Kerr Lake, also known as Buggs Island has grown to become one of my favorite fisheries in the country. It provides anglers with many options when it comes to bass fishing. Anglers can fish offshore and shallow and find great success on Kerr Lake.
Located on the North Carolina/Virginia border, it is a flood control lake which means the water levels vary from week to week and even day to day. It’s not uncommon for water levels to rise or drop multiple feet in just a matter of days. The fish typically adjust accordingly to the raising and lowering of the lake. So that begs the question, what’s the best water level to fish at Kerr Lake?
The 300 level is considered “full pool” on Kerr Lake. Some bass anglers like the water level higher while others (like myself) like it a bit lower. What are the benefits of each?
When water levels are above 300 on Kerr Lake, bank structure such as brush and laydowns become more habitable for bass and anglers can fish shallow targeting these shallow targets. When water levels are below 300 the fish generally will leave the bank and position on the first piece of hard structure they find. They’ll still relate to the same laydowns and brush, but instead of being in a brush pile that’s in 1 foot of water, they could be in a brush pile that’s in 18 feet of water. As the water leaves the bank, the bass will as well.
No matter the water levels on Kerr Lake, there generally always seems to be an offshore bite and a shallow bite all year long. Even if water levels are down, some bass will still find water to be in as little as 1 foot of water. Personally, I love offshore fishing and I will fish Kerr Lake offshore for bass 90% of the day regardless of the water levels. When water levels are below full pool then that generally will position the bass in my favor.
Anglers can check the current level of Kerr Lake at the uslakes.info website. Click here to view Kerr Lake water levels.
So now for the real question, what do you use to catch bass on Kerr Lake? Now, that’s a thousand-dollar question, isn’t it? The answer is… it depends.
There are generally 2 types of anglers, Finesse Fisherman and Power Anglers. On Kerr Lake, a power angler loves fishing 20lb line on a heavy flipping stick hoping to catch a big fish on a full-size jig or creature bait. While a finesse fisherman will pull back off the bank and throw a shakey head on a spinning reel with 8 lb line and try to catch a bigger fish that may be a bit warier of his surroundings. Both approaches will work on Kerr Lake. However, it must be noted that it’s very possible that one day the power fishing approach will work better than the finesse approach, and the very next day the finesse approach will be the better option.
During your day on the water, you must adjust and find out what the fish want. In the spring and summer months the fish on Kerr Lake are heavily pressured and the finesse approach will generally lead to more bites. But when shallow power fishing on even given cast you could catch a fish that weighs 4, 5, or even 6 pounds.
Finesse Lures: Shakey Head, Dropshot, Stickbait, Suspending Jerkbait
Power Lures: Large Willowleaf Spinnerbait, Full-Size Jig, Buzzbait, Texas Rigged Creature Baits
I have competitively fished on Kerr Lake since 2017. In that time I have gained a great amount of knowledge and experience on the lake. I have had my fair share of good days and bad. I have found that I learn just as much through my bad days as I have my good. During my tournament career, I vlog and document my Kerr Lake tournaments and post them on my YouTube channel. The below video gallery showcases a few of those tournaments. By watching these videos hopefully, you can gain some knowledge on how to catch bass on Kerr Lake. If you find them useful, consider subscribing to my YouTube channel.