Fishing report remains hopeful for South Carolina’s waterways

December 27, 2013

COLUMBIA — The following information is provided from Check the site for recent updates and detailed reports. DHEC Fish Consumption Advisories:

Freshwater Report — Mountains Area

Lake Jocassee

Black Bass: Fair. The baitfish should continue to bunch up tighter and tighter and the bass action should continue to improve until temperatures get cold. Trout: Slow. The trout bite has been slow ever since the rain caused levels to rise rapidly and dirtied the water. November is traditionally a tough month but this month has been even tougher than usual. Try trolling minnows and spoons around 80 feet deep.

Lake Keowee

Largemouth and Spotted Bass: Slow to fair. Guide Brad Fowler reports that Lake Keowee bass fishing is pretty erratic right now, with some fish in the 15-20 foot range and others in 60 feet of water. Before the very cold snap there was also some schooling activity. The bait that the fish are keying on has been small threadfin shad. Overall the best patterns have been fishing a Scrounger head/fluke combination and fishing a finesse/ doodle worm on a drop shot. For schooling fish Spooks have been the best bet on top.

Lake Hartwell

Striped and Hybrid Bass: Slow to fair. Captain Bill Plumley reports that striper fishing has improved significantly on the lakes. Fish are scattered and they have been found out in the middle on the main lake and up the major rivers and creeks including the Seneca, Tugaloo and 6 and 20 Creek. Most fish are being caught trolling umbrella rigs and free lines right now, and there is less action on down lines. Crappie: Fair to good. Captain Bill Plumley reports that crappie fishing continues to improve. Fish are being caught right over the top of brush in 25 feet of water with minnows and jigs about 15-20 feet down. There also continues to be some action around bridges at night.

Lake Russell

Black Bass: Fair to good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that fish have moved into a traditional late fall/winter pattern, and most species are grouped up in about 30 feet of water around bait schools. The best locations are in the creeks along the edge of the channel, but the key is to locate schools of shad. Spotted and largemouth bass can be caught on jigging spoons and drop shot rigs. To target largemouth it’s a good idea to head for the trees and fish around standing timber in about 30-50 feet of water. Crawl soft plastics through the tops of trees and let them fall to 15-20 feet. Crappie/ perch: Fair to good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that crappie and perch are keyed around the same shad schools that the bass are on, but the crappie action has been a little slower although a few can be caught. White perch have been biting well on minnows fished on drop shot rigs, and soon yellow perch should start to feed well, too. Crappie have pretty much moved off of the shallow brush piles where they could be caught a few weeks ago.

Lake Thurmond

Crappie: Very good. Captain William Sasser reports that crappie fishing continues to be very strong around brush piles 15-18 feet deep in 20-25 feet of water. Fishing the Georgia Little River in the backs of coves has been good, and minnows have been the best bait. White Perch: Very good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that at the top of Clark’s Hill big schools of white perch are being found on the bottom in about 22 feet of water. Some yellow perch are also mixed in as well as small striper, but the white perch sizes and numbers have been excellent. Minnows have been the best bait. Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good. Captain William Sasser reports that striper can be found way back in most or all of the major creeks. Fish are fairly shallow, and pulling planer boards and free-lines in 22-25 feet has been productive. Captain Sasser’s boats have been using a 1/8 ounce egg sinker and about 20 feet of line between the board and the bait. Fishing has been good in the Amity area, and the same pattern has been strong in the upper part of the lake below the Russell Dam.

Lake Wylie

Catfish: Good. Captain Rodger Taylor reports that fishing for channels and blues has been strong over the past few weeks. Blues and channels are mixed together around the deep flats, but the blues seem to be especially keyed in on depth changes. They are holding in small schools near the river drops or humps with sharp inclines as well as at the mouths of major creeks bordering deep flats. Largemouth Bass: Slow. FLW Professional and Guide Matt Arey reports that bass fishing has been much tougher than usual and tournament weights have been way down on Lake Wylie. Fish are starting to get bunched up around deeper channel swings and in their traditional winter haunts, but basically they are still scattered and won’t tighten up until temperatures drop further. Bass are 100% focused on shad right now.

Midlands area

Lake Wateree

Largemouth bass: Good. Right now, main lake rock and docks are the ticket. Fish shallow to medium depth Crankbaits and jigs. A shakey head trick worm will work as well. The grass is dying off, so that bite is pretty much dead.

Lake Greenwood

Largemouth Bass: Fair to good. Veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter reports that bass fishing has been pretty good on Lake Greenwood, and at times it has taken some big weights to win recent tournaments. Fish are starting to move into the backs of creeks, but they are not there yet. For now the best pattern is fishing jigs around docks in the middle part of the lake, concentrating on 3-5 feet of water. Catfish: Fair to good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that the channel catfish bite on Lake Greenwood is consistent right now, but the average size of fish continues to be small this year. Drifting in 18-35 feet along the old river channel has been most productive, and fish have also been caught in some of the bigger feeder creek channels on the lower end of the lake.

Lake Monticello

Catfish: Good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that the fishing for big fish has been really consistent the last few weeks, and this year there have also been good numbers of teenage-sized fish that help pass the time between bites from the big ones. Most baitfish are holding in the 40-60 foot range, and in that range and a little deeper the majority of the big fish have been found. It’s not always necessary to fish around large schools of baitfish, but often it is an indicator that feeding cats are also present. Both anchoring on and drifting across ledges are working equally well.

Lake Murray

Striped bass: Fair to good. Lake World reports that striper have moved up the lake and are mostly being found above Dreher Island. Fish are not all the way up the rivers yet but they are moving that way. The most productive patterns have been fishing down-lines from the surface down to 30 feet, free-lining herring and trolling bucktails. There has been some schooling activity, and the birds are starting to show up and point the way to the fish. Catfish: Good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that the bite has been very consistent on Murray recently. Drifting with cut herring over main lake humps that top out at 30-50 feet has been most productive, but the productive zone will vary from day to day as fish change areas and feeding habits frequently. For the most part the catch has been good numbers of big channel catfish, but there have been bonus blues and flatheads mixed in from time to time.

Santee Cooper System

Bream: Good. Captain Steve English reports that bream fishing continues to be pretty strong in the canal, although fish may be starting to move out into deeper water. Bream fishing has also been good around brushpiles, with the best concentrations of fish 12-16 feet down over the top of brush in 24-30 feet of water. Crappie: Good. Captain Steve English reports that crappie can be caught around brush, with the best action in 32-40 feet of water. Fish minnows about 18-22 feet deep. Captain English has found that the crappie fishing is much better in the upper lake right now. Captain Jim Glenn reports that in addition to the brush pattern crappie have also been caught in good numbers in the bigger creeks on Lake Marion. Folks have had success fishing from docks and piers during late evening or from daylight until around 9 o’clock or so. Fishing some lighted docks at night has been good as well. Striped Bass: Fair. Captain Jim Glenn reports that overall striper fishing is fair, although by most accounts there are not many keeper fish being caught. There is some schooling activity when folks cast jigs and spoons to visible fish. Drifting live herring or free-lining is also producing some stripers. In the Cooper River some fish are feeding around grass beds, as well as at the traditional mouths of the rice fields on the dropping tide.