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AHQ INSIDER Lake Wylie (NC/SC) Fall Fishing Report – Updated December 2

  • by Jay

December 2

Lake Wylie is at 95.0% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the upper 50 to lower 60s.

It was a rough fall for bass fishing on Lake Wylie, but Guide and FLW Angler Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that things are finally improving.  In a recent tournament Bryan and tournament partner Todd Auten managed a 13- or 14-pound bag, which would have made for an easy win a month or so ago.  Instead there were a couple of 16-pound bags ahead of them, a sure sign that things are improving.  Bryan says it’s now pretty easy to catch 10-15 fish (including small ones) and have a fun day of fishing again.

Right now the bite is all about the bait, and in order to catch fish you have to be around schools of shad.  That means that Bryan is leaning very heavily on his electronics during this part of the fall.  There is one group of shad that is in the very backs of creeks, and then there is another group of shad out on the main lake.  They could be around drop-offs, other structure, or frankly anywhere else, and so following your graph is crucial.  Bryan is also spending some time running windblown pockets.

The best baits right now include Alabama rigs, jerkbaits, crankbaits and jigs.  Fish can be found from a few feet of water out to 25 or 30 feet, but over the deeper depths they are more likely to be suspended than hugging the bottom right now.

Bryan New and Todd Auten with a recent Wylie catch
Bryan New and Todd Auten with a recent Wylie catch

November 4

Lake Wylie is all the way down to 94.9% of full pool, and water temperatures are around 70 degrees.  Some ramp hazards exist due to low water levels and so it is necessary to exercise care in backing boats.

There is finally positive news on the catfishfront, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that on recent trips he has found a good bite.  Channel cats have been abundant in the creeks in 10-25 feet of water, and in 32-45 feet of water on the main channel he has been catching blue catfish.  Drifting with cut baits has been the best technique for catching both species.

Ike Coleman with a mid-20s Lake Wylie blue catfish caught recently on Captain Rodger Taylor's boat
Ike Coleman with a mid-20s Lake Wylie blue catfish caught recently on Captain Rodger Taylor’s boat

Rodger reports that the white perch bite continues to be excellent in 21-24 feet of water.

October 20

Lake Wylie is down to 96.4% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the mid- to high-70s.  After the hurricane the lake got a bit of color but that appears to be settling out now.

Guide and FLW Angler Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that bass fishing has picked up a littlein the past week or two on Lake Wylie, and notably schooling activity has improved a bit.  However, overall the bite is still really tough.

Unfortunately there isn’t much good news on the catfishfront, either, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that it’s been pretty difficult to locate fish.  Cooler temperatures should improve the bite and put fish into a more consistent pattern.

Fortunately there is something hot on Lake Wylie, and Rodger reports that the white perchfishing is still wide open.  The pattern is unchanged and catching 100 fish in a couple of hours of fishing is very possible and even likely in the right spots.

October 13

Lake Wylie is at 97.2% of full pool.

Bass and catfish news will follow after the weekend, but Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that in contrast to the slow bass bite perchfishing is still excellent on Lake Wylie.  All day long they are finding fish holding in 22-25 feet of water, but the best bite has been at dark.  Using Sabiki rigs they are pulling up five fish at a time.  The best places to locate fish have been around underwater humps that rise to the key depth range, and they are effectively jumping from spot to spot in the middle of the creek finding fish.

While other baits including store-bought minnows will no doubt catch perch, Rodger has been using a very fine ¼ inch mesh cast net to catch very small shad – which are working extremely well.

September 30

Lake Wylie is up to 97.1% of full pool, and with recent rains there is a significant stain in the South Fork as well as some of the creeks on the lower end.  Water temperatures are in the low-80s.

A few weeks ago Guide and FLW Angler Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that the Lake Wylie bass fishing was about as tough as he had ever seen, but then he thought that things might be getting better.  Then last weekend came, and in the BFL SC Division 2-day Super Tournament on Lake Wylie only one angler managed a limit both days – Tom Rubbo of Lexington, SC, who finished with 24-14 over two days.  Bryan finished in third place with 18-8.  Bryan says that last weekend the lake fished as tough as he has ever seen it.

