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Early May Bass Report

     This is one of the most exciting and adverse times of the year when it comes to bass fishing lakes around Western North Carolina.  As you may know we are a short drive away from multiple South Carolina lakes, where water temperatures are reaching the 70 degree mark, and even higher.  A short drive west of us here in Rosman you reach multiple high mountain reservoirs that are near 3,500 feet of elevation, roughly 2,500 feet higher than any lake in South Carolina.  Why does this matter?.. You ask.  This difference in elevation creates multiple drastically different climates just minutes away from each other.  Below you will find two different updates, one for South Carolina, and a separate section for North Carolina waters near us.

Upstate South Carolina

     The Palmetto State is warming fast and the water temperature is doing just the same.  Many lakes like Hartwell and Keowee have had multiple waves of spawning fish at this point in time of the spring season.  Though colder parts of the lakes have fish still pushing up onto beds to begin spawning, lots of fish are through with spawning.  The fish that are done spawning will do two things at this point, the male bass will stay near the bed and guard the fresh fry, while the female will sink off to the closest piece of structure that provides a handful of key things like deep water and hard structure to recover from spawning.  The females are considered post-spawn at this point and can be finicky to catch, but are often extremely susceptible to big baits.  Fry guarders will be found in the same general area as where the bed was originally made, keep it simple when fishing for these bass.  A fry’s biggest threat on any lake is a bream, do your best to imitate a bream and you will entice these fish to eat.  Be sure to approach these fish slowly and quietly down the bank, it is possible to spook both the fry and the adult bass out of the area making it difficult to catch the bass.  Shortly after the bass are through spawning the shad will begin their spawn phase.  This shad spawn is a separate entity itself that is a great thing to target in the coming weeks, feel free to email to talk about how to fish the shad spawn, or wait until the next bass report lands to read all about it.

North Carolina 

     Our lakes here in the mountains are just finally reaching the ideal temperature for spawning bass.  This means you will find a large majority of your fish shallow close to the banks.  Though most bass notoriously spawn in less than three feet of water, some of our bigger fish spawn in the five to ten foot range due to how clear our waters are.  There are a plethora of ways to catch spawning bass, but the most effective thing you can throw for these deeper bed fish would be a ned rig or a small finesse jig.  This will ensure your bait is moving directly through the beds of those fish you can not quite see from the boat.  A wacky rig can be a sure fire way to get some of those more shallow and typical bed fish to eat when you can physically see them.  When it comes to finding these fish, start by finding a cove or creek arm on your lake that sets up with a nice shallow flat in the very back of it.  After you have done this your next move is to troll along the bank using your eyes to spot beds along the bank.  Remember to make as little noise moving your boat down the bank as possible to give yourself the best chances at not letting these fish know you are around.  Bed fish are best caught using some form of natural green pumpkin colored bait that imitates a bream.  Though it is nice to use a white bait you can see on the bed, beds are often raided by bluegill.. Hence the reason we want to use a natural green pumpkin imitation. 

Our mountain lakes are a few weeks behind the South Carolina waters and you will likely not see lots of post spawn fish and fry guarders right away, but when you do refer to the paragraph above.

Thanks for reading this month, good luck and stay safe on the water!  

Captain Ty


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