anglers are catching an average of about four per hour 20 feet and deeper on cut baits.
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Lake Wylie: Very good to excellent for crappie around cover less than 10 feet deep on jigs and minnows. Continuing good for largemouth bass on Alabama rigs and jerk baits cast to channel swings, docks, mouths of small creeks and points.
Union County Lakes: Fairly good for largemouth at Cane Creek Park and lakes Lee, Monroe and Twitty. However, the crappie bite was generally slowed by last weekend’s cold snap. An extended stretch of warm weather should change this.
Yadkin/Pee Dee River Lakes: Continuing good to very good for crappie all along the chain that includes 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 drawing very close, when the fish in numbers can be caught in the tailrace.
Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Good at all three for crappie. Smallmouth bass activity at James has fallen off some, but walleye are starting to take crawlers. Striped bass at Hickory have begun moving uplake toward the Rhodhiss Dam.
Fontana Lake: Excellent along the shoreline for smallmouth and spotted bass on shiners, crankbaits, Lucky Craft jerk baits and twister-tail soft plastics in pumpkin seed color. Limit catches reported.
Lake Wateree: Very good for largemouth in coves and pockets on soft plastic lures. Good for crappie.
Lake Murray: Very good for striped bass on baits trolled under planer boards 10-12 feet deep. They also are hitting Alabama rigs. Very good for crappie just off the shoreline to water 10-12 feet deep. Plentiful white perch in schools 20-70 feet down.
Santee-Cooper Lakes: Good for crappie just 3-8 feet deep in the backs of creeks. Good for largemouth bass in the same areas on a variety of lures. American shad in the Cooper and Santee Rivers on Sabiki rigs and small spoons.
Lake Hartwell: Good to very good for stripers and hybrids in the creek arms on free-lined live baits. Good for catfish 12-15 feet deep in the creeks on crawlers and cut baits.
Lake Keowee: Good for largemouth and spotted bass around secondary points on artificial worms and crankbaits.
Lake Jocassee: Good for trout 30-50 feet deep in the river arms on shiners and spoons trolled very slowly.
Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Little activity because of rough surf. Oregon Inlet: Bluefin and yellowfin tuna offshore for parties aboard boats that can make it past the inlet. The U.S. Coast Guard has closed the waters to craft with a draft of more than 2 feet because of accumulating sand. No word yet on when a dredging operation will begin. Hatteras Island: Blackfin tuna and the season’s first dolphin offshore when sea conditions are decent. Blowtoads and whiting in the surf behind the motels at Buxton. Puppy drum in the surf from Frisco to Hatteras Inlet. Ocracoke Island: Very good for puppy drum in the surf on cut bait, along with blowtoads and small blues. Morehead City area: Good offshore for blackfin tuna and wahoo when sea conditions are favorable. Black seabass and triggerfish closer in on bottom.
Southeastern N.C. Coast: Fair and improving for reds in the backwaters. Little activity offshore because of rough seas but anticipated to pick up.
S.C. Coast: Little River area: Scattered croaker and whiting. Grand Strand area: Flounder of good size are starting to show in Murrells Inlet. Big trout at the 3-mile artificial reef on jigs, cut menhaden and mullet. Reds at the broken bridge that once spanned the Waccamaw River near Georgetown. Charleston area: Reds, or spottails, around creek mouths, docks and flats on mud minnows and Gulp! lures in a shrimp pattern. Trout to 5 pounds in the backwaters. Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Fair for reds in the backwaters on scented shrimp-like lures and Gulp! lures. Sight-casting to fish feeding in the shallows is producing best.