Freshwater Fishing Trends
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SCDNR at the State
326 Little Brooke Lane
West Columbia, SC 29172
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These services are no longer offered at 1000 Assembly Street in Downtown Columbia.
Bass: Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that this summer bass never went very deep, and in September they should still be found around points and brush piles. Drop shots and shaky heads should both work. Also look out for schooling activity across the lake and always have a topwater lure tied on.
Striped bass: Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) reports that fish have been have caught on both ends of the lake this summer, but particularly the lower end. However, with even a little cooling in September he expects more fish to move to mid-lake flats where they can be caught on down-lined herring.
Crappie: Guide Wendell Wilson reports that in the first part of September the crappie are likely to continue to hold around deeper brush and timber, where they have been biting well. Hopefully the good bite will continue, but with dropping temperatures they should soon move onto shallower brush where they can be caught on jigs and minnows.
Catfish: Guide Jerry Kotal reports that fish should move shallower this month where they can be caught on cut herring in less than 15 feet of water. At the end of August they will still catching catfish in very deep water.
Bass: Tournament anglers Tyler Matthews and Josh Rockefeller report that in September buzzbaits should be really good against the banks, and anglers should also be on the lookout for schooling activity over deeper water and keep a topwater lure close. Deeper fish should also be caught on drop shots around humps and bridges.
Striper and hybrids: Little River Guide Service (706-210-3474) reports that to start out the month fish were suspended over very deep water, but in September fish should progressively migrate out of the deeper channels. Bait will eventually move shallower into the 10- to15-foot range, leading to more surface activity, and fish should be related to the sides of humps in 25-35 feet of water.
Crappie: Little River Guide Service reports that at the beginning of September fish are generally still holding around deeper brush, but if the weather cools they should move shallower into the 12- to15-foot range.
Catfish: Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that in September fish will be scattered everywhere. Some will be in the backs of creeks in shallow water feeding on threadfin and gizzard shad, while some fish will be staging out on main lake humps and points in deeper water feeding on blueback herring. This is the beginning of the prime time to catch big blue catfish on Lake Thurmond.
Bass: Tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that September should see an improvement in shallow fishing, and this is a period when working the banks with buzzbaits and Whopper Ploppers can be productive. Schooling action should also get more widespread over the lake, and some better fish should start coming up.
Crappie: Captain Chris Nichols (704-860-7951) reports that to start out the month crappie should be found suspended over deeper water, or on brush in 15-25 feet of water. They will be caught trolling or casting minnows and jigs. However, mid-way through September fish will start to move into the creeks where they will be caught shallower.
Catfish: Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that during the day this month drifting mid-depths with cut bluegill is the best option, while at night anchoring with cut bait and fan-casting to a variety of depths is the best pattern.
Bass: Veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Greenwood reports that in September bass fishing should improve on Lake Greenwood, after an awful late summer, and generally more fish should be caught in 5-6 feet or less. Anglers will be able to catch fish running the banks with a buzzbait, and fish should also school better this month.
Striped bass: Guide Josh Wilson (864-871-6305) reports that in September fish should still be caught with down-lines targeting suspended fish over the main river channel. Most fish will be in the lower third of the lake. At some point this month schooling activity should take off.
Crappie: Captain Roland Addy (864-980-3672) reports that even with some cooling the fishing was really poor to start September, but this month the bite should improve at some point. However, the fish should continue to be caught over deeper brush on the main channel and at the mouths of creeks. Both jigs and minnows will work.
Catfish: Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that drifting the flats with shrimp or cut bait will work this month. Flathead catfish will also be caught at night on live bream or perch.
Bass: BYA Fishing’s Eric Enlow of Union reports that at the beginning of September there were still fish on the main lake, but more fish were starting to move into coves. When water is moving then they relate tighter to the bottom, but when there is less current they suspend off points. Big worms and crankbaits are the best baits.
Catfish: Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that in September numbers of fish will still be caught free line drifting over deep water, but the biggest change is that by the latter part of September big fish will start to bite much better on large chunks of cut bait fished deep.
Bass: Tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that usually in September anglers are thinking mostly about fishing for suspended fish around offshore structure and cane piles, but so far this month the best action has come around emergent grass. You need to fish weedless lures around the grass like flukes or worms. There should also be fish caught offshore on topwater lures, and of course more fish will feed around the banks with some cooling.
Striped bass: Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that well before the end of August fish had started to transition out of the lower pool, and in September fish will typically be found at the mouths of creeks. It is a very good month to look out for schooling activity. Fish can also be caught on relatively shallow down-lines.
Crappie: Captain Brad Taylor reports that typically by September fish will be grouped up at the mouths of creeks or along main river ledges, and they will be sitting on brush in big numbers. Fish will be deeper down the lake than up the rivers.
