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AHQ INSIDER Lake Wylie (NC/SC) 2024 Week 22 Fishing Report – Updated May 29

  • by Jay

May 29

Lake Wylie is at 97.8% of full pool and the northern end of the lake remains surprisingly dirty. Morning surface water temperatures are in the upper 70s.

As the shad spawn almost totally fades away Lake Wylie bass seem to be settling into reliable summer patterns, and tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that one group of fish will be found shallow all summer long. They will be feeding on bream around docks and bream beds, and they can be caught on prop baits, poppers, bluegill-colored jigs, wacky worms and more. 

The other major pattern is fishing offshore around points, channels drops, humps and popular community holes. Hard spots including shell beds, rock piles, and areas where the sediment has been washed away can be the most productive. 5XD and 6XD crankbaits as well as big worms are the baits of choice, and early in the season the offshore fish are typically at their most aggressive. 

In the creeks The Carolina Angler Captain Chris Nichols (704-860-7951) reports that both the catfish and crappie are stacked up near the bottom in about 15-25 feet of water.  Use your electronics until you find a big concentration of fish, and then you can catch crappie spider rigging minnows and catfish drifting cut bait.  

At the same time, Captain Chris reports that white perch are loaded up on the end of points in both the creeks and the main lake in 15-20 feet of water. You can catch all you want on minnows. 

Finally, while Captain Rodger Taylor with Catfish ON! Guide Service (803-517-7828) expected the blue cat bite to slow down as we got closer to the spawn, at this time they are still biting well. He is surprised they are not in hard spawning mode yet.

His boat is still doing well anchoring with cut white perch in 4-10 feet of water up the rivers and in the backs of creeks. Coves with shells continue to fish very well.

 
Caught with Captain Rodger Taylor this week

May 23

Lake Wylie is at 97.4% of full pool and morning surface water temperatures are in the low 70s.

There was an uptick in tournament bass fishing weights this week with an 18-pound bag winning on Lake Wylie, but still tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that catching numbers is easier than catching size. Overall, without much change in water temperatures the fishing has essentially stalled, and we are stuck somewhere between spring and summer patterns without much movement in either direction.  

There are still pretty reliable numbers of fish around the banks that can be caught just throwing a buzzbait or soft plastics. Some of these will stay all summer eating bream. 

There are also fish starting to move out and they can be found in 8-15 feet of water off the main lake points and secondary points that the fish followed in this spring. 

By now the crappie have returned to the creek channels, and The Carolina Angler Captain Chris Nichols (704-860-7951) reports that they are mostly in 18-25 feet of water. Some of them can be caught fishing around brush, but you can also catch them trolling jigs or spider-rigging minnows in the channel. They are mostly holding close to the bottom.

At the same time, Captain Chris reports that white perch are stacked up on the end of points in both the creeks and the main lake in 15-20 feet of water. You can catch all you want on minnows. 

In catfish news, Captain Rodger Taylor with Catfish ON! Guide Service (803-517-7828) reports that the pre-spawn blue catfish bite is still very strong for fish in the 6-18 pound range and some bigger. Anchoring with cut white perch in 4-10 feet of water has been very effective, and fish are all over the lake but moving upstream and laterally back into the creeks. The best areas are sunlit shores and coves with shells.

Finally, the bream spawn is now underway. 

May 15

Lake Wylie is at 98.2% of full pool and morning surface water temperatures are in the low 70s.

The tournament bass fishing weights are again very low this week on Lake Wylie, and tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that in a weekday law enforcement tournament it again only took about 14 pounds to win. It’s still very much a transition period between spring and summer pattern, but you could still find the tail end of the shad spawn or the bass spawn. There also continue to be pretty reliable numbers of fish around the banks that can be caught just throwing a buzzbait or soft plastics. Some of these will stay all summer eating bream. 

But there are also more fish starting to move out and they can be found in 8-15 feet of water off the main lake points and secondary points that the fish followed in this spring. 

