Lake Norman and the North Inlet near Georgetown, S.C., appear to offer the best fishing prospects over the next few days.
Stripers, hybrids, largemouth bass, spotted bass and plentiful white perch have been caught during the past week at Norman.
North Inlet has yielded perhaps this winter’s top coastal action for reds, also known as puppy drum and spottails, with some parties catching and releasing approximately 100 in a day.
Lake Norman : Very good for stripers and hybrids near the mouth of the Plant Marshall hot hole and in McCrary and Mountain creeks on live baits and Alabama rigs. The fish generally are being found 40 feet deep, but at times are feeding in surfacing schools. White perch are in schools 10 feet deeper and hitting minnows. Morning is the best time to fish for these three species. Largemouth and spotted bass on jerk baits and jigs cast to docks and also on spoons jigged 35-40 feet deep. Fair for crappie, concentrated around brush 30 feet deep and hitting minnows and tube jigs with a flat tail.
Lake Wylie: Fair to good for catfish on cut herring and shad, plus shrimp, drift-fished near the main channel. Fair for crappie around cover 30-60 feet deep on minnows and jigs.
Mountain Island Lake : Fair for crappie around deep brush.
Cane Creek Park Lake: Fair for crappie on minnows.
Yadkin-Pee Dee River lakes: Fair for crappie around deep brush at Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls on minnows and Kalin jigs.
Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory : Fair to good at James for smallmouth bass on shiners worked around points. Little activity at Rhodhiss. Fair for crappie and stripers at Hickory on minnows, shiners, respectively.
Fontana Lake : Good despite cold conditions for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass on skirted spinnerbaits, Alabama rigs and Gulp! soft plastic lures in a smelt pattern. The bass are being found 10 feet deep just off the shoreline.
Lake Wateree : Very good for crappie from Wateree Creek uplake. The fish are just off bottom 18-24 feet down along the main channel, taking jigs and minnows. Fair for largemouth bass on crankbaits, pig-and-jig combos cast to rocky points. Blue catfish to 60 pounds on cut baits worked relatively shallow.
Lake Thurmond: Good for crappie at the mouths of creeks near Raysville on minnows. Stripers, hybrids 20 feet deep in the middle of creek channels on herring, gizzard shad and Alabama rigs.
Lake Murray: Fair to good for striped bass from The Gap uplake on free-lined live baits and trolled planer boards. Stripers are being found from the bank out to 40 feet deep. Shellcrackers on earthworms fished 10 feet off the shoreline. Fair to good for catfish 20-50 feet deep on cut herring.
Santee Cooper lakes : Fair for stripers, schooling sporadically on the surface. Improving for catfish in the lower lake, Moultrie, on cut baits worked deep.
Lake Hartwell : Fair for largemouth on Scrounger Head and Blade Runner lures fished 20-40 feet down. Also on drop-shot rigs. Fair for catfish in the creek channels on cut baits. Stripers in the major creek arms on free-lined live baits.
Lake Keowee: Good to very good for largemouth and spotted bass as cold weather leads to schools of fish drawing tighter. Best catches are being made on live baits. Some surface schooling is taking place, during which small topwater lures are effective.
Lake Jocassee : Slow.
Outer Banks : Nags Head area: Little activity; Oregon Inlet: Good offshore for blackfin and yellowfin tuna when sea conditions are favorable. Some bluefin tuna have been spotted; Hatteras Island: Good for blackfin tuna when fishing parties can get offshore. A few whiting in the surf on South Beach below Cape Point; Ocracoke Island: Scattered whiting in the surf; Morehead City area: Giant bluefin tuna are being boated almost daily when sea conditions are favorable. Boats from as far away as Florida and New Jersey have been brought in for parties to join the action.
Southeast Coast : Good for wahoo in the 40-50 pound range off Ocean Isle when parties can get offshore. Good offshore for bottom species like snowy grouper. Fair for reds in the backwaters on mud minnows and a variety of lures.
S.C. Coast: Little River area: Scattered croaker and whiting; Grand Strand area: Excellent for reds gathered in great schools in North Inlet on both live baits and a variety of artificial lures, especially soft plastics. Good for reds, or spottails, in Murrells Inlet during the tide turns on mud minnows and cut mullet. Black drum and sheepshead at the Murrells Inlet jetties on fiddler crabs and shrimp; Charleston area: Reds in the backwaters during morning hours on Gold Rush and glitter Jerk Shad lures; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Very good for speckled trout around oyster beds during the incoming tide on mud minnows, shrimp, Gulp! and Z-man soft plastic lures. Reds in tight schools around the flats during low tide on Gulp! lures.