North Carolina Crappie Fishing

Fishing crappie in NC can produce some real winners, especially in the spring, when large crappie are beginning to spawn and are readily available in shallow areas of the lakes. What are the best locations in North Carolina, and during what months of the year do each produce the best catch?

During the spring, there are few lakes, ponds, rivers, reservoirs, or any other body of fresh water where crappie are not in great supply. During the pre-spawn run in early spring and the spawning season throughout the rest of spring, you’ll find an incredible amount of action on any area lakes. Crappie fishing, however, is best in particular areas of the state.

Lake Wylie is a 13,000+ acre impoundment off Catawba River that is on the border between South and North Carolina. Fishing here can produce two-plus pound crappie even on a bad day. Year after year, avid anglers return to this spring crappie hot spot and catch their limits daily. However, even in the winter, Lake Wylie has begun to produce an excellent crop of fish. Year-round crappie fishing is a huge sport in the area; know that the best spots in the winter and early spring are the deep docks in the lower half of the lake around the mouths of the major creeks that break off the lake.

Another popular location for crappie fishing in NC is Buggs Island, which is officially called John H. Kerr Reservoir. Spread out over more than 50,000 acres, this impoundment contains an incredible crappie population and can be fished, as well as south of the border in some places. The crappie here are large and well fed, and you’ll always find a great catch regardless of the fact that there is no limit. There is a tremendous amount of cover along the banks that crappie prefer as a hiding and resting place. In NC, fishing is still excellent in the winter, when trolling should be used to achieve the best possible results. Beware of changing water levels, though – while the change strikes movement in crappie that stirs up activity, it also means inconsistency in the level at which you’ll find your best catch.

If you plan to participate, you’ll want to read up on the most appropriate techniques by season. In most lakes, if you choose to spend some time in winter, you’ll want to attempt trolling, as this is the only real way to catch the eye of the somewhat languid fish that are practically hibernating on the bottom of the lake.

Daniel Eggertsen


  1. cling1tr says:

    What are the best lakes/rivers in North Carolina for fishing?
    I’m looking to move to North Carolina and my number one hobby is fishing.

    What are some of the very BEST inland fishing lakes/rivers in North Carolina?

    Those types of lakes/rivers that have such abundant fish and number of species that you are almost guaranteed to be able to catch multiple fish on any given day.

    More info:

    My favorite fish (in order):

    1.) Largemouth/Smallmouth Bass
    2.) Musky/Pike
    3.) Walleye
    4.) Trout (brown, rainbow, or salmon)
    5.) Panfish (Crappie, Sunfish, Perch)
    6.) Catfish

    I’d love to hear from someone with experience fishing a variety of north carolinas lakes/rivers. From the mountains to the coastal plains.

    Thank you.

  2. Jared P says:

    I’m a fan of fishing the New River for Bass, Pike, and Catfish
    References :

  3. Nathan S says:

    I live in Asheville and one of my favorite lakes is Lake James near Hickory. It has a great smallie population and largemouth too. Lake Fontana has walleye, smallmouth and largemouth and is more west in the mountains. Lake Wylie near Charlotte is a great largemouth lake. I have fished the New River when I was a kid.As far as rivers go we have the French Broad (smallmouth, brown trout) and Swannanoa(trout). My favorite lake here is a thermal lake south of Asheville that is electric motor only, Lake Julian. The power plant keeps water warm so fish spawn early and no smallmouth but the bass get to feed on the rare talapia population in the lake. The fish are always health and no trash on banks or in water. Local resturants serve the talapia from the lake. Good luck I dont know much east past Winston Salem.
    References :