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Tuesday, March 20, 2012 7:14 AM
Lake Jocassee: (unchanged from March 8)
Trout: Good. Captain Steve Pietrykowski reports that trout have been biting well, and anglers are catching of lot of stockers as well as some keepers. The keepers are very nice fish averaging 3-5 pounds. The best depth range has been from the surface down to 50 feet, and at this time of year Captain Steve is spending most of his time fishing slowly with live bait. Large shiners have been the best option. Some fish are also being caught on spoons and crankbaits fished on downriggers and off planer boards, and a good March appears to be in the cards.
Largemouth and Spotted Bass: Fair. Guide Brad Fowler reports that fish are still deep on Lake Keowee, and it has only taken about 11 pounds to win recent tournaments. Fishing around very deep structure in the 60-65 foot range, or deeper, with drop shot rigs or shakey head worms should catch fish for a little while longer. Fish should be beginning to make their way shallower, particularly in the vicinity of the warm water discharge.
Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good. Captain Bill Plumley reports that striper have also moved into the creeks where they are feeding on very small threadfin shad. Accordingly, Captain Bill's boat is fishing with very small herring and even crappie minnows in 4-30 feet of water. It's also worth pulling some large gizzard shad to entice a big striper.
Crappie: Good. Captain Bill Plumley reports that crappie are feeding well over brush in 7-25 feet of water. Some of the best action is coming 8 feet down over brush in 20-25 feet. Water temperatures are warm and anytime now fish should move shallow to spawn.
Catfish: Fair to good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that catfish action has improved, and anchoring on shallow main lake points has turned into a strong pattern. Fan casting cut bait in 15-20 feet of water will catch channels.
Striped bass: Fair. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that striper and bass are still being caught together over deep water timber on small umbrella rigs, and right now fish are taking the jigs better than live bait. The south end of the lake has offered the best striper action. Pulling big gizzard shad is always an option.
Lake Thurmond: (unchanged from March 8)
Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good to very good. Captain William Sasser reports that stripers and especially hybrids have made their way in front of the dam where they are feeding very well. Anglers can tie up to the cable or fish the coves proximate to the dam with down lines 20-30 feet deep. Pre-dawn and early morning hours, or dusk and after dark, are both strong times. Hybrids and especially stripers can be caught fishing in the creeks, including Shriver's and the South Carolina Little River, pulling herring on free lines and planer boards. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that at the top of Clarks Hill near the junction of the Broad and the Savannah his boat has found some excellent action for stripers, hybrids and white perch. Jigging spoons and minnows have been catching a mixed bag of all three species.
Black bass: Good. Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that fish have pulled up into pockets and are getting ready to spawn. This full moon or the next new moon should find a lot of fish on the beds, and right now fish are very active and willing to chase lures. Spinnerbaits, Mop Jigs, and Spot Removers are all working well. The lake is cooler up the Savannah River than down the lake, and so the spawn will move slower there. Eastern banks also warm up faster and so the action is hotter on that side right now.
Crappie: Good. Captain William Sasser reports that crappie are still being caught under docks, and fishing small jigs 4-5 feet deep is a strong pattern. Fish can also be found around brush in the backs of creeks, and in fast-warming Buffalo Creek fish have been spawning for about a week.
Largemouth Bass: Good. FLW Professional and Guide Matt Arey reports that water temperatures never really got below the 50s this winter, and so fish and bait fish are extremely spread out. Right now some fish are scattered out at staging areas in the front half of creeks, including docks at the front of spawning coves and secondary points. Others are holding at the mouths of creeks where they are feeding on bait before they move up towards spawning. Shallow running crankbaits such as Shad Raps and jigs are effective for fish at staging areas, and fish feeding on bait at the mouths of creeks can be caught on Alabama rigs, jerkbaits, grubs and blade runner-type baits. Matt predicts a very good spring with fish at various stages of a "trickle spawn" through May.
Catfish: Fair to good. Captain Rodger Taylor reports that it looks and feels like an early spring has arrived, but the fish are not totally on board yet. Fishing is at best only fair in the creeks, and bait is very scattered in the major creeks on the lower end of Lake Wylie. Drifting cut bait for blue catfish in the river channel in 35-40 feet of water is still the best bet, but anglers need to be willing to move in order to locate fish. During warmer periods fish typically spread out shallower and move into the front of creeks.
