Piedmont Lakes Fishing Report: October-November 2017

Mike Marsh’s book, Fishing North Carolina, shares his best-kept secrets for fishing 100 lakes, rivers, ponds, sounds and piers.


To order:

Fishing North Carolina ($26.60),

Inshore Angler – Carolina’s Small Boat Fishing Guide ($26.20),


Offshore Angler – Coastal Carolina’s Mackerel Boat Fishing Guide ($22.25)

mail a check or MO to:


Mike Marsh

1502 Ebb Drive

Wilmington, NC 28409

or visit www.mikemarshoutdoors.com for credit card orders.



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.


 “October jumpstarts the striper bite on the main part of the river,” he said. “A good way to catch them is by trolling live shad on two, three or four pairs of Fishing Extreme planer boards with live shad or trolling with Pet spoons and deep diving lures.”


 Bass head will stick tight to rocks and stumps on sunlit banks. Rat-L-Traps, Carolina rigs and spinnerbaits will tickle their fancy.


 Crappie will be in the brush piles at docks. Flat Swamp creek is a good place to try long lining with 1/16-ounce jigs.


 Blue and channel cats will bite cut shad anywhere there is baitfish swimming in the creeks. The best way to catch them is by slow trolling on the bottom with Santee walking sinkers or slinky sinkers. Flatheads will bite in the deep river holes. The best way to catch them is by using a Carolina rig with a 3-ounce no-roll sinker and a live white perch for bait.






Tuckertown Lake

Maynard Edwards (Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) Tuckertown grass holds big crappie.


 “October is a great time for casting buzzbaits and floating worms in the grass and lily pads,” he said. “They head to the steep banks and the shallows. A good way of catching them is by casting a small crankbait parallel to the bank, so it covers a lot of water.”


 After the sun is high, bass head to offshore drop-offs, ledges and humps at 12 to 24 feet. Deep diving crankbaits like the Fat Free Shad and Rapala DT6, DT10 and DT14 are good bets. A Carolina rig with a lizard is another good choice.


 Crappie will go shallow. Anglers can catch them by casting a jig or minnow under a float. Long-line and tight-line trolling will catch them, too. Anglers should spot them on their depthfinders before trolling.


 Flathead catfish will bite live white perch and bream outside the mouth of Ryles Creek. Up the creek, anglers will have good luck catching channel cats using cut baits and live shad. It is a difficult lake for trolling baits on the bottom due to an abundance of grass, so most anglers anchor their boats and fan-cast multiple lines.






Badin Lake

Maynard Edwards (Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) said Badin's bass fishing would skyrocket.


“The stripers are usually in the Gar Creek area below the railroad trestle,” he said. “I catch them on a clear Zara Spook, Whopper Plopper, propeller bait or chugging lure.”


 Bass will strike the same topwater lures. When they are not hitting on top, casting a shaky head worm to the grass beds will draw strikes. The fish will also hit floating worms cast around docks. When the bass head to the deeper points in the middle of the day, deep diving crankbaits and Carolina rigs are the best bets.


 Badin has a lot of big crappie, but they are not as plentiful as they are in the other lakes. In October, they move shallow, where casting a jig to the bank will get results. If they deeper and showing on the depthfinder, try using two-hook down lines rigged with jigs or minnows at the depth they appear.


 Blue and channel catfish will be on the flats, where anglers trolling with Fishing Extreme planer boards will catch them. Cut shad and white perch are the best baits.








Lake Tillery

Rodney Crisco (Joe’s Bait & Tackle, 704-982-8716) said bass action would bring anglers to Tillery from far-and-wide.


“Bass will be moving to the banks,” he said. “You should see the bait moving into the creeks on the primary and secondary points. Alabama rigs with 3-inch Charlie Brewer Slider swimbaits are the best way to catch them. Smaller topwater lures also work well, with a clear Super Spook Jr. with a feather trailer or a Tiny Torpedo good bets. You might also fish a Rat-L-Trap or jigs in brown craw color on the points and other hard structure.”


 Stripers will be everywhere, hitting the best in early evening at 5 to 20 feet. The best way to catch them is by trolling live gizzard shad or blueback herring. Crisco trolls two down lines at 12 on the front of the boat, a pair of Pro-Motion planer boards out to the sides with 50 to 60 feet of line and two flat lines with split shot rigs off the stern. He uses 3/0 Octopus hooks and trolls at 1.0 to 1.5 mph using an electric trolling motor.


 For anglers who prefer trolling with lures, a No. 7 Shad Rap, Smithwick Deep Rattlin’ Rogue or Cordell Redfin is hard to beat. When trolling with lead core line, a Preacher Jig bucktail with tinsel-and-feather dressing is a good way to go. Another is a Roadrunner head with a Sexy Shad, chartreuse-and-white or blue-and-white dressing and a 7-inch white Striper Sniper worm trailer.


 White perch will swarm a Joe’s Waccamaw Rig. They will also hit cut bait and minnows. The fish will move near the bottom as the water temperature decreases.


 Crappie anglers should follow the baitfish into the creeks, where the fish will be feeding at 15 to 20 feet. Most anglers have success by slow trolling Kalin’s jigs, with Acid Rain a good color in dark water and Tennessee Shad the best choice for clear water. If the fish are finicky, tipping a jig with a minnow increases strikes. When the water turns cold, the fish move to brush piles at 15 to 20 foot feet, where vertical jigging will lure them out.


 Blue catfish will eat live and cut white perch and shad. The biggest fish will be back in the creeks. Anglers will catch them by trolling with Pro-Motion planer boards and down lines.







Lake Wateree

Bryan Rice (Bryanricefishing.com), pro angler on the FLW T&H Marine BFL circuit, said largemouth bass would be on the beds.


“Late in the afternoon, the bass will move back into the pockets, chasing shad and baitfish,” he said. “A 1/4-ouce Rat-L-Trap, buzzbait or a Rebel Pop-R will catch them when they are following the shad into the coves.”


 A great crankbait is the Bay Rat Lures 1.5 in Natural Shad or Citrus color if the water is clear and Fire Tiger and G-Ville Shad if the water is dark. During the day, anglers should flip the docks with ½-ounce green pumpkin jigs when the water is clear. If the water is stained, a better jig color combination is brown-and-orange. Another great soft plastic lure for dock fishing is a Senko. Anglers should also prospect around the lay-downs and standing timber with a ½-ounce spinnerbait.









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