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AHQ INSIDER Lake Wylie (NC/SC) Fall 2018 Fishing Report – Updated November 12

  • by Jay

The newest Lake Wylie fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-lake-wylie-ncsc-fall-2018-fishing-report/

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.

August 23

Lake Wylie is at 97.8% of full pool, and water temperatures are about 87 degrees.  It’s fairly clear but with some rain Monday and Tuesday some of the creeks are pretty stained.

It’s the dog days of summer on Lake Wylie, and guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New(704-421-5868) says that there is really no hot pattern right now.  Fish will get more aggressive as it starts to cool, but for right now the best way to get bit is finesse fishing with shakey head worms, drop shot rigs, and small topwaters.  There are some times when you can catch a fish on something like an Ole Monster Texas-rigged, but in general finesse baits are the best way to hook up.

While there are still fish offshore, they are not ganged up in big schools like earlier this summer. Now the best zone to fish is 10-25 feet of water, and fish could be around small drops, brush, rock piles or bridge pilings.  Bait is starting to move into the creeks just a little, and there is some early schooling activity around the bridges.  Most of these fish are small but catching small fish is better than catching nothing!

July 13

Lake Wylie is at 97.2% of full pool.

On the catfishfront, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that the blue catfish bite is good in the mid-lake areas between Crowders Creek and the mouth of Big Allison with cut bait (bluegill, shad or white perch) drifting mild depth changes in the 25-35 foot range.  Bait is scattered in the water column from the surface to 15 feet in these areas. Blues in the 4-16 pound range are common, and occasional flatheads can be caught on the drift in the same areas.

Jeff Taylor with a nice Wylie blue caught this week
Jeff Taylor with a nice Wylie blue caught this week

June 21

Lake Wylie is at 97.1% of full pool, and water temperatures range from 83-88 degrees.  Clarity is generally pretty good.

It’s the heat of summer on Lake Wylie, but nonetheless bassfishing is nothing short of excellent.  Guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New(704-421-5868) says that the offshore bite has been as good as he has seen, especially during the week when you don’t have to dodge boat traffic andthere is often better current, and numbers have been phenomenal.  There are not a lot of huge fish, but catching fish on almost every cast at times is just a lot of fun.

The places Bryan is fishing are a variety of types of offshore structure in the 17-35 foot range, including humps, long tapering points, high places, and drops.  Most of the spots are in the main channel, but some are in the creeks.  Unlike most summer fishing, the afternoon when there is more current is usually better.  You can throw a variety of lures at the fish, including crankbaits, worms, and football jigs.

Like the offshore bite other patterns are better than usual for this time of year, too, and Bryan says that fishing a jig around docks, running the banks with topwaters, and other patterns are also better than would be expected.   He speculates that the strong fishing is related to the fact that the water was up so long, and then there was a lot of current when they pulled it down.  While the bite may slow down soon it seems like fish have been waiting to get into the patterns they are in now.

Bryan New and friends on a hot day of Wylie fishing
Bryan New and friends on a hot day of Wylie fishing

May 25

Lake Wylie is at 98.6% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the mid-70s on the upper end of the lake.

On the catfishfront,Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports a very good pre-spawn bite.  When there is good current flow then anchoring on the upper end of the lake is working very well, and in four hours of fishing on Tuesday they caught 350 pounds of catfish – including a 26- and 15-pound flathead, and a bunch of 8-20 pound blues.  Wednesday the bite was not quite as fast, but they still caught a bunch of blues again up to about 20 pounds.

The best pattern has been anchoring in 7-8 feet of water near drops that go out to about 30 feet and then fan-casting cut gizzard shad across a range of depths along the ledge.  Even if you cast a bait into the deepest areas it’s hard to keep it out there, and it’s not clear if there are fish in the middle of the channel anyway.  It’s a good idea to also have another bait, such as bluegill heads, to see what the fish want on a given day.

Once the current dies then anglers should head into the backs of creeks in 7-8 feet of water and look for another group of actively feeding fish.  The main lake bite is highly current dependent.

Within a few weeks the bite will abruptly shut down when the spawn gets heavy, and then anglers will need to drift in the mid-lake to look for scattered fish that are later or were very early to spawn.

Jeff Taylor with a nice blue caught this morning on Wylie
Jeff Taylor with a nice blue caught this morning on Wylie

May 24

Lake Wylie is at 98.7% of full pool, and water temperatures range from the mid-70s to 80 degrees.  The water is pretty dirty.

Guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) can not recall a time when the water on Lake Wylie has stayed this high this long, and every time it starts to come down a few inches a fresh round of rain brings it back up.  The lake is not technically flooded, but from a fishermen’s perspective it is.