Lake Greenwood: (unchanged from March 8)
Catfish: Good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that the drift bite has been strong for channel cats in the upper half of the lake. 5-18 feet is the best depth, with some fish being caught as shallow as 2 feet. Usually by mid-day fish will pull out of the channel and move onto the flats, but if fish aren't on the flats check the river channel again. Cut shad and herring are working the best.
Crappie: Good. Sportsman's Friend reports that crappie have moved into shallower brush in 4-6 feet of water, where they are taking minnows and jigs. Crappie are not on shallow docks quite yet, but they are getting there.
Largemouth Bass: Fair to good. Sportsman's Friend reports that with changing weather patterns the fishing is variable from day to day. Fish have moved up and then backed off and may be moving up again, but 8-10 feet has been a pretty steady depth range. Look for fish to go shallower on the next warm front. Crankbaits and worms have both been catching fish around wood cover and docks, and Alabama rigs have been catching a large number of fish.
Lake Monticello: (unchanged from March 8)
Catfish: Good. The bite for blue catfish in the 10-20 pound range is still good, and for patient anglers big fish are still available. Many shad and catfish remain glued to the bottom, and the most productive depth range has been 50-65 feet. Anchor around shad schools that are not tight to the bottom and slightly broken up, which indicates that fish are feeding on them.
Largemouth Bass: Fair to good. Captain Chris Heinning reports that bass fishing has improved and fish are being found shallow. Bass can still be caught around rocky points and docks, and some fish are starting to show up in the grass. Bass can be caught on crankbaits, jigs with trailers, and shakey head worms. Work depths of 6 feet or less.
Crappie: Fair to good. Will Hinson of the Southern Crappie Tournament Trail reports that fish have started moving shallower, and crappie can be found in the backs of all the major creeks including Singleton, Wateree, Dutchman's, June, and Colonel Creek. Fish are suspended in 3-9 feet of water, and both tight-lining and long-lining with jigs and minnows will catch fish. Fish are not spawning yet, but they are very close as males are already being caught around the edges of the banks.
Striped Bass: Good to very good. Lake World reports that fish have moved out of the rivers and scattered out from the mid-lake to the dam. Schooling activity is the best that it has been in 7 or 8 years, and anglers should catch fish by throwing their favorite plug at schooling fish. Another good pattern is pulling free lines off points in 35 feet of water, and cut bait fishing off points is beginning to heat up.
Crappie: Good. Captain Brad Taylor reports that spring crappie fishing is here. Tight-lining in 8-10 feet of water up the rivers is a good bet, and if you are not catching fish or catching small ones it's a good idea to move shallower. A good general rule for late winter and early spring is to move shallower if you aren't finding good fish. Around Dreher Island fish have been a little deeper, and fishing the 12-15 foot range has been best. Very soon fish should spawn.
Santee Cooper System
Striped Bass: Fair to good. Captain Jim Glenn reports that striped bass fishermen will begin to look for schooling fish in both lakes. As the water warms fishermen will begin to target the upper reaches of the Santee, Wateree and Congaree Rivers for striped bass, and fresh cut and live herring will be the preferred baits in the rivers.
Crappie: Fair. Captain Steve English reports that crappie are moving into an early spring pattern, and particularly in the upper lake some good fish have been caught in shallow water. Early and late fish will be in shallower water, around the edges of creeks, grass and trees.
Saltwater Fishing Trends:
Little River - Grand Strand - Charleston - Beaufort - Tides - S.C. marine recreational fishing regulations (PDF file). Saltwater Fishing License site.
Fishing trends courtesy www.SCFishingReport.com. Check the site for recent updates and detailed reports.
Haddrell's Point reports some wahoo up around the southwest banks and Georgetown hole areas. Solid reports of blackfin tuna continue to come in from around the triple ledge and deli area down to the south.
Redfish: Good. Unseasonably mild winter weather, water temps are more comparable to April, rather than March. This has caused the large, tight schools of flats reds to scatter and break up into smaller packs. Live and fresh cut bait has been out producing artificials, although scented plastics, spoons, and spinners will work on days when they are willing to chase.
Trout: Good. Creel surveys and angler feedback are all pointing towards a much better trout population than last year's. A good number of smaller fish are being caught in the deeper holes with structure in the feeder creeks off the main river.
Sheepshead: Good. Fishing remains strong in the area around docks with heavy growth on their pilings. The lower half of the tide is more productive. Fiddler crabs, and soft baits such as oysters, clams, and mussells are all producing heavy catches.
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