Ask local anglers the best time of the year to go fishing on Lake Wylie, and almost all will agree it’s the spring season.
Springtime on the lake means fish are especially active, with most scurrying along the shores to find smaller bait fish on which to dine and fatten up before heading up the rivers to spawn. Spring fish are hungry for bait and biting more aggressively.
As spring approaches, eager anglers of all kinds take to the water trying to snag the prized catfish and fighting bass of Lake Wylie.
Fishermen are competitive, and there’s no better way to show off angling ability and trusty gear than by entering a fishing tournament.
Spring fishing tournaments have been gaining in popularity in Lake Wylie, especially in the spring season when warmer waters and longer daylight hours beckon.
Fishing tournaments are usually all-day events and are a fun way to meet other anglers and test out different fishing spots and techniques on the lake. They also help sustain the growing fish population; all fish must be alive when being weighed, so they can be released back into the lake.
The Carolina Anglers Team Trail will hold five catfish tournaments in the spring on Lake Wylie, just off the Buster Boyd Bridge. Eligible fish for tournament fishing are Blue Catfish, Channel Catfish, White Catfish and/or Flathead Catfish. The group operates tournaments on lakes and rivers through North and South Carolina all year.
The Carolina Anglers Team Trail owner and operator Brett Collins said Lake Wylie fishing tournaments average 25-30 boats each.
“We added quite a few new boats over the past year. It’s picked up steadily, and there have been a lot of newcomers,” Collins said.
The Catawba Catfish Club will also hold a spring tournament on Lake Wylie in May. There are also tournaments on the lake which focus on bass fishing. Lake Wylie Fishing tournaments are open to anyone who signs up and pays the applicable fees.
Here are some things you’ll need to know before you cast your line:
1) Get both North Carolina and South Carolina fishing licenses
Lake Wylie is uniquely situated in both North Carolina and South Carolina, so fishermen should get licenses for both states if they want full lake access for fishing. A convenient seven-day license can be purchased for out-of-state visitors. Licenses can be purchased at Wal Mart – Lake Wylie, Highway 274 and Pendleton’s Sporting Goods on Highway 49 near Five Points.
2) Pick a partner
Many tournaments require fishing teams of two and local anglers suggest finding a partner who fishes a similar way– whether it’s shallow fishing, deep fishing, fishing along the edge on the shore, etc. Some teams are made up of lifelong fishing partners, while some change partners every tournament. Find out a good match for you.
3.) Catfish or bass? Or both?
Bass and catfish are both plentiful in Lake Wylie and are popular among fishermen. Catfish are considerably larger, and can reach over 30 pounds. Bass fish are smaller—a four-pound fish is considered big—but they are a lot stealthier. Between the two species, catfish are easier to catch for beginning fishermen.
4.) Check out fishing guides
Many professional fisherman have charter companies that can show you where and how to catch Lake Wylie fish. Check out:
•Gold Hook Guide Service
Operator: Jason Quinn, email@example.com.
•Big E’s Guide Service
Operator: Eric Weir, 704-868-8759, bigesguideservice.com.
Charter fishing operator Rodger Taylor can be reached through his website at www.catfishon.com, where he writes free local fishing reports. Local store Hunt Fish Paddle has information about tournaments and a host of fishing gear.
“Spring is the most popular time where the fish are biting more aggressively,” Taylor said. No matter what, Lake Wylie can offer something for every type of fisherman.
“If you want to prove yourself, you can catch the limit, or you can just appreciate being out there and watch the sun come up in the morning,” he said. “You experience the stillness of the morning being suddenly interrupted by the splashing of a big fish in the water.”