Fishing Falls Lake NC Full Guide, Species, Spots Techniques

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The beautiful and large Falls Lake in North Carolina, located near the vibrant city of Durham. If you’re a fishing enthusiast or looking to experience the thrill of angling, this lake is a real gem waiting to explore. With its fantastic location, just a short drive away from Durham. It offers the perfect escape into nature for fishing enthusiasts and beginners alike.

One of the highlights of fishing in Falls Lake is the incredible diversity of fish species that call the lake home. Whether you’re interested in catching largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, or striped bass, this lake has it all. The diversity of fish species ensures that anglers have a wide range of fishing opportunities and experiences.

The abundance of fish in Falls Lake is truly remarkable. Throughout the year, the lake is teeming with fish, making it an angler’s paradise. You’ll find plenty of hotspots around the lake, each offering a unique fishing experience. From quiet coves to open water areas, the lake provides a varied and exciting fishing environment.

As you explore the vast expanse of Falls Lake, you’ll encounter numerous ideal fishing spots. Some anglers prefer to fish from the shore, while others enjoy taking their boats out onto the water for a more adventurous experience. No matter your preference, you’re sure to find a suitable spot to cast your line and try your luck.

Beyond the fishing experience itself, Falls Lake also offers breathtaking scenery and a peaceful ambiance. Surrounded by lush greenery and picturesque landscapes, fishing here becomes a serene and immersive escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Gear to Fish in Falls Lake

When fishing in Falls Lake, it’s essential to choose the right fishing rod and reel combination to enhance your angling experience. The specific gear you use may vary based on the type of fish you target and your preferred fishing techniques. Here’s a full guide on the ideal fishing rod and reel setup for Falls Lake.

If you are from Durham here is our full guide about fishing near Durham for you.

Fishing Rod

  • Power: For the diverse range of fish in Falls Lake, a medium to medium-heavy power rod is recommended. This power range provides enough strength to handle largemouth bass and other sizeable species while still being sensitive enough to detect more subtle bites from smaller fish.
  • Action: A fast or extra-fast action rod is preferable. This enables quick hook sets and enhances sensitivity, allowing you to feel even the lightest bites.
  • Size: A rod length between 6’6″ and 7’6″ is a good choice. The longer length provides better casting distance and control, especially when fishing from the shore or in open water.

Fishing Reel Falls Lake

  • Size: Opt for a spinning reel in the 2500 to 4000 size range. This size strikes a balance between line capacity and weight, making it suitable for a wide variety of fish in Falls Lake.
  • Drag: A smooth and reliable drag system is essential for handling hard-fighting fish. Look for a reel with a high quality drag that can be adjusted easily to accommodate different fish species.
  • Gear Ratio: A gear ratio of 6.2:1 or 6.4:1 is a versatile choice. It allows for a fast retrieval speed, which can be useful when covering large areas of the lake or when you need to reel in a fish quickly.

With this setup, you’ll have the right gear to tackle most fishing scenarios in Falls Lake. The medium to medium-heavy power rod with a fast action provides the versatility to handle different fish sizes and techniques. The spinning reel in the 2500 to 4000 size range ensures a good balance between capacity and weight, while the higher gear ratio allows for efficient retrieval.

Types of Fish Falls Lake

Falls Lake is home to a diverse range of fish species, providing ample opportunities for anglers to enjoy a variety of fishing experiences. Here are some of the common types of fish in Falls Lake. Along with their locations and the best times to catch them during the day

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass can be there throughout the lake, but they tend to concentrate near structures such as submerged rocks, fallen trees, and aquatic vegetation. Look for coves, points, and shallow areas with good cover.

Largemouth bass are most active during low-light conditions, such as early morning and late evening. They are also more active during cooler months, making spring and fall excellent times to target them. During the hot summer months, they might be deeper, seeking cooler waters.

Striped Bass / stripers

Striped bass are often found in the deeper, open-water areas of the lake. They prefer cooler, oxygen-rich waters, so you may find them near the thermocline (the boundary between warm surface water and colder deeper water).

Striped bass are popular for their feeding frenzies during low-light periods, particularly at dawn and dusk. However, they can also be caught during the day, especially when overcast skies or windy conditions trigger feeding activity.


Crappie tend to congregate around submerged structures, including brush piles and fallen trees. They can be found in both shallow and deeper waters, depending on the season.

Crappie are more active during dawn and dusk, but they can be biting throughout the day. Especially if you find schools near their preferred structures.


Catfish are commonly hanging out near the lake bottom, particularly in deeper areas with mud or sand bottoms. Look for them near drop-offs, submerged rocks, and creek channels.

Catfish are known to be opportunistic feeders and can be caught throughout the day. They tend to be more active during the warmer months, so summer and early fall are great times to target them.

Techniques to Use

Falls Lake in North Carolina offers a variety of fishing opportunities, and the best techniques will depend on the species of fish you’re targeting and the time of year. Here are some effective fishing techniques that work well in Falls Lake.

Bass Fishing Techniques

  • Topwater Lures: During the early morning and late evening hours, using topwater lures like poppers, buzzbaits, and frogs can entice aggressive strikes from largemouth bass.
  • Plastic Worms and Jigs: Texas-rigged plastic worms and jigs are go-to baits for bass fishing in deeper waters and around submerged structures. Cast them near cover and let them sink, then work them slowly with occasional pauses to attract bass.
  • Crankbaits and Spinnerbaits: These lures are great for covering larger areas and imitating baitfish. Cast them near points, drop-offs, and rocky shorelines.

Crappie Fishing Techniques

  • Minnows and Jigs: Crappie are often caught using live minnows or small jigs. Fish them around submerged structures, such as brush piles and fallen trees, at varying depths until you find the right level where they are biting.
  • Vertical Jigging: When crappie are suspended in deeper water, try vertical jigging with small jigs or minnow-tipped jigs. Slowly raise and lower your jig to entice bites.

Striped Bass Fishing Techniques

  • Trolling: Trolling with deep-diving crankbaits or umbrella rigs can be effective for locating and catching striped bass in open water. Focus on areas near the thermocline and around the dam.
  • Live Bait: Using live bait, such as shad or herring, on a downrigger or freeline rig can be highly successful when targeting stripers.

Catfish Fishing Techniques

  • Bottom Fishing: Catfish are often found near the lake bottom, so use a Carolina rig or a simple bottom rig with cut bait, chicken liver, or nightcrawlers to attract them.
  • Chumming: If you’re targeting larger catfish, consider chumming the water with a mixture of corn, grains, and catfish attractant to draw them to your fishing area.

Here are some other things to do in falls lake.

General Tips

  • Fish During Low-Light Periods: Dawn and dusk are prime times for fishing in Falls Lake, as many fish species are more active during these hours.
  • Adjust to Seasonal Patterns: As the seasons change, fish behavior changes too. Pay attention to water temperature and adjust your techniques accordingly.
  • Be Patient and Experiment: Fishing can require patience, and not every day will be a successful one. Try different baits, techniques, and areas until you find what works for you on a particular day.

Falls Lake, NC, offers diverse fishing opportunities, and mastering these effective techniques can lead to successful angling experiences and cherished memories on the water. Happy fishing!