Stripers return in numbers at Norman
Lake Norman continues to yield terrific catches, including limits of crappie, stripers and hybrid bass.
The number of striped bass being caught is a surprise. It was thought that most of the stripers in Norman died over the past few summers in massive kills traced to dissolved oxygen conditions when the fish gathered near Cowans Ford Dam during hot weather.
After a lull of several days during bad weather, giant bluefin tuna are being caught again off Morehead City. Schools of bluefin measuring more than 100 inches were found feeding Tuesday just 3 miles out from the beach.
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Lake Norman : Excellent for a mix of stripers, hybrids and white perch on Alabama rigs and live baits. Schools of the fish are being found 40-50 feet deep in the main channel from Marker 17 uplake. They also are hitting well in Mountain Creek near the Slanting Bridge and in Stumpy Creek. Largemouth and spotted bass on jigs cast to points and docks with brush underneath. Crappie are concentrated around brushy cover 30 feet down and taking minnows.
Lake Wylie: Very good for blue catfish 35-55 feet deep all across the lake on cut herring and gizzard shad. May be best in the channels of major creek arms and on points. Good for crappie on minnows near the Plant Allen hot hole.
Mountain Island Lake : Continuing fair to good for crappie around deep brush.
Cane Creek Park Lake: Good for crappie on minnows.
Yadkin-Pee Dee River Lakes: The Smith Lake area of Blewett Falls remains best for crappie, with Badin, High Rock and Tillery producing fairly well, too.
Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory : Very good for smallmouth at James on shiners trolled over points. The Linville River arm is producing the best catches. Fair for crappie around deep cover at Rhodhiss. Good for stripers to 14 pounds in the lower section of Hickory on umbrella rigs.
Fontana Lake : Excellent for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass on crankbaits cast to points. The Bandit 300 series of lures in a crawfish color appear the most effective lures. Fishing activity has been unusually heavy for winter time.
Lake Wateree : Continuing good for crappie from the State Park area up to the Fishing Creek Dam. The crappie generally are 18-22 feet deep on the bottom along the river ledge and hitting jigs tipped with minnows.
Lake Thurmond: Very good for crappie lake-wide around brush and timber 30-35 feet deep.
Lake Murray: Continuing fair to good for striped bass in surface-feeding schools from the mid-lake area to the headwaters on bucktails and popping lures. Diving gulls tip where the fish are schooling. When not on top, the stripers can be caught on free-lined live baits. Very good for catfish all over the lake on cut baits fished along the channel ledges. Fair for crappie on jigs trolled over brushy areas.
Santee Cooper Lakes : Good for stripers on live baits trolled very slowly or free-lined in lakes Marion and Moultrie. Very good for crappie and bream concentrated around brush 15-25 feet deep.
Lake Hartwell : Still good for stripers, hybrids 15-20 feet deep on trolled umbrella rigs and free-lined live baits. Good for blue catfish 20-40 feet down in the creeks on cut gizzard shad and herring.
Lake Keowee: Good for largemouth and spotted bass on spoons and drop-shot rigs worked 30-60 feet deep off points and in creek channels.
Lake Jocassee : Fair for smallmouth bass.
Outer Banks : Nags Head area: Little activity; Oregon Inlet: Excellent offshore for limits of yellowfin tuna, with a few blackfin mixed in the catch. Good for speckled trout in the backwaters; Hatteras Island: Limits of blackfin tuna when sea conditions are favorable. A few speckled trout in the surf from Rodanthe to Frisco; Ocracoke Island: No report; Morehead City area: Bluefin tuna have reappeared after producing no action for a few days. Fair to good for reds in the backwaters, with the North and Newport Rivers yielding the best catches.
Southeast Coast : Very good for large speckled trout to almost 7 pounds in the backwaters on bucktails, soft plastic lures and live baits. Good to excellent offshore for wahoo when sea conditions are decent.
S.C. Coast: Little River area: A few small black drum and croaker; Grand Strand area: Very good off Garden City and Georgetown for bottom species during days when seas are decent. Fair for reds and speckled trout at the 3-Mile Reef; Charleston area: Fair for reds in the marshy backwaters; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Good for reds in schools on the mud flats, taking mud minnows and shrimp. Sight-casting with lures is also bringing action.