The very end of the crappie spawn is winding down, and The Carolina Angler Captain Chris Nichols (704-860-7951) reports that most fish have moved back into the creek channels and brush in 15-20 feet of water. The best way to catch them is tight-lining minnows in the creek channel or casting jigs to the brush piles. 

This week with Captain Chris Nichols

Captain Rodger Taylor with Catfish ON! Guide Service (803-517-7828) reports that there are also some small crappie on very shallow brush, but the bigger ones seem to want to be in deeper water as temperatures rise. 

The pre-spawn blue catfish bite is still very strong, and Captain Rodger reports that they are still doing very well for fish in the 6-18 pound range and some bigger. Anchoring with cut white perch in 4-10 feet of water has been very effective, and fish are all over the lake but moving upstream and laterally back into the creeks. The best areas are sunlight shores and coves with shells.

Finally, Rodger points out that the bream spawn should start around the May 23 full moon. 

May 9

Lake Wylie is at 98.5% of full pool and the lake is greenish blue and slightly dirty. Morning surface water temperatures are in the low 70s.

The tournament bass fishing weights have been very low recently on Lake Wylie as patterns transition from spring to summer, but tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that catching numbers of fish is still pretty straight-forward. Fish are still up shallow with the tail-end of the spawn going on and lots of fry-guarders around, and it is also the tail-end of the shad spawn. Early in the morning fish can be found eating spawning shad around riprap, docks, or other hard structure with any bait that imitates a shad. Spinnerbaits, Chatterbaits, swimbaits and crankbaits are all working.  Bream are also just starting to spawn and with some small crappie still spawning there are also lots of bass feeding anywhere those fish are bedding.

At the same time, fish are finally starting to move out and they can be found in 8-15 feet of water off main lake points and secondary points. These are now “exit” places but are also the same paths the fish followed in. 

The crappie spawn continues to peter out, and The Carolina Angler Captain Chris Nichols (704-860-7951) reports that a lot of fish have moved back into the creek channel and suspended at mid-depths to recover from the spawn. You could probably still pick up a fish or two around the banks but Captain Chris has not found many, and the better action has come long-lining jigs in 10-15 feet of water in the creek runs. They have also caught some fish around brush in 12-15 feet on minnows. 

The pre-spawn blue catfish bite is still very strong, and Captain Rodger Taylor with Catfish ON! Guide Service (803-517-7828) reports that they are catching a boatload of fish in the 6-18 pound range. Anchoring with cut white perch in 4-10 feet of water has been very effective, and fish are all over the lake but moving upstream and laterally back into the creeks. The best areas are sunlight shores and coves with shells.

This week with Captain Rodger Taylor

May 1

Lake Wylie is at 97.2% of full pool and much of the lake has cleared. Morning surface water temperatures are in the low 60s.

There is still good shallow bass fishing on Lake Wylie, and tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that early in the morning the best pattern is targeting fish eating spawning shad around riprap, docks, or other hard structure with any bait that imitates a shad. Spinnerbaits, Chatterbaits, swimbaits and crankbaits are all working. After that you can still target shallow fish, some of which are still on beds and others are guarding fry, just going down the banks with a Senko or shaky head. Big swimbaits will also get a lot of bites, although the hook-up ratio is lower. With bream just starting to spawn and some small crappie still spawning there are also lots of bass feeding anywhere those fish are bedding, and floating docks are also a good place to look.   

All this combines to mean that fish have a lot of good reasons to be shallow, and Reid is not aware of any offshore pattern. 

While the crappie spawn was really intense last week it is now waning, and The Carolina Angler Captain Chris Nichols(704-860-7951) reports that a lot of fish are moving back into the creek channel and suspending at mid-depths to recover from the spawn. You could probably still pick up a fish or two around the banks but Captain Chris has not found many, and the better action has come long-lining jigs in 10-15 feet of water in the creek runs.  They have also caught some fish around brush in 12-15 feet on minnows. 

