Piedmont Lakes Fishing Report: February - March 2018
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What to expect when you head out to fish the lakes of the Piedmont over the next few weeks. Get a clue from noted outdoor writer Mike Marsh.
Yadkin/Pee Dee Reservoirs
High Rock Lake
Maynard Edwards (Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) said stripers will be in the main lake areas.
"Trolling or drifting gizzard shad on planer board is the best way to catch them," he said. I also troll in Abbots, Flat Swamp and Crane creeks with bucktails, spoons and E-rigs that I have rigged with 4½-inch Zoom Swimmin' Fluke Juniors."
Largemouth bass will be striking crankbaits in shallow water. Any sunny place with hard structure like rocks, riprap or concrete will hold bass.
Crappie anglers will catch suspended fish in the creeks, where they can spot the schools fish with depthfinders. Long-line trolling with jigs and using drop-shot rigs baited with minnows are the top performance ways of catching them. When the crappie move shallow in March, anglers catch them by casting Roadrunner jigs to shoreline structure.
Catfish will bite Santee sinker rigs baited with cut white perch and shad trolled along the bottom. For white perch, anglers should use a two-hook down-line rig baited with fish. Shad are not as easy to find, but can be caught with a cast net.
Maynard Edwards (Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) said Tuckertown fishing heats up as the water warms.
"The best crappie fishing is at the Newsome area and in Riles Creek," he said. "I like fishing the Newsome area because it has some deep water as well as shallow structure. When it gets warmer, I troll jigs on long lines. When it is cold, I troll tight lines with jigs and minnows."
In late February and March, the area around the N.C. 49 Bridge has some bluffs that hold suspended largemouth bass. Anglers should fish the points and rocks on the bluffs with suspending jerkbaits or shallow crankbaits cast parallel to the banks. A No. 9 Shad Rap is a good bet. Another good tactic is casting a jig-n-pig to the riprap areas under the N.C. 49 Bridge, the Railroad Bridge at Newsome and Stokes Ferry Bridge in Riles Creek.
Stripers will move into the mid-lake area in February and head for the High Rock Dam by March. Trolling with E-rigs or with live baits and bucktail jigs on Extreme Fishing Concepts planer boards is the best way to go.
Maynard Edwards (Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) said big Badin crappie will bite in deep water.
"The fish can be as deep as 40 feet," he said. "They can be hard to find, but all will weigh more than a pound. I like the coves at Gladys Fork and fish them with tight-lines that have two jigs or minnows. On calm days, I use light-lines."
Birds will give away the presence of stripers and largemouth bass. Edwards uses the big engine to troll for stripers, with the best speed 2.3 mph. In the tighter coves, he switches to the electric motor and trolls at 1.3 to 1.7 mph. Circle Drive arm at Fish Tales Marina is a good area for trolling. He troll with E-rigs or with bucktails rigged on planer boards and often catches largemouth bass mixed with the stripers.
Largemouth bass will also strike E-rigs cast to the points as well as shallow-running crankbaits cast along the sunlit banks. The bass will also be on the humps, where anglers can catch them with live shad, jigs and jigging spoons.
Big blue catfish will bite well in February and March. Anglers can troll with Santee sinker rigs or planer rigs baited with live shad or perch can catch them.
Rodney Crisco (Joe’s Bait & Tackle, 704-982-8716) said crappie action will be excellent.
"Crappie anglers will find fish in the creeks," he said. "They should be at 20 to 25 feet and anglers will catch them by drifting or trolling above the bait balls. Another place to find crappie is in brush piles. Trolling with two 1/32-ounce Kalin jigs is the best bet, with Triple Threat (black-blue-chartreuse) and Money the best colors. Other good colors are Wally World and Acid Rain, with lighter colors working better in clearer water."
White perch will strike Joe's Waccamaw Rigs and Kastmaster spoons fished in the creek mouths at 20 feet. They will also eat live minnows.
Blue cats will bite live or cut white perch drifted on the bottom in the river channel. Anglers should locate catfish with their depthfinders before trolling for them.
Bass anglers should cast square-billed crankbaits to the points, rocks and riprap as well as any other structure in sunny areas. Square-bills work best when they bounce off the structure. Other good bets are spinnerbaits and Alabama rigs.
Stripers will bite in the mid-lake areas. Anglers should troll with Smithwick Rattlin' Rogues or rig bucktail jigs on lead core lines to get them down at 12 to 15 feet.