Freshwater Fishing Trends - May 21
Fishing trends courtesy www.SCFishingReport.com. Check the site for recent updates and detailed reports.
- Trout: Good. Jocassee Outdoor Center reports that trout fishing has been pretty good, with most fishing activity taking place in 20-60 feet of water. The bigger fish have been in the 50-60 foot range, and fish have been caught trolling both large minnows and spoons. The two best areas have been the three rivers area and between the spillway and the dam.
Lake Keowee: (unchanged from May 14)
- Largemouth and Spotted Bass: Good. Guide Brad Fowler reports that there are still a decent number of bass spawning on Lake Keowee, although the majority of fish are post-spawn. Overall this can best be described as a transitional period, where fish are starting to move from their spring patterns into their summer haunts. Early in the morning there is a pretty reliable topwater bite on shoals and flat points, but this does not last very long after the sun starts to get up. After that the best action is generally found drop shotting in 20-25 feet of water. As water temperatures get hotter fish will continue to move deeper.
- Black bass: Fair to good. Guide Brad Fowler reports that it is a transitional time for bass fishing on Lake Hartwell. A few bass are still bedding, a few are still up shallow feeding on blueback herring that are spawning, and a few are hanging around the old growth grass. However, the largest number of fish are probably out in 15-25 feet of water – either on the bottom or suspended. The bass are definitely headed that direction. Right now it is possible to a catch a lot of fish on drop shot rigs, and for shallower fish flukes and topwaters are both working well. Tournament weights have dropped in recent weeks and it seems the biggest fish aren’t eating very well right now.
- Crappie: Slow to fair. Captain Bill Plumley reports crappie fishing remains pretty slow, with the fish reported being caught over brush in 8-15 feet of water. Very soon Captain Bill will start looking around deep docks.
- Catfish: Good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that catfishing is strong, with good numbers of fish being caught. Fish cut herring off main lake points in 8-15 feet of water.
- Striped bass: Fair. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that striped bass remain highly scattered, with a few fish in the Rocky River, a few in the big water in front of Russell Dam and a few up the Savannah. Regardless of location, the best pattern has been fishing herring or gizzard shad on free-lines and planer boards.
- Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good. Captain William Sasser reports that early in the morning blueback herring are up shallow on the points, and fish can be caught on flukes, topwaters and free-lines pulled across the points. There is a lot of visible fish activity including schooling in the mornings right now. Later in the day there is good down line fishing on the lower half of the lake in 25-28 feet of water when the herring pull out deeper, and largemouth are also being caught around the deeper herring during the day.
- Crappie: Fair to good. Captain William Sasser reports that crappie have moved out of the coves and back into the main tributaries. In the Georgia Little River his boat is catching crappie on minnows fished 10 feet down over brush in 15-18 feet of water.
Lake Wylie: (unchanged from May 14)
- Catfish: Good. The channel catfish bite should be as good as it gets on Lake Wylie, but for now some nice catches of blues. The best pattern has been fishing shallow flat areas where bait has moved up for warm water temperatures, and when there has been current generated either by wind or because of water being pulled through the dam it has really turned the fish on to feed. The best bait by far has been shad.
- Largemouth Bass: Good. Pre-spawn fish can be found around the banks as well as bucks guarding fry. Fishing floating worms, weightless Senkos, swimbaits, shakey head worms and Texas-rigged lizards around the banks and spawning pockets will catch fish, and there have also been fish caught on buzzbaits and chatterbaits. Once water temperatures rise a couple more degrees the shad will move up to spawn and then the bite for bass feeding on them will be wide open.
- Catfish: Good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that the channel cat bite has been good, and drifting in out and of feeder creeks and coves in 5-18 feet of water with cut herring and shad is working very well. Anchoring on humps and points and fishing dip bait is also just as productive now.
- Catfish: Good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that the overall bite for both big fish and numbers of fish has been pretty good. Anchoring on humps and points that allow you to fan cast baits from 10 to 40 feet of water has been the most pattern. Cut herring, shad and white perch cut into small pieces about the size of a mussel are the best bet.
- Crappie: Fair to good. Veteran tournament angler Will Hinson reports that crappie are starting to load up on brushpiles in 15-22 feet of water. It is still a bit hit-or-miss with the brush, but about 75% of brush at the target depth should have fish by now. Main lake brush or brush at the mouths of creeks is the best to target, and brush in the backs of creeks is less productive. Early in the day fish will be suspended above the brush, but as the sun gets up fish are dropping down into it. Plain jigs, plain minnows and jigs and minnows will all catch fish.
- Catfish: Fair to good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that he catfish bite has picked up a little, with some days fair and some pretty good. Most fish can be caught by anchoring on humps, points and in the backs of coves and fishing water ranging from 5-20 feet. Herring, shrimp and stinkbait are all working equally well.
- Crappie: Fair to good. Captain Brad Taylor reports that crappie are solidly in post-spawn mode, and his boat has been targeting deep docks and brush in a typical May pattern. The best brush has been in about 20 feet of water, and the best docks have been in 15-20 feet of water. Brush at the right depth in both the main lake and the creeks has been productive, while the best docks have been in the main lake mainly due to depth. Jigs tipped with minnows have been most productive.
- Largemouth bass: Fair. Captain Doug Lown reports that bass fishing on Lake Murray has been somewhat hit-or-miss. The big tournament sacks earlier in the spring have been replaced by 16-18 pound bags at the top, and while for some people it has been possible to get a lot of bites other anglers have struggled – and the same anglers have struggled one day and found them the next. Erratic weather patterns this spring have made for an unpredictable bite, scattered out the fish and extended the spawn. Overall, most fish have probably spawned but a surprising number of fish being caught still have eggs. And while the herring spawn is winding down in the creeks, out on the main lake herring are still up and bass are still feeding on them. There is also a decent shad spawn up the lake early in the morning. Bass can be caught a number of different ways, including on topwaters, flukes, flipping docks, and on soft plastics fished on the bottom off deeper points, but anglers need to be flexible from day to day. And to locate the largest numbers of fish they need to follow the bait.
- Largemouth bass: Fair to good. Captain Linwood Thornhill reports that the bass bite has been pretty good on Santee. Overall a lot of fish can be found around cypress trees in 3-5 feet of water, and there are also a decent number of fish around grass. There are also some fish hanging around depth changes in 5-10 feet of water such as drops and depressions close to shallow water. Plastics worms, lizards and crankbaits will all catch fish.
- Catfish: Fair. Captain Jim Glenn reports that catfishing has been pretty slow both drifting and shallow anchoring in the upper end of Lake Marion, while on the lower end of that lake anglers are having more success but the bite should still only be rated as fair. Overall the bite on Lake Moultrie is also fair.
South Carolina freshwater recreational fishing regulations.