Freshwater Fishing Trends

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Piedmont Area

Lake Russell

Bass: Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that in April the majority of the fish on Lake Russell will spawn, and it’s a great month for fishing as shallow as the spotted bass will get all year. Some of the better largemouth may have already spawned in March, but many are still pre-spawn. Overall, a shaky head worm is hard to beat. Sometime this month the herring spawn will take off and the bass will start to key on points.

Striped bass: Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) reports that in April fish will still be scattered all over the lake, but they will mostly be in the shallows. Pulling live herring on free-lines and planer boards is usually the best pattern, especially early, while during the day you can sometime find them schooled up on the deeper end of points.

Crappie: Guide Wendell Wilson reports that some of the bigger crappie already spawned in March, but in April several more waves of spawning fish should be found shallow around the banks. They will eat minnows and jigs cast around shallow brush until they pull out to slightly deeper cover.

Catfish: Guide Jerry Kotal reports that in April the catfish bite should really improve as fish feed up after a long winter, and they can be caught on shallow points with cut herring.

Most detailed Lake Russell Updates

Lake Thurmond

Bass: Guide Josh Rockefeller (706-513-6152) reports that in April there will be bass at all three stages of the spawn on Lake Thurmond, with fish on the beds at least through the middle of the month. However, in April most people will be thinking about when the blueback herring start spawning. When that happens it will seem like every point on the lake has bass (and fishermen) on it and they will take topwater lures and flukes as well as jigs and shaky head worms fished along the bottom.

Striper and hybrids: Little River Guide Service (706-210-3474) reports that in April the best pattern is to fish very shallow off channel points and shoals at daybreak. Once the sun gets up fish back out and scatter, and you have to look for them suspended out to 25-plus feet.

Crappie: Little River Guide Service (706-210-3474) reports that things were a little delayed this year, but the bulk of the fish will have finished spawning by mid-April. While you can still get some shallow this month, the most crappie will be caught with minnows fished over mid-depth brush. If it gets very hot they will move onto deeper brush.

Catfish: Captain Chris Simpson reports that in April he likes to anchor on humps, points and saddles and put out live and cut herring. This is a good technique for catching a mixed bag of catfish and striper.

Most detailed Lake Thurmond Updates

Lake Wylie

Bass:Tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that as predicted very few fish seem to have spawned in March, but during April the spawn should be wide open. Soft plastics such as wacky-rigged worms fished around the banks will be the primary pattern this month. The very last part of April the shad spawn should get underway and concentrate post-spawn fish.

Catfish:Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that during April most of the catfish will be concentrated in the upper quarter of Wylie, and anchoring with cut shad should be the best pattern. Fish will often move shallower as the day goes on.

Crappie: Captain Chris Nichols (704-860-7951) reports that during April and even into May several waves of crappie will spawn, and they can be caught casting jigs or minnows under a cork to shallow cover. However, not all the crappie spawn at once and so another group of fish will be caught trolling jigs in the backs of creeks.

Most detailed Lake Wylie Updates

Midlands Area

Lake Greenwood

Bass: Veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Greenwood reports that April is the biggest spawning month of the year on Greenwood, and this month fish at all three stages of the spawn will be found on Greenwood. Most fish will be in the shallows or nearby. Shakey head worms are hard to beat, and when there is not a cold front topwater lures can produce. Later in the month the shad spawn should get underway and provide feeding opportunities.

Striped bass: Guide Josh Wilson (864-871-6305) reports that last year in April most of the fish started off on the main lake, and depending on water temperatures they could be there most of the month this year. Live bait on free-lines or down-rods should work.

Crappie: Captain Roland Addy (864-980-3672) reports that, typically for Greenwood, the spawn got underway in March this year. There will still be some fish that will spawn on the banks during April, and others will spawn in deeper water. Post-spawn fish will head out to 20-40 feet of water on the main lake where they will roam and feed before eventually heading to brush when temperatures get into the 70s.

Catfish: Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that drifting cut herring, shad or white perch will remain a strong pattern in April, but this month he will be focusing more on the shallows as temperatures warm.

Most detailed Lake Greenwood Updates

Lake Monticello

Bass: Tournament angler Eric Enlow of Union reports that in April the majority of Lake Monticello bass will spawn, and whether you are targeting pre-spawn, spawning or post-spawn fish it really can be as simple as going down the bank and throwing a floating worm or shakey head. This month a good topwater bite should also get going. When fish leave the banks they will generally follow the same route out that they followed in, and there is often a good jerkbait bite.

Catfish: Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that in April fish should be about as shallow as they will be all year. For large blue catfish a variety of cut baits will work, while smaller fish will eat small pieces of herring, worms, shrimp and more.

Most detailed Lake Monticello Updates

Lake Murray

Bass: Tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that in April bass at all three stages of the spawn should be found shallow on Lake Murray where they will take soft plastics. However, by the time water temperatures hit the mid-60s most bass fishermen will be thinking about spawning blueback herring more than spawning bass. Flukes and topwater lures fished around points or anywhere else herring spawn will be deadly.

Striped bass: Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that in April he expects the fish to be point- and creek-oriented. They will catch them casting lures, on free-lines and on planer boards. There should also be a cut bait bite. Later in the month some of the fish should return to the main lake following the herring spawn.

