Backwaters along the Southeastern N.C. coast and in the Charleston area appear to be producing the Carolinas’ best fishing.
In fact, several sources, including the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, rated the action around Charleston “fantastic.”
Lake Norman: Good for hybrids and spotted bass in mixed surface-feeding schools from around 2 p.m. until dark. Small Ice Flies trailing from popping corks are the most effective lures. Fair to good for largemouth and spotted bass, mainly being caught around docks. Skirted spinnerbaits are working best as dingy water lingers from recent flooding. Fair to good for crappie around cover 15-25 feet deep on minnows. Fair for catfish in creek channels on strips of chicken and white perch scented with garlic powder.
Lake Wylie: Good for catfish up to 35 pounds, hitting cut gizzard shad and white perch best 25-40 feet down along the channel ledges in creek arms. Fair to good for crappie, mostly on minnows, around brush 25 feet deep.
Mountain Island Lake: Little activity reported.
Cane Creek Park: Fair to good for crappie on minnows fished around deep, brushy cover.
Yadkin/Pee Dee River Lakes: Good for crappie on minnows the length of the chain from High Rock through Tuckertown, Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls. A bit the best at the latter three.
Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Smallmouth bass continue to take shiners well at James for anglers either drifting or trolling very slowly over the points. Fair for crappie at both Rhodhiss and Hickory.
Fontana Lake: Good to excellent for smallmouth and spotted bass on jerk baits, curly-tail soft plastics and Zara Spooks cast to rocky shoreline, especially the points.
Lake Wateree: Good for catfish 20-30 feet deep off the shoreline in the June Creek section on cut gizzard shad and white perch. Drift-fishing these same baits is productive between Colonel and Dutchman creeks.
Lake Murray: Very good for white perch, concentrated in schools 20-30 feet deep and striking jigging spoons best. Fair to good for channel catfish around humps and off points on cut herring, shrimp and stink baits.
Lake Thurmond: Fair to good for crappie, generally suspended 15 feet deep over cover 25 feet down.
Santee Cooper Lakes: Good for stripers in surfacing schools from around 2 p.m. until dark. Most consistent action has been in the Hatchery area of the lower lake, Moultrie. They’re striking bucktails and spoons.
Lake Keowee: Good for largemouth and spotted bass, feeding in surfacing schools and hitting flukes and topwater lures. When not schooling, the bass are being taken on drop-shot rigs affixed with artificial worms in the 20-60 foot depth range.
Lake Jocassee: Continuing fair for trout 100-115 feet deep near the dam on minnows worked on downrigger devices. Fair topwater action for smallmouth and spotted bass in mixed schools.
Lake Hartwell: The channel catfish catch remains good for anglers baiting with crawlers and cut herring around ledges and humps 15-40 feet deep.
Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Excellent for blues at piers, along with a mix of trout and whiting. Blues and puppy drum in the surf. Oregon Inlet: Good to excellent offshore for limits of large yellowfin tuna, along with dolphin and a few wahoo. Hatteras Island: Very good offshore for blackfin tuna, along with wahoo to 72 pounds. Good in Pamlico Sound for large red drum. Plentiful blues in the surf, especially near Avon and Buxton, along with a mix of black drum, gray trout, puppy drum and whiting. Ocracoke Island: Good in the surf for blues, puppy drum and whiting. Big red drum at the island’s south point and in the sound. Morehead City area: Very good along the beach and at the near-shore artificial reefs for king mackerel. Offshore, kings are being caught at areas named Northwest Places, Triple Nickel and 30-Minute Rock. Gray trout around the artificial reefs and in the shipping channel, with the latter also yielding whiting. Coolers full of blues, spots and whiting at piers.
Southeastern N.C. Coast: Very good in the backwaters and at the Little River and Wrightsville Beach jetties for speckled trout in the 5-pound range, along with red drum. Both species are hitting live shrimp best. Free-floating the bait and letting it ride with the current is the most productive tactic. Continuing good to excellent offshore for wahoo when sea conditions are favorable. King mackerel at the Shark Hole and 30-30 Ledge. Good for speckled trout in Greens Channel and at the Carolina Beach, Little River and Mason’s inlets. Flounder in Snow’s Cut, some weighing in the 10-pound range. Fair blues, spots and whiting at piers.
S.C. Coast: Little River area: Reds, or spottails, at the jetties, along with some flounder and large trout. Grand Strand area: Black drum, blues, puppy drum, spot and piers. Big reds and king mackerel reported from the Garden City and Surfside piers. Charleston area: Exceptional in the backwaters for speckled trout on live shrimp worked under popping corks. Good offshore for wahoo and some very large triggerfish. Big sheepshead around the jetties and bridge pilings.
Beaufort area: Continuing fair to good for reds around docks in the creeks on cut mullet and Gulp! Shrimp lures.