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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I decided to go for more bites rather than flog the water at Oak Hollow hoping for another giant, so I went to Randleman. The day started slow but I got one over 4 lbs in a windy pocket. I decided to try some areas I used to like several years ago and caught one about 2.5 in the back of another windy pocket. Proceeded to catch 2 more over 4 lbs in two similar areas nearby. The last 2 hours of the day I caught 4 more in windy areas. Never got a bite out of the wind. Ended up with 8 on the day. Had 4 over 4 lbs and none under 2 lbs, best 5 would have been over 20 lbs. The fish were super healthy as 3 of the 4+ fish were under 19". Was really nice to get more than 3 fish on a trip cause that was the most I had this year. Water was 52-58 with 1.5-2 ft visibility. All fish on spinnerbait.

PS - A word of warning, there is a Ranger out there (older man with white beard, do not have his name) whom I had a negative interaction with. He was running down the lake and I took off after he had passed me. I had to run my boat between close to 30 mph to keep it on plane properly. I slowly pulled out ahead of him. He proceeded to follow me to where I was fishing and warn me that if I was caught speeding I could be banned from the lake. I argued with him that I was running on GPS and my boat wouldn't run right as slow as he was going. He insisted he was going 25 and I was just running away from him. I said I was trying to follow the rules and asked him what I was supposed to do which he didn't have an answer for. I have only had 2 negative interactions with any Ranger since the lake opened and both have been with him. If you see him out there avoid him or make sure you are 100% following the rules or he will harass you. The other incident was last fall, I got off the water about 3 minutes after the limit and he proceeds to warn me that I can be banned from the lake for getting off the water late.
 

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Not sure how going 30 mph, with a warning, is harassment if the limit is 25 mph? Seems like he was doing his job, does not matter if your boat does not run on plane at 25 mph, not his problem.

Both ‘incidents’ you, by your own admission, were in the wrong and were only warned and that constitutes harassment? One thing to tell people that the LEO is strict, but entirely different to make your claim.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You are, of course, welcome to your opinion but I don't think his boat was even going 25 mph because all he had was a water pressure gauge speedo which are not accurate whereas I'm using a satellite regulated speedometer. I'll take mine as the more accurate. I needed to run over the 25 mph limit (which is stupidly low for a 3000 acre lake) to operate my boat properly. Seems to me his primary concern should be for my ability to safely operate my boat, not 100% accuracy to the regulation. His absolute inflexibility that there could be any chance his speedometer was wrong was, IMO, ridiculous and there was no need to track me down when there were folks all over the lake running way way over the 25 mph limit. Harassment may not be the best adjective to describe it but it was unnecessary

As for the time off the water, I try to come in on time but when I'm paying $15 just to launch I'm going to maximize my time on the water. Besides what is the official clock? Are they going to post a giant digital clock at the ramp with the absolute official time? There was also a line to get off the water so my 3 minutes (BTW, he said I was 3 minutes over) were spent waiting for someone else to clear the ramp. I realize they need an off the water time because they would be waiting to close the lake every day. However, if I'm off the water and out the gate well before closing time (which is 30 minutes after the off the water time) then what is the problem? They are paid to keep the gate open till close. Threatening the paying customers (and make no mistake his warning was a veiled threat) so they can go home early is insulting.

Like I said in 12 years of fishing there he is the only person I have had any trouble dealing with. When they are making as much money as they do off the fisherman then I don't think it is in any way wrong to expect a little flexibility when dealing with the people that paid for the lake in the first place and continue to pay so that he even has a job.

Despite my displeasure with my interactions, I will give the man credit that he was out in the boat checking the lake. I rarely see it out on the water so kudos to him for doing that. There are things I have seen out there that should have been addressed in the past so maybe he can make a difference.

Anyway, everyone's mileage varies and some may think he is a great guy. My warning stands and do with it what you will.
 

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Define " to operate the boat properly"?
The rules are the rules despite what YOU need to do. Follow them and they wont bother you. Its really pretty simple. Congrats on a nice day of fishing!
 

