AHQ INSIDER Lake Wylie (NC/SC) Spring Fishing Report – Updated May 17
The newest Lake Wylie fishing report, updated June 9, can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-lake-wylie-ncsc-summer-2017-fishing-report/
Lake Wylie is at 98.0% of full pool, and surface temperatures are in the mid-70s. When the lake levels came up with recent rains the water got pretty stained, with the rivers downright dirty, but the lake is starting to settle out again.
It’s a pretty a tough period for bass fishing on Lake Wylie, and guide and FLW Angler Bryan New (704-421-5868) says it’s unclear when the bite will improve. While there are a very few straggler fish on beds the spawn is mostly finished, and fish are basically in a post-spawn/ in-between pattern.
The fish are largely scattered between shallow and deep water, and in the shallows some fish can be caught on small topwater baits. The bait really doesn’t seem to matter – it’s more an issue of personal preference. Jigs fished around docks will also catch some bass, and the very tail end of the shad spawn is also providing a little action. In the stained water Chatterbaits and square-billed crankbaits are a good option.
For about three weeks now there have also been some fish out deep, and Bryan looks for this bite to get better as the water clears. Fish will be found in 15-32 feet of water off long tapering points, little points off the side of flats, and around other offshore structure. Carolina rigs, football jigs, swimbaits such as Keitech 4.8s, and crankbaits like a 6XD or DD-22 will all catch fish. Once the fish get out deep, early in the season is typically better for deep fish than after they have been pounded for months.
Lake Wylie is at 97.5% of full pool.
On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that fish are in typical spring patterns. Catfish can be found around channel ledges in 10-15 feet of water as well as shallow bays. In the riverine sections of Lake Wylie shallow areas are producing nice pre-spawn blue catfish, with current always a plus. When it is too windy to anchor drift fishing has been good.
This spring large threadfin shad have been the go-to bait, with a 47-pound flathead even falling prey to cut shad a week or two ago on Rodger’s boat.
Lake Wylie is at 98.0% of full pool, and in the last 10-14 days water temperatures have risen to 64-66 degrees. Clarity is above average, with 3 feet or more of visibility in most areas.
In recent years Lake Wylie has become a tougher and tougher lake for bass fishing, but Guide and FLW Angler Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that right now is the best time of the year to catch fish. Currently it is very easy to catch numbers of fish, and while Bryan and I were on the phone interviewing for this report he actually caught two bass!
Bryan says that bass are laid up on beds all over the lake – particularly smaller male fish. There are certainly some big fish up shallow, but it is predominately males. A lot of the females still seem to be holding a little deeper. For bedding fish you can throw pretty much anything at them. Bryan says that a small creature bait is hard to beat, and he likes the Charlie’s Worms Brush Buster.
Larger female fish will move up throughout the day most every day, and they don’t stay up as long as the males. Bryan finds that they generally hold backed off a bit from the spawning areas, often in about the 10-foot range. They will be as close to the spawning area they can get, but holding next to some piece of structure or cover such as a drop, tapered point, dock or anything irregular. For targeting these fish Bryan like the Greenfish tackle creeper head, which he finds very rarely gets hung up because of the irregular football-style head. He fishes it on 12-pound fluorocarbon with a Charlie’s Worms Finesse Master worm in green pumpkin or green pumpkin blue.
Bryan points out that there are some post-spawn fish, but overall this is not a dominant pattern. Post-spawn bass will be holding in the same areas as pre-spawn fish – the spawn is not far enough along for them to have gotten way out.
Lake Wylie is at 98.0% of full pool, and water temperatures have dropped at least 4 or 5 degrees into the low 50s. Overall the lake is pretty clear, but there is some stained water on the main lake with more in the creeks.
Before the cold front blew through Guide and FLW Angler Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that there were a very few bass on beds on Lake Wylie, but most of the fish were still holding deeper. Now there are at least three patterns going on at Lake Wylie.
First, the shallow crankbait bite is improving. Anywhere that you can find some stained water there can be pretty good action in 4-8 feet of water.
Second, especially with the cold there are still a lot of fish on bait. The bite was starting to die off some, but the drop in water temperatures has picked it up again. The spots fluctuate from day to day depending on bait movements, but creeks channels, main lake points and basically anywhere with schools of shad you can catch fish. Jerkbaits and Alabama rigs will both work.
The third pattern is looking for staging fish. While the water temperatures will hold the fish back some, it’s still the middle of March and bass have one main thing on their minds in spring. Bryan believes that day length is more important that water temperature to the spawn, and fish will be found staging off secondary points close to spawning areas. The biggest fish can probably be caught that way right now. Any kind of craw bait will work for these fish, and Bryan likes a Charlie’s Worms Brush Buster on a Greenfish Tackle Creeper head. He suggests reeling it slowly across the bottom and keeping contact with the bottom. This is still faster than just dragging, and more subtle than pulling a crankbait.
Bryan expects a big wave of fish to hit the beds at the end of this month.
On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that the bite has been pretty good on Lake Wylie recently. On recent trips he has started out exploring along the river channel on the northern end of the lake in 20-40 feet of water, and he has found fish biting on the deeper side of the ledge since it started to get cold. Even on warm days Rodger still advises looking deep first this time of year, and particularly when there is some current this bite can get hot. The beginning of a period of current is usually best – that is, when they first start running water the bite is strongest.
After anchoring up in deep water he has been moving into the backs of big coves and putting out lines in 6-10 feet of water. You never know where the big fish are going to be, and some of his biggest fish have come this way recently. On sunny afternoons bait can move into very shallow water, and when cold temperatures hit it can pull out deep. The bait is very responsive to even small temperature changes and can go deeper or shallower in only a matter of hours.
Right now gizzard shad and herring have been hard to track down, and so most fishermen are using large threadfin shad.