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South Carolina Freshwater Fishing Trends

By John Lucas - SC Fish and Game

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources appreciates the cooperation of fishing trend reporters for South Carolina's major lakes: Jocassee - Hoyett's Tackle; Keowee - Fishing Hole; Hartwell - Lake Hartwell Fishing and Marine; Russell - Tony's Bait and Tackle; Thurmond - Bladon's; Wylie - Catawba Tackle; Greenwood - Sportsman's Friend; Wateree - Wateree Marina; Murray - Dooley's Sport Shop; Marion - Lanes; and Moultrie - Atkins Boat Landing.

MOUNTAINS-PIEDMONT AREA
LAKE JOCASSEE: Largemouth Bass: Fair, slow retrieves with plastic worms,casting Carolina-rigged worms, and topwater plugs Good catches in the early morning.  Trout: Good, trolling with Apex lures, Sutton spoons and Yozuri baits from surface to .30 feet deep. These fish are averaging 3 to 5 pounds.
Also good catches reported with crippled herring jigs in shallow water and with live minnows.  Smallmouth Bass: Slow, drifting large minnows and brown hair jigs around rocky points and rocky banks.  Crappie: Slow, Try small minnows and jigs around brush piles.  Catfish: Fair, using nightcrawlers or cut bait on bottom.  Bream: Good, using popping bugs and red worms around banks and brush. 


LAKE KEOWEE: Largemouth Bass: Excellent, Try doodling and drop shotting Carolina-rigged worms in green or red colors and jigging spoons in 30 to 50 feet of water in the mouths of creeks and off rocky points after mid-morning. Fish in the 1 to 3.5-pound range reported  Crappie: Good, using small minnows and jigs in 10 to 15 feet of water around brush piles and bridge pilings.  Catfish: Good, using jumbo minnows, nightcrawlers and cut bait on the bottom. Recent catches of 10 to 12-pound fish reported. 

Bream: Fair, using redworms and crickets around brush piles and around stumps. Also, try fishing around bridge pilings. 

 
LAKE HARTWELL: Largemouth Bass: Excellent, using 5 to 6-inch lizards,
crankbaits, spinnerbaits, topwater lures, and Trick worms fishing off
points. Best catches reported at dawn and dusk Also try fishing in coves.
Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good, using umbrella rigs also live herring with
down-rods in deep water around river channels 15 to 30 feet deep. Trolling activity has increased, try depths of 15 to 25 feet of water. Schooling activity on the lake has increased.  Crappie: Fair to good, using medium minnows, grubs and small jigs. Fish are moving into deeper water around brush piles.  Catfish: Fair, using cut herring, nightcrawlers, shrimp and chicken livers on the bottom.  Bream: Fair, using redworms and crickets around brush piles and cover. 


LAKE RUSSELL:  Largemouth Bass: Fair, try spinner baits around bush in
creeks and shallow running crankbaits.  Yellow Perch: Very Good, fishing
medium minnows deep and jigging spoons.  Striped and Hybrid Bass: Excellent, night fishing and early morning with bucktails, cut and live herring and jigs especially when water is running below dam. Reports of 9 to 10-pound fish being caught.  White Bass: Poor, using bucktails, spinners and live bait below dam.  Crappie: Very Good, using minnows around brush piles and bridge pilings. Also try fishing jigs along banks with cover. 

Catfish: Good, using cut bait and nightcrawlers on the bottom.  Bream: Good, using red wigglers, pinks, crickets and nightcrawlers.  Water temperature is 58 degrees and clear. 


LAKE THURMOND: Largemouth Bass: Good, casting plastic worms. Also, try Little Cleos and spinnerbaits. Also, try casting shallow running baits.
Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good, using Cleos, Berry Spoons and KastMasters. Also, try large minnows and live herring. Fish are being caught in the 20-pound range.  Crappie: Good, using small minnows and jigs around brush tops. Some limits being caught.  Catfish: Good, using cut bait and nightcrawlers fishing on the bottom.  Bream: Good, using Louisiana pink worms and jumbo redworms around the banks. 


LAKE WYLIE:  Largemouth Bass: Good, casting bass jigs and medium running crankbaits.  Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good, using spoons and bucktails. White Bass: Good, fish are schooling in the afternoon.  Crappie: Excellent, using small minnows and chartreuse jigs around rip-rap, docks and brush tops. Some crappie has been reported caught in the 1 pound and over category. Also limits are being caught.  Catfish: Good, using nightcrawlers on the bottom.  Shellcracker: Fair, using redworms and crickets on the bottom.  Bream: Good, using earthworms, redworms and crickets around the banks. 


