Freshwater Fishing Report

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 (unchanged from Aug. 23)

Bream: Good.  In the backs of creeks, coves and around waterfalls bream are being caught in good numbers.  Fish crickets, worms or small artificials like inline spinners. Catfish: Good. Catfish are being caught at night under lights by fishermen anchored near the intake, often as a by-catch for trout fishermen.

Lake Hartwell

Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good.  Captain Bill Plumley reports that striper and hybrid action has picked up.  Fish are still grouped up in the lower lake and they are being caught on down lined live herring fish about 70 feet down over the channel in about 100 feet of water. Catfish: Fair to good.  Captain Bill Plumley reports that blue catfish remain out in the deep timber and very difficult to catch, but channel catfish are biting pretty well.  They are scattered out across the lake in 15-60 feet of water, with 20-30 feet the most productive range.  The largest concentrations of fish are in the main lake or in the major creeks, and the best spots to fish have a clean bottom without timber.  Channels can be caught on dip baits, night crawlers, cut herring, shrimp and a variety of other baits. Crappie: Little fishing activity.  Captain Bill Plumley reports that few anglers are pursuing them but crappie can still be caught at night around bridges in 15-30 feet of water by anglers putting out lights and fishing with minnows. During the day the best bet is fishing around deeper parts of the bridges in 20-25 feet of water, or around brush at the same depth. Black Bass: Slow. Guide Brad Fowler reports that if anything the fishing has gotten a little tougher over the last few weeks.  A few more fish are being caught shallow around docks on shakey heads, buzz baits and jigs, but with water levels so low the fish that are out in deeper water are often uncatchable as they suspend in the timber and beyond.  Anglers can still try fishing flukes, Spooks, and swimbaits near the surface well out off deep points.

Piedmont Area

Lake Russell

Striped bass: Fair to good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that, as is typical in late August and September; lots of striped bass can be caught on both ends of the lake where they become concentrated in areas that offer some temperature relief.  Be sure to use circle hooks to make releasing fish easier as many of these striped bass are small.  Fish can be caught free lining live herring and gizzard shad over 15-30 feet of water in the cooler water. Crappie: Fair to good.  Guide Wendell Wilson reports that some big crappie have been caught around brush in 25-30 feet of water in the main channel of major creeks.  The numbers have not been strong but the sizes have been very good. White perch: Fair to good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that perch have already moved into the spots where they will be found in the fall, and they can be caught fishing a minnow just off the bottom in 20-25 feet of water in the larger coves and back in the creeks. Black Bass: Fair. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that catching larger fish has been tough, but spotted bass up to about 3 pounds have been feeding decently off main lake points in 25 feet of water.  The best points have brush on them and the bass are hanging out on points holding bait schools.  Fish are just off the bottom and will take a Carolina-rigged worm/lizard or a Spot Remover.

Lake Thurmond

Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good to very good.  Captain William Sasser reports that most of the bigger fish in the lake are grouped within 6 miles of the dam up both the Georgia Little River and the Savannah.  Fish are generally found 70-80 feet deep over 90-100 feet of water and fishing live herring on down lines has been the predominant technique. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that there is a pretty consistent striper bite at the top of Clarks Hill in the Lake Russell tailrace. Black bass: Slow. Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that fish remain in a summer pattern and the bite is still pretty slow.  Early in the day some fish can be caught fishing buzz baits along banks that are proximate to deeper water, and during the day there is some schooling activity over humps. Crappie: Little fishing activity.  Captain William Sasser reports that crappie should be found 20 feet down over 40 feet of water in the river channels around timber.  Target crappie by anchoring and dropping minnows vertically.

Lake Wylie

Catfish: Good to very good.  Captain Rodger Taylor reports that early in the morning anglers should look for fish in 5-15 feet of water in the creeks, starting in the backs and trolling out towards deeper water.  Creek fish may be found in relatively shallow water around sloping points that protrude into the creek channel.  Later in the day (or first thing) a good bite can be found drifting in 17-22 feet of water around vertical drops associated with the creek channel and offshore structure. Largemouth Bass: Slow to fair.  FLW Professional and Guide Matt Arey reports that a typical summer pattern remains predominant on Lake Wylie, but the bream bed bite has been pretty strong recently and should be good through a week or two past Labor Day. 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.

Midlands area

Lake Wateree

Catfish: Good.  Captain Rodger Taylor reports that drifting the mid-lake flats in 5-12 feet of water is producing large numbers of eating sized channel and blue catfish, and larger blue cats in the 10-20 pound range are also mixed in – as well as the possibility of some much bigger fish.  The cats are schooled up around large schools of threadfin and gizzard shad. Largemouth Bass: Good. Captain Chris Heinning reports that with warm water temperatures bass remain in deep water; however, with cooling rains and air temperatures some fish are being caught shallow.  Early in the morning fish around rocky points with shad topwater baits.  Around the bank grass use buzzbaits, frogs, swimming worms/jigs, and spinnerbaits.  Crappie: Fair to good.  Will Hinson of the Southern Crappie Tournament Trail reports that crappie are in a traditional summer pattern and they are loaded up on brush piles.  Productive brush is in the 12-24 foot range, and the bigger fish are on brush piles that are located on ledges and drops along the main river channel. Through the Labor Day weekend the upper end of the lake is generally quieter and therefore better to fish. Minnows and jigs are both catching fish but Will is having the best luck with Fish Stalker jigs.

