It’s always funny and interesting to hear stories of how things used to be. There was a time when all the wives stayed home, cars were made of steel and you could catch a fish on every cast. Today both adults, if there are two in the household have to work. Cars are mostly plastic and there are days when you don’t catch a single fish.

In this day and age the fish in Lake Wylie have seen it all.  They’re accustomed to some lures and to others they don’t pay much attention. The good news is that Lake Wylie is still full of fish. The bad news is the fishing pressure on Lake Wylie is relentless. My friends and I often ask each other if anyone works full time anymore because on any given day there are bass boats zooming up and down the lake and the boat ramp parking lots always seem to be half full.

The lake has been through some changes as well. In the past the lake usually had some amount of stain or color to the water and now its stays pretty clear. There were stretches of undeveloped land with natural cover to which the fish could relate.  Today, most of those stretches have homes and the fish’s natural habitat (or cover) has been removed.

The lake is cleaner now than it has been in years with the reduction in emissions into the lake from the city of Charlotte and the business’ upstream.

Still we can go out to “the river” (as most of the locals refer to it) and if we keep an open mind and vary our techniques, we can catch plenty of fish. In the days of old, it was common for fisherman to catch big bass on spinnerbaits and large lipless crankbaits but the water was stained and there was lots of shoreline cover then. Fast forward to today and more bass are being caught on finesse techniques i.e., the “shakeyhead” and topwater baits.

Whether you grew up on “the river” or recently moved to the Charlotte metro area and you like to fish, you’re in a great place!  Lake Wylie even through all its changes still maintains a huge population of fish that can be caught in a myriad of ways. Topwater baits during low light periods, then soft plastics either Texas or Carolina rigged will usually catch a few.

So the next time you’re fishing and not catching, remember that the fish are out there; they just don’t want what you’re offering. Change your presentation and you may be surprised by the results. Whether you catch one or twenty-one, enjoy your time on the water!

There is no substitute for time on the water!

Rusty White of Rock Hill is a professional fisherman and full-time guide on the Catawba chain of lakes, offering full- and half-day services. For more information, visit