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The following information is provided from SCDNR – courtesy www.SCFishingReport.com. Check the site for recent updates and detailed reports. DHEC Fish Consumption Advisories: www.scdhec.gov/environment/water/fish.
Trout: Fair to good. Captain Steve Pietrykowski reports that some very good trout are being caught on Lake Jocassee. The best pattern is trolling live medium shiners, small herring and 3 1/4 inch flutter spoons 25-55 feet deep. Significant numbers of fish just below keeper size are also being caught, and so in the next month or so there should be lots of keeper fish available. Black Bass: Slow to fair. Bass fishing is still mostly in a winter pattern, but better spring fishing is right around the corner. Until water temperatures warm a few more degrees look for bait schools on your graph in deeper water, and then lower down a jigging spoon or drop shot rig. Very soon fish will start to move up shallower around the first drop off from the bank as they begin to stage for the spawn.
Largemouth and Spotted Bass: Fair. Water temperatures have risen significantly, fish on many parts of Lake Keowee bass have not completed their springtime move towards the banks. However, around the warm water discharge from the power plant, and in the northwest areas of the lake, water temperatures have risen enough that some fish may already be on the beds. Wind-blown pockets have also been productive, and fishing small crankbaits that imitate the bait can be effective.
Black Bass: Fair. Guide Brad Fowler reports that before the warm spell fish remained in a late winter pattern, but that should change very quickly. Before the warm temperatures warmed fish could be caught in 25-40 feet of water around channel swings, drops, or other depth changes. Drop shots, spoons, and blade runners were the best baits for this pattern. Look for fish to be staging in typical pre-spawn areas very soon. Catfish: Fair. Captain Bill Plumley reports that blue catfish have moved into the mouths of creeks in 10-30 feet of water. A variety of cut baits will work. The channel catfish bite should pick up when the water warms.
Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good. Captain William Sasser reports that hybrids are being caught in front of the dam in 20-40 feet of water by anglers down-lining herring after dark. Striper are biting in the upper part of the lake, and the best technique has been pulling planers boards with live herring and 1/8 ounce weights across points. Crappie: Good. Captain William Sasser reports that some fish are being caught around the banks only a few feet deep, and others are still grouped up 15 or so feet deep over 30 feet of water in the troughs of coves. Black bass: Fair to good. Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that bass are moving shallower and they can be caught on mop jigs and other Goby Sleds in staging areas.
Crappie: Good. Captain William Throw minnows to shallow brush and casting jigs at the banks. Look in the shallow coves and the backs of creeks all across the lake, including the Georgia and South Carolina Little Rivers. On the upper end of Clarks Hill the crappie bite is very strong. Anchor and casting minnows 2 feet under a float towards little pockets with driftwood and spawning banks, which are characterized by steep sandy or gray dirt bottoms (not clay or rock) with scattered stumps, trees and rocks.
Largemouth Bass: Fair to good. FLW Professional and Guide Matt Arey reports that most fish are still relating to bait, but things should change very fast as water temperatures warm. For now Alabama rigs and grubs have been working well, with Shad Raps effective for fish that have moved up a bit. Fish are eating well and the bite should only get better as temperatures rise. Catfish: Slow to fair. Captain Rodger Taylor reports that the most likely pattern remains targeting the middle to lower end of the lake focusing on the riverbed, the mouths of deep creeks and adjacent deepwater flats. Blue cats will be moving back and forth from the riverbed to the flats, depending on a variety of factors, but they are generally following the bait movement.
Largemouth Bass: Fair to good. The fish have made a big move shallow, and big prespawn females can be caught around rocks, docks and shallow brush – most any shoreline cover. Jigs, Rattle-trap type baits and shallow crankbaits will all catch fish, as will a variety of soft plastics. When there is some wind spinnerbaits are a good bet.
Largemouth Bass: Good. Bass have moved shallow and they can be caught in pockets, around docks and near shallow cover. Lots of fish are being caught in 2-4 feet of water over most of the lake, although some bigger fish can be caught in 10-12 feet off points. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic worms are all working. Crappie: Good. Crappie can be caught around most any shallow cover with jigs and minnows
Lake Monticello (unchanged from March 21)
Catfish: Good. Patience is very important right now to catching big blues on Monticello. The most consistent way to catch big fish is to anchor on humps with baitfish nearby when you are marking fish underneath them.
Lake Murray (unchanged from March 21)
Shellcracker: Fair to good. Lake World advises that shellcracker are feeding on the lower end of the lake in 2-8 feet of water. Fish nightcrawlers around points with shells nearby. Catfish: Fair to good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that fishing has gotten more consistent. Warm days will scatter fish across shallower flats in 15-25 feet of water, and cooler temperatures will push them back into 30-50 feet in the channel. The best technique has been drifting with cut herring for blues and channels, and the key to catching fish is being willing to adapt to conditions on the water and search for the fish. Largemouth bass: Fair. Veteran Lake Murray tournament bass angler Captain Doug Lown reports that the numbers of fish being caught are still relatively low, but some very nice fish are being landed. Fish are generally still being found in 8-12 feet of water around secondary points, at the mouths of bays and pockets and other staging areas. Shakey head worms and crankbaits have both been effective.
Santee Cooper System
Bream and crappie: Slow to fair. Captain Steve English reports that lots of cold water has been entering the Santee Cooper lakes and so the bream and crappie fishing really hasn’t heated up yet – however, it should very soon. The first places where the crappie turn on should be in the black water ponds once water temperatures hit 55-60 degrees. Catfish: Slow to fair. Captain Jim Glenn reports that the catfish bite has been slow and erratic, with weather systems seeming to have a negative impact. Better fishing should be nearby as temperatures warm and hopefully stabilize. For now anglers have had some limited success with blue catfish both shallow and deep fishing cut bait.
South Carolina freshwater recreational fishing regulations: (Pdf file): http://www.dnr.sc.gov/regs/pdf/freshfishing.pdf