Anglers who enjoy trying different kinds of fishing should consider visiting the Blewett Falls Dam tailrace during the next couple weeks or so.
The annual migratory spawning run of American shad up the Pee Dee River from the Atlantic is intensifying, and the very tasty shad are being caught in good numbers at the dam, which blocks their further movement upstream.
They are striking small, jig-like Shad Darts, curly-tail soft plastic lures in green colors and Sabiki rigs. The fish provide an excellent fight for anglers using light tackle.
There is a catwalk on the dam at Blewett Falls, providing easy access for casting. The site is just off U.S. 74 near Lilesville.
American shad are an anadromous species, living most of the year in the sea, but returning to rivers of their birth to spawn.
Lake Norman: Very good for hybrids and spotted bass in the backs of coves fed by creeks. The fish are as shallow as six feet and hitting live baits best. Spots and largemouth also are being caught mainly in the coves on spinnerbaits (best when it’s windy), flukes and swimming artificial worms. The cold weather cut back the crappie bite, but prospects are fairly good for it to resume in coming days. Blue catfish on the points on cut baits.
Lake Wylie: Continuing good for crappie around shallow brush and under docks, mainly on minnows. Good for largemouth in the coves on artificial worms and other soft plastic lures, crankbaits and jerkbaits. Continuing good for catfish on cut herring and shad along the channel edges.
Mountain Island Lake: Crappie around shallow cover. Largemouth along the shoreline on crankbaits, jerkbaits and soft plastic lures. Good for catfish on cut baits.
Union County Lakes: Good catches of crappie continue at all four – Cane Creek Park, Lakes Lee, Monroe and Twitty. The largemouth bite at the four is fairly good.
Rankin Lake, Gastonia: Very good for catfish, crappie and largemouth.
Yadkin/Pee Dee River Lakes: Good to excellent catches of crappie at Tillery. Fair to good at the others – High Rock, Tuckertown, Badin and Blewett Falls. Good for largemouth throughout the chain on a variety of lures.
Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory: Good for crappie at all three despite the recent cold snap that dropped the water temperature. Largemouth are hitting fairly well at Hickory and Rhodhiss, smallmouth bass at James. Stripers in the tailraces at the Rhodhiss and Oxford (Hickory) Dams. Stripers also are being caught in the Johns River feeding Rhodhiss.
Hampton Lake, Yadkin County: Continuing good for crappie, catfish and largemouth.
Fontana Lake: Excellent for smallmouth and spotted bass on blue shad-type lures and Creepy Crawlers in a rainbow trout pattern. The bass also are hitting shiners just off the shoreline..
Lake Wateree: Good for largemouth on jigs cast to docks, shoreline cover and points
Lake Murray: Good for stripers lake-wide with several fishing methods with live bait working: down-lining, free-lining and trolling it under planer boards. Casting bucktails and spoons to surface-feeding fish also is a good option. Largemouth along the shoreline on soft plastic lures. Fair to good for crappie around shoreline cover and docks. Catfish on shallow points and around humps on cut baits.
Lake Hartwell: Good for stripers and hybrids, spread out across the reservoir and being caught on down-lined and free-lined live bait. Trolling with planer boards also is productive. Blue catfish from the shallows down to 20 feet on cut baits.
Santee Cooper Lakes: Good for largemouth on a variety of lures worked around shallow cover, including edges of grassbeds. Artifiicial worms are producing especially well. Blue catfish from water as shallow as two feet down to 20 feet.
Outer Banks: Nags Head area: Blowtoads, sand perch and whiting at the piers. Little activity in the surf. Oregon Inlet: Fair for yellowfin tuna and a few dolphin offshore when sea conditions are favorable. Hatteras Island: Big red drum at night in the surf at Cape Point near Buxton with 20 reported caught between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. Monday into Tuesday. Scattered blues, blowtoads (puffers), puppy drum and whiting in the surf from Avon to Hatteras Inlet. Excellent for big blackfin tuna, along with some wahoo, offshore of Hatteras Village. Ocracoke Island: Good for smallish bluefish and whiting in the surf, with the catch of flounder starting to pick up. Blackfin and wahoo offshore. Morehead City area: Blackfin tuna and wahoo offshore, along with about five dolphin per party each trip. Continuing good for blues at the Cape Lookout Shoals. Black drum, blowtoads and coolers full of whiting and very early pompano in the surf and at piers. Reds and speckled trout in the backwaters.
Southeastern N.C. Coast: Blackfin tuna and wahoo offshore, with the area around Blackjack Hole producing best. Speckled trout to 7 pounds in the backwaters and at jetties on artificial shrimp. Black drum and a few small flounder in the backwaters. Blues, whiting and scattered flounder at piers.
S.C. Coast: Little River area: Black drum, reds and speckled trout at the jetties. Blues, flounder and whiting at the pier. Grand Strand area: Excellent offshore for blackfin tuna, with dolphin and wahoo also showing in the catch. Continuing good for for flounder on mud minnows in Murrells Inlet and fair for reds and trout. Black drum, blues, small flounder and large whiting at piers. Charleston area: The weekend cold snap slowed the backwater bite of reds and trout somewhat, but it’s likely to pick up again quickly. The reds are hitting cut mullet worked on Carolina rigs around docks. Trout are hitting ZMan Slim Swimz lures around marsh edges. Sheepshead at bridge pilings and jetties on clams. Good for wahoo offshore. Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Fair for reds along the marsh edges on cut baits. Fair for trout in the same waters on soft plastic lures.