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: October-November 2020

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

Shannon Lyndon (Lyndon's Riverview Sports, 828-632-7889) said crankbaits are key for catching fall largemouth bass.


“The bass will be on the points, so casting crankbaits is the best bet,” he said. “Anglers have been having good luck with the Spro Little John 50, Little John MD and Rapala DT6 or DT10. Any crankbait that will run 8 to 12 feet deep will catch bass when they are on the points. Color combinations with chartreuse are the best. If the fish are stubborn, a lure with some purple or blue flake can turn them on."


Stripers will also be hitting baitfish on the points. Live shad fished on planer board rigs at 20 feet should do the trick. Gunpowder Creek is a good place to start, but the stripers may be in any of the creeks. Early and late, the fish may pop up on top, where a topwater lure such as a Zoom Fluke or a Zara Spook will attract their attention.


Catfish will bite in the main lake channel. Night crawlers, shrimp, cut bait and Magic Bait in Chicken Blood or Cheese flavor are the best bets. If you fish a spot for 15 to 30 minutes without a strike, it’s time to try another spot.


Crappie will bite at the docks, in the brush piles and at overhanging trees at 10 to 20 feet. The best jigs are 1/32-ounce Bobby Garland jigs in Baby Shad or Cajun Cricket colors. A light rod rigged with 4-pound test monofilament line will assure the most strikes.


Lake Norman

Capt. Gus Gustafson (Fishing With Gus, 704-617-6812) said hybrids would be hyperactive.


“Hybrids will hit the surface early and late at the State Park, Stumpy Creek and Mountain Creek,” he said. “The best ways to catch them are by using live threadfin shad or trolling with Rapala and Redfin deep diving lures or Alabama rigs.”


Largemouth bass will be lurking beneath the docks, where anglers can flip soft plastics to them or jiggle jerkbaits alongside them to draw them out. Bass will also school on humps in the main lake where jigging spoons, jigs, deep-diving lures, swim baits and Carolina rigs will tempt them. By the end of November when water temperatures hit the mid-50s, bass will strike all day long.


Crappie will pile up in the brush piles and at bridges. However, as they move from shallow water to deep water throughout the day, anglers will have to keep up with them by using their electronics. Live minnows and jigs will catch them. The lighter the jig, the more strikes it will draw.

The colder the water, the slower the presentation should be for best success.


Catfish will bite well into October and the best baits will be herring, shad, stinkbaits, bream heads, white perch and chicken parts laced with garlic powder. Anglers should work the edges of coves by slow trolling. Another method is anchoring in deep water and casting to shallow water. The fish should be in 5 to 30 feet of water.


White perch will school at 30 to 40 feet along the river channel and on the points and humps in the creeks. Live minnows will catch them, but to mine vast quantities the best bet is jigging a Sabiki rig with a spoon for weight.

Lake Wylie

Jerry Neeley (Carolina’s Fishing Guide Service, 704-678-1043) said crappie will move shallow.


“Crappie will be at 6 to 10 feet on the brush piles and at the docks,” he said. “Shooting a 1/16-ounce jig beneath a dock is a great way to catch them. When water temperatures are in the 70s, trolling jigs on tight lines works well. The colder the water gets, the deeper the crappie move. The best jig colors are black and black/chartreuse.”


Largemouth bass will hit topwater lures early and late. When they are schooling, a KVD crankbait that runs 10 feet or less will catch them. When the bite is slow, good lures include swim baits, Carolina rigged lizards and Senkos.


Catfish will bite cut perch, bass minnows and shad slow-trolled at Mill Creek and Catawba Creek. Anglers should hit the creeks in the morning and move to deeper water during the day.


Lake Wateree

Bryan Rice (Bryanricefishing.com), a pro angler on the FLW T&H0 Marine BFL circuit, said largemouth bass will be transitioning to winter patterns.


"Late in the afternoon the bass will be chasing shad in the coves," he said. "A Rat-L-Trap, buzzbait or Pop-R will catch them when they are in the chase mode.


A good shallow-running crankbait for fishing the coves is a Bay Rat Lures 1.5 in Natural Shad or Citrus color if the water is clear and in Fire Tiger or G-Ville Shad colors if the water is dark. During the brightest part of the day, bass will seek shade, so anglers should flip ½-ounce jigs under the docks. If the water is stained, a good jig color is brown/orange. If the water is clear, the top choice is green pumpkin. Casting a Senko soft plastic is another good bet. Anglers can also try slow-rolling spinnerbaits at the lay-downs and in the flooded timber.



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