You wouldn't believe how hard Bryan New had to work to catch these fish last weekend...
You wouldn’t believe how hard Bryan New had to work to catch these fish last weekend…

The winning angler reported fishing a small crankbait in the backs of creeks around baitfish, and while he was able to make a single pattern work and cull several times both days nobody else could.  Bryan reports catching 6 keepers the first day on 5 different baits, and he fished shallow, offshore and everywhere in between.  The second day he only caught three keepers, all on topwater lures.  One fish was schooling and seemed to come up out of nowhere, and like most of the schooling activity it only stayed up for a second or two.

With the recent rain and color in the water if Bryan hadto fish Lake Wylie in the next few days he would concentrate on the dirty water in 1-10 feet of water and fish a spinnerbait, chatterbait, or crankbait and concentrate on covering a lot of water with power fishing techniques.  Lake Wylie fishing often gets better after some rain – and it’s hard to imagine the lake getting worse!

Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that perchhave been biting really well in the evenings, and he has been catching lots of good fish as well as excellent numbers on very small shad.  Catfishreport to follow.

September 23

Lake Wylie water levels are down to 96.3% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the 80-82 degree range – although with highs forecast for this weekend they may hit the mid-80s again.  Clarity is good for Wylie at 2 ½ – 3 feet over most of the lake, although above Seven Oaks it stains up a bit.  Parts of the lower lake appear to be in the early stages of turning over.

Guide and FLW Angler Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that the bass fishing on Lake Wylie is starting to get a bit better.  But the heat expected for this week probably won’t help, and it will take a longer period of cooling for things to really get right.

As reported last week the name of the game is schooling fish (pattern discussed in detail below last week), and Bryan says he has found better schooling recently than a week or two ago.  It had been where the fish would come up very briefly and then be gone very quickly, but they seem to be staying up a little longer.  Further, they are also coming up more often.  This is all probably related to water temperatures.

In addition to the schooling pattern, Bryan says that he has also found a few fish up shallow as well as on some deep places.  Look for improved weights in the BFL tournament this weekend.

September 12

Lake Wylie water levels are down to 96.6% of full pool, and water temperatures have dropped from the mid to high-80s and even 90s into the lower/ mid-80s.  Clarity is above average for Lake Wylie.

As has been reported for some time, Guide and FLW Angler Bryan New (704-421-5868)  says that the bass fishing on Lake Wylie is still pretty tough.  However, water temperatures are finally starting to drop with lower daytime highs and cool nights in the 60s, and so fishing is finally beginning to improve.  The decline in boat traffic also helps the fish set up better, and the overall result is that the bite is getting better each week.

The best pattern on the lake is targeting schooling fish, and Bryan says that there is some really good schooling going on.  Of course it is sporadic, but in some of the typical places where fish school every year there is a daily increasing chance that fish will hit the surface from time to time.  Fish will school around pretty much every bridge on Lake Wylie, but more broadly fish can be found schooling from 10 inches of water in the very backs out to 35 plus feet of water in the main lake.  The backs of creeks, pockets and bridges are all good at times, and Bryan reminds anglers that it’s all about where the bait is.

Small topwater walking baits such as Zara Puppies or small Sammy 6s are both good options, and Bryan likes to throw them on very fine 10- or 15-pound braid for maximum distance.  If fish are very finicky he may tie on a mono leader, but it’s not always necessary.  On overcast days or when the water is stained he may opt for bone-colored baits, and on sunny days and in clearer water translucent or even clear baits may be ideal.

When fish aren’t up another pattern is to fish a drop shot or shakey head worm around the same areas where fish have been schooling.  Bryan likes to fish Charlie’s Worm Finesse Master worms on both drop shot rigs and shakey heads.

Interestingly, some of the biggest schooling fish will be found out in the middle of what seems like nowhere – off the end of a long point or the like.  It’s a waiting game for these fish to go on a brief feeding binge, and unfortunately there’s not much you can do to convince them to bite when they aren’t up.  They are around so much bait that Bryan says a lone lure isn’t going to make them feed when they aren’t in the mood.

Bryan New shows off a couple of good ones
Bryan New shows off a couple of good ones

Catfish news to follow.