May is a transition month at most central North Carolina lakes as fish are spawning, bedding or moving off beds.

That's the situation at the High Rock chain of lakes in central North Carolina. But guide Maynard Edwards of Lexington said striped bass, crappie and catfish still are available - if anglers know where to look for them.

"Everything's pretty much slacked off since April, but if I want to catch stripers, I'll go right behind the Tuckertown Dam (at the upper end of Badin Lake)," said Edwards (Yadkin Lakes Guide Service, 336-249-6782). "Stripers will be thick in there."

Edwards said most stripers will be in the 4- to 10-pound range, with a few larger fish in the mix.

"You can catch them just about any way, too, especially if Alcoa is moving water (through the dams)," he said. "People can throw bucktails, Sassy Shads or troll with live bait. When the fish get thick up there, stripers will hit anything."

With the water level elevated at High Rock Lake, stripers also will be in the upper part of the Yadkin River that feeds the lake.

"It's the best opportunity of the year to go up river and catch stripers," Edwards said, "because the lake level's down only 1 1/4 feet (below full pool)."

Anglers can do an Internet search for "Alcoa lake levels" and find water levels at High Rock, Tuckertown and Badin lakes, Edwards said.

Because of this spring's variable weather - changing high and low temperatures - Edwards said "it's been a strange year, and crappie never showed a shallow bite. I believe they're spawning deep right now."

He has been catching High Rock crappie up to 1 3/4 pounds at 14- to 25-foot depths.

"They're out there right now on deeper brush," he said. "I like to slow-troll curly-tail jigs, but a lot of people are dropping minnow-tipped jigs down into deep brush."

Abbotts, Flat Swamp and Panther creeks are prime areas to find deep crappie now.

The odd weather patterns this year also have caused catfish to suspend.

"Catfish are suspended in the water column and crappie fishermen are catching them, while people fishing for them are going underneath them," Edwards said. "Crappie fishermen running baits 5 to 6 feet off the bottom have been catching catfish."

Largemouth fishing is slow right now as bass make the transition from spawning at shallow beds. They should become more active near the end of the month.