SCDNR Freshwater Fishing Report

SCDNR Freshwater Fishing Report

The following information is provided courtesy Check the site for recent updates and detailed reports. DHEC Fish Consumption Advisories:

Mountains Area

Lake Jocassee

Trout: Good. For quality fish the catch rate has overall been pretty good. Trolling in the big water 60-100 feet down with spoons and live shiners has been most effective. The intakes are still producing some fish off and on, but night fishing has slowed. Night fishermen should try suspending nightcrawlers and shiners 25 to 40 feet down near the intakes. Black Bass: Fair. Some fish will still feed in the middle of the day, but really it’s too hot to be fishing except early, late and at night. The majority of the fish seem to out in deep, open water following roaming schools of baitfish, but early and late some fish move shallower. First thing and at dusk there can be a good bite on topwater lures such as Spooks and Jitterbugs worked around points that extend out a good ways.

Lake Keowee

Largemouth and Spotted Bass: Slow. Fishing remains slow on Lake Keowee.  Early in the morning there may be a little topwater activity, but after the sun gets up anglers need to drop back and fish drop shot rigs, Carolina rigs and shakey head worms over deep structure such as points and humps.  Sporadic schooling activity may take place throughout the day as fish feed on threadfin shad, but getting these fish to bite is difficult.

Lake Hartwell

Catfish: Good. Channel catfish don’t seem to mind the heat and they continue to feed well.  Fish are scattered out across the whole lake in 15-30 feet of water, with catches of small to medium sized fish strong. Dip (stink) bait, especially Hoss’ Hog Bait, is vastly outperforming both cut bait and nightcrawlers. The best times to fish are early, late and at night.  Blue catfish have generally moved out to deeper water where they are difficult to catch in the Lake Hartwell timber, although a few have been picked up at night. Striped and Hybrid Bass: Fair. Striper and hybrid fishing remains a little off, with catch rates down from last year at this time. The best bite is still fishing around main lake points or along the edge of the main river channel over trees. Fish have not yet moved super deep, as they should by the end of the summer, and best results are coming on down lined live herring fished 35-50 feet down. Crappie: Slow. Some crappie are being caught under lights at night around deeper bridges and brush piles in 20-30 feet of water. Anglers are fishing both minnows and jigs. Daytime action is slow.

Piedmont Area

Lake Russell

Black Bass: Fair to good. Spotted bass are mixed in with other species can be caught on minnows around brush in 25 feet of water.  They can also be caught early and late around main lake points.  Soft plastics, including Spot Removers and Carolina rigs, are both effective. For largemouth bass head into the timber flats just off the main lake and fish a Texas-rigged curly tail worm around cedar trees. Let the bait fall 12-20 feet down around timber in 30-40 feet of water.  In the creeks there is also some topwater activity and bass can be caught on small Spooks and poppers. Catfish: Fair to good. The best bet is fishing around main lake points between Pickens and Vans Creeks. Beach your boat and cast worms and cut herring out to a maximum depth of about 15 feet.  Crappie and white perch: Fair to good. Crappie, including a few very large fish, are being caught around brush by anglers fishing 10 feet down in 20-30 feet of water. Threadfin shad schools are already gathering around cover in this range, and crappie, bass and white perch are all mixed together in a typical late summer/early fall pattern. Both shad and minnows will catch crappie, and the best fishing is in very slightly stained water in creeks off the main channel – not in the dingy backs.

Lake Thurmond

Striped and Hybrid Bass: Very good. Catches of striper and hybrids remain very strong on the lower end of the lake within 4 or 5 miles of the dam both sides of daybreak and dusk.  The best fishing is in troughs at the entrance to coves – fish on the bottom in 35-40 feet of water with live herring. There are also some good catches of 3-4 pound hybrids trolling bucktails front of the dam in the evening. Use the gas motor and troll the lures about 25 feet deep.  Catfish: Fair. Big flatheads are being caught on the Parksville and Georgia flats at night, but they are scattered. Anchor live bream on the bottom in 15-20 feet of water to catching roaming, feeding flatheads.

