Lake Norman and backwaters near Charleston appear to remain the best choices for anglers in the wake of wild, cold, snowy weather across the Carolinas.
Lake Norman continued to yield fair-to-good catches of hybrids to anglers trolling Alabama rigs the past few days, even while sleet and snow were falling. Plentiful white perch also have been caught, along with crappie and a few striped bass. These three species are taking live baits best.
Reds, also known as puppy drum and spottails, now are gathered in schools numbering up to approximately 300 and producing good action in the Charleston area. The fish are being readily found while warming themselves on shallow mud flats at low tide during sunny days. They are easily spooked, but anglers who can get within casting range are scoring strikes on ZMan Razor Shadz lures.
For the second straight week indications are that far fewer anglers than usual went fishing, but those who did were fairly well rewarded. Some sites reported no angling activity at all.
Lake Norman: The best catches of hybrids, stripers and white perch are being made in the stretch of reservoir from Hager’s Creek northward to the N.C. 150 bridge. They’re generally located 20-30 feet down, suspended over water that’s 50 feet deep. Additionally, spotted bass are striking surprisingly well for wintertime, hitting crankbaits and jerkbaits worked around docks. The Mountain Creek arm of Norman continues to yield good catches of crappie, taking minnows around cover 40 feet deep.
Lake Wylie: Fair to good for crappie, mainly being found around brushy cover 40 feet deep and biting minnows.
Cane Creek Park Lake: Good for crappie on minnows, with a few limit catches reported.
Yadkin-Pee Dee River lakes: Fair to good for crappie at Lake Tillery, even for anglers fishing from the shoreline around public access areas.. Anglers able to reach the “Smith Lake” section of Blewett Falls also are catching crappie.
Lake Hickory: Fair to good for crappie on minnows worked around deep cover. Striped bass in the Oxford Dam tailrace when water is being released on Zarra Spook-type lures.
Fontana Lake: Little activity but good for smallmouth and spotted bass for the few fishermen braving the elements. The bass are striking 5-10 feet deep off points, hitting crankbaits, spinnerbaits and a soft plastic lure, the Creepy Crawler.
Lake Wateree: Striped bass continue to hit shiners at the mouths of major creek arms. Fair to good for crappie on minnows around deep cover.
Outer Banks: Blackfin tuna and a few yellowfin off Hatteras Village when sea conditions are safe enough for parties to venture offshore.
Southeastern N.C. Coast: Very large snowy grouper 60 miles offshore of Ocean Isle/Little River for a party fishing in very rough seas. A few black drum and sheepshead around bridge pilings.
Charleston area: In addition to the backwater reds, anglers have scored extremely well on sheepshead, catching them on fiddler crabs around the near-shore artificial reefs.