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AHQ INSIDER Lake Wylie (NC/SC) Spring 2021 Fishing Report – Updated January 13

  • by Jay

January 13

Lake Wylie is at 97.8% of full pool and surface water temperatures range from about 47-48 degrees. The lake has gotten stained again. 

Well, that didn’t last long.  Tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that the bass fishing has gotten tougher again on Wylie, and in the last tournament on the lake it only took 11 pounds to win. Perhaps the clearest indicator of how hard it is to catch bass is that more than half of the field in the last tournament called it before the end of the day. 

This is not altogether surprising since Reid credited clearing water conditions with the improvement in the bite last week, but then once again the lake started to get dirty. That suspended fish all over again. It’s not that you can’t fish doing anything else, but basically the only people doing well right now are throwing Alabama rigs. They are fishing channel swings, point drops and channel edges in 10-18 feet of water in the creeks and the main lake. 

It’s still worth grinding a shallow crankbait around the banks but don’t expect many bites.    

Check out the new Lake Wylie Catch ’Em Kits with lures hand-picked for each season by Reid.

The catfish bite is still pretty good on Lake Wylie, although Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that quite a few anglers report struggling to catch fish. From what he has seen these anglers are drifting, while the key right now is to set up and anchor. The fish do move so fishermen don’t need to worry about fish not seeing their baits.

The best places to fish have been ledges, points and drop-offs in the mouth of creeks, and they are anchoring the baits at a variety of depths in 6-20 feet of water. However, one change is that they are also catching some fish further back in the creeks. Gizzard shad have been the bait of choice. 

While Rodger is not fishing the river channel much right now, if there are some windy days then instead of fighting it he will try drifting the channel again.

Donna Taylor with a good one caught recently on Wylie
Donna Taylor with a good one caught recently on Wylie

January 7

Lake Wylie is at 96.9% of full pool and surface water temperatures range from about 48-50 degrees. The lake is finally clearing. 

The bass fishing also finally seems to be looking up on Lake Wylie, and tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that in the last couple of tournaments on the lake there have been 16 pounds bags brought to the scales – with 14-pound sacks right behind them in both. It seems that what is finally happening is that fish are starting to get on some of their normal winter spots instead of being suspended all over the place.

One winning pattern is throwing Alabama rigs around channel swings, point drops and channel edges, and jerkbaits have also been fishing well on main points that have some wind blowing on them. You can also grind a shallow crankbait around the banks, and instead of catching 4-6 bass in a day of fishing they are starting to get more fish on this pattern.  

All of these patterns seem to be getting more consistent and should only get better going forward. 

Check out the new Lake Wylie Catch ’Em Kits with lures hand-picked for each season by Reid.

The catfish bite is also picking up on Lake Wylie, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that the action has gotten better and he now rates the blue cat bite as pretty strong. The numbers are good with 20 plus fish on recent trips ranging mostly from 8-19 pounds, and the average catch is 12-14 pounds. They have also landed a 32- and 37-pounder recently. 

The best places to fish have been ledges, points and drop-offs in the mouth of creeks, and they are anchoring the baits at a variety of depths in 6-20 feet of water.  They have not had much action back in the creeks.  Gizzard shad have been the bait of choice.

Another big Wylie blue caught this week with Captain Rodger Taylor
Another big Wylie blue caught this week with Captain Rodger Taylor

December 20

Lake Wylie is at 97.0% of full pool and surface water temperatures are down to 51-53 degrees. The lake has been dirty but the lower end is the clearest section.  

It’s still pretty brutal out there for bass on Lake Wylie, and tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that the last three weekends it has taken about 10 pounds to win. He and his tournament partner took third and big fish in a recent tournament with a single 4.46 pound bass!

The best fishing seems to be in the cleaner water on the south end, and both in the main lake and the creeks people are starting to throw Alabama rigs around channel swings. With dirty conditions over much of the lake crankbaits, spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits have also been popular. 

There has also been some schooling first thing.

Reid notes that, while there are a few different patterns, considering the tournament weights keep in mind that they are all a very slow grind.

If you want to catch fish you are better off going after catfish on Lake Wylie, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports even though the bite has slowed a bit he rates it as “good”.  On cut shad he is catching fish ranging from about 6 to 37 pounds.  The best action is in the lower lake from Buster Boyd Bridge south, and the two best patterns are anchoring in 5-20 feet off points and drifting deep flats in 25-32 feet.

A good one caught recently with Captain Rodger Taylor
A good one caught recently with Captain Rodger Taylor

November 19

Lake Wylie is at 97.2% of full pool and surface water temperatures are in the mid-60s. They are pulling a ton of water through the lake such that the upper end is clearing while the lower end has gotten very muddy. 

At this point it sounds like a broken record, but tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that the bass fishing remains brutally tough on Lake Wylie. While a respectable 14-4 bag (four fish) won a recent tournament, second place dropped to five fish that went 6 pounds! And in a recent CATT event only 7 pounds was good for the win. 

While there are still some fish in the creeks, the “best” pattern the last few days has been fishing a spinnerbait or Chatterbait in the muddy water of the main lake shallows. A crankbait can also get some bites around shallow rock. 

Up the lake in the clearer water the creek pattern is fishing a little better, and you can catch fish in a more traditional fall pattern on topwater lures, spinnerbaits and crankbaits around bait schools.

