Freshwater Fishing Trends – July 26
Santee Cooper System
SC Freshwater Fishing Regulations (Adobe PDF)
Purchase a fishing license
Boat Ramp Locations
State Fish Consumption Advisories
Fishing trends courtesy www.SCFishingReport.com. Check the site for recent updates and detailed reports.
Lake Jocassee: (unchanged from July 19)
Black Bass: Slow to fair. Captain Pat Bennett that fish are well into their summertime habits of staying offshore and they are focused on roaming schools of baitfish. Bass can be caught by anglers who get on the water very early or fish in the late evening. Fish are suspended near main lake points about 20 feet down, but they may be over water as deep as 90 feet or more. Topwaters and Carolina rigs can both catch fish. Smaller fish can be found against shallow, shaded banks that are near deep water, and shakey head worms in green pumpkin and watermelon red colors can catch fish.
Trout: Good. Captain Steve Pietrykowski reports that the best technique has been trolling spoons at 1-2 miles per hour in 35-60 feet of water, and silver, chartreuse and glow colors are working well – with the brighter spoons working best at the deeper end of the depth range. Live shiners and herring will also catch fish. Night fishing is strong, and suspending nightcrawlers and shiners 35 feet down near the intakes is producing.
Lake Keowee: (unchanged from July 19)
Largemouth and Spotted Bass: Slow. Guide Brad Fowler reports that catching bass continues to be tough on Lake Keowee. The pattern is similar to that on Lake Hartwell, with fish suspended out in deep water and sometimes feeding on top, but Lake Keowee bass are more likely to be found roaming out in the middle of nowhere where they are related to moving schools of bait. Bass can be caught with Spooks, flukes and other lures fished at the top of the water column, and they can also be caught on drop shot rigs.
Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good. Fish are suspended in 40 to 60 feet over 100 feet of water in timber along the main channel edge.
Catfish: Good. Fish at 20 to 30 feet and anywhere with clean water. The usual baits are all working.
Lake Russell: (unchanged from July 19)
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 mainly 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. In the timber the water has been warm, but largemouth should still be willing to bite a Texas rigged plastic worm fished with a 1/8 ounce weight. Fish 10-20 feet down around emergent cedar trees in 20-40 feet of water, and cotton candy and green colored worms will both work.
Catfish: Fair. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that catfishing can be caught anchoring off points and fan casting cut herring into 15 feet of water. Striped bass: Fair to good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that big striped bass continue to bite pretty well on the upper end of Lake Russell in the tailrace from Lake Hartwell. Fish are being caught free lining live herring and gizzard shad over 15-30 feet of water in the cooler water, and the best bite seems to be during the week when they are running water. At times the tailrace has been warmer than usual this year, so be sure to look for the coolest possible water temperatures.
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. A better pattern for catching numbers of fish is putting out a light at night and fishing around bridges with minnows.
Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good. Fish near the bottom around 50 to 70 feet near the bottom. Hybrids are a bit more shallow at 25 to 40 feet.
Largemouth: Slow. There are some reports of schooling with small fish over deep humps.
Lake Wylie: (unchanged from July 19)
Largemouth Bass: Slow to fair. FLW Professional and Guide Matt Arey reports that a typical summer pattern has set in on Lake Wylie. 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. Captain Rodger Taylor reports that the channel catfish bite has been outstanding on mid-depth flats with 10-17 feet of water. Fish are scattered but taking a variety of cut baits very well. On some days the head portion of the bait has produced larger fish, and drifting has been a strong technique. It’s flathead catfish season, and flatheads will take live baits fished around brush piles. Night fishing may be the most productive and comfortable way to target flatheads with high daytime temperatures, but you can’t expect to catch numbers of fish on every trip. On one recent night fish seemed to be biting very short, and a stinger hook may be a good way to increase the hook-up rate under these circumstances. Blue catfish can also be caught fishing for flatheads at night, and may actually be more common catches.
Lake Greenwood: (unchanged from July 19)
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. Be aware of the thermocline, though – if you retrieve dead baits after just a few minutes then there is no oxygen at that depth and you need to move shallower. To target flatheads most efficiently anchor and fish live bream or perch around heavy cover on ledges that extend from shallow to deep water.
