Freshwater Fishing Trends - Oct. 29
Fishing trends courtesy www.SCFishingReport.com. Check the site for recent updates and detailed reports.
- Trout: Guide Sam Jones reports that Lake Jocassee trout are still surprisingly deep for this late in the year, and on recent trips he has been catching fish in 100+ (110, 115) feet of water. Main lake surface water temperatures are still in the 71 degree range and Jocassee trout fishermen are looking for 65, so they are having to fish very deep. Fish should start to come up anytime now but the temperatures will have to drop – a couple of weeks ago they caught some as shallow as 85 feet, but everything since has been deeper. Right now Sam is concentrating his efforts on the dam and rock quarry areas out in the big water, and he is having the most success trolling large minnows on downriggers. Every now and then they will pick up a fish on a spoon, but right now the catch ratio is about 4:1 in favor of minnows over spoons. In addition to some nice rainbow trout they are also picking up some spotted and even smallmouth bass in the super deep water.
- Bass: Good. Guide Brad Fowler of Pendleton reports that fish are feeding heavily and there is significant schooling activity going on all over the lake, both over shallow water and over deep water. Anglers can certainly throw topwater lures to catch fish feeding on top, but they may have better luck fishing baits that run just under the surface. Jerkbaits and flukes are both good choices. In addition to schooling fish, right now the deeper bite is getting much better. Fish are starting to group up well and move into some of their cooler weather haunts, and drop-shotting around structure in 20-60 feet of water is working well. Shakey head worms, Carolina rigs and jigging spoons will also catch fish.
- Catfish: Good. Guide Bill Plumley reports that the channel catfish bite continues to be strong, and the fish remain in the 15-40 foot range. They continue to feed well. Anglers can either drift or anchor, and dip bait (anchor fishing), night crawlers and cut herring are all working. At night flathead catfish can be caught on live perch and bream, but the bigger blue catfish are out in the deep timber and very difficult to target. A few small blues continue to show up while fishing for channels.
- Crappie: Fair. Guide Bill Plumley reports that a few crappie continue to be caught over brush in the 25 foot range, but angling activity is still light. If anglers can find the right brush water temperatures are getting right where anglers should be able to load the boat using either jigs or minnows.
- Striper: Fair to good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that this is a transitional period for striper, and not a lot of people are targeting them right now. Fish have been on the lower end, where some should still be, but they are making their way towards the mid-lake where they will be very soon. The key to fishing for striper right now is to pull planer boards and free-lined herring in the creeks, as opposed to the main channel, and cover a lot of water.
- Catfish: Fair. Guide Jerry Kotal reports that he has not done a ton of catfishing recently. However, the fish that he has caught have been in 20-25 feet of water on the edge of the creek channel. A variety of fresh cut baits will work.
Lake Thurmond: (unchanged from Oct. 22)
- Crappie: Fair to good. Captain William Sasser reports that with the water cooling a bit the crappie bite is improving. Not a lot of fish are being caught yet, but some really good sized crappie are biting. The best bet is fishing in the backs of tributaries abound 15 feet down with minnows over tree tops/ brush in about 25 feet of water.
- Catfish: Good. It’s a great time to catch numbers of catfish as well as quality fish on Lake Wylie. Captain Rodger Taylor reports that over 6 or 7 recent trips his boat has been hammering the fish, and they have been catching 20-35 pound cats regularly. He rates the bite at “very good.” Drifting has been most effective because fish are fairly scattered but grouped up in little pods, and when anglers come across them there is often more than one fish caught. Both the creeks and the main channel have been producing, with the fish holding in 25-40 feet of water on deep water ledges. In the creeks Rodger’s boat is catching about a 50/50 mix of blues and channels, with a lot of above average 4-6 pound channels and some fish pushing 7 pounds. In the main channel the percentage is more like 80/20 or even 90/10 blues to channels, and that number will only go up as temperatures drop.
- Catfish: Good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that now that the lake is calming down after the flood the bite is improving. Drifting with herring and gizzard shad is working pretty well, with most fish in the 10-25 foot range. Main lake points and humps are the best areas to target right now, and it’s worth checking feeder creeks. Some days the fish will be traveling in and out of those and at those times they are feeding and readily caught.
- Bass: Good. Tournament angler Andy Wicker reports that this is an exciting time for bass fishing on Lake Monticello. Much of the year, Lake Monticello bass fishing revolves around a deep bite, but for the next month or so Andy says this is a strong period for shallow water fishing on the lake. Early in the morning he likes to throw a Zara Spook off points, and he reports that most days this bite lasts for a couple of hours – although on cloudy days it can last all day. That is not to say that fish cannot be caught deep, and after the early morning fishing deep is still the primary pattern on Lake Monticello. Andy says that fish can also be caught deep first thing, although his preference is to pursue the shallower fish early. 30-40 feet of water is a good depth range, and the primary pattern is to fish off long tapering points. There will also be some fish found around humps. Both Alabama rigs and jigging spoons are good lures, although particularly on the spoon anglers need to be prepared to weed through large numbers of white perch – which Lake Monticello is full of.
- Catfish: Good. Captain Rodger Taylor reports that at this time of year he likes to start out anchoring early – wind permitting – by fan-casting multiple baits near the river channel drop from about 10-12 feet on out to 20-25 feet of water. He finds this is a good way to pick up a good fish, particularly mid-lake around June Creek. One the sun comes up and some wind develops he will usually switch to drifting the lower 2/3 of the lake from Dutchmans all the way to Colonel Creek. There are plenty of fish in this range and on recent trips he has found the 20-30 foot range to most productive. Right now the good fish seem to be a little bit deeper. As on Wylie the fish will be scattered out, and his boat may drift 75 or 100 yards without a bite then get a double. White perch will work but gizzard shad are hard to beat for the next several months.
- White perch: Very good. Lake World reports that the most dependable bite continues to be the white perch bite, and anglers are catching fish in the very broad range of 5-60 feet of water. The prime depth range has been 20-30 feet, however, with fish schooled up near the bottom in those depths. Jigging spoons fished vertically are tough to beat once you locate the fish.
- Catfish: Fair to good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that the most productive pattern is still to anchor on humps and points and fan-cast stinkbaits, shrimp and herring for channel catfish. Space your baits on ledges that range from 5-30 feet. Once the lake clears some and water temperatures begin to drop the baitfish should move deeper, which should cause the catfish to move deeper as well and improve the drift bite.
- Striped bass: Good. Linwood Thornhill reports that anglers are having great success catching fish, and were it not for the low keeper ratio this would be a “very good” bite. Particularly on Lake Moultrie striped bass are schooling from 3 p.m. until dark and anglers are following the birds to locate them and then casting bucktails and spoons. The hatchery area has been good. Fish are generally over 25-50 feet of water and some anglers are drift-fishing live bait to catch them.
- Crappie: Fair to good. Captain Steve English reports that before the flooding he was catching 50-70 crappie per trip in the upper lake, but the influx of freshwater has turned the bite off so much that he is having difficulty even getting a bite up there.
South Carolina freshwater recreational fishing regulations.