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AHQ INSIDER Lake Wylie (NC/SC) Fall 2018 Fishing Report – Updated January 10

  • by Jay

The newest Lake Wylie fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-lake-wylie-ncsc-spring-2019-fishing-report/

January 10

Lake Wylie is at 98.7% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the upper 40s and lower 50s.  The lake is generally muddy.

Water conditions aren’t great on Lake Wylie, and tournament bassangler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that levels have been up and down for a while now.  There is a ton of water coming through the system and from top to bottom the lake is mostly most muddy.  Occasionally some clear water will get pulled in, but pretty quickly more mud arrives.  Both the main lake and creeks are pretty dirty.

All this had made for a pretty tough bite, and even in local tournaments featuring both Lake Wylie regulars as well as national-level pros who live in the area weights have been low. The last tournament was won with about 13 pounds, with each recent tournament won by a different angler who sometimes zeroes the next week.

While there is no great pattern, one of the best options has been fishing a shallow crankbait around rocks and points.  There has also been a jig bite up shallow.  People have also been fishing an Alabama rig around main points in the creeks and main lake, concentrating on 10-20 feet of water.

On the catfish front, it’s still not a typical winter bite but Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that fishing remains good to very good. With high, dirty water fish still are not stacked up in deeper water where you can drift for them, with only smaller blues and a few channels caught drifting.

However, the fishing still rates as strong because anchoring in shallow water for bigger blues remains productive.  They have been eating gizzard shad.  Good flatheads also continue to be caught despite the cold.

A nice Catawba chain blue catfish caught this week with Captain Rodger Taylor
A nice Catawba chain blue catfish caught this week with Captain Rodger Taylor

December 28 

Lake Wylie is at 97.5% of full pool, and water temperatures range from 49-51.  The lake is dirty.

It’s not a typical winter catfish bite on Lake Wylie, but Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that fishing is good to very good. The water is dirty and on the rise, and as a result fish aren’t stacked up in deeper water where you can drift for them.  Rodger reports that results from drifting have been marginal, with only smaller blues and a few channels caught.

However, the fishing still rates as strong because anchoring in shallow water for bigger blues has been productive.  They have been eating gizzard shad.  There have also been a bunch of good flatheads caught recently, including a 30-pounder on Rodger’s boat.

Sixth grader Viviana Vogelsong with a big Wylie blue cat caught this week with Captain Rodger Taylor
Sixth grader Viviana Vogelsong with a big Wylie blue cat caught this week with Captain Rodger Taylor

 

A 30-pound flathead catfish caught Wednesday with Captain Rodger Taylor
A 30-pound flathead catfish caught Wednesday with Captain Rodger Taylor

November 28 

Lake Wylie is at 99.0% of full pool, and water temperatures have dropped all the way into the lower 50s.  With a ton of rain the water is dirty almost everywhere, and because they are pulling water so hard muddy water has moved throughout the creeks and into the main lake.

The catfish bite is strong on Lake Wylie, but Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that that doesn’t mean it’s easy to find fish.  He has had good catches on his last four guide trips, but on each one the fish have been in different areas.  There have been acute changes in water conditions each day, with water temperatures going from 57 to 53 very quickly.  There is also lots of fresh water coming down the lake and so the lake went from clear to dirty in three days and then to muddy.

It’s hard to suggest a consistent pattern, and one day Rodger caught the fish in the main channel and the next they were in the back of a creek.  Drifting cut gizzard shad or perch fillets and covering water is the best bet.

Captain Rodger Taylor shows off a 40-pound Wylie blue cat caught this week
Captain Rodger Taylor shows off a 40-pound Wylie blue cat caught this week

Largemouth bass fishing on Lake Wylie remains tough, and Guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that changing water conditions don’t seem to be helping.  Water levels have been up and down, temperatures are dropping fast, and clarity has plummeted.  There have been some good sacks in recent tournaments, but after a couple of 14- and 15-pound bags most anglers are falling short of a limit.

With the water so dirty a lot of fish are shallow, and throwing a crankbait, spinnerbait,  Chatterbait, or jig against the bank is one pattern. You can also fish an Alabama rig shallow, but it is more of a visual bait and does not displace as much water, make as much sound, or vibrate as much as some of the other lures.  Rip rap is good to target, or any other hard, rocky cover.  You don’t necessarily need to fish shallow areas that are near deep water, but generally steeper is better than flat banks.  However, fishing is so tough right now that you might as well fish everything and cover a lot of water.

If you can find some deeper water that is cleaner then you can fish around bait, as shad generally want to be in clearer water where they can see and breathe better.  Shad are mostly in the creeks right now, but from day to day they can move from the middle to the backs following water quality.  If you can find some bait perhaps in a cleaner pocket or channel then an Alabama rig, jerkbait or a spoon can work.

November 12 

Lake Wylie is at 98.0% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the lower 60s.  With all the rain today it should be no trouble to find some dirty water.

Frankly largemouth bass fishing on Lake Wylie remains tough, and Guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that to have a great day right now you probably need a little luck.  Over the last couple of months water levels have been really up and down, and that seems to have hurt the fishing.

By this time of year fish should already be starting to get into an Alabama rig/ jerkbait pattern, and while that is coming things are running behind.  Shad are in the backs of creeks and fishing a crankbait in stained water around riprap or wood is a decent pattern.  There should also be a couple more weeks of topwater fishing in four feet of water or less, but when temperatures hit about 56 it will basically go away.

Once temperatures drop a few more degrees look for the Alabama rig to get hot.

Even though the bass fishing may not be hot, there are a couple of other bites that are really good. The white perch fishing is excellent again, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that although you have to fish through plenty of small ones about one out of five fish is in the big 1-pound range.  The best depth range has been 22-27 feet, and in the right areas you will catch a fish as soon as your bait gets to the bottom.  Sabiki rigs baited with small one-inch shad, plentiful in the back of just about every cove, have been ideal.

Catfishhave also been doing really well, with Rodger reporting a good to very good bite for blues.  Most of the fish have been in the 10-15 pound range with the occasional lunker up to 30 plus caught.  Drifting gizzard shad and white perch fillets in about 30 feet has been working very well in the lower lake.

Captain Rodger Taylor shows off a bass/ white perch double caught on a Sabiki rig
Captain Rodger Taylor shows off a bass/ white perch double caught on a Sabiki rig

 

And a big flathead caught on the same set-up!
And a big flathead caught on the same set-up!

September 21  

Lake Wylie is at 97.5% of full pool, and water temperatures have fallen into the low 80s.  There is dirty water coming out of all of the creeks and by the weekend the whole lake should be stained.  A ton of water is running through the chain.

Guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that fishing has been really tough on Lake Wylie for a while now. However, the dirty water offers a glimmer of hope for a couple of better weeks of fishing.  Bryan anticipates throwing topwaters, Chatterbaits, square-billed crankbaits and other baits that typically create a lot of noise and/or vibration up shallow in the dirty water.

Because there is a lot of current in the lake there may still be some fish offshore, and so anglers can look around tapering points, ledges, steep drops on the river channel and other offshore spots.  But with clarity being low Bryan expects better results shallow.

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