Freshwater Fishing Trends - May 14
Fishing trends courtesy www.SCFishingReport.com. Check the site for recent updates and detailed reports.
- Bass: Good. Jocassee Outdoor Center reports that bass fishing remains strong, and while the spawning season is mostly finished good numbers of bass can still be caught up pretty shallow. The spotted and smallmouth bass bite has been particularly good, with fish being caught around shoreline cover including trees and brush. Soft plastics as well as crawdad-colored crankbaits have been working well.
- 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.
- Striped and Hybrid Bass: Very good. Captain Bill Plumley reports that striped bass fishing is strong right now, with good numbers and sizes of fish being caught. Water temperatures got hot very quickly and pushed fish out of the creeks, and so most of the action is taking place in the main rivers and off main lake points. The best pattern has been free-lining herring over 20-40 feet of water, but down-lining is just starting to pick up.
- Catfish: Good. Captain Bill Plumley reports that as water temperatures have risen into the upper 70s in the creeks the bigger blue catfish seem to have pulled out into the main lake where they often become uncatchable in the deep timber. However, his boat did catch a 35-pounder recently drifting cut bait on planer boards. Channel catfish are biting very well in 5-8 feet of water, and they are taking dip baits, cut shad and nightcrawlers.
- Crappie: Good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that his boat is catching a lot of crappie right now, but they have generally been running a bit on the smaller side. Perhaps the bigger fish are recovering from the spawn. The best pattern for catching numbers of fish has been fishing around shallow brushpiles in about 15 feet of water, or around laydowns on shady banks in about the same depth. The best cover has been up the creeks, and fishing a minnow about 3 feet under a float has been the best way to put fish in the boat.
- Bass: Good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that the herring spawn is starting to wind down on Lake Russell, but there are still a lot of bass up shallow around shallow points, rip rap and bridge pilings. Early in the morning throwing a medium-sized Chug Bug in chrome and blue colors has been working, and fishing flukes either weightless or on jigheads has also been effective on long, sloping points. While most of the fish seem to be trying to fatten up on blueback herring there are still a few straggler fish bedding.
- Catfish: Very good. Captain William Sasser reports that this is the best month of the year for Clarks Hill catfishing, and right now both channel and flathead catfish can be found spawning in the rocks around the bridges. The best technique is to fish a piece of cut herring on a Carolina rig or a split shot rig, similar to how you would fish a plastic worm, by casting the rig up towards the bank and letting it fall in between the rocks as you work it back to the boat. Use your trolling motor to maneuver parallel to the rocks. Early morning is the best time, and a mixed bag of fish including very nice cats can be caught this way.
- Black bass: Good to very good. Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that there is still a decent amount of herring spawning activity going on at Clarks Hill, but it is pretty much confined to a morning bite out on main lake points. After the sun starts to rise it is usually done for the day and the fish start to pull out to 12-17 feet of water off the points. When fish are up shallow chrome Spooks and pearl and disco green flukes rigged weightless have been working, and when fish drop back deeper shakey head worms have been the best baits. There are probably still a few straggler fish spawning, but the vast majority of bass are post-spawn.
Lake Wylie: (unchanged from May 7)
- 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.
- White Bass and Perch: Good to very good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that white bass and perch are continuing to group up and the schools are getting thicker. In the upper half of the lake most fish can be found in 5-12 feet of water, and on the lower end they are mainly in 5-20 feet of water. While Roadrunners and minnows will both still work, with fish stacked up tight it’s getting to be Sabiki rig time!
- Largemouth Bass: Good. Veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter reports that most of the bass are done spawning on Lake Greenwood, although a few late fish are likely still on the beds. First things in the morning fishing topwaters and floating worms around sea walls and points will catch fish, and there should also be some bass up shallow chasing bedding bream. However, it's getting to be that time when the best fishing will be done in 15-18 feet of water around brush, with big worms and crankbaits the best way to put fish in the boat.
- 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.
- Largemouth Bass: Good. Tournament angler Dearal Rodgers reports that a lot of fish remain shallow on Lake Wateree, although with the recent hot weather at least some fish will almost certainly be moving out to deep water soon. For now the best pattern is to fish topwater lures off points early in the morning, and after that to fish in the grass with frogs and buzzbaits. Fishing worms and lizards around docks is also a good bet.
- Catfish: Good. Captain Rodger Taylor reports that catfishing remains very strong when there is current flowing, although at other times the bite can be slower. In the backs of the creeks 2-8 pound fish can be caught, but bigger fish have been absent in the backs recently. Oddly, gizzard shad have been hard to find on Lake Wateree but cut herring will work as bait.
- Striped bass: Very good. Lake World reports that some really nice striped bass in the 20-30 pound class have been weighed in at the store recently, with fish concentrated from the Gap to the dam. The hottest action is coming on free-lines, although the cut bait bite is getting to be a close second. Most of the action is coming off points, and on the main lake herring can still be found spawning off points. Schooling activity has been hit-or-miss, but down-line fishing is just getting started. Captain Brad Taylor reports that his boat has been concentrating on the lower end of the lake, and particularly the big basin in front of the dam, over the last week or so. He has been catching some very good fish, and some very good numbers, but the fish are on the move and the depth and area where they are holding varies from day to day. His boat has been doing the most good free-lining, and to find the fish he is having to try a bunch of spots and just “go fishing”.
- Shellcracker: Good. Lake World reports that the shellcracker bite is getting better and better, and fishing worms in 4-8 feet of water has been the best pattern. As always when shellcracker fishing, anglers should move on if they don’t have any bites after about 10 minutes. Bluegill can be found around docks.
- Crappie: Good. Captain Steve English reports that crappie are still out on brush and feeding well. Fish have been around a wide range of brush from 7-25 feet of water, and most of the brushpiles in that depth range have at least a few fish around them that will eat minnows. While there are not a lot of monsters being caught some nice 1 ½ to 2 pound fish have been boated, and there is also a very strong population of ¾ pound fish (indicating a good spawn two years ago).
- Bream: Good. Captain Steve English reports that bluegills are just starting to bed, and anglers should look around shallow cover in a foot or two of water. Aggressive spawning fish will take a variety of natural and artificial baits.
South Carolina freshwater recreational fishing regulations.