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Those are some great looking fish. I've known Randleman was there, I've just never ventured over there. Might have to give it a shot. Mackintosh is where I spend most of my days. Hows that lake done as its aged?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Those are some great looking fish. I've known Randleman was there, I've just never ventured over there. Might have to give it a shot. Mackintosh is where I spend most of my days. Hows that lake done as its aged?
When it first opened if you could cast to the bank you could catch fish. Those first couple years were where I really taught myself how to bass fish in a lake. It has become progressively more difficult to catch fish as it has aged. There are differing opinions as to why this is. Some believe that pressure and too many fish taken out to eat or stock ponds has hurt the population. I think it has to due with lack of shoreline cover. There was tons of brush along the banks when it opened and it has all rotted away. Many of the smaller trees have rotted away. They cut and cabled some trees but now even those are rotting away. They tried to start some grass growing but it never really took. Basically until shoreline erosion, a tornado, or a project to improve the cover puts more wood in the water, it isn't going to get any easier to fish. I had a terrible fall out there, hardly caught anything. It can still be magic at times but it used to be magic most of the time. It still isn't as hard to get bit as places like city lake or Oak Hollow but it isn't my automatic choice anymore either.

I've decided to start fishing Macintosh this year. I know it can have good fishing and I'd like to have another destination to hit close to home.
 

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I was out there on the 11th and 12th. I was on the upper end at SW Park with my kayak. I had good days both times. But Friday was better (12th). Caught several bass over 3 lbs, largest near 5lbs. Friday caught a huge crappie on a ned rig, over 2 1/2 lbs. Caught the largest bass almost 5 lbs Friday also. Of the two days, I don't think I had any fish under 2 1/2 lbs.
But I tend to agree with Bleeding Blue, I got threatened with a charge of trespassing in the past because I came off the water 5 mins late, but 25 mins before closing. The hours they want to give you is ridiculous in my opinion. And being closed on Mondays and Tuesdays? I'm retired and never fish on weekends in order to avoid the crowds. Being closed those two days is a pain to me. Why is that lake so over-regulated? Didn't our taxes have a big part in building that lake?
 

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It may seem like the lake is over regulated.....and it is but on all the wrong things. That lake isn’t a fraction of what it could be because they didn’t manage it in the first few years it was open. If they had made it catch and release or put a slot limit on it and not let tournaments occur there then it would still be awesome. Instead they cared more about where people pissed and what time they came in rather than the 1000s of fish people were taking out to eat and stock their ponds than continuing to provide more cover in the lake and protect the population of fish. Now what you have is a lake that has wayyyyyyy fewer fish in it and wayyyyyyy too much bait because we haven’t had a real winter or a real Shad die off in well over a decade. That all equals a mediocre at best fishery. Yet another one of North Carolina’s failures. And yes the warden is a jack wagon. Every time I’ve ever been there he acted like he didn’t want anyone there. In all reality they don’t want anyone using it. It’s 15 minutes from my house and I’ve fished it once in the last 3 years because there are much better places to go. A lake that young should still be yielding 50-100 fish days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The worst part is I cannot find any entity to actually complain to about the status of the lake and how it is regulated and managed. I'm quite sure there are enough dissatisfied anglers that if we all spoke up something would have to change.

Some more observations that have me scratching my head:
-They built an brand new 8-slot courtesy dock (thanks!) then failed to put any rubber padding or bumpers around the edges so it will scratch up your boat if you aren't careful.
-The same grumpy old man warden who was on me sat there and let a boat tie up to the dock at the launch ramp (with the courtesy dock having 1 boat) and proceed to keep it blocked to 10 minutes. Never said a work while there was a line to launch.
-They want to get all over you for being barely over the speed or off the water minutes late but they have not replaced the no wake buoys at the bridges. Every one is missing at least one and people fish under these all the time. This seem a hell of a lot more important to safety that me going 5 mph over the (stupid) 25 mph speed limit.
-They, unsuccessfully, tried to grow grass and dropped a few trees in the lake several years ago. Since then they have not done one single thing to improve the amount of cover in the lake.

I did a rough calculation and they have taken in a million dollars or more in launch fees just on the gas side since the lake opened. That doesn't include dock fishing fees and the launch fees from SW Park. It is absolutely a profit maker. We anglers are, in general, getting ripped off.
 

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When it first opened if you could cast to the bank you could catch fish. Those first couple years were where I really taught myself how to bass fish in a lake. It has become progressively more difficult to catch fish as it has aged. There are differing opinions as to why this is. Some believe that pressure and too many fish taken out to eat or stock ponds has hurt the population. I think it has to due with lack of shoreline cover. There was tons of brush along the banks when it opened and it has all rotted away. Many of the smaller trees have rotted away. They cut and cabled some trees but now even those are rotting away. They tried to start some grass growing but it never really took. Basically until shoreline erosion, a tornado, or a project to improve the cover puts more wood in the water, it isn't going to get any easier to fish. I had a terrible fall out there, hardly caught anything. It can still be magic at times but it used to be magic most of the time. It still isn't as hard to get bit as places like city lake or Oak Hollow but it isn't my automatic choice anymore either.

I've decided to start fishing Macintosh this year. I know it can have good fishing and I'd like to have another destination to hit close to home.
Bleeding Blue first off don't get me wrong please! I too agree that there are some rules on Randleman that I do not agree with but I also know if you don't like the rules on a particular lake you have to abide by them, or not and chance on getting a lecture by a lake warden or don't go to that lake. I understand your situation. Now that said. Macintosh in Burlington! You talk about rules. There are areas NO GAS MOTORS, and also a speed limit on the water so prepare yourself.
 

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The worst part is I cannot find any entity to actually complain to about the status of the lake and how it is regulated and managed. I'm quite sure there are enough dissatisfied anglers that if we all spoke up something would have to change.

Some more observations that have me scratching my head:
-They built an brand new 8-slot courtesy dock (thanks!) then failed to put any rubber padding or bumpers around the edges so it will scratch up your boat if you aren't careful.
-The same grumpy old man warden who was on me sat there and let a boat tie up to the dock at the launch ramp (with the courtesy dock having 1 boat) and proceed to keep it blocked to 10 minutes. Never said a work while there was a line to launch.
-They want to get all over you for being barely over the speed or off the water minutes late but they have not replaced the no wake buoys at the bridges. Every one is missing at least one and people fish under these all the time. This seem a hell of a lot more important to safety that me going 5 mph over the (stupid) 25 mph speed limit.
-They, unsuccessfully, tried to grow grass and dropped a few trees in the lake several years ago. Since then they have not done one single thing to improve the amount of cover in the lake.

I did a rough calculation and they have taken in a million dollars or more in launch fees just on the gas side since the lake opened. That doesn't include dock fishing fees and the launch fees from SW Park. It is absolutely a profit maker. We anglers are, in general, getting ripped off.
A money maker is all that it is. They never wanted it used publicly to begin with and they will never manage it appropriately just like they don’t manage any other lake that is great in our state. I don’t really care about the launch fee. I would pay $50 a day to fish somewhere that doesn’t get beat to death and has a great fishery. The only lakes we have that are great for numbers of fish these days are 1. Spotted bass lakes and 2. Lakes that don’t get pressure and there are few of each of those. As soon as someone goes to a lake that is not well known and catches a pile of fish and a 25 lb bag they tell someone and then that someone tells someone else and then the whole world knows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well folks, I think I'm done with Randleman. I have been a flag waver for that lake for a long time and defended it when others thought it had been fished out. I think I have to eat my words after yesterday. I have fished there 4 times this spring and have landed a total of 13 fish. Back in the day you would have 13 fish before lunch. Even a few years ago I never doubted that I could catch something if I went in March and April.

Last Saturday a friend and I went out and caught 7 between us, but there wasn't a bite until after 3:00 when the water finally warmed up. It was tough but it made sense with the overnight low near freezing and it being post frontal.

Yesterday I didn't catch a fish and had only 1 bite. I pretty sure it was a little fish because it slammed a crankbait and the little fish always seem do that. There was absolutely no reason why something wouldn't bite. Water was 55-60 degrees with good clarity. It was overcast and the wind moved from NW to SW during the day which told me conditions were improving. It was cloudy overnight so there was no night feeding. We had a waxing moon a few days from full. Except for wanting more wind, the conditions were near perfect. I fished all over the lake hitting spots I know for certain fish use. The worst part was I saw almost no bait and there must be a thousand or more cormorants on the lake. I even saw 4 pellicans! I was talking with the guy at the marina and he said some 8+ fish have been reported but he said fishing has been tough. I fished flats, points, pockets, wood, rock, and riprap with nothing. How you can't find a fish or two up shallow feeding in those conditions completely baffles me.

If you had told me I was going to zero in those conditions at Randleman I would have said you are crazy. In 145 trips since 2010, this is only the 3rd time I've ever blanked out there. The others were when I had to leave early and when the water was under 48 degrees. This spring it hasn't fished any better than Oak Hollow and it is known for being a tough bite. I can zero at a bunch of other lakes for half price so I'm not going out there for a while. Makes me sad thinking about how good it used to be.
 

