Lake Greenwood water levels are at 438.93 (full pool is 440.0) and water temperatures remain in the mid- to upper-80s.
The dog days of summer are here, but SC BASS team boater Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that the offshore bass bite remains pretty good around brush in 18-20 feet of water in the main lake or at the mouths of creeks. With the deep fish getting beat on hard big worms and jigs are working better than crankbaits.
There has not been a lot of action shallow, but based on limited reports it may be possible to find a frog bite up the river. Other than that the shallow bite on the main part of the lake has pretty much gone away in the heat.
Lake Hartwell water levels are still very full at 660.34 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures are still in the mid-80s. Clarity is very good.
It was a weird period for striper and hybrid bass a week or two ago, and Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) reports that after lake levels moved from 664.5 to merely full pool fishing was hit-or-miss for a little while. However, the fishing has really rebounded and catching 30 plus fish in a morning is normal again. Captain Bill is catching them 40-45 feet down off points along the main river channel, and while they are usually near the bottom sometimes they suspend over trees out in the channel. The best action is from the mid-lake to the dam, and he isn’t finding enough fish up the rivers to mess with. The best bite is early.
Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) also reports a good bite on the lake and says the best pattern for him is still fishing down-lines 2-3 feet off the bottom in 40-50 feet of water on ridges and in deep coves.
On the bass front, Guide Brad Fowler of Pendleton reports that there are several good patterns going right now. There is a decent offshore bite with topwater baits off points where fish like to suspend, and fish can also be caught in deeper brush with soft plastics. There are also plenty of fish up shallow cruising and chasing spawning bream, and if you can find the right shade lines fish will take topwater Pop-Rs or buzzbaits throughout the day. With the water still up pretty high more fish than normal are shallow.
Captain Bill hasn’t been pursuing blue catfish as they are generally out in the timber and uncatchable, but the channel catfish bite has been excellent. They have moved a bit deeper into 15-35 feet and they can be found all over the lake, including creeks and the main lake. They will eat about anything including worms, cut bait, shrimp and prepared dip baits. Flathead catfish can also be caught with live bait around brush at night.
Crappie are out in the mouth of creeks along the edge of the channel, mainly 25 to 30 feet deep over the top of natural trees that were topped off to make the lake. Use the trolling motor to hold in place and fish minnows or jigs vertically. The bridge bite is also still on.
Lake Russell water levels have been just below full pool around 474.60 (full pool is 475.00), and water temperatures range from about 85-89 depending on where you are and time of day. The water is clear.
The catfish bite remains about the best thing going on Lake Russell, and guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that straight through the summer they expect to continue to catch excellent numbers of eating-sized channel catfish in the 5-15 foot range off humps and points.
Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) also reports that his boat has been doing well with the catfish, catching them on cut herring fished all over the lake in 8-12 feet of water. However, his best success has come on flat points.
Outside of catfish, Wendell reports that it’s a fun time to take clients out because you can easily catch a mixed bag of species in a single day. On the bass front, there are some small to medium-sized bass schooling in the creeks. This is unusual as they usually don’t do this until the fall. These fish can be caught on small topwaters, small spoons and #5 Shad Raps. Wendell also reports that on main lake points you can catch fish in 18-20 feet on Spot Removers and Carolina rigs.
Jerry reports that he has found a very hot summer bass bite out over timber in 50-60 feet. The fish are suspended about 15-20 feet down, and they are catching them on live bait as well as spoons and drop shot rigs. Catching 40 or 50 fish by 10 a.m. is not uncommon.
There are two basic patterns for striped bass, and Wendell reports that at the top of the lake in the Hartwell tailrace you can catch fish pulling herring on free-lines and planer boards in the relatively shallow water. On the lower end of the lake near the Russell Dam you can catch fish on down-lines 20-30 feet down over 70-80 feet of water.
Crappie are in an unusual pattern for this time of year, and while Wendell’s boat is catching a few fish around brush more of the fish seem to be in open water related to the schools of threadfin shad. They are just off the bottom, and by marking them on electronics and then easing up on them they are catching fish with minnows fished on a drop shot rig.
Lake Thurmond water levels are at 328.79 (full pool is 330.00), and water temperatures are in the high 80s and into the 90s.
Unsurprisingly with the heat, Augusta University fishing team angler Josh Rockefeller reports that some of the best bass fishing is taking place at night right now. You can throw a big worm around docks, or a frog or buzzbait, and if you can find an area where there is a little bit cooler water and perhaps some fresh water flowing in from a creek there can be an improved bite.
There is also a decent offshore pattern, although it has slowed down from the beginning of the summer. Fish the obvious humps out in front of the dam that are surrounded by deep water and rise to 10-20 feet below the surface, or focus on long, tapering points. A ¾ ounce Buckeye Lures football mop jig or a deep diving crankbait will work, especially when there is some current. However, the better fish seem to be coming shallow.
William Sasser Guide Service (864-333-2000) reports that striped and hybrid bass are extremely aggressive from about 5:30 or 6 until 7:30 or 8 in the morning, and they can be caught 45-55 feet deep on the bottom along the edge of the channel or off the side of humps. After the hot early bite the fishing slows way down but some fish can be caught suspended 35-50 feet deep in 50-70 feet of water. The best bite is in the mid- to lower lake, or on the extreme upper end. Fish are related to both dams.
Crappie have pushed out to 18-22 feet of water, and William Sasser Guide Service reports that they can be caught on the bottom around brush piles on the main lake.
On the catfish front, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that night-time is without a doubt the best time for them, too. The preferred pattern is still anchoring on humps and points that top out around 10-30 feet with a variety of cut baits, and some bigger fish are showing up now that the spawn is winding down. There should be more big blues and flatheads caught the closer to fall it gets.