Overall the bass fishing remains tough.  Typically at this time of year there would be a very strong offshore bite starting and you could catch a fish on every cast, but with the dirty water they aren’t going to get offshore very well.  As a result bass are scattered in shallow water, with most of the fishing taking place in less than 7 or 8 feet of water.  Any shallow cover is worth throwing at, but pockets off the main channel and creeks have been better than open stretches of bank.

Jigs, Chatterbaits and topwater lures have been most productive.

The shad spawn is pretty much over since water temperatures have gotten so warm.

May 10

Lake Wylie is at 98.0% of full pool.

The spawn is pretty much done on Lake Wylie, with a few fish still on beds but not many.  As a result guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New(704-421-5868) reports that fishing has gotten pretty tough and catches have been low.

The shad spawn is providing a glimmer of hope, and early in the morning when the bait spawns fish can be caught around banks, ripraps and docks on jigs, topwaters or buzzbaits.  The shad spawn doesn’t continue once the sun gets up but the fish will still hang around those areas, but the bite really slows down.

Bryan has caught a few fish out deep, but they haven’t really gotten out there yet.  Overall bass can best be described as in a post-spawn funk.

Bryan New with a Santee bass - the kind he'd like to be catching on Wylie
Bryan New with a Santee bass – the kind he’d like to be catching on Wylie

April 27

Lake Wylie is at 99.9% of full pool, and with water levels way up a lot of dirty water has come into the system.

Pre-spawn, spawning and post-spawn bass can be all be caught on Lake Wylie right now, even though guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) believes that a majority of the fish have spawned by this point.  With the weird, unstable weather this spring a huge number of fish never spawned at one time, and instead it was a slow trickle to the banks for the last month and a half.  The trickle continues.

Between the time of year and rising water levels pretty much all the fishing right now is very shallow. Wacky worms, shakey heads and jigs have been working well around docks and cover, but with the changes in water conditions spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits will be coming on.

On the catfishfront, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that fishing in the rivers has been excellent.  He is catching an average of 8-15 pound fish, with a frequent 25-35 pound blue thrown in. Pretty much all of his fishing has been at anchor, and he likes to find a bend or ledge where he can fan-cast baits from 6-27 feet of water.  Recently it has been anyone’s guess what depth will be most productive.  Cut shad from Lake Wateree have been the best bait, and unlike on that lake the bite has not been as dependent on finding current.

Rodger continues to catch some really nice crappie, and recently he has been finding them very shallow in less than three feet of water in dark spaces under piers, around docks and near tree limbs in the water.  Shooting jigs has been the best pattern.

Rodger shows off a 2 pound 2 ounce crappie caught Friday in 2 feet of water on a 1/32 ounce ounce white hair jig
Rodger shows off a 2 pound 2 ounce crappie caught Friday in 2 feet of water on a 1/32 ounce ounce white hair jig

April 12

Lake Wylie is at 97.7% of full pool and water temperatures range from about 60 degrees up to the mid-60s in the very backs.  The big rains missed Lake Wylie and so overall the lake is pretty clear.

Water temperatures are rising, but the weather has been so up-and-down that bass fishing on Lake Wylie remains rather tough.  Guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New(704-421-5868) reports that with a sustained warming trend fishing should improve dramatically, and the forecast looks like it should be good at least through the weekend.  But another cold snap early next week could set things back again.

Regardless, at this time of year the best place to look is in shallow pockets on both the main lake and the creeks.  Perhaps a third of the fish have spawned so far, but if we get some sun that number will go way up.  Floating worms, jigs, shakey heads and wacky-rigged worms are probably the best baits right now.  A topwater bite has not started in earnest yet although you can get a few bites that way.

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that fishing continues to be excellent in the upper Catawba arm.  Lots of fish in the 15-20 pound range are being caught.  The bite on the deep ledges is best when lots of water flow is present, but the shallows are also producing well.  The best bait is gizzard shad.

In a rare crappieupdate, Rodger reports that the bite is good in 15-20 feet trolling on the lower end of the lake.  Chartreuse triple threat grubs tipped with minnows are working very well.

Mrs. Captain Rodger Taylor shows off a nice one caught this week on Wylie
Mrs. Captain Rodger Taylor shows off a nice one caught this week on Wylie

March 30

Lake Wylie is at 97.7% of full pool and water temperatures are around 59-60 degrees.  Most of the lake is really dirty.  Since Duke has started pulling water the creeks have actually cleaned up faster than the main lake, which remains very stained.

Temperatures are climbing upwards, but guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New(704-421-5868) reports that bassfishing on Lake Wylie remains tough.  Even after the warm weather Bryan has only seen a very few fish on beds, and his theory is that temperatures have rebounded so quickly that the fish just haven’t gotten there yet.  Rising water levels, and then pulling the water back down, has not helped.

