High Rock Lake bass moving to shallow-water, fall patterns

Cooler weather has moved High Rock Lake bass back into shallow water in the creeks.

Boat docks, wooden cover are prime target for North Carolina fishermen

Largemouth bass have entered their fall pattern of chasing baitfish in coves and creeks at High Rock Lake, and anglers are benefitting.

At least that’s the recent experience of guide Joel Richardson of Kernersville.

“Bass right now are being caught in 2 to 7 feet of water,” said Richardson (336-643-7214). “The majority of the baitfish are in 5 feet of water or less and tend to be halfway back in the creek arms to all the way to the back.”

Best places, he said, are creeks with “off-color” water, with clarity that allows “you to see a spinnerbait down to 10- or 12-inches deep, maximum,” Richardson said. “The odd thing is you might go to one creek and find nothing, then go in the next one, and bass will have turned on light a light switch.”

In those areas, he’s looking for boat docks, laydowns and small, single pieces of wood.

“The tendency is to pass up single pieces of small wood sticking up in the water, but at High Rock, you should beware of the stickups because a lot of them are holding bass,” he said.

Higher oxygen levels and plankton blooms are the two factors drawing shad into the creeks, he said.

“High Rock has turned over, so that’s where the best oxygen levels are for baitfish,” Richardson said.

His favorite lures are Rat-L-Traps, shallow-running crankbaits and jig-and-pigs.

“I’ve caught more bass around heavier cover and definitely the best ones at boat docks,” Richardson said.

Shad and chrome have proven to be the most effective crankbait and Rat-L-Trap colors, with Tennessee shad a close second.

“No jig color is working better for me than black and blue,” he said. “I use 3/8-ounce jigs, and, if there’s sparse cover, I’ve been getting bit while swimming the jig back to me. If I flip it under a boat dock, I let it go to the bottom and bounce it off the bottom. Places with lots of cover, like laydown wood, I work a jig like that, too.”

Richardson doesn’t expect the great bite to be around much more than another week or so.

“Fishing won’t be like this much longer because (Yadkin Inc., which owns and manages High Rock) is going to start drawing down the lake in the middle of October,” Richardson said. “They’re saying it’s gonna be a 10-foot drawdown.”

About Craig Holt 1382 Articles
Craig Holt of Snow Camp has been an outdoor writer for almost 40 years, working for several newspapers, then serving as managing editor for North Carolina Sportsman and South Carolina Sportsman before becoming a full-time free-lancer in 2009.