Mike Marsh Outdoors
Mike Marsh’s book, Fishing North Carolina, shares his best-kept secrets for fishing 100 lakes, rivers, ponds, sounds and piers.
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Piedmont Lakes Fishing Report: February-March 2019
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 the crappie bite is wide open.
"Crappie have increased substantially in size due to the liberalized regulations," he said. "Any kind of cover can hold crappie."
Anglers should look for old boat ramps with rails, covered docks, bridge pilings and lay-downs. The fish will bite minnows on fished on float rigs at any of these structure areas. Another good bet is a jig or Roadrunner cast to the bank. Trolling jigs on tight lines and long lines also works well.
Bass will hover on secondary points and bedding on shallow hard bottoms back in the coves. A shallow crankbait like a KVD 1.5 or No. 7 Shad Rap will snag them.
Catfish will be spawning in shallow water.
Anglers should look for them on the shallow flats in Abbott's and Swearing creeks. Trolling with cut white perch baits on Santee rigs will catch them. Anglers should use Extreme Fishing Concepts Plane Jane planer boards to spread their lines away from the boat to avoid spooking catfish in the shallows. Another tactic is anchoring the boat and fishing logjams, rock piles and old boat ramps.
To catch stripers, anglers should troll live shad upriver around Crane and Swearing creeks. Whenever the catch a fish, anglers should be persistent and keep fishing in that same area to see if more are schooling.
Maynard Edwards (Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) said Tuckertown is an under-appreciated crappie lake.
"In April the best places are Cabin and Lick creeks," he said. "I cast jigs and Roadrunners to the shorelines. In May, the best places to troll for crappie are the Newsome and Riles Creek areas because they are big places with deep water."
Bass anglers should cast shallow crankbaits and spinnerbaits at Newsome and in Riles Creek. By late May, they will move to the secondary points where a No. 8 Shad Rap or a jig will catch them. Another good tactic is casting a jig or crankbait to riprap areas beneath the N.C. 49 Bridge, Stokes Ferry Bridge and railroad trestle.
Striper anglers will catch nice fish at High Rock Dam and around all of the creek mouths just downstream. Live baits trolled on Extreme Fishing Concepts Plane Jane planer boards and jigs trolled on long lines will entice striper strikes.
Maynard Edwards (Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) said Badin boasts the biggest crappie on the Yadkin chain.
"Crappie are in the deeper creeks," he said. "Glady's Fork and Gar Creek are good places, but the back of any cove should hold some nice crappie. I cast jigs, Roadrunners and float rigs around the grass."
Bass anglers should cast crankbaits or Carolina rigs with creature baits along the long points. Rattlin' Rogues and other hard plastic jerkbaits should well for fishing docks. Buzzbaits and other topwater lures will work wonders at grass beds.
Stripers will school in the Old Whitney area. Anglers should troll live shad on Extreme Fishing Concepts Plane Jane planer boards to tangle with the biggest stripers.
Big blue catfish will bite on main lake flats in the Old Whitney area. Anglers should try trolling Santee sinker rigs and Fishing Extreme Concepts planer board rigs baited with live or cut perch.
White perch and white bass will hit spoons and cut baits fished near the dam.
Rodney Crisco (Joe’s Bait & Tackle, 704-982-8716) said Lake Tillery bass should turned on.
"Bass will hit Zoom trick and finesse worms, with the best colors Red Bug, June Bug and Red Shad," he said. "Drop-shot rigs with VMC Spinshot hooks are some of the best rigs. If the water is dark, a black shaky head worm works well. When the fish move to the points, a KVD 1.5 or 2.5 crankbait in Sexy Shad or Chartreuse Perch is a good choice."
Crappie anglers will catch fish in Jacob's and Cedar creeks. Kalin jigs in red-chartreuse, black-blue-chartreuse, Bubble Gum and Money colors fished on 1/32-ounce jigs with No. 2 hooks set the standard. The best tactics are shooting docks, jigging brush piles and long line trolling with tandem rigs, with the Double R rig the easiest way to fishing paired jigs.
Anglers can catch white perch with a Joe's Waccamaw Rig or Sabiki rig with a Hopkins, Flex-it, or P-line Laser Minnow spoon at the bottom for weight or extra attraction. Drifting cut perch baits through the perch schools is another good tactic.
Anglers can locate blue catfish with electronics then troll for them with shad or perch baits on planer board rigs and sliding sinker rigs.
Stripers will bite along the banks early and late. Preferred topwater lures include Zara Spooks and Sexy Dawgs. For trolling, anglers should pull Smithwick Rattlin' Rogues, Preacher Jigs, Double R bucktails and horse head jigs.
Panfish will bed during the full moons both months. Crickets are the best bream baits and worms should shake up the shellcrackers. Beetlespins will catch any panfish species, with the best color Catalpa Worm or white with a red spot. Panfish will also strike ants, spiders and other flies cast on fly tackle.
Bait & Techniques:
Seasonal Fishing Features: