Lake Wylie: Lake Wylie is at 98 percent of full pool, and water temperatures have dropped at least 4 or 5 degrees into the low 50s. Overall the lake is pretty clear, but there is some stained water on the main lake with more in the creeks.
Before the cold front blew through Guide and FLW Angler Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that there were a very few bass on beds on Lake Wylie, but most of the fish were still holding deeper. Now there are at least three patterns going on at Lake Wylie. First, the shallow crankbait bite is improving. Anywhere that you can find some stained water there can be pretty good action in 4-8 feet of water. Second, especially with the cold there are still a lot of fish on bait. The bite was starting to die off some, but the drop in water temperatures has picked it up again. The spots fluctuate from day to day depending on bait movements, but creeks channels, main lake points and basically anywhere with schools of shad you can catch fish. Jerkbaits and Alabama rigs will both work.
The third pattern is looking for staging fish. While the water temperatures will hold the fish back some, it's still the middle of March and bass have one main thing on their minds in spring. Bryan believes that day length is more important that water temperature to the spawn, and fish will be found staging off secondary points close to spawning areas. The biggest fish can probably be caught that way right now. Any kind of craw bait will work for these fish, and Bryan likes a Charlie's Worms Brush Buster on a Greenfish Tackle Creeper head. He suggests reeling it slowly across the bottom and keeping contact with the bottom. This is still faster than just dragging, and more subtle than pulling a crankbait. Bryan expects a big wave of fish to hit the beds at the end of this month.
On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that the bite has been pretty good on Lake Wylie recently. On recent trips he has started out exploring along the river channel on the northern end of the lake in 20-40 feet of water, and he has found fish biting on the deeper side of the ledge since it started to get cold. Even on warm days Rodger still advises looking deep first this time of year, and particularly when there is some current this bite can get hot. The beginning of a period of current is usually best that is, when they first start running water the bite is strongest.
After anchoring up in deep water he has been moving into the backs of big coves and putting out lines in 6-10 feet of water. You never know where the big fish are going to be, and some of his biggest fish have come this way recently. On sunny afternoons bait can move into very shallow water, and when cold temperatures hit it can pull out deep. The bait is very responsive to even small temperature changes and can go deeper or shallower in only a matter of hours.
Right now gizzard shad and herring have been hard to track down, and so most fishermen are using large threadfin shad.