There’s no doubt the best thing going right now on Lake Wylie is the catfish bite, and Captain Rodger Taylor with Catfish ON! Guide Service (803-517-7828) reports that in one short morning trip they caught 22 blue catfish up to about 25 pounds! Anchoring with cut white perch in 4-10 feet of water has been very effective, and fish are all over the lake but moving upstream and laterally back into the creeks. Right now the fishing can only be described as an excellent pre-spawn bite. 

1 of 22 big blues caught Tuesday with Captain Rodger Taylor

April 25

Lake Wylie is at 97.3% of full pool and much of the lake has cleared. Morning surface water temperatures are in the low 60s. 

Much like down the road on Lake Wateree, The Carolina Angler Captain Chris Nichols (704-860-7951) reports that the bass are starting to concentrate on an early morning shad spawn. They are being caught around rip rap banks, and Captain Chris is having the best success with topwater lures and flukes. There are also still lots of spawning fish around the banks, and they can be caught on Senkos and floating worms. The diminishing numbers of pre-spawn fish, as well as lots of post-spawn fish, can also be caught shallow. A wacky rig around docks is working well for these fish. 

While you can certainly catch crappie just out from spawning grounds in about 7-14 feet of water, the spawning is so intense this week that the best way to catch fish is just to go down the banks and cast jigs around shallow cover. This stage won’t last too much longer but for now bank fishing is better than tight-lining minnows or long-line trolling jigs.

The catfish bite continues to improve on Lake Wylie, and Captain Rodger Taylor with Catfish ON! Guide Service (803-517-7828) now rates the bite as very good to excellent! Most of the fish his boat is catching are in the 8-17 pound range, but they are also catching occasional large fish up to 30-40 pounds! Anchoring with cut white perch in 4-10 feet of water has been very effective, and fish are all over the lake but moving upstream and laterally back into the creeks. 

April 11

Lake Wylie is at 97.2% of full pool and much of the lake has cleared. Morning surface water temperatures are in the low 60s. 

The biggest change this week on Lake Wylie is with the catfish, and Captain Rodger Taylor with Catfish ON! Guide Service (803-517-7828) reports the pre-spawn bite has turned on. The fish are getting very aggressive, and he even found a deep-diving crankbait in a big blue’s mouth!

Overall the creeks are most productive right now, and 8-22 feet of water has been the best depth range. Cut white perch are hard to beat, and Captain Rodger is even picking up some flatheads on cut bait. 

Signs of spring - a 35-pound flathead caught this week with Captain Rodger Taylor

In contrast the bass fishing hasn’t changed much this week, and tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that with a “normal” spring (rather than a very early, very hot one) pretty much all the April patterns that should be in play are working. You can go down the banks with shaky heads, wacky rigs and Texas rigs around cover or docks, and in areas with dirtier water you can also use bladed baits. There is also starting to be a pretty good buzzbait bite.

Overall fish at all three stages of the spawn can be found, and often pre-spawn and post-spawn fish are in similar areas.   

Somewhere between the catfish and the bass, The Carolina Angler Captain Chris Nichols (704-860-7951) reports that the crappie fishing has really progressed this week but you can also still fish the same patterns for fish that are not spawning.  Many of the crappie are making a big push to the banks right now, and you can cast small jigs or minnows to cover in protected pockets to catch spawning fish. There are also still plenty of pre-spawn (and some post-spawn) fish that can be caught long-lining jigs near spawning grounds in about 12 feet of water. 

March 28

Lake Wylie is at 98.6% of full pool and water conditions vary. Morning surface water temperatures are in the upper 50s. 

The bass on Lake Wylie have taken a little step backwards with the cold front, and tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that there have been a surprising number of fish schooled up off of points. They are being caught on Alabama rigs, jerkbaits and big spinnerbaits. 

There are also still fish getting into the spawning pockets, but right now it is mostly the shorter pockets off the main creeks and not long coves in the very backs. Overall we are actually having a pretty normal spring, instead of an early one, and this year fish aren’t behaving in March like they usually do in April.  Still there are probably a few fish already bedding. 

For shallow fish the best bet is fishing shaky heads, wacky rigs and Texas rigs around cover or docks, and in areas with dirtier water you can also used bladed baits. 

Lake Wylie crappie are in about the same places as last week, and The Carolina Angler Captain Chris Nichols (704-860-7951) reports that some fish have moved to the banks to spawn while others are staging at the mouths of spawning coves. Spawning fish can be caught casting small jigs or minnows under a cork to shallow cover like rocks and trees in protected pockets. Staging fish can be caught long-lining jigs, with about 12 feet the key depth range. There are also a good number of fish loaded up around any brush or docks in 8-15 feet, including boat slips. 

White perch can be found around the crappie but a little deeper in about 20 feet of water around points. They are easily caught with minnows or cut threadfin shad, and lot of good fish in the three-quarters pound range are being caught. 

It’s not still quite yet a hot pre-spawn bite for catfish on Lake Wylie, but Captain Rodger Taylor with Catfish ON! Guide Service (803-517-7828) reports that the fishing is fair to good. In the mornings there is good action on points with ledges near the main river and creek channels in 10-25 feet of water, while in the afternoons fish are pulling up into shallow coves in 6-15 feet of water. The wind is sometimes making anchoring difficult and so they are making use of drifting techniques as well. Cut gizzard shad and white perch are both working.

March 22

Lake Wylie is at 97.6% of full pool and water conditions are clearing – before forecast rain. Morning surface water temperatures are in the low 60s. 

It’s not quite yet a hot pre-spawn bite for catfish on Lake Wylie, but Captain Rodger Taylor with Catfish ON! Guide Service (803-517-7828) reports that the fishing is fair to good. In the mornings there is good action on points with ledges near the main river and creek channels in 10-25 feet of water, while in the afternoons fish are pulling up into shallow coves in 6-15 feet of water. The wind is sometimes making anchoring difficult and so they are making use of drifting techniques as well. Cut gizzard shad and white perch are both working.

Lake Wylie crappie are moving shallow this week, and The Carolina Angler Captain Chris Nichols (704-860-7951) reports that some fish have moved to the banks to spawn while others are staging at the mouths of spawning coves. Spawning fish can be caught casting small jigs or minnows under a cork to shallow cover like rocks and trees in protected pockets. Staging fish can be caught long-lining jigs, with about 12 feet the key depth range. 

White perch can be found around the crappie but a little deeper in about 20 feet of water around points. They are easily caught with minnows or cut threadfin shad, and lot of good fish in the three-quarters pound range are being caught. 

The bass on Lake Wylie continue to get closer to the spawn, and tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that right now fish are mostly pre-spawn with a few already starting to bed. However, most of the fish are just cruising around looking at the places they will do their business.  

It’s pretty much all about fishing inside or around spawning pockets, and the water has cleared enough that fishing shaky heads, wacky rigs and Texas rigs around anything in the water is the best bet. Docks inside spawning pockets or at the mouths continue to hold a lot of fish. 

In areas with dirtier water you can also used bladed baits. 

March 15

Lake Wylie is at 97.8% of full pool and water conditions range from muddy to dingy. Morning surface water temperatures are about 61-63 degrees. 

Lake Wylie crappie continue to make a pretty normal seasonal progression, and The Carolina Angler Captain Chris Nichols (704-860-7951) reports that males are moving shallow around brush and piers while females are suspending 10-15 feet deep in 18-25 feet of water at the mouths of spawning coves. They are preparing to spawn later in March or April, and Captain Chris does not think any are actually on beds yet. 

The best techniques for catching the suspended females is long-line trolling with jigs, but we are also now in the period where you can cast jigs or fish minnows under a cork around shallow cover. 

This week with Captain Chris Nichols
This week with Captain Chris Nichols

March 14

Lake Wylie is at 97.9% of full pool and most of the creeks are pretty muddy. Morning surface water temperatures have shot up to the low 60s in the backs. 

