From the Great Smoky Mountains to waters offshore of the Outer Banks, weekend fishing prospects for anglers in the Carolinas appear good to excellent.
Bass, crappie and catfish are hitting in the lakes.
And coastal angling appears on the upswing, with fine catches of wahoo boated offshore and reports of big red drum feeding in the surf at some locations.
Additionally, N.C. mountain trout waters carrying the “Hatchery Supported” designation open for fishing at 7 a.m. on Saturday, with thousands – as usual – hoping to catch brook, brown and rainbows.
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Lake Norman: Good to excellent for crappie using both jigs and minnows around shallow shoreline cover and docks with brush underneath. Good for hybrids, striped bass and largemouth uplake in the riverine stretch on small live sunfish. Good for stripers on live baits worked along the edge of the old river channel. Good for largemouth and spotted bass, being found mainly in the coves and hitting a variety of small lures. Good for blue catfish in the coves on small strips of chicken and cut white perch.
Lake Wylie: Continuing good to excellent for crappie around shallow brush and under docks. Continuing fair to good for largemouth on artificial worms and other soft plastic lures, crankbaits and jerkbaits as the fish move into the coves to spawn. Good for catfish uplake in the riverine portion and up the South Fork arm on cut herring and shad worked 5-20 feet deep along the edge of channels. Catfish also are being caught around humps.
Mountain Island Lake: Continuing fine catches of crappie around shallow cover. Good for largemouth in the spawning stage along the shoreline and on flats, striking crankbaits and soft plastic lures. Good for catfish on crawlers and cut baits.
Union County Lakes: Very good for crappie at all four – Cane Creek Park, Lakes Lee, Monroe and Twitty. Lake Lee is back at full pond after completion of repairs at the dam.
Rankin Lake, Gastonia: Continuing good catches of catfish, crappie and largemouth.
Yadkin/Pee Dee River Lakes: Good for crappie and largemouth at all five reservoirs – High Rock, Tuckertown, Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls. Tillery appears to be producing a bit the best. A few American shad are being caught daily in the tailrace at Blewett Falls as the spawning migration up the Pee Dee from the sea is in its early stages. The peak of the annual spring shad run appears to be about two weeks away.
Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Very good to excellent for crappie at all three of the uppermost reservoirs on the Catawba River. Largemouth are hitting well at Hickory and Rhodhiss, smallmouth bass at James.
Hampton Lake, Yadkin County: Very good for crappie, catfish and largemouth, with limit catches reported.
Fontana Lake: Good for smallmouth and spotted bass on shiners worked along the clay banks.
Lake Wateree: Excellent for catfish in the upper third of the impoundment on cut threadfin shad and white perch worked along ledges 5-25 feet down. Good for crappie around shoreline cover and docks. Good for stripers on cut shad.
Lake Murray: Continuing very good for stripers on live baits either free-lined or trolled under planer boards. The stripers also are taking cut baits. Some surface schooling activity reported, with the stripers being caught on bucktails, flukes and spoons.
Lake Thurmond: No report.
Lake Hartwell: Good for largemouth around the secondary points on a variety of lures.
Lake Jocassee: Fair to good for trout with the best action coming on spoons of 2 or 3 inches worked 30-40 feet deep.
Lake Keowee: Good for largemouth and spotted bass along the shoreline on weightless Senko lures in watermelon and June bug color patterns.
Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Puffers, or blowtoads, at the piers. Blues at Avalon Pier. A few blues and whiting at Outer Banks Pier. Manteo area: Small striped bass at the Little Bridge. Oregon Inlet: Blackfin, bluefin and yellowfin tuna offshore, with anglers aboard one boat scoring a three-at-a-time bluefin hookup. Small striped bass in the sound. Hatteras Island: Continuing good to excellent for blackfin tuna off Hatteras Village, with bluefin catches also reported. Blowtoads, whiting and a few black drum in the surf near Cape Point. Blues and whiting in the Frisco surf. Blowtoads, blues, puppy drum and whiting in the surf at Hatteras Inlet. Ocracoke Island: Trophy-sized red drum to 50 inches in the surf, along with small blues and blowtoads. Big reds have been caught at both ends of the island. Morehead City area: Continuing good for blackfin tuna and wahoo offshore. Blowtoads and whiting in the surf, Beaufort Inlet and at piers. Fair to good for trout and reds in the backwaters.
Southeastern N.C. Coast: Fair for blackfin tuna and wahoo offshore when sea conditions are favorable. Fair for a mix of small flounder, reds and trout in the backwaters. Blowtoads, blues and whiting at piers.
S.C. Coast: Grand Strand area: Good for sheepshead at the Murrells Inlet and Georgetown jetties, plus the near-shore artificial reefs. Good for reds to 29 pounds in Winyah Bay. Improving for black drum and flounder in the backwaters. Good offshore for wahoo and bottom species when sea conditions are good. Blues, blowtoads and whiting at piers. Charleston area: “Phenomenal” offshore for wahoo, according to various reports. Blackfin tuna and dolphin also are being boated. Good for speckled trout in the backwater marsh edges on 4-inch paddletail grubs. Black drum around rock piles.