October 20

Lake Wylie is at 97.3% of full pool and surface water temperatures are around 70-71 degrees. Usually October and November have some of the clearest water of the year, but probably as a result of a lot of suspended solids the water is a turbid dark green. 

It’s a “good” bite for blue and channel catfish on Lake Wylie, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that they are catching strong numbers of teenage-sized fish. There are a few fish in the 20s, and a few smaller ones, but right now the population of 12-18 pound blues seems to be really healthy. 

As it gets colder the bite should get even better, but for right now fish are in transition mode. Some days they will be on the upslope of the river channel in 32-44 feet of water, while another day they will be on the flats just off the channel in 32-34 feet. Drifting is the preferred method and Rodger’s boat is almost exclusively using gizzard shad. Occasionally they will fish with bluegill.

Captain Rodger Taylor with a "standard"-sized Lake Wylie catfish for right now
Captain Rodger Taylor with a "standard"-sized Lake Wylie catfish for right now

The bass fishing remains brutally tough on Lake Wylie, and tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that it’s not unheard of for a good fishermen to spend 8 hours on the water and not catch anything.  That’s not to say no one is catching fish, but it’s the opposite of easy.

While there obviously remains no great pattern, the best bet is to get in the creeks and work your way down the bank all the way to the flats in the back.  Throw a buzzbait or square-bill, and when there are fish in the area you should know it.  The bass are almost pelagic following shad right now and so they are more oriented to the channel contours than any type of cover or structure. Keep your eyes open as there is some occasional schooling activity. 

You can also fish a jig around docks if you want to try to target bass that are eating bream.

October 9

Lake Wylie is at 96.7% of full pool and surface water temperatures are around 72-73 degrees.

Anyone hoping for a seasonal improvement with the bass fishing on Lake Wylie would be disappointed so far, and tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that it only took about 9 pounds to win a recent CATT tournament. It’s unclear why the fishing remains so tough.

While there is no great pattern, the best bet is to look for bass that have followed bait into the middle to backs of creeks. Buzzbaits, Whopper Ploppers, spinnerbaits, square-bills and Rattle Traps could all catch fish, but you usually have to be around shad to get bites fishing this way.  

You can also fish a jig around docks if you want to try to target bass that are eating bream. 

There is not much schooling activity to speak of. 

The blue and channel catfish remain relatively scattered on Lake Wylie, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that patterns are unlikely to change very much until we get significant rain or the weather turns sharply cooler.   As a result that means drifting, and they are catching good numbers of blues in the 12-22 pound range as well as a mix of channel catfish.  The best area to drift is flats off the main channel during the day.  

At night they are setting up in less than 8 feet of water and fishing long sloping points near deep water, sandy banks littered with Asiatic clam shells, and wind-blown banks.  They are getting 5-10 good fish at night most trips.  Shad, white perch, and bluegill heads are working the best.

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

September 24

Lake Wylie is back up to 96.7% of full pool and surface water temperatures are around 76 degrees on the south end of the lake. The water is a chalky color almost like it is starting to turn over (which it probably is not.)

As temperatures drop the bass on Lake Wylie are starting to get more and more into fall patterns, and tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that fish have gone further into the creeks following shad.  The bait has gotten into the middle section of creeks and sometimes even further back.  Buzzbaits, Whopper Ploppers and other topwater lures can all work, and square-billed crankbaits have also been productive this week. 

There has been less schooling activity in recent years, for reasons that are unclear, but by the end of September what schooling action there will be should have started.

While many bass will be eating shad there are still a lot that are eating bream, and so there is also a pretty good jig bite around docks. 

The blue and channel catfish are relatively scattered on Lake Wylie, but Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that they are catching good numbers of fish in the 8-14 pound range with an occasional large fish over 30.   The best way to catch the blues is drifting in 15-25 feet of water during the day.  At night they are setting up in less than 8 feet of water and fishing long sloping points near deep water, sandy banks littered with Asiatic clam shells, and wind-blown banks.  They are getting 5-10 good fish at night most trips.  Shad, white perch, and bluegill heads are working the best.

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

September 16

Lake Wylie is down to 95.7% of full pool and morning surface water temperatures are in the lower 80s.   

Some positive seasonal changes are starting to take place with the bass on Lake Wylie and tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that fish are just starting to move into the creeks following shad. The bait has been mostly suspended in the river channels, but it is starting to move into the middle section of the creeks heading towards the backs. As it congregates in bigger groups fish are starting to feed better on buzzbaits, Whopper Ploppers and other topwater lures. There has been less schooling activity in recent years, for reasons that are unclear, but by the end of September what schooling action there will be should start up.

While many bass will be eating shad there are still a lot that are eating bream, and so there is also a pretty good jig bite around docks. 

Reid's nephew was very proud of these two fish - as he should be!
Reid's nephew was very proud of these two fish - as he should be!

There’s not a lot of change in the catfish pattern on Lake Wylie, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that water temperatures will have to drop several more degrees before the cats really start to behave differently.  The day bite is still better than the night bite, but at night they are still catching some nice blues and the occasional flathead anchoring on ledges and covering the range from very shallow to deep water.  However, the best action is on days with a steady wind and on the lower end they are still having very good results drifting 30-39 foot flats just off the channel.  Cut white perch continues to be the best bait.

 

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