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AHQ INSIDER Lake Wylie (NC/SC) Winter Fishing Report – Updated February 20

  • by Jay

February 20

Lake Wylie is at 98.0% of full pool and water temperatures range from the low to mid-50s.  Most of the lake is pretty clear, but some stained water can be found in the South Fork.

Tournament weights are finally starting to come up on Lake Wylie, and Guide and FLW Angler Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that with warming temperatures some fish are starting to get into a pre-spawn pattern.  They are feeding up before getting ready to go on the beds in about another month.

Fish can still be caught out on deep points around bait, but the general trend is moving shallower.  For numbers of fish it is probably still worth looking deeper, but to catch some good ones shallow cranking is hard to beat.  It’s not a numbers game but throwing a bait like the Greenfish Tackle G Flat in the 5-8 feet foot range is a good option.

There could already be some fish in the backs of creeks, but the better bet is to look further out towards the main lake or the mouths.  Rip rap is also a very good place to fish right now.

Bryan New shows off a couple of nice tournament fish
Bryan New shows off a couple of nice tournament fish

January 20

Lake Wylie is at 96.4% of full pool and water temperatures range from the mid- to high-40s.  The lake is fairly clear, but rain predicted in the next day or two should change that.

On most of the South Carolina lakes water temperatures are unseasonably warm and bass are barely if at all in a winter pattern, but Guide and FLW Angler Bryan New (704-421-5868) reminds anglers that a couple of weeks ago the Lake Wylie area had (limited) snow and brutally cold temperatures.  It didn’t get above freezing for a day or two, and a result water temperatures are still way down.

Perhaps because of the seasonably cold temperatures, Lake Wylie bass are doing what they are supposed to do in the winter and biting pretty well.  Alabama rigs and jerkbaits are the best baits, and the 10-30 foot range has been the most successful.  Bryan still advises looking for funnels or creek channels that narrow down, but he reports that the steeper stuff is getting better as fish are more likely to be holding on the steep part of creek banks.  Of course, in a few weeks they will start to go the other direction and stage up for the pre-spawn.

While a few fish have been caught on shallow-running crankbaits, that bite has been a little slow.  The water is pretty clear, and with water levels low there hasn’t been anything to push fish to the banks.  There also isn’t a ton of good stuff in the water right now.

Catfish news to follow.

December 28

Lake Wylie is at 95.6% of full pool and water temperatures are in the lower 50s.  There is some stained water but overall the lake is pretty clear.

Bass fishing on Lake Wylie continues to improve, and Guide and FLW Angler Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that fish are starting to get on the bait pretty heavily.  The largest numbers of fish are in 10-25 feet of water, and they could be anywhere with a funnel or creek channel that starts to narrow down.  Jerkbaits, umbrella rigs, spoons and single grubs are all working pretty well in these types of areas, and there are also some fish on a similar pattern in the creeks in 6-7 feet of water.

A decent shallow crankbait bite is also taking place in the 3-6 foot range, and this bite is better anywhere that has some stained water.  The fish will not necessarily be in shallow areas close to deep water, but that can help.  Because the fish are eating crawfish craw-colored baits are best, although Bryan will also throw some shad-colored baits.

Bryan New with a fat winter bass
Bryan New with a fat winter bass

While not yet excellent Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) rates the catfishbite a solid “very good,” and he has caught some very nice fish including a 48- and a 41-pounder recently.   Conditions are still a little warmer than would be expected at this time of year, and as the winter progresses Rodgers expects the fishing to improve.  For now fish are scattered and they are being caught both anchored and drifting.  In the winter if you find bait and birds the fish will be there, and they are often so tight to the bottom that you can’t see them on sonar.  Current can also help.  Rodger advises starting out deep drifting the main channel to determine how the fish are relating to the channel so that it can be replicated in other areas.  He is generally focusing on 30-50 feet of water, although in the afternoon if conditions are very still he will move up shallow and fish in 3-6 feet of water.  Gizzard shad seem to be working a bit better than white perch, although they can be more work to get.

A 48-pound Wylie blue catfish caught recently on Captain Rodger Taylor's boat
A 48-pound Wylie blue catfish caught recently on Captain Rodger Taylor’s boat


And a 41-pounder caught the same day
And a 41-pounder caught the same day