Crappie: Captain Brad Taylor and veteran tournament angler Tommy Slice of Chapin report that that the spawn started in March on Lake Murray, but the greater numbers will be spawning early this month and continuing. Until it gets very warm anglers should be able to catch them with a jig or minnow under a cork around the banks, and there will also be pre-spawn and then mostly post-spawn fish that can be caught trolling in the creek channels. Later in the month fish will also pull back out to deeper docks.

Catfish: Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that in April fish will get into full-blown pre-spawn feeding mode, and some early channel catfish will even spawn later this month. Blues usually spawn a little later up the rivers. Cut bait fished in relatively shallow water should work all month.

Most detailed Lake Murray Updates

Lake Wateree

Bass: Tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that if the moon and water conditions are right then fish could spawn at the end of March, but generally he looks for March to be about pre-spawn bass. Fish will move shallower and into the creeks, and they will set up around rocks and grass. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and jigs will all work.

Crappie: Veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that in March fish will start to go shallower and into the creeks in preparation for an early-April spawn. The mouths of creeks are good places to long-line troll, and as we get further into the month fish will get closer to the backs where they can also be caught against the banks with jigs and minnows. Things appear to be running a little behind this year but that could change depending on weather patterns.

Catfish: Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that in March catfish on Lake Wateree will start to transition up the river channel. Anchoring with cut gizzard shad is generally the best pattern.

Most detailed Lake Wateree Updates

Santee Cooper

Bass: Captain Kyle Austin (843-209-3726) reports that one wave of fish spawned in March, and after a cool snap later in the month another big wave should come up in early April. Pre-spawn fish will be found staging around trees just out from spawning pockets, while spawning fish will be on the banks in traditional, protected pockets. In dirty conditions bladed baits are a good choice, while in clearer water soft plastics will work. At some point this month a strong topwater bite should also develop.

Crappie: Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports that most of the black crappie on Santee will have spawned around shallow cover by the end of the first couple of weeks in April, and after that they will set up on shallow to mid-depth brush. Minnows and jigs will work throughout. White crappie live in deeper water in the upper lake, and they will spawn later in the season.

Striped bass: Captain Bobby Winters (843-751-3080) reports that throughout April both the canal and the area around the Lake Moultrie dam will produce striped bass due to their annual migrations. Live herring fished near the bottom are hard to beat. At the top of the upper lake, Pack’s Landing (803-452-5514) reports that the striped bass fishing got off to a slow start on the flats and in the river itself during March, but there is every reason to expect the fishing to be wide open in April. Anchoring cut sections of river herring in 4-10 feet is usually the best pattern.

Catfish: Captain Stevie English (843-709-8138) and Captain Bobby Winters reports that in April they expect the biggest fish to be caught anchoring or drifting in shallow water, although there are always some fish out deep. Herring and shad will both work.

Most detailed Santee Cooper System Updates

Mountains Area

Lake Jocassee

Trout: Guides Sam and Casey Jones (864-280-9056) report that at the end of March the trout fishing had gotten pretty slow, but since fish can’t have lock-jaw forever that probably means April will be wide open. With relatively cool temperatures fish should still be found at a variety of depths this month, and live bait, spoons and plugs should all catch fish. April is typically one of the best trout months of the year and they are optimistic it will be again.

Bass: Veteran angler Chip Cranford of Boiling Springs reports that April on Lake Jocassee almost always marks the beginning of the spawning period. Even though the spawn will stretch into June substantial numbers of fish will generally pull up into shallower water this month. They can be caught on moving baits for the first few hours of the day and then soft plastics after that. A lot of fish over 6 pounds will be caught this month on this trophy fishery.

Most detailed Lake Jocassee Updates

Lake Keowee

Bass: Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that April fishing on Keowee should be excellent with fish in all three stages of the spawn – pre-spawn, spawning, and post-spawn. Fish will be caught on soft plastics in 8-20 feet. An early morning bite on points with topwaters, crankbaits, and more should also continue to be good after getting off to a strong start in March.

Most detailed Lake Keowee Updates

Lake Hartwell

Bass: Guide Jacob Butts (864-934-9450) reports that April is the biggest spawning month on Lake Hartwell, and in the beginning of the month there will be more fish pre-spawn while by the end of the month most of them will be post-spawn. However, in most years some will also spawn into May. Depending on water conditions, spinnerbaits and soft plastics such as floating worms or Carolina rigs will work well this month when most fish can be caught shallow. This month the herring spawn will also kick off and overlap with the bass spawn.

Striper and hybrids: Captain Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that through most of April fish should be caught up the rivers and major creeks. Early they will be caught shallow off points, while as the sun rises they will pull out to mid-depths in the same areas. Pitching free-lines will work at both times, but you can also fish down-lines very shallow early and then deeper later. While this pattern will last most of April, if it gets very warm then fish will start to go deeper and ease back down the creeks and rivers.

Crappie: Guide Rodney Donald (864-356-0143) reports that in April the majority of the crappie should complete their spawn on Lake Hartwell. They can be caught relatively shallow on minnows or jigs. Once the fish spawn they will usually move back onto mid-depth brush or docks.

Catfish: Captain Bill Plumley reports that with a cold winter the blues were a little slow getting into the creeks, but by the very end of March the bite was improving. April should be even better. The channel catfish will start to bite really well in April on any number of baits from worms to chicken livers to cut bait, while the flatheads should be feeding well on live bait by the end of the month.

Most detailed Lake Hartwell updates

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