The place to look right now is shallow, and there have been some fish caught on jigs around docks.  Over the next week to ten days more and more fish should pull up if it remains warm, and in addition to jigs shakey heads and wacky-rigged worms should be very productive.

Bryan New shows off a couple of big spring bass
Bryan New shows off a couple of big spring bass

No new catfish report.

March 15

Lake Wylie is at 98.3% of full pool and water temperatures have fallen to 48-54 degrees.  The backs are a little warmer and dirtier than the main lake, and there is a mud line in the backs of some creeks.

A couple of weeks ago it was a really good spring bassbite on Lake Wylie, but guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that fishing has gotten a lot tougher as temperatures have plummeted.  The fish really just aren’t feeding that much as they try to figure out what is going on.

Overall fish seem to be in the same general areas where they were located a couple of weeks ago, but they have pulled out deeper and in many cases suspended.  The best baits are crankbaits, jerkbaits, and even sometimes Alabama rigs.

If there is a sustained warming trend then on the late March full moon fish should be up shallow.

No new catfish report.

March 2

Lake Wylie is at 97.7% of full pool and water temperatures are around 60 degrees.  Before the most recent round of rain it was fairly clear.

The bassbite on Lake Wylie continues to be very strong, and guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that even though air temperatures have dropped it does not appear to be slowing down the fishing or backing the fish up.  Cooler weather may keep the next round of fish from moving up, but so far it isn’t pushing the ones that have come up back out.

There remain a ton of different shallow water patterns that will catch pre-spawn bass, and Bryan reports that fishing shallow wood, rocks and docks will all work.  He’s caught the fire out of them on Chatterbaits, but spinnerbaits, crankbaits, etc. are all good choices.  It’s that period when you can just throw whatever you prefer to fish.

Bryan expects some fish to get on the beds very soon, but so far he hasn’t seen them.

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that the pattern is unchanged but the action has gotten even better.  The shallow bite continues to improve, and they are also still catching some good deep fish off the ledge.  The key remains to find birds, which point the way to bait, and in turn catfish.

February 23

Lake Wylie is up to 97.9% of full pool and water temperatures have risen to almost 60 degrees.  The water has cleared up a bit but there is still some stained water.

The bassbite on Lake Wylie continues to improve, and guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that for the next few weeks things should just continue to get better and better.  You can catch fish in pretty much any shallow pattern right now, although Bryan suggests starting to look closer to the front of pockets, or in main river and main creek channels and pockets, and working your way back.  There are some fish in the very backs but that’s more the direction they are moving.

Again, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs and chatterbaits are all working, and you can also catch fish on soft plastics.  You should always have a shakey head tied on at Lake Wylie.  However, it may be that baits with a little bigger profile are better right now and fish seem willing to chase.

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports overall fishing is good for both numbers and good-sized fish.  The shallow bite has really started to pick up, and he has been catching some nice fish in just 3-4 feet of water in Little Allison.  At the same time they have also been catching some good fish up to about 26 pounds deep off the ledge in about 30 feet.

It seems the common denominator has been bait, and birds are showing the way to the bait.  At times warm water has pushed the bait shallow, while the deep water bite seems to almost always be on right now.

Most importantly, if you find birds you will find bait and then you will find catfish.

Captain Rodger Taylor catches bass, too
Captain Rodger Taylor catches bass, too

February 16

Lake Wylie is at 97.0% of full pool and water temperatures are in the low to mid-50s.  The water came up a couple of feet but then Duke dropped it about 2 ½ feet, and the end results is that much of the lake is heavily stained.

It’s good news to hear that the bassbite on Lake Wylie has turned on, and guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that the fishing is actually the best it has been in a long time.  Bryan says that this is the start of the pre-spawn period on Lake Wylie, and with lots of dirty water pretty much any shallow pattern you want to run is a good bet.  You can fish flat shallow areas or steeper shallow areas that are closer to deep water, but for now the steeper areas are holding a few more fish.  Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs and chatterbaits are all working.

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that fish are still being caught drifting the lower lake in 22-27 feet of water on deep flats just off the main river channel.  Gut gizzard shad has been most productive.

A 17-pound blue caught this week on Captain Rodger Taylor's boat
A 17-pound blue caught this week on Captain Rodger Taylor’s boat

February 9

Lake Wylie is up to 98.7% of full pool and with the warm rain water temperatures have risen to the low-50s in some creeks and the high-40s on the main lake.  There is lots of dirty water in the creeks now.

There is certainly still a deep basspattern on Lake Wylie, and guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that you can still catch fish around main river channel and creek channel drops on Alabama rigs, jerkbaits and jigs.  However, with the influx of dirty water the biggest change is that a shallow pattern has come on board, too.  Throwing a crankbait around shallow rocks will catch fish, and bass are also being caught on spinnerbaits and chatterbaits.