Lake Greenwood

Bream: Good.  Sportsman’s Friend reports that bream fishing remains strong on Lake Greenwood.  Smaller bream are up against the bank, with bigger fish generally found a bit deeper. Catfish: Good.  Captain Chris Simpson reports that plenty of good eating sized channel catfish are still being caught both day and night by anchoring on humps and points and fan casting out baits.  During the day the most productive depths have been 5-20 feet, and at night fish have been as shallow as 2 feet down to about 10 feet.  Both shrimp and dip baits have been catching fish, and if you want to increase the chances of catching a large channel or a flathead try putting out half live baits, too.  Largemouth Bass: Fair.  Sportsman’s Friend reports that fish remain in a traditional summer pattern. Early in the morning some fish are being caught on topwater lures and floating worms fished around block walls and docks, but when the sun comes up this pattern dies very quickly.  Fish are also being caught on deep running crankbaits fished about 16 feet down, with the best bite again early. Crappie:  Very slow.  Sportsman’s Friend reports that catching crappie is tough.  The few crappie being caught are coming at night around deep brush and bridges by anglers fishing 15-20 feet down under a light with minnows.

Lake Monticello

Catfish:  Fair to good.  Captain Chris Simpson reports that the bite has been pretty good for big fish on Lake Monticello. Anchoring has been a little off for August, but Santee-style drifting has been fairly productive and should only get better into September.

Lake Murray

Striped Bass: Good. Lake World reports that because of cooler water temperatures striper can be found at all levels of the water column from about 30-80 feet.  Still, the bulk of the fish are grouped up in 50-60 feet of water, with almost all of the striper in the lake congregated in the lower pool.  The best bite has been at the towers recently, and fish are also feeding well around open water humps in 30-80 feet.  Most fish are being caught on downlined live herring but cut bait will also catch fish, including some of the bigger fish.  Early and on cloudy days there has been good schooling activity. Shellcracker and bluegill: Good. Lake World reports that shellcracker fishing has improved again in about 12 feet of water using worms on the bottom.   Bream are still biting well in 4-10 feet of water around shallow cover on crickets. Catfish: Fair. Captain Chris Simpson reports that fishing has been a little slow recently, perhaps partly due to hatches of mayflies and grass shrimp which catfish appear to have gorged themselves on.  Nighttime fishing may be a little better than daytime, and anchoring on points, humps and other depth changes with deep and shallow water around them and fan casting baits at a variety of depths has been most productive. Cut herring, shrimp and dip baits will all catch fish, and generally being in the right area and at the right depth is more important than the bait choice. Crappie:  Fair. Captain Brad Taylor reports that crappie are being caught around deep brush in 15-30 feet of water.  Early in the morning and on cloudy days fish are positioned high in the brush, but as the sun gets higher and brighter fish are lower in the brush.  Most fish are being caught on live bait, but some are coming on jigs. Largemouth Bass: Slow. Veteran angler Doug Lown reports that fishing has been pretty tough and most fish that have been caught have been in the 1 1/2 to 2 pound range.  With some of the highest water levels of the year a decent number of fish are up shallow, and first thing anglers are throwing buzz baits and topwater lures off the banks

Santee Cooper System

Crappie:  Good to very good.  Captain Steve English reports that crappie fishing is improving and will only get better as water temperatures continue to cool.  Already water temperatures are a good bit cooler than usual because of cloudy, rainy weather.  Fish can be caught around mid-depth brush piles in 10-20 feet of water by anglers using minnows and jigs.  Larger fish are being caught in the lower lake, but the numbers are better in the upper lake. Bream: Good.  Captain Steve English reports that the full moon coming up this weekend will probably be the last chance anglers have this year to catch spawning bream in the shallows.  Move your boat slowly through the shallows and look for active bream beds to throw crickets to. Catfish: Fair.  Captain Jim Glenn reports that there has been some improvement in daytime blue cat fishing over the last couple of weeks, and some folks are boating very nice fish both drifting and anchoring.  Fish are scattered with some fish being found in the usual deep water for summer and some shallow. Largemouth bass: Slow.  Captain Jimmie Hair reports that bass fishing is very tough on Santee Cooper, and typically August and September are the slowest months of the year.  Very little bass fishing is going on in the lakes and most clubs are fishing the Cooper River right now.  By late September and October fishing should improve and fish will make their way to the creeks.

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