Lake Greenwood water levels are down to 434.84 (full pool is 440.0) and water temperatures are back in the lower 50s. The lake is still very dirty and they have been pulling a lot of water through the lake.
Lake Greenwood water conditions remain about the same, save for a few degrees colder, and veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that bass remain in a shallow pattern. Most anglers are still fishing a crankbait in shallow, rocky areas. Alabama rigs, usually so popular at this time of year, are still worth throwing but just not as good in the dirty conditions. You can also try a spinnerbait particularly during warming trends.
Follow the birds to locate fish, and continue to keep your eyes open for schooling striped bass.
Lake Russell water levels have dropped a little below full pool to about 474.75 (full pool is 475.00) and water temperatures are down to about 51 degrees. As the lake has come down it is clearing, and the floating logs and other debris are gone. Although the main lower lake is not quite clear conditions are more normal, with the creeks more stained and the main lake clearing the closer you get to the dam.
Winter bass fishing patterns are also normalizing on Lake Russell, and Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that already he has started to catch fish deeper in as much as 50 feet of water. They are starting to get closer to the bottom, and he is optimistic that this next blast of cold air will put fish into even more of a traditional, deep winter pattern. Fishing drop shot rigs on the main lake has been the best bet. They are also catching some fish throwing a shakey-head worm around points.
Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) is still finding a mixed bag of species in about 38 feet of water, including schools of spotted bass, yellow perch, white perch, and the occasional crappie and hybrid bass. He is still targeting them with minnows on a drop shot rig, concentrating more on the creeks.
Striped bass have moved a little deeper in the last week, and the best pattern is looking for birds and then casting Alabama rigs although pulling herring will also work. Fish can be off the banks out to 40 or more feet of water.
Lake Thurmond water levels are down to 327.69 (full pool is 330.00) and while the lake is starting to clear the water is still stained to muddy. Water temperatures are around 49 or 50 degrees.
After some tough bass fishing trips tournament angler Josh Rockefeller of Augusta reports that they have found better action again, including an 18-plus-pound sack that won a recent open tournament. The bite has been uncharacteristically shallow, and they are catching fish by throwing a Buckeye Jigging Blade in the clearest water they can find. Fish seem to be relating to points adjacent to ditches, and they have found the best action in about a foot and a half of water. There is 20-30 feet of water nearby, however.
Following the loons is still a great way to locate fish, and they will keep you from fishing dead water. Cloudy conditions have been more productive than sunny ones, but on sunny days you can throw a crankbait later in the day. They have not found a deep bite since the lake got muddy.
On the striper and hybrid front, William Sasser Guide Service (864-333-2000) reports that they are still catching fish from 15-20 feet deep down to the bottom in about 30 feet of water, but instead of catching some of the fish back in the creeks all the action seems to be in the mouths now. Down-lines are working well but you can also pull free-lines and planer boards. As with the bass, bird activity is showing where the bass are and the bite is overall pretty steady. Most of the action remains concentrated up the lake and out the river arms. Overall the fishing remains very good.
The crappie bite has picked up, and William Sasser Guide Service reports that they have been catching fish near submerged timber in the South Carolina Little River. Trolling jigs about 10-12 feet deep in 20-25 feet of water has been the best pattern.
The bite for big catfish remains highly inconsistent, and Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that locating the big blues from one day to the next remains very tricky. Baitfish can be found from a few feet down to 60 feet of water, which means that there are fish from the mouth of the creeks all the way to the back as well as around main lake humps and points.
Under the circumstances the best approach is still to cover more water than usual, and anchoring on highly travelled areas for 30-45 minutes and then moving on if there are no bites is the best pattern.