Lake Greenwood water levels are at 438.99 (full pool is 440.0) and surface water temperatures are in the upper 60s. Water clarity is normal.
There are still some bass on beds at Lake Greenwood, but veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that the spawn is winding down. You can still catch some fish back in spawning pockets, but the better late-spawning fish seem to be bedding in flat pockets just off the main lake.
One of the best patterns to catch post-spawn fish is throwing a wacky-rigged Senko around docks, and they will also take a shakey head. There is also starting to be some good topwater action early around sea walls, where you can throw a Pop-R, Devil’s Horse, or floating worm. Some good fish have also been caught in the eel grass across from the state park throwing a jig.
Lake Russell water levels are around 474.1 (full pool is 475.00), and water temperatures have spiked into the upper 60s. The lake is getting very clear although the backs are still a little stained.
The bass are spawning hard on Lake Russell, and Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that – even though it’s hard to actually see the beds with a light stain to the water – they are all over the banks. His boat has been fishing 1-3 feet of water in the backs of creeks and catching lots of 2-plus pound fish. There are probably still some fish out on main lake points, but throwing a buzzbait or Texas rig in the backs the action is so good that he has not fished anywhere else.
Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) has been fishing a similar pattern, and he has found the bass willing to eat just about any fast-moving bait. He’s been having a lot of luck retrieving a jerkbait quickly. While the bass are spawning Wendell has not seen any signs of a herring spawn yet, although it cannot be far off.
Like the bass, crappie are all over the banks on Lake Russell. Some of the fish have already spawned, while some have not. Jerry has found the most catchable fish in 1-3 feet of water, as the post-spawn fish that have pulled back out to brush usually don’t feed for a period after spawning.
In addition to casting jigs in shallow pockets, Wendell’s boat has caught fish trolling 1/32-ounce jigs in about 6-8 feet of water just outside spawning areas. From what he has seen the best females are on the banks right now.
There is not a lot of change in the striped bass pattern on Lake Russell, and Wendell reports that fish still seem to be in all of the creeks and scattered from the north end to the south of the lake. The best pattern remains to cover a lot of water and pull herring on free-lines and planer boards across as many shallow points as possible. Most of the fish they have caught have come in 4-5 feet of water. Fishing shallow points is likely to remain the best pattern for some time as when the herring begin spawning that will keep the bass in the same areas.
Lake Thurmond water levels are at 328.82 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures are in the upper 60s to lower 70s.
It’s most people’s favorite time to bass fish on Lake Thurmond, and tournament angler Josh Rockefeller of Augusta reports that right now the bite for fish schooling on spawning blueback herring is wide open. Fish are all over the points in 1-3 feet of water, and throwing gunfish, flukes and the normal baits will catch fish, including striper.
Josh has found the best action on the northern end of the lake, and when the herring first started, he was doing best in the warmest areas although that does not hold as much now. Main lake points and long, tapering points at the mouths of creeks have been the best.
As is usually the case the fish can be a little temperamental, and they are not constantly feeding. A lot of it is timing and happening to pull up on the right point when they are attacking the bait.
It’s also a pretty fantastic time to catch striped bass and hybrids on Lake Thurmond, again owing to the herring spawn. Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that lots of decent 5- to 10-pound striped bass are being caught, as well as some big fish up to the mid-30s. The ratio of striper to hybrids has been about 60/40 in the mid-lake where Chris is mainly fishing.
Because fish are up shallow eating spawning herring, pulling planer boards and free-lines across red clay points and saddles between islands and the mainland where the herring are spawning is working really well. The cut bait bite is also getting pretty good, and anchoring on the same red clay points and fan casting cut bait and live bait is doing very well. Being patient and chumming will sometimes reward you with a very big striper.
Catfish can also be caught fishing the same way, and Chris reports that 1- to 10-pound blues and channels are also in the same shallow areas. Anchoring on humps in the 20- to 35-foot range is the better pattern for bigger, but fewer, blues. Some humps and points will produce a mixed bag of striper, hybrids, blues and channel cats that can fill up a cooler quickly!