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 2021
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 stripers will swim along the channel edges and in the creeks.
"The best way to catch stripers in the main lake channel is using live gizzard shad on Plane Jane planer boards," he said. "When they are in Abbots, Flat Swamp and Crane creeks, I troll bucktail jigs, spoons and E-rigs rigged with 4½-inch Zoom Swimmin' Fluke Juniors."
Largemouth bass will hit crankbaits cast to hard structure in shallow water. Anglers should look for structure warmed by the sun, including rocks, riprap or concrete walls.
Crappie anglers should use their depthfinders to spot suspended fish in the creeks. Trolling with jigs on long line rigs and minnows on down line rigs at the same time is a good tactics. When crappie move into the shallows in March, they will hit Roadrunners cast to shoreline structure.
Catfish will bite white perch and shad trolled along the bottom on Santee sinker rigs. To catch white perch for bait, anglers can use a two-hook down-line rig baited with fish. Shad can be located with a depthfinder and caught with a cast net.
Maynard Edwards (Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) said Tuckertown crappie fishing heats up in March.
"The best crappie fishing is at the Newsome area and Riles Creek," he said. "Newsome is good because it has both deep water and shallow structure areas. When the water is warm, I troll jigs on long lines for the shallower fish. When it is cold, I troll tight lines with jigs and minnows for the deeper fish."
In late February and throughout March, the bluffs and riprap areas attract largemouth bass. Anglers should cast suspending jerkbaits or shallow crankbaits parallel to banks with rocks and other visible structure. Casting a jig-n-pig to the riprap areas under the N.C. 49 Bridge, Newsome Railroad Bridge and Stokes Ferry Bridge in Riles Creek is another sure bet.
Stripers will school in the mid-lake area in February before swimming toward High Rock Dam in March. Trolling with E-rigs or trolling live baits and bucktail jigs on Plane Jane boards are the go-to tactics.
Maynard Edwards (Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) said big Badin crappie will deep.
"The fish may be at 40 feet, where most anglers don't even look for them," he said. "It's worth the trouble to find them because they are consistently the biggest crappie of the Yadkin lakes. "I look for them at Gladys Fork and use tight-lines with two jigs or minnows to catch them. When it's warm and calm, the fish may move shallow enough to catch them on light line rigs."
To find schooling stripers and bass, anglers should watch for seabirds and troll for the fish beneath them with E-rigs or Plane Jane planer boards rigged with bucktails. Casting E-rigs to the points and sunlit banks will also entice stripers and largemouth bass.
Largemouth bass will also strike shallow-running crankbaits cast along sunlit banks. Another pattern tactic is dropping down live shad, spoons and jigs to catch largemouth bass on the humps and lumps.
Blue catfish will bite Santee sinker rigs or planer rigs baited with live shad or perch.
Rodney Crisco (Joe’s Bait & Tackle, 704-982-8716) said crappie action will be warming up with the water.
"If anglers find bait balls in the creeks, they have found the crappie," he said. "The best way to catch them is by drifting or trolling jigs above the bait balls. Another place to catch crappie is in the brush piles. A good jig is a 1/32-ounce Kalin jig, with Triple Threat (black-blue-chartreuse) and Money the best colors when the water is dark. Lighter colors like Wally World and Acid Rain work better when the water is clear."
White perch will strike Joe's Waccamaw Rigs and Kastmaster spoons fished in the creek mouths at 20 feet. They will also eat live minnows.
Blue cats will bite live or cut white perch drifted or trolled on the bottom in the river channel. Anglers should locate catfish with their depthfinders before trolling for them.
Bass anglers should cast square-billed crankbaits to laydowns, points, rocks and riprap areas warmed by the sun. Other good bets are spinnerbaits and Alabama rigs.
Stripers will swarm in the mid-lake areas. Trolling Smithwick Rattlin' Rogues or bucktail jigs on lead core lines at depths of 10 to 20 feet is a good search tactic.
Bait & Techniques:
Seasonal Fishing Features: