Freshwater Fishing Trends - August 14
Fishing trends courtesy www.SCFishingReport.com. Check the site for recent updates and detailed reports.
- Trout: Fair. Captain Steve Pietrykowski reports that trout fishing is still decent on Lake Jocassee with fish in a true summer pattern. They are concentrated in deep water in the main lake. The best depth range is now 60-80 feet of water, and both spoons and live bait will still catch fish. However, live bait has been more productive. In order to beat the daytime heat it is still worth a try to night fishing around the intakes. Suspending medium shiners and nightcrawlers 30-40 feet down is catching some fish.
- Bass: Slow to fair. Captain Steve Pietrykowski reports that bass are in a pretty traditional summer pattern, and it can be a tough time to catch fish on Lake Jocassee. With the heat (and always-clear water conditions) the best pattern is probably night fishing with big plastic worms off points. During the day try throwing topwater lures off points for an hour or two after the sun comes up, but after that tactics include drop shotting, fishing shakey head worms and Carolina rigging off deeper points.
- Catfish: Hit and miss. Captain Chris Simpson reports that the big fish bite is starting to get a bit more predictable, but with another wave of fish still likely to spawn it may not get very consistent for another week or so. In contrast, the small fish “numbers” bite has been really good. For both big and little fish the best action has come in the 40-60 foot range. Free-line drifting is traditionally a method for targeting smaller fish, while anchoring on points and humps in the key depth range will catch both bigger and smaller fish. To target bigger fish pieces of tougher bait such as gizzard shad, white perch and bream should be used – even relatively small pieces of these baits will stay on the hook a time even if small fish are munching on them, giving a big fish time to locate the bait, run off the small fish and eat. In contrast, to target small fish a range of baits including very small pieces of cut herring and threadfin shad, shrimp, catalpa worms, chicken liver or marshmallows dipped in stinkbait will work.
- Striped and Hybrid Bass: Very good. Captain Bill Plumley reports that striped bass fishing has gotten hot, with most fish from the mid-lake area down to the dam. Pretty much everything that is being caught is coming 30-60 feet deep on down-lines. Sometimes the fish are oriented in the main channel suspended over very deep water, and sometimes they are holding off long points that swing in close to the channel. There has been a little schooling activity near the dam but not enough to count on as a reliable pattern.
- Catfish: Good. Captain Bill Plumley reports that channel catfish are biting very well, particularly on dip bait, although cut herring and nightcrawlers will also catch fish. Fish are spread out all over the lake and their depth range has gotten a little deeper with fish in the 10-30 foot range. Always catchable in warm water, flathead fishing has gotten really good in the last couple of weeks and one morning Captain Bill picked up three flatheads out of the same spot while striper fishing with live herring. While flatheads can obviously be caught early and late, the best action may be at night fishing around stick-ups and brush fairly shallow in 5-10 feet of water. Brush on top of humps is particularly strong and live bream and perch are the best baits. Blue catfish are generally out in deeper water where they will spend the summer in the timber – and are very difficult to catch.
- White perch: Good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that on the lower end of the Lake Hartwell he has been catching strong numbers of perch, mainly in 30-40 feet of water. They are mixed in with small striper and will take minnows and small herring.
- Catfish: Very good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that very strong numbers of catfish can be caught right now. Anchor on main lake points and fish cut herring on the bottom in approximately 20 feet of water. Bream: Fair. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that the action can still be hot for bream fishing in the backs of coves with crickets and worms, but the bigger fish that were up shallow spawning in May and June have largely disappeared – most likely back out to deeper water.
- Bass: Fair to good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that there are several patterns going for bass on Lake Russell right now. One is a timber patterns, and particularly largemouth bass will be caught around standing cedar trees in 25-40 feet of water. Fish Texas-rigged worms and lizards about 12-15 feet deep and look for bites on the drop. Right now a good bet is the timber which is located adjacent to the Felkel boat ramp. For spotted bass anglers should fish off main lake points in 15-20 feet of water with drop shot rigs. Look for points that have brush piles where fish will be holding. There is also pretty good spotted bass schooling activity right now, and anglers should throw a Pop-R with a 1/16th ounce crappie jig trailing behind it for schooling fish. Finally, to target both bass species a good pattern is to troll a Norman’s Middle N plug as slowly as your outboard will take you in the main channel. The goal is to pull the lure just over the tops of timber.
- Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good. Captain William Sasser reports that two-pound fish that were stocked in the lake last year are everywhere, and off pretty much any point or in any cove on the lower end anglers can catch as many fish as they want on herring. The bigger striper can be found just off the bottom 50-60 feet down, or even on the bottom, in about 70 feet of water. They can be caught on down-lined herring. There is some schooling activity in areas with little fish, but William hasn’t seen big fish schooling. There is not much fishing pressure on the lake right now.
