Mike Marsh Outdoors
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Piedmont Lakes Fishing Report: April-May 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.
Yadkin/Pee Dee Reservoirs
High Rock Lake
Maynard Edwards (Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) said the crappie will be striking jigs.
"Crappie fishing will be excellent and the High Rock is producing the biggest fish in years,” he said. “When they go to the banks, you can cast any jig or small lure. I use a Roadrunner. Trolling jigs on long lines and tight lines works best when the fish are in pre- or post-spawn mode in the creek channels.”
Bass will be bedding on the shallow hard bottoms in the coves. A shallow crankbait like a KVD 1.5 or No. 7 Shad Rap will catch them. Green, chartreuse and red crawfish are good colors.
Catfish will be eating shad in shallow water. Anglers should look for them on shallow flats in Abbott's and Swearing creeks as well as areas upriver. Trolling cut white perch on Santee rigs will catch them. Anglers should use Extreme Fishing Concepts Plane Jane planer boards to spread their lines away from the boat to avoid spooking catfish in the shallows. Another tactic is anchoring the boat to fish logjams, rock piles and boat ramps.
To catch stripers, anglers should troll live shad upriver around Crane and Swearing creeks. The fish will hit shallow crankbaits and live baits fished on free lines.
Maynard Edwards (Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) said Tuckertown’s crappie fishing is good.
"In April the best places are Cabin and Lick creeks," he said. "I cast jigs and Roadrunners to the banks. In May, the best places to troll for crappie are the Newsom area (Ellis Creek) and Riles Creek. Before and after the spawn the crappie move to the deeper channels where long-line trolling works best.”
Bass anglers should cast floating worms and hard jerk baits like the Rattlin’ Rogue in the Newsom area (Ellis Creek) and in Riles Creek during the spawn. By late May, they will head to the secondary points where a No. 8 Shad Rap will catch them. Another good tactic is casting a jig or crankbait to riprap areas beneath the N.C. 49 Bridge, Stokes Ferry Bridge and railroad trestle.
Striper anglers will catch some nice fish at High Rock Dam and at all of the creek mouths just downstream. Live baits trolled on Extreme Fishing Concepts Plane Jane planer boards and jigs trolled on long lines will entice strikes.
Maynard Edwards (Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) said Badin boasts the biggest crappie on the Yadkin chain.
"Crappie will bite in Glady's Fork and Gar creeks,” he said. “The coves near Circle Drive Landing also hold nice crappie. I cast jigs, Roadrunners and float rigs with minnows around the grass beds. When the fish head down to 30 feet or so, I troll jigs on tight lines."
Bass anglers should cast crankbaits or Carolina rigs with Brush Hog creature baits on the long points. When they head for docks or move shallow in the backs of the coves, Rattlin' Rogues and other hard jerkbaits work well. Zara Spooks, Whopper Ploppers, buzzbaits and other topwater lures work wonders when the fish are in the grass.
Stripers will bite near the Tuckertown Dam and near the Old Whitney Boating Access Area. Anglers should troll with E-Rigs or troll live shad on Extreme Fishing Concepts Plane Jane planer boards.
Big blue catfish will bite on main lake flats in the Old Whitney vicinity. Catfish anglers should troll with Santee sinker rigs and Fishing Extreme Concepts Plane Jane planer board rigs baited with live or cut perch.
The biggest news is the return of big white bass, which, along with white perch, will hit spoons and cut baits fished near the dam.
Rodney Crisco (Joe’s Bait & Tackle, 704-982-8716) said Lake Tillery bass should turn on.
“Jack Hammer chatterbaits will work well for bass,” he said. “They will also hit Zoom Trick and Finesse worms on drop-shot rigs with VMC Spinshot hooks. Under most conditions, the best colors are Red Bug, June Bug and Red Shad. If the water is dark, a black shaky head worm works well. When the fish move to the points, a KVD 1.5 or 2.5 crankbait in Sexy Shad or Chartreuse Perch is a good choice."
Crappie anglers will catch fish in Jacob's and Cedar creeks. Kalin jigs in red-chartreuse, black-blue-chartreuse and June Bug colors are working well, but a 1/32-ounce Charlie Brewer jig in Mardi Gras color is setting the standard. The best tactics are shooting docks, jigging brush piles and long line trolling with the Double R rig the easiest way to fishing tandem jigs.
Anglers can bail white perch with a Joe's Waccamaw Rig or Sabiki rig with a Hopkins, Flex-it, or P-line Laser Minnow spoon at the bottom for weight and added attraction. Drifting cut perch through the perch schools is another good tactic.
Catfish anglers should find blue catfish schools with electronics and troll for them with shad or white perch baits on planer board rigs and sliding sinker rigs.
Stripers will school at 10 feet in the upper half of the lake. Strike King Sexy Dawg topwater lures and Splash-it poppers will activate the fish. Trolling anglers should pull Smithwick Rattlin' Rogues, Preacher Jigs, Double R bucktails and horsehead jigs.
Panfish will bed during the full moons in April and May. Crickets are the best bream baits and worms should shake up the shellcrackers. Beetlespins will catch any panfish species, with the best color Catalpa Worm or white with a red spot. Fly fishermen should cast ants, spiders and poppers.
Bait & Techniques:
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