Freshwater Fishing Trends - March 26
Fishing trends courtesy www.SCFishingReport.com. Check the site for recent updates and detailed reports.
- Trout: Good. Jocassee Outdoor Center reports that last week Jocassee trout fishing was a little bit off of the pace it has been on. Overall the “sweet spot” for catching trout has been 30-50 feet of water, although fish can still be found as deep as 100 feet. The three rivers area where the rivers join the main lake has been the most productive, but it is worth exploring all the creek/river arms. Both spoons and large minnows have been productive for trolling.
- Largemouth and Spotted Bass: Good. Guide Brad Fowler reports that it is a mixed bag on both Lake Keowee and Lake Hartwell, and on both lakes fish can be found spawning, pre-spawn, and even still out fairly deep in a typical late-winter pattern. While anglers can still target fish in 20-25 plus feet of water, if they want to focus on pre-spawn and spawning fish then they should look around secondary points and pockets. While largemouth may use the secondary points as a final stop before they move into their spawning areas, spotted bass will actually spawn on the points. If angler locate active, feeding fish then a variety of moving baits will catch them, but for fish that are semi-feeding but thinking more about spawning soft plastics presented on a Carolina rig or a shakey head may be the best option. As always on Lake Keowee remember that different parts of the lake may have significantly different surface temperatures due to the warmwater discharge as well as inflows from Lake Jocassee.
- Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good to very good. Captain Bill Plumley reports that striper fishing has been strong on Lake Hartwell, and his boat has had multiple 20+ fish days recently. While he has been trying other techniques almost all of the fish have been caught on free-lined live herring pulled in the creeks, with some fish also caught on free-lines pulled off the sides of main lake points. He has been trying some down lines/ bottom fishing off the points but so far that has been catching mainly spotted bass – soon that should be a productive way to catch striper, too.
- Catfish: Good. Captain Bill Plumley reports that blue catfish action is getting better and better. The target depth range has been 12-15 feet of water back in the creeks, but fish can be caught anywhere from 4-20 feet on a variety of cut baits. Even though water temperatures are still a bit cool for them channel catfish are starting to move and some early channels are being caught. Fishing worms or cut herring in 5 or 6 feet of water on the bottom has been the best pattern for channels.
- Crappie: Good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that crappie fishing is on fire and fish are up shallow. Water temperatures went up so fast that fish went straight from 35 feet of water to the bank, and they never went the through the typical transitional period where they stage in 20 feet of water. The two best patterns are trolling 1/16 ounce curly tail grubs in 10-15 feet of water way up the creeks, or casting curly tail grubs under a bobber along sandy, shallow banks. Fish are getting very close to spawning.
- Bass: Fair. Guide Wendell Wilson believes there are two main patterns for bass, with one group of fish (predominately largemouth) mixed in with the crappie up the creeks in the muddier water. They will hit small/ medium-running crankbaits and spinnerbaits. The other major pattern is that spotted bass are starting to move up onto the sides of points in about 20 feet of water. Anglers can target them with drop shots, or brown jigs if they are trying to target bigger fish. Overall bass are in pre-spawn mode, and although a few fish remain out deep every day more and more fish come up shallow. Think about the areas they will be spawning and fish spots leading to those areas. Finally, a possible third pattern is to fish small pockets on the main lake with something like a jerkbait as some largemouth have moved up into those main lake pockets.
- Black bass: Very good. Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that bass fishing is very strong on Clarks Hill and the spawn is well underway. The majority of fish are still in pre-spawn mode, but each day more and more fish get on the beds. As would be expected pretty much all the fishing activity is up shallow around spawning coves, pockets, secondary points and shoreline cover. Mop Jigs, any creature baits, Trick Worms rigged on a Spot Remover, as well as any other typical pre-spawn/ spawn lure will catch fish.
- Striped and Hybrid Bass: Very good. Captain William Sasser reports that striper fishing is very strong right now on Clarks Hill, with the majority of fish being caught pulling planer boards across secondary points in the mid-lake. The planer boards have been rigged with 1/8 ounce egg sinkers to make the herring run about 15 feet deep. Around the dam hybrids have also been caught pulling planer boards as well as tied up to the cable with down lines, and bank anglers on the South Carolina side have also been catching fish on cut bait off the rocks. Some school activity has been reported in the mid-afternoons.
- Largemouth Bass: Good. FLW Professional and Guide Matt Arey reports that the Alabama Rig remains pretty dominant on Lake Wylie, and a significant shad-die off has made it even stronger. Although jerkbaits have also been working. Bass remain grouped up around channel swings, points and at the mouths of creeks, and deeper docks continue to be a factor. Fish are primarily being caught on the main lake, with the best bags coming down the lake in deeper water but numbers of fish being caught above the bridges. Mostly smaller fish are being caught in the hot holes.
- Crappie: Good to very good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that the crappie bite has been strong over the last week and a half. Long-line trolling with jigs seems to be the most consistent fish producer, and most fish are suspending 3-8 feet deep in 10-20 feet of water. Main lake areas near the mouths of creeks and coves have been the better areas. Some of the warmer days have caused fish to move midway into some of the warmer creeks and coves, but they will usually pull back out to the mouths by the next morning as temperatures drop overnight – for now. Jig color has to be determined by the angler on that particular day as it has been a variety of different colors working from day to day.
- Largemouth Bass: Good. Veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter reports that while anglers are still catching good numbers of fish on Lake Greenwood the bite is changing, and instead of an Alabama rig, winter bite fish are getting in pre-spawn mode. They are staging in the mouths of creeks to about halfway back, and they are starting to creep on up towards their eventual spawning areas. Figure out where the fish will eventually be spawning and then work backwards, because Stan does not believe that bass are too far off from actually getting on beds. He expects things to progress quickly this year because of the long winter and then rapid warming lately. Rattle Traps and spinnerbaits are good bets right now, and Stan suggests keeping your boat in no more than 10 feet of water and casting up shallower.
Lake Monticello: (unchanged from March 19)
- Catfish: Fair to good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that the big fish bite remains very up and down, with slow to fair fishing one day and then the next day can be very good. The most consistent pattern seems to be anchoring on the deep side of points and humps and fan casting baits in 40-70 feet of water. Fishing around large schools of baitfish can sometimes pay off and watching the diving loons can help you cut the search for that down. Shad, herring and white perch are all working well. Small pieces are working better because the bulk of what the fish are feeding on is small 2-4 inch threadfin and gizzard shad.
- Largemouth Bass: Very good. Tournament angler Dearal Rodgers reports that bass fishing is as good as it gets right now on Lake Wateree, and fish are moving into coves and pockets and feeding heavily as spawning season gets underway. Down the lake a number of fish are already bedding, while up the lake the fish are not far behind. If anglers want to catch a ton of fish a variety of soft plastics will work, and throwing a shakey head worm is hard to beat. Anglers looking to perhaps concentrate on bigger fish would do well to throw a jig or spinnerbait.
- Crappie: Very good. Captain Brad Taylor reports that up the lake about half of the fish have spawned and moved back out, while another half of the fish are spawning or about to spawn. Shallow fish can be caught on a cork and jig or minnow, while many people are trolling in 10-12 feet of water for post-spawn fish. Fish can be found trolling most everywhere, and some people are trolling in the backs while others are trolling more open water. Down the lake things are running a little behind.
- White Perch: Very good. Lake World reports that the white perch bite is still very good, with schools scattered all over the lake from 20-70 feet of water. Use electronics to locate the perch which will be found around schools of bait. The fish will take spoons, minnows, worms or most anything else, with most anglers fishing for them vertically.
- Striped bass: Good to very good. Lake World reports that it has been a good week for striped bass, with several fish in the upper 20s as well as multiple “teenage” size fish weigh in. A variety of techniques are catching fish right now, including pulling planer boards with live bait, trolling bucktails and pulling umbrella rigs. The best depth range has been 30 feet and shallower. Overall fish are still in the mid-lake area, but they are moving down the lake right now.
- Crappie: Good. Captain Steve English reports that crappie have moved up shallow into the backs of creeks, and they can be caught around the edges in 3-8 feet of water. The best advice is to anchor and then cast jigs and minnows towards the target depth range.
- Shad/ herring: Good. Captain Jim Glenn reports that there has been a very good recreational shad and herring fishery in the rivers this year. Water flow though the dams at St. Stephens and Jeffries is critical to keep the fish oriented to the current and striking Sabiki rigs and small jigs/ grubs.
- Largemouth bass: Good. Captain Steve English reports that the rapid rise in water temperatures has quickly improved bass fishing on the lakes, and fish are properly in pre-spawn mode. Steve suspects that in the blackwater ponds there are even a few fish already fanning beds, but he has not seen them. Fishing worm and Senkos in 3-6 feet of water in the very backs is the best bet, and as always at this time of year anglers should be cognizant of spawning areas and fish the places that lead to them.
South Carolina freshwater recreational fishing regulations.