AHQ INSIDER Lake Wylie (NC/SC) Summer Fishing Report – Updated July 14
Lake Wylie is at 97.4% of full pool, and although clarity is basically good with some afternoon storms there are areas of the lake that are stained. Clarity will vary from day to day and is also very location dependent.
It’s not the best time of the year to catch trophy catfish on Lake Wylie, but Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that there is no doubt that some good fish can still be caught in this post-spawn phase. His boat has recently caught a good number of blues up to the mid-teens, as well as flatheads up to about 20 pounds.
It’s also not the most comfortable period of the year to fish if you don’t pick your times, and so Rodger suggests targeting fish either early or late. One option is to fish from about daylight until 10:30 and then call it a day, and the other choice is to fish in the evening from about 7:30 until 12:30 or 1:00.
It’s hard to pattern the fish right now until you are on the water, and so it’s important to be flexible. On some trips Rodger has found a much better bite drifting, and at times he has had better results anchored. At night he has had the most success anchored around mid-lake humps where fish would be coming off of flats close to the channel. Most of the bites have come in 6-12 feet of water. In contrast, one morning he found a good bite drifting right up the middle of the river in deeper water. Conditions and preferences vary from day to day, and so flexibility is very important.
Gizzard shad from Wateree have been the best bait.
On the bass front, guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that there is not a lot of change in the pattern – but the fishing has gotten tougher. Dragging a big worm or football jig through the offshore community holes is still the best thing going, although you can also fish shallow. However, if you fish shallower you are probably only going to see 6 or 7 bites all day and they are not necessarily any better quality than the deeper fish.
Overall Wylie is fishing tough and Bryan is a little concerned about the overall state of the fishery.
Lake Wylie is at 97.7% of full pool, with water temperatures in the low to mid-80s.
As is typical in the summer on Lake Wylie, what was a red-hot offshore bass bite a few weeks ago has cooled off a bit. Guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) says that the pattern is about the same but fish have been pounded on and pressured for so long that they are getting less aggressive. They are still on the same deep places such as long tapering points and any drop you can find, but they are busted up a bit more and not so stacked up. You also have to finesse them a bit more with a worm or football jig.
While there are always some fish shallow, you are certainly fishing for less bites right now. The shallow bite is probably a little below average for this time of year, perhaps owing to high water levels that may have the fish spread out.
Late in the evening right before dark there has been some schooling activity, usually in the same places where the fish are grouped up during the day offshore. They will eat a walking bait or a fluke.
Lake Wylie remains at 98.5% of full pool, and Guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) says that he has never seen the lake stay this high for this long. Water temperatures have cooled off a bit to about 78 degrees, and below Buster Boyd Bridge the lake is pretty clear. Above that it’s more stained, and above South Point Landing on the South Fork it’s dirty – with more mud on the way.
The offshore bass bite has gotten really good on Lake Wylie, and while Bryan says that they aren’t catching a ton of big fish total numbers are excellent. Because they have been out there for about a month the bite is slightly less aggressive, but catching fifty or more fish in a day is not rare.
Bass are off deep ledges, long tapering points, flats with only a little bit of a depth change, or basically any other offshore structure. Bryan is catching them in a broad range of depths from about 10-35 feet, and the fish are mostly relating to the bottom.
Throwing a big crankbait, a Greenfish Tackle Crawball football jig, or a 10-inch Charlie’s Worms Swimming Worm Texas-rigged have been Bryan’s go-to patterns. Early in the season he could catch one each cast on a crankbait, but as the fish have gotten a little more finicky he’s often had to switch to the jig and worm after picking off a few on the hard bait.
The shallow bite has not been very good, but in a tournament situation it might be worth looking for a good fish up shallow feeding on bream.