Trout: Fair. Fish can be caught from the surface down to 50 feet by anglers fishing trolling spoons and shiners; trolling large shiners seems to be the best way to avoid small fish. The bite should continue to improve for the next few months.
Black Bass: Fair. Fishing is day to day, but good fish can be found in pockets off the main lake, and trout are mixed in with bass. Fishing under schools of bait is also a good bet. Surface activity is being reported and bass will take a lure that thrown right on their head after they show themselves. Red Eye Shad, Float-n-fly rigs and jerkbaits will all catch fish.
Largemouth and Spotted Bass: Fair to good. Catching spotted bass on the lower end of the lake using shakey head worms in 25 feet of water. Also some bass on Carolina rigged worms fished off main lake points in 25-30 feet of water. Watermelon seed color has been working.
Striped and Hybrid Bass: Fair to good. Striper action has been hit or miss recently. There have been some very good days and on other days the fish are harder to catch. For best results free line gizzard shad or large herring up the Seneca, Tugaloo or 26 Mile Creek. Look for birds and find the fish.
Largemouth Bass: Fair. Fish are spread out on Hartwell, but anglers should key on long deep coves and pockets. The major creeks are good places to fish as long as deep water can be found nearby. Jigs, shakey head worms and crankbaits are all working.
Catfish: Fair. Fish cut bait in 15-30 feet of water up creeks that have some water flowing into them.
Largemouth and Spotted Bass: Good. Catch bass mid-lake in 25-35 feet of water just off the main channel. The key is fishing near the schools of bait. Jigging spoons are the artificial lures of choice and minnows will also catch fish. 80% of the bass caught have been spotted bass, but largemouths are also mixed in as well as other species. The best fishing seems to come in the middle of the day when the sun has been on the water for several hours.
Perch and crappie: Good. Lots of white perch, yellow perch and crappie caught around schools of bait in 30-35 feet of water. Fish medium minnows just off the bottom and expect a mixed bag with some bass and catfish thrown in, too.
Striped and Hybrid Bass: Fair. Striped and hybrid bass are feeding up the Little River arms around Big Heart Creek, Germany Creek and Holiday Park. Follow the birds to locate fish and down line live herring in 30 feet of water.
Crappie: Good. Crappie are feeding 15 feet down around brushpiles in 28-35 feet of water. Minnow and jigs will both work.
Bream and perch: Good. Below the Savannah River Dam, deep holes in the river are holding good numbers of yellow perch and bream as well as crappie. Worms and minnows fished near the bottom will both catch fish.
Catfish: Good. Anchoring near channel ledges in 5-15 feet of water allows cut bait to be cast out at a variety of depths - some days deep is better, and some days shallow. Channel catfish and flathead fishing usually slow in the winter, but channel catfish can still be caught around warm water discharges.
White perch and crappie: Good. White perch and crappie can be found together in 15-18 feet of water. Fish live minnows just off the bottom.
Largemouth Bass: Fair. Big fish can be caught in the shallows where they have pushed bait into the backs of the larger creeks. The fish can be very shallow, as shallow as one or two feet, but the key is to find the schools of bait. #5 or #7 Shad Raps and flat crankbaits will both work. Some bass can also be found deeper around humps and drop-offs on the river channel.
Lake Greenwood: (unchanged from Dec. 29)
Catfish: Good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that drifting is the best way to put quantities of fish in the boat, while anchoring may lead to higher quality fish. The fish are holding very close and down in the river channel, and the upper half of the lake where the channel ranges from 20-30 feet has been most productive. Cut herring, gizzard and threadfin shad have been the most effective baits.
Crappie: Fair. Sportsman's Friend reports that spider rig trolling in 6-15 feet of water has been most productive. Jigs have been outfishing minnows recently.
Lake Monticello: (unchanged from Dec. 29)
Catfish: Good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that the big fish bite has been pretty good but should get even better in the coming weeks. Some big fish have been caught free line drifting and Santee-style drifting, but anchoring has been the most effective way to catch a trophy. 35-60 feet has been a good depth range, and some days the fish can get in a very narrow band such as 55-60 feet - and fishing at any other depth can be a waste of time. Finding schools of bait balls on your depth finder is important, but finding bait balls that are smaller and more broken up (meaning fish are feeding on them) is more important. A variety of bottom structure has been productive, including deep flats, vertical ledges and everything in between. Gizzard shad, white perch, and crappie have all been good baits.
