Spring fishing has arrived at Fontana Lake in the far-western North Carolina mountains. According to Danny Williams at Fontana Village Resort Marina.

"We had a tournament over the last weekend," he said, "and it took (a 10-fish limit of) 33 pounds of largemouths, spots and smallmouth to win it. "That's pretty good for this time of year, but if the weather had been warmer, it probably would have taken close to 50 pounds."

Temperatures hovered in the mid-40s to low-50s last weekend, but anglers were able to turn in a mixed bag of fish.

"They caught most of their largemouth bass on pig-and-jig lures, working them just off the bottom where headwaters of feeder creeks and branches run into the lake," said Williams, who pointed to plastic worms rigged wacky-style producing more spotted bass.

"They're fishing the banks in eight to 12 feet of water, sinking a worm where the banks are dingy," he said. "The water's a little warmer where it's dingy, so that's drawing in fish.


"They're also using medium-diving crankbaits and Bandit and Lucky Craft jerkbaits. In two more weeks, the Lucky Craft jerkbait will be the No. 1 lure on this lake."


For smallmouth bass, anglers are fishing sloping points with 3-inch Zoom split-tail minnow imitations or Gulp! emerald shad in black and silver.


"The Gulp! and Zoom (baits) have been the best smallmouth lures," Williams said. "The smallmouth are gathered up on the points in water that's 15 to 17 feet deep.


"Give us two weeks of sunshine and you'll be able to catch all the fish you want at Fontana Lake," he said.