Piedmont Lakes Fishing Report: April - May 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 big crappie are making waves.
"Crappie are growing bigger, yet they are still abundant," he said. "In April, just cast a Roadrunner to the banks and you will catch them. In May, try trolling 1/8-ounce jigs on long lines."
In April, bass will hit flat-sided crankbaits like Rat-L-Traps. In May, bass will head to the secondary points, where a medium-running crankbait such as a No. 7 Shad Rap or a creature bait on a Carolina rig will catch them.
Catfish will bite cut white perch and shad trolled on Santee sinker rigs. Another tactic is anchoring the boat and fishing logjams, rock piles and old boat ramps. For catching white perch, anglers should use two-hook down line rigs baited with cut fish.
To catch stripers, anglers should start fishing upriver around Swearing Creek and move downstream. Whenever they encounter a fish, anglers should stick to that area to find more. The best tactic is fishing with live shad on down lines and free lines.
Maynard Edwards (Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) said Tuckertown is an underrated crappie lake.
"In April the best creeks are Cabin and Lick," he said. "I cast jigs and Roadrunners to the shorelines of those shallow creeks. In May, the best places to troll for crappie are the Newsome and Riles Creek areas, which have deeper water."
Bass anglers should catch bedding fish on the gravel bottoms in Riles Creek upstream of Stokes Ferry Bridge. Soft plastics or spinnerbaits will entice strikes. By late May, bass will be on the secondary points, where a No. 8 Shad Rap will snag them. Another good tactic is casting a jig or crankbait to riprap areas under the N.C. 49 Bridge and, Railroad Bridge at Newsome and Stokes Ferry Bridge.
Striper anglers will catch fish at High Rock Dam and around the creek mouths just downstream. Live baits trolled on Extreme Fishing Concepts planer boards and jigs trolled on long lines will attract their attention.
Maynard Edwards (Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) said Badin boasts the biggest crappie.
"They are harder to find than in the other lakes, but are bigger fish," he said. "The back of any cove should hold crappie. Just casts jigs and Roadrunners to the banks and you will catch them."
Stripers will school between Tuckertown Dam and Old Whitney Bridge. Anglers should troll live shad on Extreme Fishing Concepts planer boards to catch them.
Bass anglers should prospect for fish by casting jerkbaits at Fish Tales Marina. A suspending Rattlin' Rogue is a good bet. Buzzbaits and other topwater lures will work well at grass beds.
Big blue catfish will bite on main lake flats in the Old Whitney area. Anglers can troll Santee sinker rigs and Fishing Extreme Concepts planer board rigs baited with live or cut perch or by anchoring the boat and deep dropping.
White perch will hit spoons and cut baits.
Rodney Crisco (Joe’s Bait & Tackle, 704-982-8716) said Tillery bass would see red.
"It's a smorgasbord," he said. "Bass will be busting Zoom trick and finesse worms, with the best colors Red Bug, June Bug and Red Shad. Drop-shot rigs with VMC Spinshot hooks work best. If the water is dark, a black shaky head worm works well. When the fish move to the points, try casting KVD 1.5 and 2.5 crankbaits in Sexy Shad and Chartreuse Perch colors."
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 are the way to roll. The best tactics are shooting docks, jigging brush piles and long line trolling with tandem rigs with a 1/16-ounce jig on the bottom and 1/32-ouncer on top. Double R also makes a great tandem rig for casting and trolling.
White perch will school at 15 feet, where anglers can catch them with a Joe's Waccamaw Rig or Sabiki rig with a Hopkins, Flex-it, or P-line Laser Minnow spoon at the bottom for extra attraction. Another method is drifting cut baits.
Anglers should locate blue catfish at 10 to 20 feet with electronics before trolling for them with shad or perch on planer board rigs and no-snag sinker rigs.
Stripers will bite from the bank out to 15 feet of water early and late. Topwater lures to pitch to points include Spooks and Strike King Sexy Dawgs. For trolling, anglers should pull Smithwick Rattlin' Rogues, Preacher Jigs and Double R hand-tied bucktails and horse head jigs.
Panfish will bed during full moons. Crickets are the best bait for bream and worms will work for shellcrackers. Beetlespins will catch all panfish species, with the best color Catalpa worm and white with a red spot. Forgotten lures are Little Skunks, which can be used on fly rods, cane poles and float rigs.
Bryan Rice (Bryanricefishing.com), a professional angler on the FLW T&H Marine BFL circuit, said Wateree's water is warming, so most fish will be in pre-spawn pattern.
"Jerkbaits work well for pre-spawn bass," he said. "I like the Bay Rat Lures Splash Rat suspending jerkbait and S3 floating jerkbait. I cast a jerkbait over the beds with a spinning rod and reel spooled with Balsax Iguana copolymer line. Copolymer has some stretch to prevent jerking the hook free and the line is green so fish can't see it."
Churning up shallows with buzzbaits and Whopper Ploppers is another good early morning method. Some fish will be in the post-spawn mode and anglers can use a medium crankbait to search for the tired females. For fishing the points away from the beds, square-billed crankbaits like the Bay Rat Battle 1.5 will get her done. If the water is dark, Rice uses G'ville Craw color.
For fishing cover, a Zorro spinnerbait is tough to beat, with a silver willow-leaf blade better in clear water and a gold India blade better for dark water. Another good tactic is Carolina-rigging a 7-inch curly-tailed lizard or a watermelon-red-flake or green pumpkin Senko Missile Bait 48. If the water is dark, black is a good color.
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