Lake Wylie

White perch: Very good. Perch are biting very well on the flats in 15-20 feet of water. Fish minnows or worms on a Sabiki rig vertically. Largemouth Bass: Slow to fair. One productive pattern is fishing offshore around humps, bridges and points with DD-22s, Hopkins spoons, football jigs and big plastic worms. The other major pattern is fishing shallow for bass related to bream.  Look for bass cruising in packs and targeting bream around docks and in the backs of sandy coves.  Prop baits, swimbaits and weightless Senkos will all work. Catfish: Very good. The best fishing has been drifting in 15-22 feet of water, and fish are not expressing a clear preference for cut bluegill or white perch. Flatheads can be caught night fishing with live bait around cover and structure.

Midlands area

Lake Wateree

Largemouth Bass: Good. Early in morning fish around rocky points with shad topwater baits.  Around the bank grass, use buzzbaits, frogs, swimming worms/jigs, and spinnerbaits.  For deep water fishing, try deep diving crankbaits, big worms, and Carolina-rigged plastics in watermelon/brown plastics.  Concentrate on depths of 10-15 feet. Some fish also can be caught off docks with plastic worms.

Lake Greenwood

Catfish: Good. The daytime bite is slow but the night bite is very good. The best approach remains anchoring on humps and points in 5-20 feet of water and fan casting baits to different depths. For numbers of fish use dip (stink) bait and shrimp, and for fewer but larger fish put out cut and live bait offerings. Largemouth Bass: Slow.  A few fish are being caught early and late, particularly on topwater lures and floating worms fished around block walls at dawn. Catching fish during the heat of the day is very difficult right now. There is sporadic school activity scattered across the lake, with largemouth, striper, and white perch feeding together. On cloudy days the topwater action may be better and last longer. Crappie: Slow. The best fishing is at night around bridge pilings, brush and other manmade structure and cover in 20-30 feet of water. Cover and structure in creek channels may be best, and both minnows and jigs will catch fish.

Lake Monticello

Catfish:  Good. Santee-style drifting has been producing some good fish but the most consistent big fish technique has been anchoring.  45-60 feet has been the magic depth, and although that could change overnight there’s no reason why it should. Place your baits at the depth where you are marking the most fish, whether on a flat, point, or hump. Cut bream and white perch have been good bait choices lately.

Lake Murray

Bream: Very good. Shellcracker fishing remains very strong, but fish have gotten a little harder to locate.  Look in 12-15 feet of water and fish worms on the bottom. For bluegill fish around docks or brush in 3-7 feet of water with crickets. Catfish: Good. The daytime bite has really slowed but a hot night bite is making up for it.  During the day fish are feeding in 10-30 feet of water, but at night start out looking in 2-15 feet of water. Target points and humps that will allow you to cover a wide range of depths until you find the most productive zone, which can vary quickly. Cut herring, shrimp, and stink bait are the best baits.  Striped Bass: Good. Striper are being caught 30-80 feet deep with down lined herring on the lower end of the lake, particularly over open water humps. Some days fish will also feed on the surface – particularly on cloudy days pull some free lined baits over the deep water. Trolling 30-50 feet deep with a variety of lures, including Roadrunners, bucktails and Grandma lures, is also catching fish.

Santee Cooper System

Catfish: Slow to fair. Some decent catches are taking place at night on Lake Marion in relatively shallow water while anchoring. Some good fish have also been caught in both lakes drifting during the daytime in less than 20 feet of water. There are also reports of intermittent success fishing around mussel beds in shallow water both day and night. Some fishermen have switched to mullet fillets but most are using cut herring and perch. Largemouth bass: Slow. Fishing has gotten even tougher, and you pretty much have to fish before 10 a.m. or after 5:30 p.m. One technique is to fish in the shade of cypress trees in 5-10 feet of water with soft plastics.  In the main lakes the shallow bite has turned off, but a few fish can be caught off drops or around stumps on Carolina rigs fished in 12-18 feet of water.

South Carolina freshwater recreational fishing regulations: (Pdf file):