Forecast for Lake Hickory and Lake Rhodhiss

March can be a fruitful time of year, assuming North Carolina actually decides to give us March weather. Temperatures can possibly be all over the board, ranging anywhere from 30 degrees up to 75 or even pushing 80. That fluctuation can obviously cause some discrepancies in the water temperature, as well. If you’re looking at about 40 degree temperatures, you’re probably going to be around that 55 to 59 degree water temperature range. If the temperature rises, remember that the water temperature will as well so you will want to find the right time of day to bring in the best haul. Late afternoons and early mornings during warmer temperatures are typically prime times. At 59 degree water temperature largemouth bass fishing is in pre-spawn now. It’s time to get fishing. Female bass are going to be moving up to the spawning beds. Male largemouth bass will be starting to build the spawning nests in protected coves. Bass prefer to spawn in weedy and woody cover deep in coves that will be protected from the wind and other elements. We’ve had a ton of rain and flooding in the last month, so keep that in mind when thinking about water levels. Water clarity this time of year is typically in the 1 to 3 feet range.

You’re still fishing main lake points and staging places such as docks, brush and structure. A lot of action will be happening in the shallow waters, in the 3 to 6ft depths. The female bass will be feeding until they reach the beds and start the spawn. The smaller male bass will be attacking lures also. Fish plastics, small spinner type baits, quiet crank baits, as well as small minnow and shad for live bait. The crappie spawn should also be kicking into gear right about now. Crappie prefers to spawn on gravel bottom typically with brush and/or emergent vegetation for cover. Find the rocks or rip rap. Crappie will use the larger structure rocks for cover. Catfish are becoming more active around this time, as well. You can find them in a multitude of depths and areas – some being in the shallow water and some being in the 15-18 feet range, biting shad, shrimp, and/or mullet. Look around beds and rocky banks. Stripers are biting and becoming active once again. This is a great time, these next couple months, for stripers. They’re schooling late in the evening on main lake points and shad are still the go-to bait for these bass.

These beginning months of the season are terrific times to fish, as long as you take into account all of the considering factors such as weather, barometric pressure, water temperatures, wind and cloud cover. Stay safe, stay warm (and maybe even cool) and enjoy the outdoors!