Piedmont Lakes Fishing Report: June-July 2017
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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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 crappie fishing has improved.
“Taking the size and bag limits off crappie has increased their sizes a lot,” he said. “You would be surprised at how deep the big ones are, but keep looking at your depth-finder and you will see them.”
The crappie will be on humps at the deeper creek mouths. Trolling with live minnows on tight lines is the best way to catch them.
Bass will be in the coves and creeks, with Flat Swamp Creek a good spot. By July, they move to secondary points and river points, where deep diving crankbaits and Carolina rigs work best.
Stripers will be heading down the lake to cooler water, with the lower half of the lake the best spot. Live shad trolled on Edwards’ Tracker planer boards is the best way to catch them.
Channel, blue and flathead catfish will be on the flats. Trolling live and cut shad is the best bet for catching them.
Maynard Edwards (Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) Tuckertown grass holds big crappie.
“When it is hot, bass head for the shadiest place they can find,” he said. “The weeds and lily pads also oxygenate the water, which really draws them in.”
Early in the day, the topwater lures work best, especially buzzbaits and rubber frogs because they ride right over the elodea and lily pads. For fishing deeper after the sun gets up, anglers should fish Carolina rigs and drop-shot rigs with Slug-Gos or floating worms.
Crappie will be in the deep channels. Long-line and tight-line trolling rigs baited with minnows and jigs will catch them.
Flathead catfish will be in the main channel, on the ledges and over the humps. Anglers should spot the baitfish with their depth-finders and begin their efforts on nearby drop-offs. Live white perch and bream are the best baits.
Stripers will hit live shad trolled on Edwards’ Tracker Planer boards in Lick and Cabin creeks.
Maynard Edwards (Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) said Badin's bass fishing would skyrocket.
“Badin has some of the biggest schooling bass of all the lakes,” he said. “I catch them on a Zara Spook, prop bait or chugging lure, but anything that makes a commotion should work. I also use E-rigs (Edwards’ Alabama rigs), which they can’t resist.”
When the bass are not on top, a shaky head worm cast to the grass beds will incite some big bass to strike. When the bass head to the deeper points, deep diving crankbaits and Carolina rigs are the best choices.
Crappie anglers should fish tight lines with minnows, moving slowly and watching their depth-finders to locate baitfish in 30 to 45 feet of water.
Blue and channel catfish will be on the flats. Cut shad and white perch are the best baits.
Rodney Crisco (Joe’s Bait & Tackle, 704-982-8716) said bass action would bring anglers to Tillery from far-and-wide.
“The best way to catch bass is by casting a shaky head worm or Carolina-rig with a lizard,” he said. “Best colors are black, green and anything that says ‘pumpkin.’”
Bream will bed at the full periods during both months. The best fishing will occur the week leading up to the full moon. Worms, crickets, Beetlespins and popping bugs will catch them.
Stripers will strike Redfins, Zara Spooks and Pop-R’s along the river channel at dawn and dusk. Trolling a shallow-running lure like a Redfin is also a good tactic, but anglers should always have a topwater lure rigged and ready in case the stripers break the surface.
White perch will bite in 20 to 35 feet of water. Nungesser spoons, cut white perch and ice flies will catch them. The easiest way to fill a cooler with white perch is by jigging a Joe’s Special Waccamaw Rig, which has three ice flies and a spoon at the bottom for weight.
Bryan Rice (Bryanricefishing.com), pro angler on the FLW T&H Marine BFL circuit, said largemouth bass would be on the beds.
“When the water temperature climbs into the 80s and the fish are feeling the angler pressure, I find the humps during midday,” he said. “I use deep-cranking baits, jigging spoons and blade baits.”
Rice finds the humps with his electronics then vertical jigs with spoons. If that doesn't work, he backs off and casts Blitz Blades, allowing them to drop down to just above the bottom before winding them in. The best humps are in 18 to 35 feet of water so it takes deep fishing methods to catch bass. Deep-running crankbaits by Bomber, Strike King, Mann's and KVD work well. However, they take so much effort to reel that an angler may only be able to make a few casts. To ease up on the effort and to show bass something new, he casts a Bay Rat Battle MD. The lure normally runs seven to 10 feet deep, but he adds Suspend strips to take it to the bottom. The smaller lure is easier to reel.
Early in the morning, he casts topwater buzzbaits, Whopper Ploppers and Pop-R’s around the riprap and docks. After the boat traffic drives fish deeper, he hits the secondary points with Carolina rigs with Zoom Centipedes, 4-inch lizards and Trick Worms or a Senko rigged so it glides easily through the water. An interesting twist is switching a Senko around so it is hooked backwards, which is something else fish have not seen before. He heads for the humps when the fish move to them from the secondary points.