The annual spring spawning run of American shad up the Pee Dee River to the first barrier, the dam at Blewett Falls Lake, appears at its peak.
Catches of the hard-fighting shad weighing up to 4 pounds are reported this week from the dam’s tailrace waters off U.S. 74 near Lilesville.
Very sporty on light tackle, the migrating shad are striking Sabiki rigs and jig-like lures called shad darts.
Lake Norman: Anglers are catching – and hopefully releasing – small largemouth and spotted bass in numbers. The fish are bedding lake-wide, and hitting soft plastic swim lures cast to the shoreline. Limits of 20 crappie continue to be reported from Norman. They’re mainly taking minnows worked around docks and shallow cover along the banks. Catfish are biting cut baits well 5-30 feet deep.
Lake Wylie: Very good for largemouth on shallow, rocky points and around docks on floating artificial worms and Senko lures. Good to excellent for crappie around shallow cover.
Union County Lakes: Continuing good at Lee for largemouth. Best at Twitty for crappie. Fair to good for both species at Cane Creek Park. Bass and catfish at Monroe.
Yadkin/Pee Dee River Lakes: Good for crappie the length of the chain – High Rock, Tuckertown, Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls. Remains best at the latter three.
Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Good for crappie at all three reservoirs on the upper Catawba River, mainly on minnows. James also is yielding walleye on crawlers. Fair to good for largemouth at Rhodhiss and Hickory.
Fontana Lake: Good for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass. They’re hitting crankbaits, soft plastic lures and shiners cast to the shoreline.
Lake Wateree: Very good for catfish, hitting cut baits in the backs of creeks, on shallow flats and in the riverine stretch toward the Fishing Creek Dam. They’re hitting cut gizzard shad and white perch heads best. It took a three-fish limit of 97.5 pounds to win a Catawba Catfish Club tournament last weekend.
Lake Thurmond: Very good for crappie 10 feet deep around docks and in the backs of coves.
Lake Murray: Improving for shellcrackers 3 feet deep along the shoreline. Fair for largemouth. Fair for catfish around humps 20-40 feet deep on cut baits.
Santee Cooper Lakes: Fair for largemouth in the shallows on soft plastic lures. Fair for catfish.
Lake Hartwell: Good for bedding largemouth on shallow, rocky points and around docks on jerk baits. Fair for crappie in shallow water.
Lake Keowee: Very good for largemouth and spotted bass at the points on shakey head worms.
Lake Jocassee: Very good for spotted bass in the backs of coves on soft plastics. Fair for trout 3-50 feet deep on minnows and trolled spoons.
Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Slowly picking up in the surf. A 48-inch red drum reported at Jannettes Pier; Oregon Inlet: Blackfin and yellowfin tuna offshore when sea conditions are favorable, plus two bluefin tuna estimated at 400 pounds released and a 67-incher harvested. Bigeye tuna to 239 pounds. Some black drum, puppy drum and whiting in the surf south of Bonner Bridge; Hatteras Island: Continuing excellent offshore for blackfin tuna and increasing numbers of dolphin. The blackfin are being caught both trolling and vertical jigging. Very good for ugly-looking but great tasting blowtoads, or puffers, in the surf from Avon to Hatteras Village. Black drum, blues, puppy drum and whiting in the surf, along with occasional big red drum A 48-inch red was caught in the surf near Ramp 55 across the dunes.. Good for reds in Pamlico Sound; Ocrakcoke Island: Good for blues, puppy drum and whiting in the surf, which also has yielded a few big red drum. Black drum in the surf at the South Point; Morehead City area: Good for blues at the near-shore artificial reefs. A few Atlantic bonito and false albacore on the east side of the Cape Lookout Shoals. Blackfin tuna and wahoo offshore.
Southeastern N.C. Coast: Black drum, red drum and speckled trout inshore. Black drum, blowtoads, sheepshead and whiting at piers and in the surf, with the Masonboro area producing especially well. Speckled trout at Oak Island and other piers from dawn to mid-morning. Blackfin tuna, dolphin, wahoo and some king mackerel offshore.
S.C. Coast: Little River area: Small blues, croaker and whiting; Grand Strand area: Continuing big red drum at the Murrells Inlet jetties. Whiting to 15 inches at piers and in the surf along with blues. Black drum, black seabass and sheepshead at the Pawley Island artificial reef. Big reds and trout at the 3-Mile reef. Blackfin tuna and wahoo offshore.; Charleston area: Blackfins and wahoo offshore, with dolphin showing 75 miles out. Bottom fishing is producing black seabass and beeliners. A few big red drum at Folly Beach Pier; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Fair to good for reds in the backwaters during high tide on Gulp! shrimp-like lures and mud minnows.