April fishing is busting out all over at Lake Tillery. That’s how Rodney Crisco at Joe’s Bait & Tackle in Albemarle described conditions at the Yadkin River reservoir as the last few days of March flip off the calendar.
“Crappie fishing changes day to day, but it can change fast for the good when we have a lot of sunshine, and we’re having that now,” he said Tuesday.
“There are a lot of crappies in the 15- to 20-foot range,” Crisco said. “People have been catching them while slow trolling or drifting using Kalin’s jigs or live minnows on (1/32-ounce) jigs.
“But when we’ve been having some sunshine in the afternoon, crappies will go into 5 and 6 feet of water, prespawn places. When guys have found them at that depth, they seem to be bigger females.”
Crisco reported crappies weighing as much as 1 ½ pounds.
“People said they’ve been catching a lot of 11-inch crappies,” he said. “Right now, they’re not seeing a whole lot of small fish.”
Largemouth bass and striped bass fishing also have surged at Lake Tillery following warmer temperatures and increased sunshine.
Fishermen targeting largemouths have reporting catching fish on deeper, main-lake points that feature structure such as stumps or rocks.
“The bass fishermen are having some success with jigs,” Crisco said, “but Chatterbaits also are catching bass, along with Alabama rigs and jerkbaits. The jerkbaits seem to be producing the biggest bass.”
The Rick Clunn jerkbait in the threadfin shad color has been flying off his shelves.
“Square-lipped crankbaits such as Speed Traps in orange or the ‘mud craw’ color — chartreuse with an orange belly — also are catching bass,” Crisco said.
Angers are finding most of Tillery’s bass in 6 to 10 feet of water, which is prespawn territory.
“But as soon as we get a prolonged surge of warm weather without any cold days and nights, those bass will go to laydowns, and guys pitching jigs will have a good time then,” Crisco said.
Tillery’s bass are showing consistently good sizes.
“To win tournaments the last two weeks, it’s taken five fish weighing 27 pounds to win,” Crisco said. “A lot of people are weighing in stringers with 5-pound-average fish.”
Two tournament anglers recently landed largemouths weighing 7 pounds, 15 ounces and 8 pounds.
“The bass guys throwing Alabama rigs also have been catching stripers,” he said. “But the best way to target stripers is with downlined live bait, gizzard or threadfin shad, in 12 to 15 feet of water.”