Between high water levels, dirty water and pollen on the surface, tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that it’s pretty much classic spring bass fishing conditions right now on Lake Wylie. While fish are not spawning yet they are in or immediately adjacent to spawning pockets, and Chatterbaits, spinnerbaits and worms are all catching fish back in the creeks.  Docks are also holding a lot of fish, particularly docks on secondary points or inside of pockets. 

You can probably still find some fish on the main lake but they are likely to be smaller. 

March 6

Lake Wylie is at 96.6% of full pool and the main lake is clear while the creeks are muddy. Morning surface water temperatures creeping up to 53-55 degrees, rising to 56-57 in the afternoons. 

Fresh off 16 pounds and the win in a team tournament this weekend on Wylie, tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that you can do about anything right now and catch bass. At the same time, it seems like the primary patterns are changing day by day. 

Friday the crankbait bite was on, but by Saturday they could not catch fish on a crankbait. They caught all of their fish on a jerkbait fished on main lake points and secondary points just inside the mouths of creeks. About 10 feet was the keep depth.

But by Sunday the fish didn’t want to chase moving baits, and they were starting to move into the creeks and towards the areas where they will eventually be spawning. Fish were at the mouths of spawning pockets and at the outside edges of dock poles and stump rows.  While Reid reports that the bulk of the fish are probably a month or so away from spawning, the warm nights have them moving that direction. A jig and shaky head are more effective right now. 

At the same time, there are still some offshore main lake patterns, like fishing an Alabama rig around brush piles, even though the fish will probably get progressively smaller out there as the spawn approaches. 

A good payday last weekend
A good payday last weekend

As for the crappie, and The Carolina Angler Captain Chris Nichols (704-860-7951) reports that fish are on the move into creeks and spawning coves. They are not close to spawning, but they are getting into position for later in March and April. The best pattern is long-line trolling with jigs for suspended fish 12-15 feet deep in 20-25 feet of water. 

When overnight temperatures are about 60-62 degrees for three or four days in a row that will usually push fish to the banks for the spawn, and most years that is in late March or early April.

Meanwhile, the white perch are schooled up at the mouths of major creeks in 20-30 feet of water and on long points. They are feeding up in preparation for their spawn later this month, and spider-rigging with multi-hook minnow rigs near the bottom is the best pattern.  

More to follow.

February 29

Lake Wylie is at 97.2% of full pool and the lake has cleared significantly. Morning surface water temperatures are about 53-54 degrees.

As water temperatures warm the crappie are starting to make their spring spawning migration into the creeks on Lake Wylie, and The Carolina Angler Captain Chris Nichols (704-860-7951) reports that suspended fish can now be caught long-lining jigs in 10-15 feet of water in the creeks. At the same time there are still crappie and white perch mixed together at the mouths of major creeks in 25-30 feet. For these fish spider-rigging with multi-hook minnow rigs near the bottom has been the best pattern.  

Right now Captain Rodger Taylor with Catfish ON! Guide Service (803-517-7828) is also after the crappie, and he notes that later in the day fish are often suspended higher in the water column. For now he’s mostly in the front section of creeks, but notes that when temperatures warm a few more degrees they will move further back. 

Rodger with a 2-6
Rodger with a 2-6

On the catfish front, Captain Taylor notes that the shallower afternoon bite in the creeks has turned on. There is lots of bait in the middle of creeks, and in the afternoon anchoring baits in 5-20 feet of water in these areas has been productive.

This week with Captain Rodger Taylor 
This week with Captain Rodger Taylor

More to follow. 

February 22

Lake Wylie is at 97.3% of full pool and the lake has cleared significantly. Morning surface water temperatures are about 52 degrees.

We are getting into that special time of the year when you can catch bass doing about anything, and tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that on Wylie you can catch fish from the main lake to the backs of the creeks and up the river. This tournament there was another bag approaching 20 pounds put up, as well as a 17, and then several in the mid-teens. 

While throwing an Alabama rig on main lake points is very productive for spotted bass, Reid also caught fish on crankbaits, jerkbaits, and a shaky head.  The biggest change he noticed this week is that more fish were starting to move shallower, and in addition to dock fish he found good, prespawn fish that had moved up onto secondary points. They wouldn’t take a swimbait and a worm seemed to be the ticket. 