Lake Wateree: (unchanged from Dec. 29)
Crappie: Good to very good. Will Hinson of the Southern Crappie Tournament Trail reports that crappie fishing remains strong on Lake Wateree. The best bite is from Dutchman's Creek out towards the mid-river and up towards the dam at the top of the lake. Fish are all along the old river channel, and some days they are holding on top of the river ledge in 12-13 feet of water and other days they are flat on the bottom in 18-20 feet of water (particularly if the sun is high and bright). Fishing a maximum of 1-2 feet off the bottom has been a key, and both minnows and jigs are catching fish. Fish Stalker Jigs in Ugly Green and Pearl White have been working.
Lake Murray: (unchanged from Dec. 29)
Catfish: Good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that the drift bite has been good and both blues and channel catfish have been feeding well. The best action has been in 30-40 feet of water, whether that depth is on a flat, a hump rising out of deeper water, or up a feeder creek in that range. Channels have been the bulk of the catch on flats, with blue catfish orienting to ledges near the flats and on the main river channel. Cut herring bas been the best bait, and a lot of striper are also being picked up.
Striped Bass: Good. Lake World reports that fish migrated up the lake towards the river a few weeks ago, and now many of the fish seem to have come back down and spread out along the north side of the lake. A variety of techniques will catch fish, including free lining live herring, downlining about 20 feet deep, trolling bucktails and fishing cut bait on the bottom. Be sure to look out for the birds and be ready to throw spoons and bucktails at schooling fish.
Shellcracker: Good. Lake World reports that the shellcracker bite is surprisingly good, including in very shallow water. Look for fish around points and fish worms on the bottom in 2-10 feet of water.
Crappie: Fair to good. Lake World reports that anglers are having success trolling minnows and jigs up the Little River and Big Saluda.
Largemouth Bass: No new report. Veteran bass angler Doug Lown reports that areas with rocky bottoms are producing much better than soft bottoms, probably because the food is there. Early morning working shakey head worms off secondary points is a good bet, and after the sun starts to get up fishing a worm or jig around docks may produce. After water temperatures drop further the deep bite should get strong.
Santee Cooper System
Bream: Good. There is a strong bream bite over deep brush piles in the 22-24 foot range on crickets and nightcrawlers.
Catfish: Good. Cooling water temperatures have pushed large schools of baitfish into deep water. The best technique is to fish suspended cut baits in the middle of the bait schools or on the bottom beneath them. Depths can be up to 55 or 60 feet of water. Drifting or anchoring will both work, but anchoring may be the preferred method, especially if it is windy, for staying on top of the fish. A variety of cut baits will catch fish. Largemouth bass: Fair. As temperatures drop the fishing will slow down. Most fish are around shallow structure with plastic worms, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and the Original Chatter Baits.Jan. 5
Saltwater Fishing Trends:
(Sporadic reporting due to winter conditions)
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.
Cherry Grove Pier reports that fishing has slowed. Whiting, spots and a few flounder have been caught.
Trout: Very good. Perry's Bait and Tackle reports that trout are biting very well around the Murrells Inlet Jetties and especially in the backs of creeks. Around the jetties most anglers are fishing live bait under a float rig, and in the creeks anglers are working the edges of oyster bars for a couple of hours either side of low tide. On the rising or falling tide fish can also be caught against the grass. Live shrimp are the best bait.
Spottail Bass: Good to very good. Perry's reports that bull red drum are still being caught off Huntington Beach, Garden City and the Surfside Beach ledges on cut bait offerings. A few slot-sized fish are being caught in the surf, but most of the fish are 30-40 plus inches. Live mud minnows, live finger mullet, live shrimp and a variety of artificial lures will all work.
Surf and Pier report: Some snapper bluefish are still being caught off the beach, and whiting are being caught off the piers - especially at night. A few spots and croaker are still around.
Spottail bass: Very good. Haddrell's Point reports that redfish continue to feed very heavily. Live bait is sure-fire, but this is also the time of year when artificials can be just as effective. Gulp! Shrimp and Jerkshad, Zman PaddlerZ, DOA Shrimp, Chatterbaits and more will all catch fish. Fish are schooling on the flats at low tide, and there are also plenty of redfish feeding around shell points and creek mouths on moving tides.
Sheepshead: Good to very good. Haddrell's Point reports that sheepshead fishing is still very strong from the jetties to most any bridge pilings to docks with plenty of barnacle growth. This is the time when live shrimp under a float can be just as good as fiddler crabs, which are still hard to beat.
Folly Beach Pier reports that fishing has slowed. A few whiting, bluefish, and red drum have been caught off the pier.
No new report