Catfish: Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that in September fish start to relate more to the creek and river channels where they can be caught on cut bait.
Bass: Tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that in September fish should start to move a little shallower, particularly if bait moves up in the afternoons and evenings. Anglers will traditionally be concentrating on the creeks as the month progresses, although low water levels could affect patterns, and there will still be action to be found in the main lake. Buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and square-billed crankbaits can all catch fish.
Crappie: Veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that in September fish should eventually start to move out of the summer brush pattern and relate to open water more if there is some cooling. If that happens then they can be caught long-line trolling or tight-lining jigs as fish will be related to bait schools and feeding up for cooler months. But to start the month deep brush in the main channel or at the mouths of creeks is the best bet and only a few small crappie had moved shallower.
Catfish: Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that in September fishing cut shad in the mid-lake area is the best pattern for both numbers of fish and big ones. Lake Wateree has a really strong population of blue catfish and fish will be scattered from shallow to deep. He reminds anglers to exercise care navigating with low water levels.
Bass: Captain Brett Mitchell (803-379-7029) reports that September should see a significant improvement in the bass fishing after a tough summer. The bigger fish that are so hard to find in August will begin to show up again, and instead of having to concentrate fishing activity in small windows early and late there will begin to be patterns that work all day. While topwater lures and soft plastics should catch fish, it will also be possible to catch fish on more varied presentations again including swimbaits and spinnerbaits.
Crappie: Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports that in September the crappie fishing typically improves even if temperatures don’t drop, indicating that something about day lengths must be going on. After a tough summer he is hopeful for improvement. The fish will start out deep but later this month fish should be caught on mid-depth and shallower brush with minnows.
Bream: Captain Steve English reports that in September it will continue to be easy to catch numbers of bluegill and shellcracker, but targeting the big fish will remain a little tricky. It usually isn’t until October and November that big numbers of fish go deep and they really group up.
Catfish: Captain Stevie English (843-709-8138) and Captain Bobby Winters (843-751-3080) report that during the first part of September night fishing should remain a better way to catch fish, and to start the month the night bite was substantially better than the day-time action. However, with more cooling that should level out. Overall this is a month when fish should be caught a variety of ways from anchoring and drifting the shallows to drifting mid-depth flats to drifting offshore hills and drops. A variety of baits will work but blueback herring are hard to beat.
Trout: Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reminds anglers that even if we get dramatically declining air temperatures in September, deep Lake Jocassee cools slower than other state waters in the fall. As a result, in September he expects to continue to catch fish in the big water trolling spoons very deep. To start off the month most fish are still over 100 feet down, and that won’t change much for some time. September is a slower month for numbers, but the fish they catch are often big. When fish really don’t seem to want to chase baits, as they didn’t to start off this September, it may be a good idea to put live bait in front of their noses.
Bass: Veteran angler Chip Cranford of Boiling Springs reports that in September he will be concentrating on the rivers for most of the month, and spinnerbaits, Carolina rigs and even topwater lures fished in the middle or off the sides of the channel are usually the most reliable. However, once we get three or four very cool nights then he looks for fish to move into the narrower creeks where he will be targeting them mostly with topwater lures and flukes.
Bass: Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that during the first part of September fish will remain in a summer pattern where they can be caught early and late off points on topwaters, while during the day fishing deeper with worms or jigging spoons is the best option. However, as water temperatures begin to cool schooling activity should become more widespread across the lake and fishing should improve.
Bass: Guide Brad Fowler reports that in September bass usually begin to get on a bait pattern where they are chasing schools of bait over deep water. Topwaters, flukes and swimbaits will all work. As with most of the year, you can also catch spotted bass on drop shot rigs fished around brush piles.
Striper and hybrids: Captain Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that by the beginning of September most of the fish had moved into the main Savannah River channel and suspended over deep water, but as often happens the bite had slowed way down. You can mark tons of fish in a small stretch of water, but they are difficult to persuade to bite. With down-lines, jigging spoons and trolled baits you can pick at a few, but nothing is hot. Expect the fishing to improve once the fish start to split out of large schools and head into the creeks.
Crappie: Guide Rodney Donald (864-356-0143) reports that in September fish will be found over brush in 15-25 plus feet of water in the creek runs, but this weekend he proved to himself that there are also still some fish very shallow in less than ten feet of water. He caught them just three feet deep under a cork! While jigs will work, minnows may be more effective.
Catfish: Captain Bill Plumley reports that during September channel catfish will continue to bite well in 15 plus feet of water on a variety of baits including cut herring and nightcrawlers, but once temperatures begin to cool blue catfish and flatheads may move out of the deep timber and become more catchable.
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