It's been another phenomenal week for crappie and white perch on Lake Wylie, and The Carolina Angler Captain Chris Nichols (704-860-7951) reports that both species are mixed together at the mouths of major creeks in 25-30 feet. Some days they are moving up in the water column, but more commonly they have been on the bottom. In fact, with clear blue skies and an east wind he found them even deeper yesterday in 30-35 feet near the bottom. Spider-rigging with multi-hook minnow rigs has been the best pattern, although this weekend Captain Chris did catch some fish up in the water column 15 or less feet down a few days ago in different conditions.  

Yesterday with Captain Chris Nichols 
Yesterday with Captain Chris Nichols

Right now all the perch are full of eggs. While some will run up the river to spawn, most of them have a mass community spawn on long points where males just fertilize the entire point. 

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor with Catfish ON! Guide Service (803-517-7828) reports that the bite is still good. In the morning fish are hitting cut shad fished deep on the bottom midway back in the major creeks. 22-31 feet of water has been the most productive depth. In the afternoons when the water warms the shallow bite has been decent anchoring with the same baits. Look for the presence of bait and birds to locate fish both deep and shallow. 

February 15

Lake Wylie is at 97.5% of full pool and has gotten very muddy again. Morning surface water temperatures are about 50-52 degrees.

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor with Catfish ON! Guide Service (803-517-7828) reports that in the muddy conditions the bite is good.  In the morning fish are hitting cut shad fished deep on the bottom midway back in the major creeks. 22-31 feet of water has been the most productive depth.  In the afternoons when the water warms the shallow bite has been decent anchoring with the same baits. Look for the presence of bait and birds to locate fish. This also applies in the morning to the deeper bite!

February 14

Lake Wylie is at 97.3% of full pool and, before yesterday, the lake was slowly starting to clear. When the lake was flooded a lot of debris washed into the lake so there is still a lot of trash floating around. Morning surface water temperatures are about 50-52 degrees.

This may all change, but as the lake cleared the crappie and white perch on Lake Wylie started to get back into bigger schools, and The Carolina Angler Captain Chris Nichols (704-860-7951) reports that they have caught some particularly large fish the past week. One white perch was approaching Captain Rodger Taylor’s state record!

For now the pattern is back to spider rigging minnows at the mouths of major creeks in 25-30 feet, but as the lake gets very muddy again then think about heading shallower and looking for pockets of cleaner water again. 

Caught with Captain Chris Nichols this weekend
Caught with Captain Chris Nichols this weekend

The exact patterns tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reported last week came through on Sunday with the bass, but Reid reports that one was much better than the other. They finished with 14 pounds for third place, while 17 pounds (including a 5-pound largemouth and a 4 ½ pound spot) and then 15 plus took first and second.

They caught a limit on crankbaits and small swimbaits early around the banks, but when they returned to the pattern looking for a big bite later in the day they didn’t get anything. But what really put fish in the boat was when they figured out to head into the mouth of creeks and fish secondary points where fish were starting to move up. The creek mouths were 25-30 to feet deep, and by casting at the breaks in 8-18 feet they were able to capitalize with an A-rig. They caught 25-30 fish in a few hours this way, and only headed deeper again because most of them were cookie cutter 2-3 pound fish. 

February 9

Lake Wylie is up to 99.2% of full pool and – for now – the lake is clearing. Morning surface water temperatures are in the upper 40s.

There are basically two patterns for catching bass right now on Lake Wylie, and tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that one way to target fish is in 12-18 feet with Alabama rigs. Some good bags have been caught this way, and fish are on the main lake as well as at the front of major creeks.  

But there is another group shallower in 2-6 feet, and they can be caught on spinnerbaits, Chatterbaits, and crankbaits. For the bladed baits some stained water helps, but crankbaits have also been working in clear water.

Overall there are more fish starting to get into traditional pre-spawn locations. They are still a ways out from spawning areas, but getting closer. 