LAKE GREENWOOD: Largemouth Bass: Good, casting topwater plugs and crank bait. Plastic worms in around docks and structure in 5 to 10 feet of water during the day. Some larger fish are being caught on crankbaits off points. Stripers: Good, behind the dam and fair in the lake using live bait. Try fishing small spinners and jigging Berry Spoons in 12 to 15 feet of water. White Bass and White Perch: Good, fish are schooling in the upper part of the lake. Try using small spinners and jigging spoons.  Crappie: Good, using small to medium minnows and mini jigs over brush in 12 to 15 feet of water. Drift fishing in 12 feet of water using minnows or jigs has also been productive during daylight hours.  Catfish: Good, using cut bait and blood bait off points in 8 to 15 feet of water on the bottom.  Bream: Slow, using redworms along shore and docks. Water level has stabilized at about 3 feet below full level.

 
MIDLANDS AREA
LAKE WATEREE: Largemouth Bass: Good, casting bass jigs and medium running crank baits.  Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good, using Spoons and Bucktails. White Bass: Good, fish are schooling in the afternoon.  Crappie: Excellent, using small minnows and chartreuse jigs around rip-rap, docks and brush tops. Some crappie has been reported caught in the 1 pound and over category. Also limits are being caught.  Catfish: Good, using nightcrawlers on the bottom.  Shellcracker: Fair, using redworms and crickets on the bottom.  Bream: Good, using earthworms, redworms and crickets around the banks.  

 
LAKE MURRAY: Largemouth Bass: Good, in 1 to 8 foot of water and on the inside of the grass line on small shad rap and spinnerbaits. Also Carolina rigged worms are being used.  Striped Bass: Fair, try live herring on free line with a cork. Schooling activity has been reported in all hours of the day from Shull Island to the Gap. Try a double rigged set-up with a bucktail trailed by an Ice Fly. Cast this set of lures to schooling fish.  Crappie: Fair, using jigs and small tuffy minnows trolling in creek runs and fishing brush piles in 10 to 15 feet of water.  White Perch: Good, try jigging spoons and tuffies or worms.  Catfish: Fair, using cut herring and nightcrawlers on the bottom. Bream: Good, try fishing redworms and crickets in 10 to 20 feet of water along the grass wall. Limits are being caught. Shellcrackers: Fair, using redworms and baby nightcrawlers in 4 to 15 feet of water and on the bottom.  Water is clear and 58 degrees.

 
SANTEE COOPER SYSTEM
LAKE MARION:  Largemouth Bass: Good, using artificial worms, topwater rebel lures, fishing along the banks and point early in the morning.  Striped Bass: Good, using shad and live herring with down rod in about 30 feet of water. Trolling shad and herring has been productive. Some fish weighing 15-pounds are being reported caught.  White Perch: Slow, Try jigging off the bottom with Hopkins spoons.  Crappie: Fair, Crappie are starting to bite in 20 feet of water, using small and medium minnows around deep brush piles, bridge pilings and piers.  Catfish: Excellent, fishing with live herring and cut shad off the bottom in deep water. recent catch of a 45-pound catfish has been reported.  Bream and Shellcrackers: Good, using crickets and redworms, in 5 to 10 feet of water and limits are reported.  

LAKE MOULTRIE: Largemouth Bass: Good, casting, spinnerbaits, plastic worms and lizards along docks and structure.  Striped Bass: Good, fishing live herring in 30 feet of water with down-rods. Fish are schooling try flex-it spoons jigging and casting Striper Swipers in schooling fish. Trolling through schooling fish has also been productive. Striped bass in the 8 to 18-pound range are being caught. Limits of these fish are being reported daily.  Crappie: Fair, Try small to medium sized minnows around fish attraction areas and brush piles.  Catfish: Excellent, using cut shad, herring, menhaden, live large shiners and nightcrawlers 40 to 50 feet deep.


Fish are being caught in the 30 to 40-pound range.  Bream: Good, using
crickets, public fish attractors. Fish are in 8 to 25 feet of water on beds.
Shellcrackers: Fair, try redworms and green worms along the banks along river runs and points. Catches reported t in the canal area in the 2 to 4 pound range.  

      - Written by John Lucas -
For South Carolina freshwater fish regulations:
http://water3.dnr.state.sc.us/dnr/etc/rulesregs/img/freshfishing.pdf

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