Friday, November 1, 2013

Freshwater Fishing Trends for SC

The latest in freshwater fishing trends for South Carolina’s Lakes.


Lake Jocassee

Trout: Fair to good. Captain Steve Pietrykowski reports that Lake Jocassee trout fishing remains pretty strong, but if anything the fish have gotten even deeper. The best bite continues to be occurring between about 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., with the fishing not as good first thing. Fish are still feeding best in the 80-100 foot deep range, and trolling both Apex and Sutton spoons and live shiners is working well. Fish slowly at trolling speeds of less than two miles per hour.

Lake Keowee

Largemouth and Spotted Bass: Slow to fair. Guide Brad Fowler reports that fishing has slowed down on Lake Keowee and catching bass has gotten pretty tough. The best pattern has been fishing topwater lures over shallow, rocky points early in the morning, and after that bite dies off fishing gets difficult. The best pattern once the sun is up has been trying to pick up occasional fish on Carolina rigs, drop shot rigs and shakey head worms in 18-30 feet of water around depth changes and rock.

Lake Hartwell
Crappie: Fair to good. Captain Bill Plumley reports that crappie fishing has improved, with numerous reports of pretty good catches as the water begins to cool. The best action has been coming 12-15 feet down in 20 feet of water around brush and bridges. Both minnows and jigs have been catching fish.


Lake RussellStriped bass: Good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that the lower end of the lake continues to be producing above average for this time of year, and right now as many fish are being caught on the lower end as at the top of the lake. In the lower part of the lake the best pattern is fishing down lined herring 30-40 feet deep in fairly deep water, while on the upper end of the lake below the Hartwell Dam the best pattern is free lining live herring along the river channel.

Black Bass: Good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that bass fishing is above average for this time of year, and spotted bass are biting well around brush piles about 25 feet deep. Drop shot rigs are working very well. Spots are also schooling in the morning on threadfin shad around main lake points in the main lake. They will take small topwater plugs, but the best rig is a popper-type topwater bait with a 1/16th ounce white jig tied off on couple of feet of line behind it. For largemouth bass the best pattern is to head up the creeks and fish a lipless crankbait in the channel where it drops off in the 5-10 foot range.

Lake Thurmond Black bass: Slow. Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that bass fishing remains slow on the lake, but there has been some open water schooling activity with some fish caught on small flukes and jerkbaits up the Savannah River. The other main pattern is fishing lures such as Mop Jigs in the deep hydrilla in 15-25 feet of water. Fish should start to move soon but for now bass are basically still in a summer pattern.

Lake Wylie Catfish: Slow to fair. Captain Rodger Taylor reports that the bite has been inexplicably tough. Try drifting or anchoring cut white perch around flats or humps in 30-40 feet of water.

Lake Greenwood
Largemouth Bass: Tough. Veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter reports that bass fishing remains pretty tough on Lake Greenwood, with some fish up shallower and others scattered out deep. However, it is getting to the time of year when a good bet is running the banks with floating worms or a buzzbait.

Lake Monticello
Captain Chris Simpson reports the big fish bite on Monticello has been pretty consistent lately like the main lake, deep water points and humps. He’s had equal results by both anchoring and Santee drifting. The most productive depth ranges have been from 40 to 65 feet with cut gizzard shad, but as always small pieces of cut herring will catch a bunch of small ones if that’s what you want.

Lake Wateree
Catfish: Very good. Captain Rodger Taylor reports that the drift and anchor bite are both very good on Lake Wateree. The blue catfish bite has been strong on the shallow flats in 8-12 feet of water, and while fish have not always been huge there have been some very good numbers taken. Cut gizzard shad has been a good bait, and cast netting in Wateree Creek in the morning has yielded good numbers of 4-6 inch gizzard shad.

Crappie: Fair. Veteran tournament angler Will Hinson reports that crappie are starting to make a seasonal change on Lake Wateree. While some fish can still be caught around brush in the 16-18 foot range, more fish are now up shallower around brush in 10-12 feet of water. A few fish are also around docks. Crappie are following the threadfin shad, and it’s a good bet that crappie can be caught tight-lining in areas where schools of shad are seen on the surface in the morning. Fish are all over the lake, and the best areas vary from day to day depending on factors such as wind direction.

Lake Murray
Largemouth Bass: Slow. It’s been tough going for bass lately. There are some reports that with cooling temperatures bass have moved into a transition period where they can be caught shallow or deep. Early in the morning, try shallow cover such as rocky points, grass, and laydowns using topwater, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and worms. Once the sun gets up, docks and deeper points/underwater humps may yield a largemouth using plastic worms on Texas rig, shakeyhead, and Carolina rig.


Largemouth bass: Very slow. Captain Jimmie Hair reports that the bass fishing is very slow although a few fish can be caught around cypress trees on soft plastics. A few fish have also been caught on Rattle Traps fished in the creeks, which indicates that cooling water temperatures may be starting to bring a few fish into the creeks. Captain Hair is doing most of his fishing in the swamp above the I-95 bridge around Stump Hole and Low Falls.

  - Courtesy of the SC Dept of Natural Resources

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