Angling action at Lake Norman continues good to excellent despite a sudden cold snap that has dropped the water temperature.
The catch includes big blue catfish, crappie, hybrids, and stripers, along with largemouth and spotted bass.
Norman presently appears the most productive freshwater location overall in the Carolinas.
However, fishing for crappie is nearing its spring peak at practically all the Piedmont lakes, with limit catches reported that include some especially large “slabs.”
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Along the coast, wind gusting to 50 mph generally has disrupted angling activity the past few days with the exception of surf fishing for big red drum at Ocracoke Island and at Cape Point on Hatteras Island.
Lake Norman: Continuing excellent for crappie on both jigs and minnows around shallow shoreline cover and docks with brush underneath. Hybrids, stripers, largemouth and spotted bass well back in the creek arms on live baits fished 6-18 feet deep. The largemouth and spots also are striking crankbaits, jerkbaits and shakey-head artificial worms. Blue catfish to 45 pounds on cut baits, with best catches being made at the points.
Lake Wylie: Continuing good to excellent for crappie around shallow brush and under docks, mainly on minnows. Especially fine catches reported from waters near Belmont southward to the Buster Boyd Bridge. Good for largemouth in the coves on artificial worms and other soft plastic lures, crankbaits and jerkbaits. Good for catfish on cut herring and shad worked 5-20 feet deep along the channel edges.
Mountain Island Lake: Continuing very good for crappie around shallow cover. Largemouth along the shoreline on crankbaits and soft plastic lures.
Union County Lakes: Exceptional for crappie at all four—Cane Creek Park, Lakes Lee, Monroe and Twitty. Lake Lee has yielded several whopper crappie to 18 inches during the past few days. Good county-wide for largemouth.
Rankin Lake, Gastonia: Continuing good for 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 continues to be producing a bit the best. Very good for largemouth at High Rock, where it took a limit of five fish weighing 22.62 pounds to win a tournamentSaturday.
Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Continuing very good to excellent for crappie at all three reservoirs. Additionally, largemouth have started to hit well at Hickory and Rhodhiss. Stripers uplake at Hickory and in the Johns River feeding Rhodhiss.
Hampton Lake, Yadkin County: Continuing good for crappie, catfish and largemouth.
Fontana Lake: Very good for smallmouth and spotted bass on Creepy Crawler lures in a watermelon color pattern cast to the shoreline. The bass also are hitting shiners.
Lake Wateree: Continuing very good for catfish uplake on cut threadfin shad and white perch worked along ledges. Good for crappie while long-line trolling with jigs. Good for stripers on cut shad.
Lake Murray: Good for all the impoundment’s species. The striper bite using cut baits has improved significantly.
Lake Thurmond: No report.
Lake Hartwell: No report.
Lake Jocassee: Fair to good for trout on spoons worked from the surface down to 30 feet deep
Lake Keowee: Good for largemouth and spotted bass along the shoreline on a variety of lures.
Outer Banks, Nags Head area: Little activity due to high winds. Oregon Inlet: Fair for bluefin and yellowfin tuna offshore when sea conditions are decent. Hatteras Island: Big red drum at night in the surf at Cape Point near Buxton. Scattered blues, blowtoads (puffers), puppy drum and whiting in the surf from Avon to Hatteras Inlet. Blackfin and yellowfin tuna offshore of Hatteras Village when seas are favorable. Ocracoke Island: Several trophy-sized red drum in the surf, along with small blues and blowtoads. Morehead City area: The first blue marlin of the season boated offshore, along with blackfin tuna, sailfish and wahoo. Blues at the Cape Lookout Shoals. Black drum, blowtoads and whiting in the surf and at piers. Reds and speckled trout in the backwaters.
Southeastern N.C. Coast: Activity has been slowed by strong winds. Good bottom fishing offshore for black seabass and snowy grouper when seas are favorable. Blowtoads, blues and whiting at piers.
S.C. Coast, Little River area: Reds, speckled trout and small flounder at the jetties. Croaker, small flounder and whiting at the pier.
Grand Strand area: Improving for flounder on mud minnows in Murrells Inlet and fair for reds and trout. Black drum, blues, small flounder and whiting at piers. Flounder and speckled trout at the near-shore artificial reefs.
Charleston area: Wind generally has limited activity for several days. Good for sheepshead around the bridges and other hard structure. Fair for reds and trout in the backwaters. Scattered dolphin offshore when sea conditions are favorable.
Beaufort area: Good sight-casting to reds tailing to feed in the marsh grass during high tide. Speckled trout on topwater lures and soft plastic grubs.