Lake Fishing Trend Update July 2013
Catfish: Good. Captain Rodger Taylor reports that the bite has stabilized on Lake Wylie and the fishing has gotten pretty consistent. Channel catfish are easily taken with cut bait drifted shallow in 4-10 feet of water in the early morning hours until about 10 a.m. Blues can be mixed in, but the majority of the catch will be channels in the 3-5 pound range. Blues can be found in the big water near the river drop or near under water humps, islands, and inundated small creek beds or any subtle break in the bottom floor in the 20- 33 foot range. As the water continues to warm the fish will move more shallow in the southern end of the lake.
Catfish: Good to very good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that the catfish bite continues to be strong, with fish caught anchoring off points in 6-10 feet of water. Catalpa worms, stink bait and cut herring are all catching fish.
Black Bass: Good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that high water levels have not hurt the fishing, and drop shotting with worms or live minnows/ shad around brush piles about 20 feet deep has been a strong pattern. Spotted bass are also taking a Spot Remover fished off main lake points in 12-15 feet of water. With water levels up the best largemouth bass pattern has been going way up the creeks and fishing soft plastics around wood cover. The Rocky River, Beaverdam and Coldwater have been most productive.
Striped and Hybrid Bass: Excellent. Captain William Sasser reports that striper fishing is very strong on the lower 10 miles of the lake with lots of fish over 10 pounds being caught. The best pattern has been fishing down lines 30-50 feet deep off points early in the morning. Cut bait fishing is also working pretty well, but anglers need to anchor a bit deeper. Some good hybrids and stripers continue to be caught from the bank around the dam.
Crappie: Very good. Captain William Sasser reports that crappie are in the rivers 15 feet deep in about 25 feet of water over brush. Don’t bother looking in the very backs, but fish are also not super deep yet because water temperatures have stayed mild – especially ten feet down – which may account for the very strong bite.
Trout: Fair to good. Captain Steve Pietrykowski reports that Lake Jocassee trout fishing remains pretty strong. The intakes are still the place to fish first thing, but fish are very well spread out throughout the main body of water. Trolling both spoons and shiners 30-70 feet deep at speeds less than two miles per hour is most productive. Night fishing at the intakes has slowed down, but anglers putting out lights and suspending cut herring, nightcrawlers and medium shiners can still catch fish.
Largemouth and Spotted Bass: Fair. Guide Brad Fowler reports that the best pattern right now is fishing for fish suspended around depth changes, including deep points, humps, and drops in 30 or more feet of water. They can also be related to nothing but bait schools. At times bass can be caught with at the top of the water column, and they can also be caught on drop shot rigs, Carolina rigs and shakey head worms. Soft plastics fished around deeper docks will also catch fish. Typically at this time of year there is a pretty good topwater bite around relatively shallow points first thing in the morning, but right now this bite is not as good as usual and you have to fish a lot of points to find feeding fish.
Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good. Captain Bill Plumley reports that striper fishing continues to be strong, with most fishing being caught in the main river off points as well as in the main lake around underwater timber. The best depth range has been 30-50 feet deep over water up to 100 or more feet deep, and down lining has been the primary pattern. Some fish can be found in the pockets off the main lake but they have generally been smaller.
Catfish: Good. Captain Bill Plumley reports that the majority of blue catfish have moved out to deep water where they are difficult to target, but the channel catfish bite remains strong in 5-20 foot deep water across the lake. Worms, stink bait and cut herring are all working in the creeks, main lake, or pockets at the right depth range. Lake Hartwell also has some huge flatheads, and to target flathead catfish anchor live bait around brush or stick-ups in 3-20 feet of water during low light conditions or at night. The best spots are on relatively shallow flats or humps but are adjacent to deep water.
Largemouth Bass: Very good. Veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter reports that bass fishing is very strong on Lake Greenwood with very good numbers and sizes of fish being caught. The best pattern has been fishing crankbaits, big worms and jigs deep in the 18 foot range around brushpiles. Early in the morning some very nice fish are also being caught on Pop-Rs and floating worms fished shallow.
Catfish: Fair. Fishing for big fish is slow overall, mainly because fish are at various stages of the spawn. Scarred up males, laid-out females and females busting with eggs are typical right now. Some of the best reports have been from anglers anchored around mussel beds in 5-25 feet of water. Post-spawn fish typically like to feed on mussels because they provide an easy meal for recovering fish. Using small pieces of cut bait about the size of a mussel is a good option. A few large fish are also being caught around deep, open water humps when current from the hydroelectric station is flowing over them.
Catfish: Good. Captain Rodger Taylor reports that a typical summer pattern involves drifting or anchoring on the flats in 9-12 feet of water with cut bait. Cut white perch and shad are both equally strong baits. This is an excellent time to catch a mess of eating size catfish.
Crappie: Fair. Veteran tournament angler Will Hinson reports that crappie fishing has slowed a bit on Lake Wateree. Nonetheless, fish can be caught from one end of the lake to the other (“dam to dam”) around brush in 15-21 feet of water. Don’t head too far away from the main river channel, though. Fish are suspended high in the brush early in the morning, but as the sun gets up they will head to the bottom. Crappie are staying tight to the brush and so anglers really need to fish close to it and be patient, whether using jigs or minnows. Fish can still be caught around bridges but that bite has slowed a bit as temperatures have warmed.
Bream: Good to very good. Lake World reports that shellcracker can still be caught in 6-10 feet of water. To locate shellcracker look for freshwater clams washed up on the shore and fish nearby with night crawler sections. The bream bite remains hot, and fishing is very strong around docks with crickets. Peak spawning activity should occur on the new and full moons, and fish can also be found on the beds in between.
Striped bass: Good. Lake World reports that striper have moved into a typical summer pattern where fish are grouping up in the big water on the lower end of the lake. Fish are being caught 30-80 feet deep over humps and depth changes, with most fish being caught on down lined live herring. Fish can also be caught trolling plugs.
Santee Cooper System
Catfish: Fair. Captain Jim Glenn reports that catfishing is fair on the lakes. The most productive pattern may be drifting and covering a range of depths, including 8-9 feet of water and 35 or more feet of water. Try using a variety of fresh cut baits. Some fish are still being caught in the Diversion Canal but not as consistently as a few weeks ago. Night fishing may be more productive than daytime fishing if fishermen can cope with the threat of thunderstorms.
Largemouth bass: Slow to fair. Captain Jimmie Hair reports that some fish can be caught in the lakes around cypress trees as well as docks with at least 3 feet of water around them. Soft plastics have been the best baits, including Senkos and Zoom magnum finesse worms. In the Cooper River some fish are being caught at the mouths of the rice fields on the dropping tide, with Zoom magnum worms in watermelon seed color working best. On the lakes and in the river fishing early is key – late afternoon thunderstorms have kept the evening bite from being strong.