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AHQ INSIDER Lake Wylie (NC/SC) Spring 2019 Fishing Report – Updated April 3

  • 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/

April 3

Lake Wylie is at 98.6% of full pool, and water temperatures range from the high 50s to low 60s depending on section of the lake.  Color is back to normal – fairly clear all over.

The spawn is just getting underway on Lake Wylie, and tournament bassangler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill predicts that by the next full moon almost every fish in the lake will be or have been on a bed.  Fish have already made the first push, and Reid reports that in some north-facing pockets you can already find bedding bass.

Even though the cold weather may slow things down a bit, it is unlikely that fish will turn around and head back out to deep water – especially now that conditions have warmed up again.  Anglers need to concentrate on the shallows, either looking in spawning pockets or around blowdowns, dock pilings, or any other cover adjacent to traditional spawning areas.  Casting a shakey head, or flipping a creature bait or spinnerbait to any type of shallow cover, is a good option.

Reid McGinn shows off a couple of good ones caught recently.
Reid McGinn shows off a couple of good ones caught recently.

March 22

Lake Wylie is at 98.4% of full pool, and water temperatures range from about 55-58.  The lake is not muddy anywhere, but there is a mix of stained and clear water.

For the first time in a while you have to look to find even stained water on Lake Wylie, but meanwhile tournament bassangler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that seasonal factors are pushing fish shallower.  Muddy conditions have kept them relatively shallow most of the winter, but even as water levels drop and the lake overall clears the spawn is moving fish towards the banks.  They are also starting to move towards the backs.

While fish are not on the beds yet it is coming, and they are starting to move further into creeks and towards areas that lead to spawning areas.  They are staging for the spawn around docks, secondary points, and shallow cover such as laydowns.  Less fish can be found in the main lake and more are moving into the creeks and the backs of creeks.

You can pretty much fish the color of water you want right now, which also means the type of bait you want.  In the more stained areas Chatterbaits and spinnerbaits are working, while in the clearer areas soft plastics including shakey heads and Texas rigs as well as jigs are productive.

March 5

Lake Wylie is at 99.5% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the mid-50s.  The whole lake is very muddy.

Very high, muddy water conditions as well as seasonal dynamics are pushing fish towards the banks, and tournament bassangler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that pretty much all the fish which are being caught are coming shallow.  Fish are getting into traditional prespawn areas, and points and secondary points in 5 or less feet of water are the best places to look.  Crankbaits, spinnerbait and jigs are all working.

Reid McGinn and Brandon Williams with some nice Wylie bass caught last weekend
Reid McGinn and Brandon Williams with some nice Wylie bass caught last weekend

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that the blue catfish bite continues to be good to very good in 4-8 feet of water despite lots of rain and muddy conditions.  Good numbers of fish in the 12 to 16 pound range are being caught.  While the lower section of the lake is better right now, look for these fish to start moving up the lake in the next few weeks making the upper quarter of the lake the place to be from late March through early June.

February 22

Lake Wylie is back up to 99.7% of full pool, and water temperatures range from the upper 40s to lower 50s.  The lake is high and very muddy again.

Just when things were settling out a fresh round of rain came in, and as a result tournament bassangler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that all the creeks are blown out again and the water is red muddy and in the trees.  This likely means that the shallow running crankbait pattern will continue to dominate, especially fishing around rocks, secondary points and hard channel swings in about 8 feet of water or less.

If you can find some clearer water fish can still be caught on Alabama rigs, particularly suspended fish in 10-20 feet of water around main points in the creeks and main lake.

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that he still rates the action as very good anchoring shad on the bottom in 6-22 feet of water in the major creeks from the confluence to the dam.  The catch has mainly been blues with a few channel cats thrown in, and they even caught a very unusual-for-winter 22-pound flathead on a recent trip.  Fish are muddy indicating that they are lying very tight to the bottom or even buried in the mud.

