Mike Marsh Outdoors

Mike Marsh’s book, Fishing North Carolina, shares his best-kept secrets for fishing 100 lakes, rivers, ponds, sounds and piers.


To order:

Fishing North Carolina ($26.60),

Inshore Angler:

Carolina’s Small Boat Fishing Guide ($26.20),


Offshore Angler:

Coastal Carolina’s Mackerel Boat Fishing Guide ($22.25)


mail a check or money order to:


Mike Marsh

1502 Ebb Drive

Wilmington, NC 28409

or visit www.mikemarshoutdoors.com

for credit card orders.



Piedmont Lakes Fishing Report: June-July 2019

What to expect when you head out to fish the lakes of the Piedmont over the next few weeks. Get a clue from noted outdoor writer Mike Marsh.

Catawba Reservoirs


Lake Hickory

Randy Moose, (Lyndon’s Riverview Sports, 828-632-7889) said stripers will slash topwater lures.


“The stripers will bite early and late,” he said. “The best places to look for the fish on the surface is near the Rhodhiss Dam, or look downstream close to the Lake Hickory Dam.”


A Zara Spook or Zoom fluke is a good bet when the fish are on top. When they are just below the surface, trolling or casting a Rapala, Rebel or other shallow runner will entice strikes. Bucktail jigs are good bets for catching fish at any depths. Live bait fishermen should troll or drift with shad.


Bass anglers should cast Shad Raps and other deep diving lures on the points. The best colors are black/silver or other colors resembling shad.


Blue and channel catfish will be biting cut baits and Magic Bait prepared bait fished on bottom rigs. Flatheads will eat live shad or bream.


Lake Norman

Capt. Gus Gustafson (Fishing With Gus, 704-617-6812) said June is tops for topwater bass.


“Largemouth bass will be the cooler water from the state park upstream, where they will be on the laydowns, covered docks and deep points,” he said. “I use soft plastics rigged on shaky heads and Carolina rigs. The best soft plastics are Zoom Trick Worms or Senkos in watermelon color. Spotted bass will be schooling on the points, where they will hit Whopper Ploppers, other topwater lures and shallow crankbaits.”


White perch will be schooling at 20 to 40 feet in the deep coves and off the points. Anglers can find them with electronics and catch them with Sabiki rigs, jigging spoons and minnows. Other fish that will be in white perch schools include hybrids, largemouth bass, spotted bass, crappie and flathead catfish.


Blue catfish will head deep in July. Anglers should catch plenty of them downstream of the N.C. 150 Bridge. The fish will suspend on the thermocline in the river channel, with markers 15A, 7, 3 and 1A great areas. The best tactic is using drift rigs baited with chicken breast strips laced with garlic or cut fish. If the lake has a fish kill, catfish will show up at the dam on the thermocline.


Hybrids will strike Road Runners, spoons and Alabama rigs. They will be scattered around the lake, so anglers should troll the points and drop-offs along the main river channel until they find them.


Bream will be bedding on shallow, sandy banks and near boat ramps. Casting a worm on a float rig is the best bet.


Lake Wylie

Jerry Neeley (Carolina’s Fishing Guide Service, 704-678-1043) said topwater action should be buzzing.


“Early in the morning the fish are shallow and the topwater action is great,” he said. “I fish buzzbaits and Whopper Ploppers on the main lake points and secondary points. Later in the morning when the fish are in 3 to 6 feet of water, I use a Carolina rig. When the sun gets high and the fish are looking for shade, I fish docks in 13 feet of water with a shaky head worm.


Catfish anglers should troll by beginning at 8 feet in the backs of creeks and moving toward the mouths where the water is deeper. Catfish will also be hanging out along the main channel. Cut bream and perch are the best baits. To catch white perch, the best bet is a Sabiki rig dropped at a creek mouth.


Crappie anglers should be able to locate fish at 12 feet. The best way to catch them is by shooting jigs under docks or dropping them on the brush piles. A 1/16- or 1/32-ounce jig in red head/white body, green head/white body is a good bet. Other good summer colors are all-chartreuse or all-black. If all else fails, tipping a jig with Crappie Nibble should sweeten the deal.


Bream will bed in shallow water. The best way to catch them is on a split-shot rig or float rig baited with wax worms.


Lake Wateree

Bryan Rice (Bryanricefishing.com), a professional angler on the FLW T&H Marine BFL circuit, said Wateree’s bass will jerk you around.


“A jerkbait is the way to go,” he said. “I like the Bay Rat Lures Splash Rat suspending jerkbait and S3 floating jerkbait.”


Rice casts jerkbaits with a spinning rig spooled with Balsax Iguana copolymer line. While copolymer has enough stretch to prevent jerking the hook free, it has high sensitivity. The line is also an invisible green color.


During the cool of morning, topwater action is good, with buzzbaits and Whopper Ploppers cast to the edges the top draw. As the shadows shorten, casting a medium depth crankbait such as the Bay Rat Battle 1.5 to the points will do the trick. A great color is G’ville Craw.


For fishing the denser cover, a spinnerbait with a silver willow leaf blade or gold India blade works well. In the heavy woody cover, a Carolina-rigging a 7-inch curly-tailed lizard or a Senko Missile Bait 48 is a good bet. In normal color water, watermelon-red-flake or green pumpkin are good colors. In dark water, black is the best color.




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