Freshwater Fishing Trends - Oct. 16
Fishing trends courtesy www.SCFishingReport.com. Check the site for recent updates and detailed reports.
Lake Jocassee: (unchanged from Oct. 9)
- Trout: Fair. Captain Steve Pietrykowski reports that trout are still very deep on Jocassee. The best depth range is now 80-100 feet of water, and both spoons and live bait will still catch fish. However, spoons and particularly Apex spoons have been working a bit better than shiners. Whether using live bait or hardware it is important to fish very slowly right now.
- Largemouth and Spotted Bass: Fair to good. Guide Brad Fowler reports that bass fishing has improved on Lake Keowee and there is a pretty good bite. Typical for this time of year, there is a lot of schooling activity found on the lake and topwater lures are working well. There is also a good drop shot bite in the 25-35 foot range. While decent numbers of baitfish and bass will move up the creeks on Keowee in the fall, there is not necessarily a mass movement like on other lakes such as Hartwell. On every lake a population of baitfish and bass will stay on the main lake, and on Keowee that may be even more common.
- Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good. Captain Bill Plumley reports that striper fishing has been pretty good, particularly on the lower end of the lake where some big fish have been caught recently. The best fish are being caught in very deep water, often in the 45-55 foot range in 100-150 feet of water. In addition to down-lining these fish are being caught “power-reeling” in which anglers drop a lure through the fish and then rip it up towards the surface through the school. Additionally, schooling activity is starting on the lower end of the lake around the dam and above. These fish are mainly 2-3 pounders.
- Catfish: Good. Captain Bill Plumley reports that channel catfish are still biting well all over the lake, particularly in the 15-40 foot range. Cut bait (herring or other fish), dip bait, nightcrawlers, as well as other choices will all catch fish. The blue catfish bite has also started to pick up and some really nice fish have been caught Santee-style drifting. Pulling fresh cut herring or perch on the bottom in 15-40 feet of water has been working, and some nice blues have also been picked up on live herring (often as a by-catch). Flatheads can be caught early and late, but the best action often comes 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 white perch are the best baits.
- Bass: Good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that spotted bass fishing is strong on Lake Russell right now. Most of the fish are being caught in larger coves off the main channel in 20-25 feet of water. Drop shot rigs are working very well; artificial lure fishermen will want to use soft plastic worms on them, but medium minnows are also working very well. Some days schooling activity can be found, and spotted bass can be seen running shad on the surface. For these fish it is hard to beat a Pop-R with a crappie jig on a leader behind it. Largemouth bass can be found up the creeks in the same areas where Wendell’s boat has been catching crappie in 10-15 feet of water around threadfin shad schools. ¼ ounce Rattle Traps in blue and silver colors are the best bet.
- Crappie: Good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that crappie can be found up the creeks around brush in 15-20 feet of water. Minnows fished about 5-8 feet below the surface have been most effective. Wendell’s boat has been catching fish on drop shot rigs as well as slip float rigs.
- Striped and Hybrid Bass: Very good. Captain William Sasser reports that striper catches remain very strong on Clarks Hill, with solid numbers of 7-15 pound fish being caught. The best bite for big fish has been found about 40-60 feet deep over 100-120 feet of water, and these fish are feeding right through the day at this depth. Down-lined herring have been most effective and hybrids have been mixed in. There has also been good schooling activity in the evening around Shriver Creek, with most of these fish in the 3-pound range.
- Largemouth Bass: Slow. FLW Professional and Guide Matt Arey reports that right now the bite remains poor on Lake Wylie, and 12-13 pounds in a tournament is very strong at the moment. There is no clear reason why the fishing is so tough, and perhaps it is due to the fact that lakes tend to go in cycles. This whole year has been difficult on Lake Wylie, and while numbers are there the predominant age class seems to include a lot of 12-15 inch fish – meaning lots of 8-12 pound tournament bags. December through February, when a lot of big fish are traditionally caught, it will be interesting to see what is landed on Alabama rigs, jerkbaits and grubs. For now anglers are advised to follow the traditional fall pattern of looking for bass following shad schools into the backs of creeks. Small square-billed crankbaits and ¼ ounce Rattle Traps are both good options at this time of year, but fish will also take topwater lures such as Spooks, buzzbaits and Pop-Rs all day long once they move up shallow.
Lake Greenwood: (unchanged from Oct. 9)
- Catfish: Fair. Captain Chris Simpson reports that the Lake Greenwood catfish bite is very inconsistent. One day the fishing will be very good, but the next day the bite will be poor. Anchoring with stinkbait is catching a few fish, as is drifting with cut herring and shrimp. 15-20 feet has been the most productive depth range, with flats the best areas to drift and humps and points the best areas to set up and anchor. A few big flatheads are being caught at night by anchoring on shallow humps and points with plenty of cover and fishing with live bream.
Lake Monticello: (unchanged from Oct. 9)
- Catfish: Good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that the big fish bite is still inconsistent, but as we come into the fall it should get much more consistent. In contrast, the small fish “numbers” bite has been very 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: Variable. Veteran tournament angler Will Hinson reports that crappie fishing is unpredictable, with fish biting very well some days and slowly on other days. The best pattern generally depends on the time of day, and early in the morning fish seem to make their way into the middle to backs of creeks following shad. Will advises looking for schooling shad and then throwing lines there, with long-line trolling the best way to target fish. Creeks halfway up all the way to the top of the lake, including Dutchman, Taylor and Wateree Creek, have been most productive. Later in the day fish seem to be pulling out to brush next to the river ledge, and they are being caught near the bottom in 16-18 feet of water.
- Bream: Very good. Lake World reports that the shellcracker bite remains very strong, both for sizes and numbers of fish. Concentrate in 4-10 feet of water and fish worms on the bottom. Good-sized bluegill are harder to find right now.
- Striped bass: Good. Lake World reports that striper are schooling all over the lake, from the dam up to the twin islands and on up to the Gap. On cloudy days the schooling activity can last all day long, while on sunny days it has been best early and late. Free-lining live herring is working well, and when fish are on the surface throw your favorite topwater lures at them. There is also some decent down-line fishing down to about 35 feet of water.
- Catfish: Slow to fair. Fish are scattered. Best approach for now is drifting fresh cut baits in 10 to 25 feet in Marion. Some areas of Marion may be more productive anchoring in shallow water when wind is blowing into trees or points in 3 to 6 feet of water. No reports of any one catching more than 4 to 8 blue cats during a regular day time trip. Even night time fishing is slow. Looking for improvement with a temperature drop later in the month into November.
South Carolina freshwater recreational fishing regulations.