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Thread: Best Upper Catawba Chain Lake for Crappie Fishing

  1. #1
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    Default Best Upper Catawba Chain Lake for Crappie Fishing

    Hello, Iím trying to figure out the best crappie lake in the upper Catawba chain-of-lakes to fish. I live in Black Mountain, NC and Lakes James, Rhodhiss, Hickory, and Lookout Shoals are all within reasonable driving distance. The largest, most central launch at Lake James is 40 minutes away, the Castle Bridge launch at Rhodhiss is 50 minutes, the Whittenburg Access Area at Hickory is 70 minutes and Lookout Shoals is also about 70 minutes.

    In just looking at what information I can find, Lake James is an oligotrophic lake (nutrient poor) and Rhodhiss is mesotrophic (average nutrient level) and sometimes eutrophic (nutrient rich) lake. So, of the closest two lakes, Rhodhiss looks like the better fishing lake to me. I would be willing to drive the extra 20 minutes to Hickory or Lookout Shoals if the fishing is better.

    Iím new to North Carolina and have lived in Florida and lower Alabama where I exclusively salt water fished for the last 30 years. Although I freshwater fished in Alabama as a kid, my freshwater fishing skills are rusty - to say the least. I plan to rectify that and thatís the reason I joined this forum - to get good advice.

    Your thoughts would be appreciated.


  2. #2
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    I live in Hickory. My number 1 is High Rock


    Sent from my iPhone using Crappie.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nowell Brown View Post
    I live in Hickory. My number 1 is High Rock


    Sent from my iPhone using Crappie.com
    Thanks for the response. High Rock is about 2.5 hours away from Black Mountain, so a bit out of my range.
    Likes Nowell Brown LIKED above post

  4. #4
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    I am 10 mins from hickory. I have had better luck fishing hickory, james and rhodhiss coming in 3rd.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1989loweprojon View Post
    I am 10 mins from hickory. I have had better luck fishing hickory, james and rhodhiss coming in 3rd.

    Thanks for your information. If I launch at Geitner Park, it's 63 miles or an hour 3 minutes from my house. That's only about 15 minutes further than the Castle Bridge launch on Rhodhiss. So, I'll give it a try.

    The Whittenburg Access area is more in the middle of the lake, but will take another 15 minutes, so an hour and 15 minutes from my house. Can you tell me if the upper areas of the lake, near Geitner Park are better or worse crappie fishing than the middle of the lake near the Whittenburg access?

    I really appreciate your help. Thanks!

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    You can do lovelady also, it's more in the middle. From there you can hit the gunpowder area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1989loweprojon View Post
    You can do lovelady also, it's more in the middle. From there you can hit the gunpowder area.
    Thanks for the tip. According to Google Maps, Lovelady is only 6 minutes further than Geitner Park. Since you recommended it, I assume Lovelady has good launch ramps. Is the ramp(s) at Geitner in good shape? Since I'll be coming from I40, Geitner is the closer ramp and it's reasonably close to Gunpowder as well.

    Also, I've seen Gunpowder mentioned a good bit. Is it considered the best crappie area on the lake? Why is it mentioned more than some of the other creeks that feed Lake Hickory?

    While I'm asking questions.......... It looks to me like Rhodhiss and Hickory are similar shaped lakes, both basically highland reservoirs that don't spread out much from the original river and creek channels. Hickory appears to be the deeper of the two, but Rhodhiss is 40 feet in places. It also appears the water quality and nutrient loading are similar. Any reason why Hickory should be the better fishing lake of the two (for crappie)? Less fishing pressure? More spawning areas? More shad? Less crappie competition?

    Thanks, in advance, for any answers to these questions.

  8. #8
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    Hickory has 3 times the pressure of rhodhiss. Just crappie likes structure and hickory has more docks, bridges, etc. Gunpowder is always mentioned because that's were you start catching more crappie, it's starts there to the end of the lake. If you have livescope, rhodhiss can be really rewarding with fishing brush piles.

    Lovelady has good ramps and ample parking, people catch crappie at nights in that cove from shore.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1989loweprojon View Post
    Hickory has 3 times the pressure of rhodhiss. Just crappie likes structure and hickory has more docks, bridges, etc. Gunpowder is always mentioned because that's were you start catching more crappie, it's starts there to the end of the lake. If you have livescope, rhodhiss can be really rewarding with fishing brush piles.

    Lovelady has good ramps and ample parking, people catch crappie at nights in that cove from shore.
    Thanks a lot for the good information.

    When you say from Gunpowder to the end of the lake, do you mean the upper end - toward Rhodhiss, or the lower end as it drains to Lookout Shoals?

    I fished Rhodhiss yesterday. Fished with jigs, mostly. Slip bobber, hard bobber, casting, bouncing on bottom, main channel, creeks, coves, etc. 5 hours. 0 crappie. I mentioned in my first post I've been salt water fishing for the last 25 years. Seems I plum forgot how to catch a fresh water fish.

    Again, thanks for your information.

  10. #10
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    Other end towards lookout.

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