Freshwater Fishing Trends - April 17
Lake Jocassee: (unchanged from April 10)
- Trout: Good. Captain Steve Pietrykowski reports that Lake Jocassee trout fishing continues to improve, and fish are starting to move into a spring pattern. The best trolling depth is from the surface down to 50 feet, and both live baits and spoons will catch fish right now. Expect the intake bite to start soon.
- Largemouth and Spotted Bass: Fair to good. Guide Brad Fowler reports that water temperatures remain fairly cool in the low 60s on Lake Keowee, and accordingly a fair number of fish can still be found out deeper in 25-30 feet of water. His boat has mainly been targeting them with drop shot rigs, but shakey head worms and Carolina rigs should also work. Fish can also be seen around the banks spawning, and soft plastics are hard to beat for these fish. Oddly, not a lot of fish seem to be up shallow cruising – they seem to be moving up and directly beginning spawning activity. Overall more fish appear to be pre-spawn than post-spawn so far this late spring.
- Crappie: Fair to good. Captain Bill Plumley reports that water temperatures warmed recently and fish scattered out and moved toward the banks, but then temperatures dropped a bit, fish backed off and the bite cooled as well. However, with warm temperatures returning look for the fish to move shallower again. Overall, a good pattern is to look for fish around deeper docks or brush in the 10-12 foot range, and in the afternoon when water temperatures warm up look for fish to move up around the shallow grass still around from the last drought – or in the very backs. Both minnows and jigs will work. Some fish have spawned but not all of them, and since temperatures fluctuate and the fish move day to day be flexible and willing to adjust if one pattern is not working.
- Striped and Hybrid Bass: Fair to good. Captain Bill Plumley reports that fish are scattered all over the place. He has caught fish up the Keowee and the Tugaloo, and he has also caught fish out on the main lake. Free lines will catch fish and some fish are being caught on down lines, but Captain Bill’s boat has been having the best results pulling up on the bank around points and throwing out live bait on the bottom in 6-20 feet of water. Lots of spotted bass are also being caught that way. A few birds remain but most of them are gone, and Captain Bill has not seen schooling activity yet.
- Bass: Good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that largemouth are on the beds right now, and for anglers who are interested in bed fishing now is a good time to do it. For anglers who would prefer to target pre-spawn fish, in the backs of creeks bass will take most any soft plastic lure. In the shallow, heavily stained water at the very backs lipless crankbaits are a good choice. Spotted bass are also starting to move up around the banks, and they can be caught on Scrounger heads with a fluke or any sort of herring imitation fished shallow. Wendell believes these fish are mostly pre-spawn because the bigger spots he has caught have been filled with eggs, and they will ultimately spawn a bit deeper than the largemouth. Spots can also still be caught on the sides of points with Carolina rigs, shakey heads and drop shots.
- Crappie: Fair to good. Captain William Sasser reports that crappie continue to spawn on Clarks Hill, although the dip in temperatures a few days ago knocked some of them back a bit. Since not all of the fish spawn at once some of the fish are still pre-spawn. For spawning fish look from around the banks out to 6-8 feet of water. For pre-spawn fish look for them to be holding around trees at the mouths of coves in approximately 20 feet of water. Green and black jigs as well as minnows are working well right now.
- Largemouth Bass: Good. FLW Professional and Guide Matt Arey reports that on the full moon next week fish should move into full blown spawning mode. Throughout the month of April floating worms, Senkos, flukes and wacky-rigged worms will be hard to beat, with both pre-spawn fish and buck bass guarding eggs or fry taking these baits. There will also be a lot of fish caught sight fishing. Since not all of the fish spawn at once pre-spawn fish will continue to be catchable during this period staging on points and docks with jigs and Carolina rigs.
- Largemouth Bass: Good. Veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter reports that bass are in full blown spawning mode on Lake Greenwood and it is taking some very heavy weights to win tournaments. Some fish are pre-spawn, many are on the beds, and some are post-spawn already. The best tournament pattern has been fishing ahead of the boat with Senkos and floating worms, and then looking for bedding fish if anglers are so inclined. Fish will be found in and around spawning pockets across the whole lake, although the water has warmed a bit faster down the lake where there is also better visibility.
- Catfish: Fair. Captain Chris Simpson reports that overall the most productive bite should be in 3-15 feet of water. The shallow water is already being flooded by baitfish seeking warmer water temperatures, and this process will accelerate as the air (and in turn water) temperatures warm further. Shallow water in the backs of creeks and coves, shallow flats and even shallow humps in the main lake will all produce, and drifting and anchoring should be equally successful. Cut threadfin shad, herring, and small pieces of gizzard shad will all catch fish, and particularly as the water warms over the next few weeks shrimp will get better and better.
- Catfish: Fair. Captain Chris Simpson reports that, typical for this time of year, the big fish bite on Monticello is very inconsistent right now. One day is great and the next day may not be. However, over the next couple of weeks as the weather warms the bite should get much more consistent. Right now the best bet is to fish in shallow water with deep water nearby, such as around humps with a sharp drop into deep water on one side, or off slowly tapering points that all of a sudden drop off. 5-35 feet is often the most productive depth for all sizes of fish, and often the bigger fish will come from the areas closer to the drops into deeper water. Anchoring in those areas is the best bet right now as it lets the bait sit in front of the fish for longer as they travel up and down across the depth changes. Cut gizzard shad and white perch will generate fewer but bigger bites, while herring will generate more action but lots of nuisance bites from small fish if you are targeting big ones.
- Catfish: Fair to good. Captain Rodger Taylor reports that everything seems to be running a couple of weeks behind this year, and even though we are entering a good time of year for targeting big fish anchoring up the river on Lake Wateree that bite has not turned on yet. Better numbers of fish have been found on the shallow margins near the main channel as well as further back in the creeks, where drifting in 7 to 15 feet of water is a productive pattern. Anchor fishing in the lower lake will also be productive, and cut threadfin or gizzard shad is a good bait choice.
Crappie: Fair to good. Lake World reports that at the upper end of the lake the crappie bite has been pretty good for anglers slow trolling with jigs around the mouths of creeks. Most fish have already completed the spawn, and before long fish should start to move out to brush piles. Catfish: Fair. Captain Chris Simpson reports that the catfish bite is still a little inconsistent. The warm days have been heating up the surface water temperatures by mid-day, which is leading to a good mid-day to late afternoon bite. The cold nights have been cooling water temperatures back down, which has been making the morning bite slow. The best pattern is to anchor on humps and points with cut baits and stagger your baits at different depths, with the ideal depth zone getting shallower later in the day. Overall 10-20 feet has been the best depth. Bream: Fair. Lake World reports that there are very few reports of bluegill being caught so far, but good numbers of shellcracker are being caught in 2-8 feet of water around docks and brushpiles.
- Catfish: Fair to good. Captain Jim Glenn reports that catfishing appears to be improving on the lakes, and his boat has begun to catch some good catfish in shallow water while anchored. Teenage-sized fish as well bigger fish have been landed. Night-time shallow water fishing is also starting to come on, and some fish have been caught in this pattern fishing in both lakes recently. Good fish have also been caught drifting in middle depths recently.
- Largemouth bass: Fair to good. Reports indicate that fish can be found up shallow where they have moved into pre-spawn and spawning locations, but there are also still a number of fish out deeper. Water temperatures have not moved up as much as usual because of inconsistent air temperatures and then the cool freshwater inflow from the rivers. Regardless, the best pattern as more and more fish arrive shallow is to fish around shallow cover including trees, grass and lily pads with soft plastics.
South Carolina freshwater recreational fishing regulations.