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Carolinas Fishing Forecast: Action at some lakes surprisingly hot

Action at some Carolinas lakes surprisingly hot

Lakes Norman, Hartwell and, surprisingly, Fontana Lake, appear the likeliest freshwater locations to find fishing action during the next few days.

Norman and Hartwell are producing limit catches of stripers and hybrids, while at Fontana smallmouth and spotted bass are striking very well.

On the coast, the surf at Pea Island on the Outer Banks yielded striped bass to 20 pounds Monday. Giant bluefin tuna continue to be caught at Morehead City, and schools of reds are still feeding actively in North Inlet near Georgetown, S.C.

Lake Norman : Very good to excellent for stripers, spotted bass, hybrids and white perch in mixed schools, mainly between Marker 17 and Hagers Creek. They’re taking live baits fished 40-60 feet deep near schools of forage species. Anglers trolling Alabama rigs and umbrella rigs also are scoring well. Largemouth and spotted bass on jigs cast to docks and isolated piles of brush. Crappie 30-60 feet down around brushy cover on jigs and minnows.

Lake Wylie: Continuing 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 around deep cover.

Yadkin-Pee Dee River Lakes: Good for crappie around deep brush at Badin, Tillery and Blewett Falls on minnows and Kalin jigs.

Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory : Good at James for smallmouth bass on shiners worked around points. Fair for crappie at Rhodhiss and Hickory. Striped bass at the lower end of Hickory on live baits trolled under planer boards near the mouths of creeks.

Fontana Lake : Very good for smallmouth and spotted bass as perhaps the best wintertime action in years continues. The fish are hitting shiners, Bandit crankbaits in a crawfish pattern, smelt-colored Gulp! lures and skirted spinnerbaits cast to the shoreline.

Lake Wateree : Good for crappie from the State Park area uplake. The fish are just off bottom 18-24 feet down along the main channel, taking Fish Stalker jigs tipped with minnows. Fair to good for catfish, moving back and forth from deep water to the flats, on cut gizzard shad.

Lake Thurmond: Good for crappie in the Little River area. The fish are suspended 15-20 feet deep over brush on bottom 30-35 feet down.

Lake Murray: Continuing fair to good for striped bass on free-lined live baits and trolled planer boards. Muddy water flowing into the lake has moved the stripers downstream to the Buffalo Creek area.

Santee Cooper Lakes : Continuing fair for stripers, schooling sporadically on the surface. Good for catfish in the deeper reaches of the lower lake, Moultrie, on cut gizzard shad.

Lake Hartwell : Good all over for stripers and hybrids. They’re being caught 15-20 feet deep in the backs of creeks and on the main channel points. Free-lined live baits, cut baits and trolling with umbrella rigs have been equally effective. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources reported this week that a 40-pound striper was caught recently.

Lake Keowee: Good for largemouth and spotted bass 30-60 feet deep along channels, ledges and on points. They’re hitting Blade Runner lures and Scrounger heads best.

Lake Jocassee : Fair for trout 80-100 feet deep on spoons and shiners.

Outer Banks : Nags Head area: Fair for puppy drum in the surf; Oregon Inlet: Yellowfin tuna offshore when sea conditions are favorable; Hatteras Island: Blackfin tuna to 30 pounds when charter parties can get offshore. Scattered gray trout and puppy drum in the surf along North Beach above Cape Point; Ocracoke Island: No report; Morehead City area: Giant bluefin tuna are still being boated when sea conditions are favorable. Four were caught Monday, one in water only 16 feet deep just offshore. Several others were hooked, but broke off.

Southeast Coast : Little activity reported.

S.C. Coast: Little River area: A few croaker and whiting; Grand Strand area: Reds in Murrells Inlet during the low tide turn on mud minnows and cut mullet. Black drum, sheepshead at the jetties; Charleston area: Reds during the morning tide in the marshy backwaters on Gold Rush and Jerk Shad lures; Beaufort/Hilton Head area: Very good for speckled trout during the incoming tide on mud minnows and soft plastic lures worked around oyster beds and sharp drops. Good for reds in tight schools around the flats during lower stages of the tide.

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