North Carolina’s High Rock Lake

High Rock Lake is a top fishing destination in North Carolina, only a little more than sixty miles and about an hour’s drive from downtown Charlotte, NC. Located just east of Salisbury, NC, High Rock Lake is the second largest body of water entirely within North Carolina statelines.

The reservoir was created in 1927 when the Tallassee Power Company impounded the Yadkin River to create a hydroelectric facility and provide power to area industry. When at full capacity, the reservoir covers 15,180 surface acres and offers anglers nearly 360 miles of shoreline. The lake extends 19 miles from the dam to the mouth of the South Yadkin River near Salisbury.

Fishing High Rock Lake

High Rock Lake has been a stop on several professional tournament tours over the years, including the Bassmaster Classic. But whether a visitor is a seasoned professional or someone new to fishing, High Rock Lake offers anglers a range of fishing opportunities by boat or from the shoreline.

On the water, anglers can try casting deep water crankbaits along the many points on the shoreline of High Rock Lake. Good terrain for casting crankbaits in deep water can be found where Abbotts Creek flows into the reservoir, located near the Highway 8 causeway in Southmont, NC. Heading up the creek and casting along the points upstream of the causeway offers anglers good bass fishing territory. Other creeks for anglers to fish include Dutch Second Creek, Crane Creek (and Little Crane Creek), Swearing Creek, and Flat Swamp Creek. In these sections of the lake anglers can try focusing on the sloping creek banks below the surface of the water. Lurking fish will often linger in the deeper water off the banks looking for smaller baitfish to pass by in the shallows above them.

In recent decades, shoreline development has grown significantly at High Rock Lake. Other than at the extreme upper end of High Rock, most of the shoreline around the reservoir has seen considerable new home building. The changes to the shoreline has led to the additions of many piers and docks that have the benefit for anglers of attracting bass and other fish looking for cover. When casting along piers and docks try tossing red plastic worms or Texas rigged worms. Tube or curly tail grubs or various paddle tail soft plastics can work as well. With these lures an 1/8 ounce weight can be effective while casting along the shoreline. White or smoke colored lures can mimic the small fish hanging around the piers and blue or green lures can help mimic different sunfish species favored by local bass.

Thinking Like a Fish at High Rock Lake

Other fishing structures worth finding on High Rock include the many brush piles along the shoreline. Crappie anglers in particular have been known to sink old Christmas trees in strategic places along the shoreline in order to create fish habitat and go-to fishing spots. Not only do the collected trees attract crappie, they also draw largemouth bass. Most of the brush piles are in deeper water typically only 15 or 20 feet from a pier or dock.

When fishing underwater brush piles, try a one ounce tandem blade spinnerbait with white or pearl skirts. To maximize hookups and pulling through the brush try a 20-pound test monofilament line. Another “go to” lure in these areas of the lake is a small deep running crankbait. Local anglers also often target brush piles with jig-and-pig combos and Texas-rigged worms.

Check out a Baitstick Box for North Carolina and fish local water out of the box with bait and tackle handpicked by Baitstick team members with local knowledge. Seasoned anglers can resupply with essentials and new anglers can go fishing right out of the box. Just specify the fishing locations of interest in the note section of the order form.  The Baitstick team will take it from there to assemble the lures needed for specified locations and season of year.

Fishing the upper end of High Rock Lake should include the portion of the reservoir visible from the bridge at I-85. In this part of the lake target fallen logs against the mud banks and cast into deeper waters nearby with a black tube grub rigged Texas style.

Going with the Flow at High Rock Lake

The Yadkin River, the source of High Rock Lake, often runs muddy. And while the lower portion of the reservoir clears itself soon after a rain, the upper end typically remains muddy for several days. When these conditions exist, choose lure colors accordingly, with blacks and browns as good color choices for the conditions.

For anglers casting from the shoreline, North Carolina allows fishing from piers and docks without a license if the pier or dock has a license. The license, a small cardboard sign, must be posted in a manner visible from the lake. Public boat ramps provided by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) are scattered about High Rock Lake. Several private marinas also offer boat launching facilities.

Regardless of where an angler spends time on High Rock Lake, there is plenty of great fishing for anglers of any level of skill and experience. With close proximity to Charlotte as well as Winston-Salem and Greensboro, High Rock Lake is an easy driving distance to one of North Carolina’s top fishing destinations.

Baitstick supports efforts to build the next generation of anglers nationwide, including the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) and The Outdoor Foundation