Largemouth Bass: Fair. (unchanged from July 12) Sportsman’s Friend reports that fish have moved into 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. Bass can also be caught on soft plastics fished in 15-20 feet of water around ledges and brush. There is also sporadic schooling activity scattered across the lake, particularly early, late and on cloudy days.
Crappie: Very slow. Sportsman’s Friend reports that catching crappie is tough. The few crappie being caught are coming at night, caught around deep brush and bridges 15-20 feet down by anglers fishing under a light with minnows.
Lake Monticello: (unchanged from July 19)
Catfish: Good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that a lot of big blues are being caught right now on Lake Monticello. Anchoring on vertical ledges dropping from as shallow as 5-10 feet down to as deep as 40-70 feet has been a strong pattern. Cut gizzard shad, white perch, bream and herring all appear to be working similarly.
Lake Wateree: (unchanged from July 19)
Largemouth Bass: Good. Captain Chris Heinning reports that with hot summer temperatures bass remain in deep water. Some smaller bass can still be caught shallow early around grass and rocky points with shad-style topwater, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits. Better quality bass are coming from deep points, ledges, and underwater humps with deep diving crankbaits in chartreuse color, big worms in junebug, and Carolina-rigged plastics in watermelon/brown colors. Concentrate on depths of 10-20 feet. Also, consider night fishing with black spinnerbaits, worms, or jigs around lighted docks.
Crappie: Fair to good. Will Hinson of the Southern Crappie Tournament Trail reports that crappie have moved into a traditional summer pattern, and if you get a hook near a brush pile in the right depth range you should get bit. Most brush piles on the main lake in the 12-20 foot range are holding fish, and early/late or on cloudy days fish will be holding at the top of the brush. When the sun is high and bright fish will be lower down in the brush. Minnows and jigs are both catching fish, and Fish Stalker Jigs in Ugly Greem, Pearl White and Blake Emerald have been working very well. End of the lake doesn’t seem to matter as long as you are in the main lake and not up the creeks.
Catfish: Very good. Captain Rodger Taylor reports that fish are settling into a summer pattern although some fish are still in a post-spawn mode. There is a very strong bite on the flats in 9-12 feet of water for anglers using cut bait. Cut white perch and shad are both equally strong baits, and small white perch are readily available using hook and line on the flats. This is an excellent time to catch a mess of eating size catfish.
Striper: Very good. Lake World reports the best fishing is on the lower end of lake around 40 to 100 feet deep. They also report several catches of 25 to 30 pounders recently. Freeline fishing has been producing.
Bream: Good. The bream bite remains hot, and fishing is very strong around docks with crickets.
Santee Cooper System (unchanged from July 19)
Catfish: Slow. Captain Jim Glenn reports that, while there are exceptions, blue catfishing can be characterized as very slow most days and nights. Fish are scattered, and the few active fish that have been caught are coming from shallow water as well as water down to 30 feet by anglers using both anchoring and drifting techniques. Decent numbers of channel cats have been caught recently in deeper water by anglers drifting with cut bait, and some catches have been reported in shallow water on commercially prepared baits as well as cut baits. Fish range from one pound to around eight pounds, with smaller fish generally being caught on prepared baits and larger ones coming on prepared baits and cut baits.
Crappie: Good. Captain Steve English reports that crappie have more or less moved into a traditional summer pattern and can be found around mid-depth brush piles. Fishing minnows and jigs around brush in 10-15 feet of water has been the best pattern. 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 bream beds are apparent in the shallows on Lake Marion, and around the full moon he expects to see tons of bream bedding. Bream and shellcracker can both be caught in the upper lake fishing worms and crickets around shallow cover.
Largemouth bass: Slow to fair. Captain Jimmie Hair reports that bass fishing has been pretty tough on Santee Cooper, but anglers are starting to catch fish in the eel grass. It’s important to cover a lot of water, but fish can be ganged up once they are located. The best baits have been fluke-type baits and particularly the Gambler Super Stud fished with a light belly weight in watermelon seed color. The bite in the cypress trees is below average for this time of year, but some fish can still be caught there. Finally, in the lower lake fishing small worms on a Carolina rig in 10-14 feet of water around stump fields and drop offs will catch fish.
Fishing trends courtesy www.SCFishingReport.com. Check the site for recent updates and detailed reports.