- Crappie: Good. Captain William Sasser reports that crappie fishing continues to be strong. Fish are in the main river channel, but they are also in short coves and little creeks near the channel. The best pattern is to fish minnows vertically about 10 feet down around brush in 20-25 feet of water in these areas.
- Catfish: Fair. Try anchoring and drifting with cut bait, and look for the fishing to get better and better as the spawn gets further in the rear view mirror.
- White Perch: Good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that perch are balled up in large schools in most every major creek and large cove on the lake. Start out searching in 18-20 feet of water and look for a large ball on your graph; some days they may be as shallow as 5-10 feet of water and other days they may be deeper. Shallower schools may be more difficult to spot on a graph, so casting a Sabiki rig can be the best way to locate them. Chris notes that often you can draw the school to the boat and by continuing to drop baits down keep them nearby. Try worms on the Sabiki rig to get the bite going, but once you get the fish eating you can try pieces of cut bait which you will not have to re-bait as often.
- Catfish: Fair. Captain Chris Simpson reports that the Lake Greenwood catfish bite has slowed a little from its pace earlier in the summer, but the pattern remains essentially the same. Anchor on points and humps and fan-cast to depths from 2-20 feet of water, and be prepared to move after 30-45 minutes if there is no action. Dip baits and shrimp are working best for numbers of fish, but cut herring, bream and shad are catching lower numbers but often a little better quality fish. For flatheads anchor on points and humps in 5-15 feet of water that have cover and fish live bait. Early, late and of course at night are the best times.
- Catfish: Fair to good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that the big fish bite is starting to get a bit more predictable, but with another wave of fish still likely to spawn it may not get very consistent for another week or so. In contrast, the small fish “numbers” bite has been really good. For both big and little fish the best action has come in the 40-60 foot range. Free-line drifting is traditionally a method for targeting smaller fish, while anchoring on points and humps in the key depth range will catch both bigger and smaller fish. To target bigger fish pieces of tougher bait such as gizzard shad, white perch and bream should be used – even relatively small pieces of these baits will stay on the hook a time even if small fish are munching on them, giving a big fish time to locate the bait, run off the small fish and eat. In contrast, to target small fish a range of baits including very small pieces of cut herring and threadfin shad, shrimp, catalpa worms, chicken liver or marshmallows dipped in stinkbait will work.
- Crappie: Fair to good. Veteran tournament angler Will Hinson reports that crappie are still biting pretty well on Lake Wateree around deeper brush. Fish are holding around brush in 18-20 feet of water, and early in the day some of the fish may be suspended up in the brush. However, as soon as the sun starts to come up they are heading straight to the bottom and so baits need to be presented very close to there. The middle part of the lake has been most productive, and it is better to target efforts out in the river channel – not a lot of fish can be found in coves or near the banks. Minnows will catch fish but Will is having his best results on Ugly Green Fish Stalker Jigs.
- Bream: Good. Lake World reports that bream fishing is still strong, although off a bit from the pace a few weeks ago. The best bluegill have been found in approximately 20 feet of water, while smaller fish can be caught around shoreline cover. Good shellcracker have been caught in shallower water approximately 4-12 feet deep – keep moving until you locate the fish.
- Catfish: Good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that the bite has been improved with the majority of the spawn already having taken place. The best pattern is anchoring on points and humps and fan-casting to depths of 3-30 feet with dip baits and shrimp. If you want to increase your chances of catching a big blue, the biggest channels or bonus striper anchor on deep, main lake humps and fish cut or live bait, but numbers will not be as good as in the shallows. Reports also indicate that nighttime is becoming a bit more productive than daytime fishing, and it is certainly a good way to avoid the heat and the heaviest boat traffic.
- Striped bass: Fair to good. Lake World reports that striper can be caught all over the lower lake, on both the Ballentine side and in the big water near the dam. The bite around the towers has been good off and on. The best depth range has been 35-80 feet and most of the action is coming down-line fishing with live herring right now, although anglers are also catching fish trolling. If anglers are not using lead core line or downriggers they need to use lures that weigh at least an ounce to get it down to the fish. There are a few scattered reports of schooling and so anglers should have their eyes open for surface action and always have a lure to throw to schooling fish tied on.
- Crappie: Good. Captain Steve English reports that crappie are still in a healthy summer feeding pattern and some nice fish continue to be caught. Up the creeks he has been catching some fish in 8-14 feet of water, while out on the main lakes he has been catching fish around brush in 12-20 feet of water. Minnows are working best and Lake Marion has produced better than Lake Moultrie.
- Bream: Fair to good. Captain Steve English reports that tough weather conditions have kept the bream bite from getting as good as it should be, but with the full moon on the 10th he expects a lot of fish to move up shallow to spawn. Even after the bedding ends this is the time to prowl the banks and cast crickets and worms to shallow cover.
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