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AHQ INSIDER Lake Wylie (NC/SC) Summer Fishing Report – Updated August 18

  • by Jay

August 18

Lake Wylie is at 97.1% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the mid to upper-80s.  Clarity is normal to a bit better than normal.

In his last report FLW angler Bryan New indicated that bass fishing on Lake Wylie was as bad as he has seen it, and a little over a month later his assessment has not changed.  Bryan has been spending a lot of time on the lake recently and catching even a small limit has been a real struggle.  This has been the case for other anglers as well, and 9-11 pounds is usually enough to win local tournaments.

While there are clearly other things going on, Bryan speculates that part of the problem is that right now a high percentage of the bass are out in the main lake suspending, and they are not relating to anything.  If they decide to eat they may head to the bank or a piece of cover/ structure, but much of the time they are basically uncatchable.  As to why this is more of problem this summer Bryan doesn’t have an answer.

Bryan has tried a number of things that should be working looking for fish, including fishing deep points and drops, using a jig around docks, searching for a shallow topwater bite, etc.  However, none of that is working very well and no pattern is better than any other – because they all stink.  Probably the best way to catch fish is to look for schooling activity.  Some schooling is taking place in creeks, some is off points, and some is in pockets.  Generally the best place has been around bridges, and pretty much all the bridges have been holding fish.  The best depth to search is in 25-30 feet of water.

Bryan New shows off the kind of Wylie bass he'd like to find more of
Bryan New shows off the kind of Wylie bass he’d like to find more of

Bass anglers have it pretty rough on Lake Wylie right now, but according to Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) the catfish bite has been pretty good.  On recent trips he has started out looking for an anchored bite, but besides some gar fish and the very occasional cat this has not materialized.  (A lack of current may be responsible, and if the current picks up then a relatively shallow anchored bite could get better.)

The best pattern on recent trips has been drifting in the river channels in areas of depth change.  Rodger says that you can drift all day across a flat and you may not pick up a bite, but when you find the “sweet spot” (as on Lake Wateree) where depths change and the fish are holding the action can be fast.  At one spot Sunday where the water dropped from 30 to 18 feet Rodger’s boat picked up 5 nice blues in the 8-12 pound range on a couple of drifts, and Tuesday they caught 14 blues in an hour and a half running over a particular spot repeatedly.  They would catch multiples on each drift, including a 20-, an 18- and several 10-12 pound fish.  Some channels were also mixed in.  Overall if anglers find the sweet spot and work it they can get healthy, but aimless drifting is unlikely to be productive.

White perch has been hard to come by at times but have been working well when available.  Bluegill will also catch fish the results have not been quite as good.

July 10

Lake Wylie is at 97.4% of full pool and surface temperatures are around 87 degrees.  Clarity is about a foot and a half in most areas, with the backs of creeks fairly dirty from afternoon storms.  Much of the lake has a “funky” color as if it has turned over.

Fresh off being crowned as FLW Co-Angler of the Year – and living on Lake Wylie – it’s fair to say that FLW angler Bryan New knows a thing or two about bass fishing on that lake.  Unfortunately, Bryan is emphatic that right now Wylie is fishing the worst that he has seen it in his entire life, and he’s not sure why.  Tournament weights are way down with very low double digits usually enough for the win, and in long days of fishing recently Bryan just hasn’t found much.

Bryan New, 2016 FLW Angler of the Year
Bryan New, 2016 FLW Angler of the Year

The shallow bite has been pretty bad, and fishing topwater lures early has not produced much for Bryan.  He’s had the random bite off docks, but they have been few and far between.  Bryan says you could easily fish shallow all day and only catch or two fish – if that.

As far as numbers about all that’s working is fishing deep, and that pattern is certainly not hot.  Bryan says that the best bet to put fish in the boat is to fish points in the 10-25 foot range with some sort of finesse approach.  Shakey heads, drop shots, or wacky rigs are good ways to present a worm, with Bryan’s worm of choice the Charlie’s Worms Finesse Master.

Bryan believes that a significant number of fish are suspended on most lakes most of the time, but right now he estimates that probably 95% of Wylie fish are roaming around and not related to anything.  They are extremely difficult to target, and he says that even if you mark these fish on your graph it’s probably not possible to catch them.  The catchable fish are the deep ones that are related to the bottom.

News to follow on the catfish front.

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