Lake Greenwood water levels are down to 437.66 (full pool is 440.0) and surface water temperatures are around 58-59 degrees. Visibility varies over the lake, and there are some unusual dynamics such as areas where the backs of creeks can be cleaner than the main lake. While the whole lake is fishable overall it is pretty dirty.
There are lots of big bass being caught on Greenwood right now, and veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that fish are moving up. While they have been relatively shallow for most of the winter because of muddy water, fish are moving even shallower and they are also heading to the very backs. Fish are moving towards spawning pockets, and they could be found off secondary points, docks, or down the gut of pockets where they will slide over to the bank to spawn. Most of the fish are in 1-8 feet of water.
A variety of baits are catching bass, including Rattle Traps, crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Jigs have also been catching some big ones, like the 7 ½ pound fish below.
Once temperatures rise a few more degrees the first round of bedding should take place.
Lake Russell water levels are around 474.6 (full pool is 475.00), and water temperatures range from about 55 to 60 in the warmest pockets. The main lake is extremely clear because they are letting so much water out of the Hartwell dam, while the backs of creeks are muddy. Halfway backs in the creeks it is a very fishable dingy.
Bass are definitely moving shallower on Lake Russell, and Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that he is now finding a lot of fish in the 10-12 foot range on points. The fish are prespawn and full of eggs, and they are eating both shakey heads and drop shots. Live bait is also working very well.
Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) concurs that fish are heading towards the banks, and he has noticed a sharp decline in the number of fish that can be caught in 18-25 feet in the creeks. He is concentrating on the creeks because about halfway back there is a good, fishable tint to the water. At the same time, he is not catching fish super shallow yet, and 5-10 feet off the sides of points has been the best depth range for him. Small, medium running crankbaits have been working well.
In the main lake, where the water is clear, he suggests fishing deeper with a drop shot or Spot Romover in 15-20 feet on points.
Catches of crappie have been pretty good, and Wendell reports that fish are staging but getting close to spawning. The big females are generally full of eggs. While a few fish can be caught around the banks in the creeks, the best way to target them is trolling jigs 6-7 feet down in 12-20 feet of water in the creeks.
The creeks are also holding a lot of striped bass and hybrids, and Wendell reports that they are biting both herring (which are easier to get than a few weeks ago) and medium minnows. Fish are holding in deep water but coming up to the surface to feed, and free lining bait or pulling big minnows on jigheads behind the boat is working. They are also catching some striper on minnows fished on a drop shot rig.
Lake Thurmond water levels are at 328.85 (full pool is 330.00) while water temperatures range from about 54-60 degrees. The lake is slightly stained.
A few weeks ago, one might have thought things would happen faster this spring, but with some cool March weather the last week or two tournament bass angler Josh Rockefeller of Augusta reports that fish have not moved out of pre-spawn mode on Lake Thurmond. In the very backs some small buck bass can be caught and there is even some schooling activity, but the better fish are still in the middle of creeks. The best depth range for fishing has been 4-8 feet of water, and recently Josh has found that the crankbait bite has dropped off while he has been catching fish on a ½ ounce chartreuse/white Buckeye Lures spinnerbait with gold willow leaf blades.
Overall catches of striper and hybrid have been pretty good recently, even though William Sasser Guide Service (706-589-5468) reports that unpredictable weather means that you need to figure them out all over again each day. In a matter of days temperatures have run the gamut from as low as 54 degrees to reportedly as high as 62 degrees, and it has the striper as confused as people about what to expect.
Overall fish seem to be coming out of the creeks, and they are being caught along the edges of the channel in the Georgia Little River and the main lake. Early in the morning the fish have typically been pushed up on blow throughs, shoals and points about 14-18 feet deep, where they can be targeted with down-lines. After the first couple of hours they are breaking up but staying dispersed in the same areas at the same depths, and targeting them with planer boards is working better.
The crappie fishing on Thurmond is good, and Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that both long-lining and tight-lining are working well. Many fish have moved shallow to their spawning areas, and some will probably go through with it during the current full moon phase. There are also still plenty of fish suspended at the mouth of creeks and coves that are aggressive. Both jigs and minnows are working.
The bite for catfish has improved, and Captain Chris reports that fishing is now fair to good. Fish are making their way shallower, but for now anchoring on humps in 10-25 feet of water is the best pattern. At night the backs of creeks have been productive when fish move shallower to feed. Cut herring and gizzard shad have both been working.