Mike Marsh Outdoors
Mike Marsh’s book, Fishing North Carolina, shares his best-kept secrets for fishing 100 lakes, rivers, ponds, sounds and piers.
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Piedmont Lakes Fishing Report: February-March 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.
Yadkin/Pee Dee Reservoirs
High Rock Lake
Maynard Edwards (Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) said the stripers and largemouth bass are in the creeks.
“Flat swamp, Crane and Abbotts creeks are good places to fish for stripers,” he said. “I cast a medium running crankbait to the steep banks and use a slow retrieve. If you run it parallel to the bank, you will catch largemouth bass and stripers. I also cast one of my lightweight E-Rigs (Extreme Fishing Concepts version of the Alabama Rig) and use a slow retrieve.”
Trolling a bucktail jig with a curly tailed grub under an Extreme Fishing Concepts Plane Jane planer board is another good way to fish. Using a trolling motor helps control the distance from the bank and the jigs should swim right against the bank. Edwards trolls a double dropper rig at 1.5-miles-per-hour in about 30-feet of water.
Crappie anglers should find fish at 12-to-20-feet in shallow coves if the water is warm. In colder water, the fish will be at creek mouths. Trolling with two-hook tight line rigs with 1/8-ounce jigs and curly tailed trailers will get them to bite.
Maynard Edwards (Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) said anglers should mow the grass for bass.
"It's a great time for ripping buzzbaits through the grass," he said. "A floating worm is another good lure for thick grass. After the sun is high, bass head offshore to drop-offs, ledges and humps at 12 to 24 feet. I use Carolina rigs and deep diving crankbaits like a Fat Free Shad and Rapala DT6,10 and 14."
Crappie will be deep, where long-line and tight-line trolling tactics will catch them. Anglers should find the schools on their depthfinders and troll them with jigs and minnows.
Flathead catfish will bite live white perch and bream at the mouth of Ryles Creek. Farther up in the creek, channel cats will bite cut baits and live shad.
Maynard Edwards (Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) said Badin is the best lake because the water is clearer.
“The best fishing is at the Lake Forest area or Fish Tales area,” he said. “I look for birds and baitfish in the bigger coves and troll E-Rigs on Plane Jane planer boards through the stripers at whatever depth I see the fish on my depth finder.”
For finding largemouth bass, anglers should fish the same area. The fish will strike shallow crankbaits on sunlit rocky shorelines. If the temperature is very cold, stripers and largemouth bass will be on the humps. Anglers can find them with a depth finder and hit them in the head with a Hopkins jigging spoon.
Crappie will school at 15-to-40-feet in Gladys Fork Creek and near the Circle Drive boating access area. Trolling with two-hook down lines is the way to catch them.
Badin produces huge blue catfish in winter. The fish will be upstream near the dam or suspended at 40-to-50-feet in 90-to-100-feet of water. Anglers should find the fish with their depth finders and suspend chunks of cut white perch or shad on Carolina rigs. Another good tactic is trolling the flats with Santee rigs on the bottom and planer boards in the water column.
Rodney Crisco (Joe’s Bait & Tackle, 704-982-8716) said stripers are striking.
“You can troll or cast Roadrunners, Double R, Sea Striker and Preacher jigs and catch all the stripers you want,” he said. “The best colors are white head/white bucktail or chartreuse head/chartreuse bucktail. If you aren’t catching anything, try adding a chartreuse or white curly tail or worm trailer. For trolling, anglers should pull Rattlin’ Rogues in black-and-chrome or blue-and-chrome colors. Another good bet is an Alabama rig.”
Largemouth bass will hit Speed Traps, and other crankbaits including the new Jackal square bills. The best places to crank up bass are sunlit rocky areas and riprap banks on primary and secondary points. If the water stays muddy, War Eagle spinnerbaits in Coleslaw color and Dave’s Tournament Tackle spinnerbaits with white Colorado blades work well. Another good bet is an Alabama rig with Strike King Rage swimbaits or Keitech Easy Shiners.
Crappie anglers should locate fish with a depth finder and troll jigs on long lines and down lines. The fish will also be in deep brush piles. For jigging the jungles, Kalin jigs in John Deere Green and black-blue-chartreuse are the ticket.
White perch will hit cut baits and minnows fished on jigs and split-shot rigs at 20-to-25-feet. The best rig for loading the boat is Joe’s Special Waccamaw Rig baited with fish tidbits.
Blue catfish will bite in deep holes. Cut shad and perch are the best baits. Anglers should keep searching until they find a hot spot because the fish can be scattered.
Bait & Techniques:
Seasonal Fishing Features: