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It is a huge, shallow lake with an average depth of about 4 feet. Deepest hole is maybe 7-8 feet. If the wind is blowing much above 10 mph the lake gets very very rough. There is a decent ramp and a nice campground at Pettigrew State Park on the North side of the lake.

Water can be crystal clear on calm days when the bottom is not stirred up. Rumor has it there are some huge bass in the lake, although I have not caught anything over 2 pounds. The fish tend to hold in the tree line, and in the lily pads. A lot of people fly fish and wade fish, especially on the South side of the lake. Conman’s campground is on the South side, and I believe the owner is widely recognized as the Phelps Lake expert so you might get some advice there.
 

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I've fished Phelps several times. We fish 99% flyrods. If you want to catch Punkinseed on the fly,this is a great place to do it. We caught lots of fish on small Chartreuse poppers as well as about anything else we tried. When not fishing up in the grass, we used a Popper/Dropper rig consisting of a small/medium popper and a micro sized wooly bugger or other type of buggy looking sinking fly. The dropper was 14-18 inches under the popper. Lots of multiple hook ups.
We fished from Kayaks,but only used them to get from point A to point B,then we would stake the boats out and wade a couple of hundred yards in either direction.
We caught well over 100 Punkinseeds each per day. The Bass were a lot harder to come by. You basically had to fish up in the weeds to find them. We fished 5 wts for the Punkinseeds,but if I had brought a 3wt along, would have been even more fun. If youre going to target the Bass on a flyrod, I would suggest an 8wt so you have more leverage dogging the Bass out of the grass!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Very grateful for your response. Exactly what my fishing partner and I had in mind (4 wt. & 8 wt.; poppers & sub-surface brim spiders). Most helpful. Thanks!
 

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Oh and to echo @Chris52, That lake can get rough FAST. The first day we were there on our first trip, we noticed dark skies at the north end of the lake. We waded back to the kayaks, got in and started paddling back to the dock. We were staying at Connmans. Within 5 minutes, that storm had the lake whipped up into a sloppy 4 foot chop. Not fun in a kayak. There were a couple of times that I crested a wave and could literally see the bottom,with no water covering it. Paddle forward 4 feet,get blown back 2. By the time we got to the dock, It was blowing a steady 35 and the waves were closing in on 5 feet. I have video of the storm from the dock,once we were back. Glad we made it in when we did. There was cloud to water lightning,again .Not a good time to be in a kayak. I managed to tear a rotator cuff that day that several years later cost me a surgery and missing all of the spring fishing season.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah, I fished there decades ago with my Dad's bass group. We had a similar experience, though not as severe. I also have had to have rotator cuff surgery--much worse than the knee replacement or either hip replacement. Thanks so much for the heads-up!
 

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A buddy and I used to fish there a lot many moons ago. It can be a tough lake, especially during the summer. There used to be pads and tall water grass on one side of the lake, opposite side from Pettigrew. And a lot of cypress trees everywhere else. The cypress trees held a lot of fish, but it was always a early morning bite. We waded a lot. We caught a lot of bass, but usually early morning, or at night. We did a lot of fishing well past sunset. There used to also be a ton of black fish in there. Red shad if I recall was my goto worm, and we also did well with pink floating worms. Good luck, I miss that place. Oh and Pettigrew used to have a primitive campground there that we would stay in, and it had a small boat launch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
A buddy and I used to fish there a lot many moons ago. It can be a tough lake, especially during the summer. There used to be pads and tall water grass on one side of the lake, opposite side from Pettigrew. And a lot of cypress trees everywhere else. The cypress trees held a lot of fish, but it was always a early morning bite. We waded a lot. We caught a lot of bass, but usually early morning, or at night. We did a lot of fishing well past sunset. There used to also be a ton of black fish in there. Red shad if I recall was my goto worm, and we also did well with pink floating worms. Good luck, I miss that place. Oh and Pettigrew used to have a primitive campground there that we would stay in, and it had a small boat launch.
Thanks for your comments. I fished there too, back in the 70's, with my Dad's bass crew. He and I both transitioned yo saltwater soon after that. Gonna give it a try for old times' sake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks to all who responded to my request for information re Lake Phelps. I met my long-time (since 6th grade) hunting & fishing buddy there last week. We found that only Spider Man could launch a kayak at the so-called park site on Shore Drive--due to the lake being a couple feet below full pool (for which the fixed launch facility was built). Plan B was the Scuppernong River, where small panfish were dimpling the surface constantly, but we never had a hit either on topwater or on subsurface flies. The next morning we fished spinning gear off the pier at the aforesaid park launch site. No luck. All fishing and no catching.
 

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Thanks to all who responded to my request for information re Lake Phelps. I met my long-time (since 6th grade) hunting & fishing buddy there last week. We found that only Spider Man could launch a kayak at the so-called park site on Shore Drive--due to the lake being a couple feet below full pool (for which the fixed launch facility was built). Plan B was the Scuppernong River, where small panfish were dimpling the surface constantly, but we never had a hit either on topwater or on subsurface flies. The next morning we fished spinning gear off the pier at the aforesaid park launch site. No luck. All fishing and no catching.
Next time you decide to head that way, PM Me. I fish that area a lot. I know some places fairly close by and can point you at some fish.
 
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