Lake Wylie Walleye fishing tips and where to find them

People looking to freshwater fishing in Charlotte, North Carolina typically head to Lake Norman, Lake Keowee, and Lake Gaston. But 28 miles south of Queen City is Lake Wylie, a fishing gem. The lake is on the border of North and South Carolina, so many of the hotspots on Lake Wylie cross state lines.

It’s rarely a question of where to fish on Lake Wylie. The lake is a reservoir formed by the Catawba River. It is 13,400 acres and has 325 miles of coastline. Six public boat ramps are managed by Duke Power, giving boaters a choice of amenities. The work on the coast is great, but there are a tremendous number of islands that provide great structure. While the lake’s average depth is around 20 feet, the maximum depth is 94 feet. This variation in depth allows anglers to find suitable water temperatures almost all year round.

Fishing on Lake Wylie includes the best species of largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill, hybrid striped bass, black bass, and white bass. The black crappie fishing in the spring is excellent. Fishing on Lake Wylie, however, is a dream. In the spring, North Carolina pikeperch migrate from deeper water into feed streams to spawn. Look for shoals or clean floors near deep water. Walleye fishing on Lake Wylie isn’t the best in the country. So if you catch one, it’s quite an achievement.

The clarity of the water is important to catch fish. Bright spinner baits and rattling crank baits work in dirty conditions. In clear water, jerkbaits get the nod with jigs and worms with Carolina rigging are top producers.

Start a boat, go kayak fishing, or walk along the shore. You have the choice. There are no mutual agreements between the Carolinas for fishing licensing. And if fishing on Lake Wylie crosses state lines, you must have both an NC and SC license.

Tom Keer

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer living on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a contributing writer for Covey Rise magazine, a contributing editor for Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Take Me Fishing program of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. Keer is a regular contributor to over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics including fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor activities. When not fishing, Keer and his family hunt highland birds over their three English setters. His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast, was published in January 2011. Visit him at or

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