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 2022

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 stripers will torpedo topwater lures.


“Stripers will be strike topwater lures near either dam,” he said. "The best topwater plugs are walk-the-dog lures, such as the Zara Spook, Skitter Walk and Top Dog. Other good topwater lures are Whopper Ploppers and Torpedoes. They will also hit a Redfin, Rapala or Rebel minnow reeled slow enough to produce a V-wake or a soft fluke or jerk bait."


Anglers should look for deeper schools with their electronics. Once they find stripers, they can cast or troll bucktail jigs to catch them. Live baits should be easy to catch in cast nets at the lower dam. Trolling live shad is another sure-fire way to catch stripers when they are deep.


Largemouth bass anglers should cast jigs or soft plastic worms to the main lake points. Fishing a finesse worm or a Ned Rig is a good bet for brush piles. When the bass move shallower at dawn and dusk, Storm swimbaits and Norman DD-5 and DD-7 crankbaits are great lures to cast to the points.


Shellcrackers and bluegills will bed in the coves during the full moon periods. Redworms, crickets and Beetlespins are the best bets.


Catfish will bite cut baits and Magic Bait Marshmallow Cheese flavor prepared bait fished on bottom rigs in the mouths of the coves. Flatheads will strike live shad or bream fished near brush piles at dusk.


Lake Norman

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


"Hybrids will be at Marker 23 around the Long Island Marina after they come back down the lake from spawning in June," he said. "After that, you can catch them all summer long at the state park, in Stumpy Creek and N.C 150 Bridge. By July they will spread to the entire lake and you will catch them all the way down to Marker 13 and Marker 7 near Mountain Creek."


Anglers should watch for congregations of boats in the channel fishing for hybrids. The fish will be showing on the depthfinder at 40 to 60 feet. A 1/2-ounce jigging spoon on a Sabiki rig is a good setup. Hybrids will also strike live shad, herring and mussels. Another good way to search for them is troll the channel with Alabama rigs.


Largemouth bass will be on every long, shallow point. They will stick close to the bank early in the morning before moving out to 8 to 10 feet later in the day. A Rat-L-Trap, Whopper Plopper, or Kastmaster spoon will get them going. Fly fishermen will have good luck with popping bugs. If the bite is slow, fishing a finesse worm or Ned rig should wake them up. The fish may also head for deeper docks when it's hot and bright. Docks are hot spots for flipping a creature bait, shaky head worm or wacky worm on a Carolina rig.


Catfish will be in the deeper creeks and river channel, where they suspend along the thermocline. Good tactics include trolling live baits on planer boards and float rigs with release clips.


White perch will be at 20 feet at dawn, then dig down deeper to 40 feet as the sun gets up. Sabiki rigs tipped with fish tidbits and live minnows work well during the heat of the day. For fishing lighted docks at night, live minnows on split shot rigs are the winning ticket.


Bream will spawn on the flats. Worms fished on float rigs will catch a limit.

Lake Wylie

Chris Nichols (thecarolinaangler.com, 704-860-7951) said the bass bite will sizzle.


"Bass will be hitting on the main lake points and flats and at the deeper humps in 15 to 25 feet of water on the main river channel," he said. "When they are deep, you have to find them with your electronics. Carolina rigs with Zoom finesse worms, Vertical jigging with a 3/4-ounce to 1-ounce Hopkins spoon and casting deep crankbaits such as the KVD DD22 are the best metods. "


Crappie and perch will be suspended at 8 to 15 feet in the creek mouths in 25 to 30 feet of water. Trolling 1/16-ounce jigs will catch suspended fish. If the fish are on the bottom, a better bet is a two-hook minnow rig.


Catfish move to the main lake in June after the spawn. Drifting-fishing with cut perch, bream and fish heads on Santee rigs along the main lake flats adjacent to the river channel is a good tactic.


Shellcrackers and bluegills will spawn during the full moon periods in June and July. Anglers will see their beds in coves and shallow water areas. The best tactic is fishing float rigs baited with crickets and night crawlers.


Lake Wateree

Bryan Rice (Bryanricefishing.com), a pro-fessional angler on the MLF/BFL tour and charity-event angler, said Wateree will see some white-hot bass action.


"Bass will bust 1/4-ounce buzzbaits early in the day," he said. "I cast them around docks and laydowns. I also like to hit the riprap with a Pop-R."


As the sun gets up, a spinnerbait cast to hard structure will keep them going. Flipping a missile G-Bomb creature bait on a Texas rig using a 1/4-ounce sinker with a bobber stopper as a peg is another good bet.


For shade-seeking bass, flipping a wacky-rigged Senko or a 3/8-ounce shaky head worm rig is another good option. Best colors in stained water run from black to June bug. In stained to clear water, the natural colors work best.



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