A winter flathead caught this week on Lake Wylie
A winter flathead caught this week on Lake Wylie

February 5

Lake Wylie is down to 97.4% of full pool, and water temperatures have risen from 47 to 52 degrees already.  The lake is clearing although the lower half of the lake is still stained.

It’s been a long time coming, but tournament bassangler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that fishing is finally starting to improve on Lake Wylie.  Reid and his tournament partner won the last Sunday tournament with 20 pounds, a big improvement over the bags that were winning a few weeks ago.

While the patterns have not changed significantly, fish are biting better and starting to move up a little. They are not in a prespawn pattern but they do appear to be beginning to stage.

While good results continue to come on a shallow running crankbait fished around rocks and points in about 8 feet of water or less, probably because of the clearing conditions the Alabama rig is coming on strong in 10-15 feet of water around main points in the creeks and main lake.

There are also starting to be some good fish caught on docks with jigs in 10 feet or less.

The winning bag from this Sunday
The winning bag from this Sunday

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that he still rates the action as very good.  Rodger is drifting in the morning in 20-35 feet of water, and then in the afternoon when the shallows warm he is anchoring and fishing in 3-8 feet of water.  Cut gizzard shad is working well.

January 23

Lake Wylie is at 98.4% of full pool, and water temperatures have dropped into the 47-49 degree range.  As of earlier this week the latest round of rain has muddied up the lake again, but because there is so much water being pulled through the lake clarity can vary from section to section.

After a slight improvement in fishing conditions on Lake Wylie last week, tournament bassangler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that the water has gotten dirtier again.  One constant is that the bite is still tough and weights continue to be pretty low, with winning bags this week ranging from about 11 to 13/14 pounds.

There is still no great pattern, but the best results continue to come on a shallow running crankbait fished around rocks and points in about 8 feet of water or less.  A jig can also be fished in the same areas, and this is mainly a dirty water pattern.

In areas with clearer water fishing an Alabama rig or a jerkbait around main points in the creeks and main lake is the best pattern.  Concentrate on 10-20 feet of water.

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that he still rates the action as very good.  Rodger is drifting in the morning in 20-35 feet of water, and then in the afternoon when the shallows warm he is anchoring and fishing in 3-8 feet of water.  Cut gizzard shad is working well.

Rodger is also still trolling for crappie and finding them suspended 15-20 feet deep in 37-41 feet of water at the mouth of major creeks.   You will also pick up some big white perch this way.

January 15

Lake Wylie is at 98.9% of full pool, and water temperatures range from about 48-51 degrees.  Water conditions are finally stabilizing a bit; although the mid-lake down is still dirty the upper portions seem to be clearing, and there is less junk floating in the water.

Fishing conditions have improved on Lake Wylie, and tournament bassangler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that even the stained areas are getting more fishable.  The bite is still pretty tough, however, and it is only taking 11 or 12 pounds to win recent tournaments.  Unpleasant weather that suppresses the field isn’t helping, either.

There is still no great pattern, but one of the best options remains fishing a shallow running crankbait around rocks and points in about 8 feet of water or less.  A jig can also be fished in the same areas.  This is pretty much a pattern in the lower half of the lake which is dirtier.

In the clearer portion of the lake from the middle on up fishing an Alabama rig or a jerkbait around main points in the creeks and main lake is the best pattern.  Concentrate on 10-20 feet of water.

On the catfish front,Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that fish have settled into a more consistent pattern and overall he rates the action as very good.  Rodger is drifting in the morning in 20-35 feet of water, and then in the afternoon when the shallows warm he is anchoring and fishing in 3-8 feet of water.  Cut gizzard shad is working well.

Rodger has also been spending some time trolling for crappie, and he is catching some nice females full of eggs in the 1 ½ pound range. They have been suspended 15-20 feet deep in 37-41 feet of water at the mouth of major creeks.   You will also pick up some big white perch this way.

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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