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that fish are still being caught drifting the lower lake in 22-27 feet of water on deep flats just off the main river channel.  Gut gizzard shad has been most productive.

February 1

Lake Wylie is at 97.6% of full pool and water temperatures are around 42-43 degrees.  The main lake is still extremely clear, for the most part, but some areas like the South Fork have gotten very dirty with the recent rains.

Lake Wylie catfish are still concentrated on the lower end of the lake in their winter locations, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that they are being caught drifting in 22-27 feet of water on deep flats just off the main river channel.  The area from the Buster Boyd Bridge to Crowder Creek has been productive, and good numbers of fish in the 15-20 pound range have been caught recently.  Gut gizzard shad has been most productive.

A nice Wylie blue cat caught recently with Captain Rodger Taylor
A nice Wylie blue cat caught recently with Captain Rodger Taylor

The bassfishing on Lake Wylie continues to be pretty strong, and guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that the best areas are still around main river channel and creek channel drops.  Fish are mainly suspending in about 10-12 feet of water off the edge of the drops, often with about 30 feet of water very close to where the fish are holding.  Alabama rigs and jerkbaits have been working best, and Bryan has also picked up a few fish on jigs.

January 19

Lake Wylie is at 97.1% of full pool and water temperatures range from about 41-46 degrees.  Some places are just slightly stained, with 3-4 feet of visibility, but overall visibility is very good.  Guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) says Wylie is as clear as he has ever seen, and in one spot he saw an old sunken bridge – the top of which is 11 feet down!

As far as bassfishing, Bryan says that Wylie is actually fishing pretty well right now.  One day will be really good, and the next just okay, but overall it’s a pretty good bite.  A friend of his weighed 23 pounds in a recent tournament – one of those Wylie bags that only comes along every couple of years.

Yesterday Bryan caught fish from 5 feet on out to 30 feet, but they were mainly around any kind of sharp break.  Main lake points, creek points, and areas where the main channel swings up against the bank are holding fish.  Overall, fish are being caught on jerkbaits, Alabama rigs, grubs and sometimes jigs.

Bryan New shows off a big one caught this week
Bryan New shows off a big one caught this week

Despite the cold weather, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that there is a good deep water catfishbite on Lake Wylie and some big fish being caught.  Fish are scattered in the mid- to lower-half of the lake on flats in the 20-30 foot range.  The shallow bite has been non-existent, nor has the river channel been producing.  Look for bait schools and drift with cut gizzard shad.

December 21

Lake Wylie is at 97.4% of full pool and water temperatures are about 49 degrees.

There’s not much change with the bass fishing on Lake Wylie, and guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that fish are essentially still in the same deep pattern.  Alabama rigs, jerkbaits, crankbaits and jigs are catching fish, with the best numbers in 10 plus feet of water.

No catfishchange reported by Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828).  Fish are still on the ledges in about 30 feet of water.

December 14

Lake Wylie is at 97.1% of full pool, and water temperatures have dropped after the cold weather.  They range from about 47-54 degrees.

Bass fishing continues to slowly and steadily improve on Lake Wylie, and guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that as temperatures have dropped in the last week and over the last couple of days better fish are being caught.  The bite is still not good, and while an 18-pound bag was weighed in recently the 13-pound second place sack in the same tournament is more representative of a good haul right now.

The pattern is still about the same, and while there are some shallower fish all of the bigger schools of bass are in 10 plus feet of water near bait schools.  Generally they are oriented to a creek or river channel, and looking for bait on your electronics is key to finding them. Alabama rigs, jerkbaits, some crankbaits and some jigs are catching fish.

A nice Catawba chain largemouth caught this week on Bryan New's boat
A nice Catawba chain largemouth caught this week on Bryan New’s boat

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that fish are still pretty scattered but sizes continue to improve.  Right now the best fish are being caught on deeper ledges in about 22-35 feet of water, and perhaps because it hasn’t gotten quite cold enough they are not catching any big fish actually down in the channel itself.

December 1

Lake Wylie is at 96.4% of full pool, and water temperatures have dropped into the high-50s.

Finally, bass fishing is definitely improving on Lake Wylie.  Guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that even though the bite is not as far along as it should be at this time of year, numbers and sizes are both picking up as bait gets in the the areas where it is supposed to be in the fall.

Bryan is having the most success fishing in the creek channels or along the river channel, and while fish can be any depth from dirt shallow to really deep he is starting out looking in 10 feet of water or more.  The best baits have been jerkbaits, Alabama rigs, jigs and crankbaits, and there is still a bit of a topwater bite.  The key is being around bait in the right areas.  You can’t look for birds diving to tell you where to fish quite yet, but that is coming.

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that fish are still pretty scattered but they have been catching some nice fish up to the low-30s.  While fish can still be found in a broad range of depths, the 12-20 foot range has been the best recently.

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