February 1

Lake Keowee is at 99.1% of full pool and the creeks remain stained. Water temperatures have remained stable the past week with mid-50s common on most of the lake and some water in the low-60s mid-lake. 

While many Lake Keowee bass remain in a wintertime pattern, N&C Marine team member Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that is starting to change with more fish now showing up in shallower water.  For the winter fish, look in creek channels and swings in 30-50 feet of water with a drop shot or soft plastic.  For the shallower fish a jig, shaky head, or Texas rig fished around deeper docks and rocky points is a good strategy.  With no significant cold weather forecast over the coming weeks, expect to see more fish begin to move up. 

Many tournaments are being held on the lake and 12 pounds has been a good bag with 15 pounds often winning.

January 25

Lake Wylie is at 96.4% of full pool and morning surface water temperatures are about 46 degrees. 

Water conditions couldn’t have been much crazier this month, and tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that the lake has been two feet over full, a foot below normal, and everywhere in between. The water has ranged from stained to muddy, and there has also been a ton of current.

Somehow all that has the bass biting, and Reid reports the best patterns have been shallow. Winning bags have come up the rivers, in the extreme lower lake, in the creeks, and on the main lake. But again the commonality has been fishing shallow, with crankbaits, Alabama rigs, and spinnerbaits all working. Finding current and the right amount of stain has been another key, and sometimes that means the pattern changes by the hour. 

Reid McGinn with a winning bag
Reid McGinn and Brandon Williams with a winning bag

January 22

Lake Wylie is at 96.7% of full pool and the lake is finally clearing after recent rains.   Morning surface water temperatures are about 46 degrees. 

If we had not already had two big rounds of flood on Lake Wylie then The Carolina Angler Captain Chris Nichols (704-860-7951) reports that he thinks the crappie would be stacked up about perfectly in deep water. Still they are doing well, and Captain Chris finds them holding at the mouths of creeks in 25-30 feet of water. Spider-rigging very slowly with minnows is the best way to catch them. 

While the fish did spread out when the lake got muddy, and went shallower into the creeks, they continued to feed. Look for the same if the lake gets very muddy later this week. 

A couple of good ones caught with Captain Chris Nichols
A couple of good ones caught with Captain Chris Nichols

More to follow. 

January 4

Lake Wylie is at 96.9% of full pool and the lake is super muddy after recent rains.   Morning surface water temperatures are about 50 degrees. 

When all the rain came they at first let the water back up in Wylie, and tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that lake levels got as high as 99.8% (which is way above normal full pool).  For a time the lake was very streaky and you could find areas with clear water, but it is now mostly muddy as they are pulling hard and levels are almost low again. It seems they started pulling so much water because of another big rain coming.  

As a result there’s not really a deep pattern to speak of, and almost certainly the biggest bags are coming throwing a crankbait or spinnerbait fairly shallow. Almost everyone is relegated to fishing the banks with the main river channel so muddy, and over half of boats aren’t bothering to weight in during recent tournaments. Yesterday Reid found the bite very slow. 

As the water clears fish will bite better in areas with greater visibility, and look for an Alabama rig and a jerkbait to come on again in 8-15 feet. 

With the main lake like tomato soup The Carolina Angler Captain Chris Nichols (704-860-7951) reports that the crappie had no choice but to move, and they headed back into shallower water in the creeks where it is clearer. The best way to catch them is spider-rigging minnows in 20-25 feet on the bottom, although you can likely catch them even shallower. However, they were so stacked up where Chris was fishing he didn’t bother!

With Captain Chris Nichols earlier this week
With Captain Chris Nichols earlier this week

The catfish moved into very shallow water after the rise in water levels, as Captain Chris reports that bait stacked up in the backs of coves and creeks and the catfish followed them. Even on very cold mornings in 50-degree water you could see shad flipping on the surface in 5-10 feet. Just use a throw net to catch some shad and then anchor in 5-12 feet of water and fan cast baits around the boat. 

 

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