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Lake Wylie (NC/SC) Fishing Report – Updated May 18

  • by Jay

Lake Wylie is at 97.2% of full pool and water temperatures are in the 77-79 degree range.  There is a lot of stained water, and the rain predicted for the next few days may bring even more.

While many anglers prefer to fish for shallow bass, according to FLW angler Bryan New there is little doubt that the premier pattern on Lake Wylie right now is fishing for deeper fish.  Bryan says that fish can be found in 15-32 feet of water off long tapering points, little points off the side of flats, and around other offshore structure. Carolina rigs, football jigs, swimbaits such as Keitech 4.8s, and crankbaits like a 6XD or DD-22 will all catch fish.

Solid numbers of fish can be found out deep right now, and Bryan says the deep bite should even get better for the next few weeks.  Early in the season before the fish have been pounded it is possible and even realistic to catch 20 fish in 25 casts.  However, there are only so many deep spots where the bass set up well, and when the fish are there most Lake Wylie bass fishermen will be on them.  Once these spots have been worked over for a couple of weeks catching multiples will get more difficult.

The deep bite dominates the lake right now, and anglers fishing offshore structure have the advantage of potentially getting into schools of fish.  However, there are still plenty of anglers up shallow, and while fish can be caught shallow they will basically be singles.  “Junk fishing” around docks and other visible cover with shallow-running crankbaits, wacky-rigged worms and spinnerbaits will still catch some fish, and there are even some fish shallow in the more stained areas of the lake.  However, these are not generally tournament-quality fish.

Bryan New with a couple of nice tournament fish caught last week
Bryan New with a couple of nice tournament fish caught last week

Catfish: Good to very good. Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that the pre-spawn catfish bite continues to be strong on Lake Wylie, and the spawn is drawing very close if it is not already under way in some places.  While fish can be caught when the water is calm, the quality of the bite continues to generally be tied to current from the dams.   Anchoring in about 6 feet of water but fishing deep bends where bait can be situated on the river shelf and off the river ledge down to 30 plus feet of water has been the best pattern.  It can take 30 minutes for the bite to get started so it is worth being patient.  Gizzard shad are hard to get but cut white perch and blueback herring are both working.  Note that herring need to be kept alive and cut just before fishing or else they will get too soft to effectively stay on the hook.