Lake James HELP
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Thread: Lake James HELP

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    27

    Default Lake James HELP

    Hey everyone, could use your advice on lake James. I have been struggling the last two days. We are up here for a few days and I am striking out so far. I’m only able to fish at sunrise and then off and on during the day. We are near where the Catawba river joins into the main lake. Morning I have tried to fish banks (bends in river, rock, docks...) with topwater, (frog and whopper plopper) spinnerbait, bluegill swim jig, and even shaky head. Afternoons I have fished brush piles and ledges 20-30ft with drop shot (keitech 2.8)and shaky head. I am marking fish on humminbird but just can’t get them to bite. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Posts
    26

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    I was camping on Tuesday at long arm boat in only campsite. I fished afternoon to 9pm and Weds morning before sunrise and to noon. I had a similar issue with you. No topwater lures were working. I finally realized that water temperature was 84F even early in the morning. It may be too hot for fish coming close to shore for feeding. I talked to a local and started trolling minnow crankbait at 20 fow and caught few nice white perch. I also caught few spot bass at 20 fow flat bottom with some structures, nothing else. Definitely, no smallies and walleye, very disappointing.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Posts
    40

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    It's tough on Lake James right now. I fished the Linville side twice in the past couple weeks.
    Caught 7-8 small bass on a Rooster Tail fishing ultralight gear, plus a few bream.
    The biggest fish I caught was probably a pound or pound and a half. I'm probably going to take a break and go back when the weather cools off some.

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    27

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    Quote Originally Posted by rth548 View Post
    It's tough on Lake James right now. I fished the Linville side twice in the past couple weeks.
    Caught 7-8 small bass on a Rooster Tail fishing ultralight gear, plus a few bream.
    The biggest fish I caught was probably a pound or pound and a half. I'm probably going to take a break and go back when the weather cools off some.
    Ok this morning was my last chance. I was on the water at 5:15. Pitch dark with barely any moonlight. I couldn't see where I was casting lol which makes for good times when throwing a whopper plopper towards the bank. Well the second cast, I heard a whale go after my wp. Unfortunately he missed it. I hate I couldn't land it or even see it ha, but just hearing it was kindof cool. I had two more blowups I think. Then I finally landed this one about 15 min later. Caught him on the Catawba side right off a main lake rock point. He was only about 3 feet deep. I don't think I have ever worked so hard for a fish lol. He was about 2.5lbs. After, that, continued with my rotation of wp, frog, crankbait, wacky rig senko, and drop shot....nothing. But he...caught one at least. I think getting out there just a little bit earlier made the difference. I think you are right, the water temp is pretty high. I was seeing most fish were between 25-35 ft deep on my depthfinder. Just couldn't get them to commit to anything. Would love to hear more thoughts on this. Take care
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  7. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Kernersville
    Posts
    629

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    If you don't mind catching a bit of everything, set your drop shot rig so your hook is about 22" from your sinker, and use 3" Gulp Minnows.
    Go back to where you were graphing fish and give it a go. Try a slow lift lower technique til the sinker touches bottom instead of the usual twitchy stuff. Come off the bottom a couple of feet. You'll need a heavier sinker, maybe even a 1/4 ounce + if the wind is blowing. When the fish are not super active in the day, it has really worked for me.

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Morganton
    Posts
    8

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    They say the water has not flipped yet and the fish are still in their winter holes...They are catching them 25-35 feet deep with live bait

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Durham
    Posts
    28

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    I wanted to chime in with my experience. I fished Lake James Friday 8/2 8am-2pm and it was very tough. I only caught two small bass. I launched out of Linville and stayed at that side and I had a hard time finding them. The lake seemed like it was empty. The two I caught were dragging a football jig, and I saw a couple on the bank, but the lake seemed very devoid of life, based on my sonar. I know they're somewhere, but i didn't want to spend the entire day running around. Also can confirm, the water was very warm

    Honestly, it makes me feel better that it's been a struggle for a lot of folks, because I was pretty disappointed after my trip.

  10. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Kernersville
    Posts
    629

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    The steep, deep clear mountain lakes are almost always tough in Summer, the exception being if you can find them schooling/feeding. Even if you find them with electronics down deep, you have to be there at the right time.