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Well folks, I think I'm done with Randleman. I have been a flag waver for that lake for a long time and defended it when others thought it had been fished out. I think I have to eat my words after yesterday. I have fished there 4 times this spring and have landed a total of 13 fish. Back in the day you would have 13 fish before lunch. Even a few years ago I never doubted that I could catch something if I went in March and April.

Last Saturday a friend and I went out and caught 7 between us, but there wasn't a bite until after 3:00 when the water finally warmed up. It was tough but it made sense with the overnight low near freezing and it being post frontal.

Yesterday I didn't catch a fish and had only 1 bite. I pretty sure it was a little fish because it slammed a crankbait and the little fish always seem do that. There was absolutely no reason why something wouldn't bite. Water was 55-60 degrees with good clarity. It was overcast and the wind moved from NW to SW during the day which told me conditions were improving. It was cloudy overnight so there was no night feeding. We had a waxing moon a few days from full. Except for wanting more wind, the conditions were near perfect. I fished all over the lake hitting spots I know for certain fish use. The worst part was I saw almost no bait and there must be a thousand or more cormorants on the lake. I even saw 4 pellicans! I was talking with the guy at the marina and he said some 8+ fish have been reported but he said fishing has been tough. I fished flats, points, pockets, wood, rock, and riprap with nothing. How you can't find a fish or two up shallow feeding in those conditions completely baffles me.

If you had told me I was going to zero in those conditions at Randleman I would have said you are crazy. In 145 trips since 2010, this is only the 3rd time I've ever blanked out there. The others were when I had to leave early and when the water was under 48 degrees. This spring it hasn't fished any better than Oak Hollow and it is known for being a tough bite. I can zero at a bunch of other lakes for half price so I'm not going out there for a while. Makes me sad thinking about how good it used to be.
Makes me sad also thinking of what it once was. The bad thing is that it is still a very young lake. Mismanagement of a fishery especially a small one has its price. Add it to the list of garbage lakes in north Carolina.
 

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I fish randleman very often.. probably fished it several hundred times since it opened...the fishing this spring has been toughest i have ever seen it. I kinda started to see it get tougher last year but this year the progression has continued. Out of the 10 times ive been this year, only 2 of them I would consider really good days with good weight and decent numbers caught. 3 or so more trips were so so but it was tough and you definitely had to work for every bite you got. Zeroed this past wednesday but did leave early....first time thats happened in a long time. Too much pressure definitely has an effect. Not enough cover is another as well. In the early years there was a lot of primrose growing up the river and the back of muddy creek but they sprayed it all. Why would they drop all those trees which have all but rotted away and then never do anything else is just mind boggling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I fish randleman very often.. probably fished it several hundred times since it opened...the fishing this spring has been toughest i have ever seen it. I kinda started to see it get tougher last year but this year the progression has continued. Out of the 10 times ive been this year, only 2 of them I would consider really good days with good weight and decent numbers caught. 3 or so more trips were so so but it was tough and you definitely had to work for every bite you got. Zeroed this past wednesday but did leave early....first time thats happened in a long time. Too much pressure definitely has an effect. Not enough cover is another as well. In the early years there was a lot of primrose growing up the river and the back of muddy creek but they sprayed it all. Why would they drop all those trees which have all but rotted away and then never do anything else is just mind boggling.
Not happy to hear but it is good to confirm that my experience wasn't unique. It has become a pitiful shell of what it once was. The bright side, if there is one, that the bad fishing should lower the pressure and maybe it can recover some. The fish I caught are healthy so this isn't a mortality thing but an overfishing/poor spawn/poor recruitment problem along with insufficient cover.
 

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Not happy to hear but it is good to confirm that my experience wasn't unique. It has become a pitiful shell of what it once was. The bright side, if there is one, that the bad fishing should lower the pressure and maybe it can recover some. The fish I caught are healthy so this isn't a mortality thing but an overfishing/poor spawn/poor recruitment problem along with insufficient cover.
Definitely poor recruitment and pressure...I saw 2 large balls of fry last week wandering around in open water which makes easy pickings for bluegill crappie bass etc. If you notice you really dont catch many small fish at all anymore which leads me to believe spawns and recruitment are not going well. Again this points to pressure and cover issues. Those younger year classes need to start showing up for the future of the lake to be better. As far as ease of catching fish, I can imagine a 5 pound fish in that lake has potentially been caught 4 or 5 times and evidence shows this makes fish harder to catch over time.
 
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