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Leicester
    Posts
    45

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    Yep, I camp in the Long Arm area all the time during the week, Kayak Fishing. WOW its been slow with the heat. I usually stick to the french broad river during the summer but its been muddy for weeks. Going back in this Monday to long arm for two nights. I will report back. Usually I always get a couple of 4-5 pounders at midnight and sunrise. But the temp was over eighty two weeks ago. Even the fish finder showed nothing. I caught two 12" and one 15". I broke out the fly rod and caught a bunch of blue gills and a couple of 10"-12" Bass. That place is nice during the week. I am the only one out there this week. I'm in a Ascend 128T if you swing bye.

  12. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Asheville
    Posts
    68

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    We have a place up there and usually do decent, even when it's hot, finding breaking fish while also keeping an eye on the depth finder for bait/fish. Often times the smallmouth are locked in on the bottom if they aren't actively chasing bait so we don't see them until we drop something down. We've had better luck with a damiki rig as opposed to a drop shot for some reason. Generally we get more strikes jigging when keeping the bait close to 5 feet off the bottom as opposed to closer. When all else fails or it gets hot during the day, we grab some bass minnows and use them on drop shot or carolina rig, same deal as jigging, keep them suspended off the bottom a decent ways seems to trigger attacks from fish holding tight to the bottom or chasing suspended bait.

  13. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Kernersville
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    629

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    Quote Originally Posted by bstark View Post
    We have a place up there and usually do decent, even when it's hot, finding breaking fish while also keeping an eye on the depth finder for bait/fish. Often times the smallmouth are locked in on the bottom if they aren't actively chasing bait so we don't see them until we drop something down. We've had better luck with a damiki rig as opposed to a drop shot for some reason. Generally we get more strikes jigging when keeping the bait close to 5 feet off the bottom as opposed to closer. When all else fails or it gets hot during the day, we grab some bass minnows and use them on drop shot or carolina rig, same deal as jigging, keep them suspended off the bottom a decent ways seems to trigger attacks from fish holding tight to the bottom or chasing suspended bait.
    I'm not familiar with Damiki rigs, but what weight jig and line size are you using?

  14. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Leicester
    Posts
    45

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    Just got back from two nights three days fishing out on Long Arm. Caught a couple of bass working the bank at sun rise, sun set and night time fishing. Nothing over 15". But its definitely better in the spring fall. Water temp was 84. I broke out the Fly Rod and caught a bunch of blue gills and some small bass. Looks like Blue Gills were bedding again. Pretty sure they do it more then once a year? From the bank I caught one nice Cat Fish, couple of small ones and some huge Bream just using Night Crawlers on the bottom.
    I pretty much used Live Target Lures the whole time. The Roll Over minnow works great on the French Broad River for smallies. I caught a couple on their Blue Gill swim bait on the lake. Also a couple on the the Mullet Hollow Body Swim bait. I just started using these lures this summer. I Cant wait to use them in the fall on Lake James. They are a little expensive but they are also really tuff. I used the same Roll Over shiner for over 15 smallies on the river before the tail ripped. They come in packs of 4 for about $10.
    Had the whole place to myself Mon-Wed. Did not see one person whole time. Just me and Larry
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    rascals dad likes this.


  15. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Swannanoa
    Posts
    52

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    I fish lake James 2-6 times a month, I fish the Linville area. I do not target Bass, but have caught some very nice Smallmouth while fishing for walleye, trout, spotted bass and perch. The Smallies have been coming from 20 - 50' and under bait schools. I usually start at the Linville marker and set my Minnkota at 1-1.2 mph put heading to run about 50 yards off the shore. I bottom bounce slow death rigs on a couple of rods, do 2 with multi hooks, night crawlers, swamp worms and a large shiner, couple more rods with artificials.
    I am heading out again this thursday if anyone wants to follow along. I have 17' white and blue Scout CC with a 90 Yamaha. Bimini top, and lots of rod holders. Give me a yell. Dale

  16. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Asheville
    Posts
    68

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    Typically use 1/8 ounce jighead if I can get away it, depends on wind mostly. Sometimes will bump up to 1/4 ounce. Had good luck with Berkley Powerbaits and Gulp, on the smaller side to match most of the bait we run into. I use 10 lb braid with a really long flourocarbon leader (4-6 ob).
    Fishscalz likes this.


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