Freshwater Fishing Trends - January 2020

Information on fishing trends provided courtesy of www.anglersheadquarters.com/, South Carolina's premier fishing report source. Customers of the Angler's Headquarters online tackle store have access to daily updates and full-length reports on its site.

The Columbia full-service Licensing and Boat Titling office is now located at:

SCDNR at the State Farmer's Market
326 Little Brooke Lane
West Columbia, SC 29172

The State Farmers Market has convenient parking and easy access to both I-77 and I-26.

These services are no longer offered at 1000 Assembly Street in Downtown Columbia.

Piedmont Area

Lake Russell

Bass: Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that in January bass should still be caught deeper in the main lake and at the mouths of creeks. They will be caught on jigging spoons, drop shots and jigs.

Striped bass: Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) reports that in January the bite should be even better than in December as fish should get into tighter groups in the cold. Whether you opt to search for feeding fish by throwing artificials or covering water by pulling herring on free-lines and planer boards, following the birds is key.

Crappie and yellow perch: Guide Wendell Wilson reports that in January he will not target crappie, but yellow perch will be caught in excellent numbers. They will be caught on minnows fished around schools of bait.

Catfish: Guide Jerry Kotal reports that January is not a month when very many people will be targeting catfish, but if you concentrate on deep water you can pick up channel catfish.

Most detailed Lake Russell Updates

Lake Thurmond

Bass: Tournament angler Josh Rockefeller reports that in January patterns will depend on weather conditions, but there should be a big group of fish in the creek ditches that can be caught on blade baits. There should also be a group of deeper fish out on the main lake that can be caught on underspins fished over humps and around bait.

Striper and hybrids: William Sasser Guide Service (706-589-5468) reports that in January fish should be caught in the creeks on shallow down-lines, free-lines and planer boards pulled over relatively shallow water.

Crappie: William Sasser Guide Service reports that in January fish should still be ganged up around mid-depth brush piles and submerged timber in the backs. Crappie will eat minnows or jigs.

Catfish: Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that January can also be a very good month for catching big catfish on Lake Thurmond, but the drastic cold snaps and general swings in temperature can also make fishing very inconsistent. Some days they may feed heavily, and then they may not feed for the next day or two. In general anchoring on deep structure is the most consistent way to catch large blue and flathead catfish this month. Gizzard shad and white perch are hard to beat for the bigger fish.

Most detailed Lake Thurmond Updates

Lake Wylie

Bass: Tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that in January the pattern will depend on weather and water conditions, but crankbaits, Alabama rigs and jigs should all produce. Birds can often indicate the best areas to fish.

Catfish: Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that January water temperatures should stay below 50 degrees, and that means some of the biggest fish of the year will be caught. While unusual water conditions could change the pattern, expect the best fish to come drifting deep water with cut bait on the lower end.

Most detailed Lake Wylie Updates

Midlands Area

Lake Greenwood

Bass: Veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Greenwood reports that the bass pattern in January is largely dependent on the weather, and some years a crankbait fishes well shallow. When temperatures are cold and the water is relatively clear a jigging spoon can be effective. But the most reliable pattern is that in January on Lake Greenwood an Alabama rig is likely to be effective either shallow, deep, or both.

Most detailed Lake Greenwood Updates

Lake Monticello

Bass: B.A.S.S. angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that January can be a difficult month to catch bass on Lake Monticello, and fish are in something of a transition period. They may not be grouped up around deep bait as well as they were in late November and December, but the best way to catch fish them may still be with a jigging spoon. An Alabama rig can also catch bass and there can be some fish transitioning to shallower water.

Catfish: Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that January is another good month to catch big fish on Lake Monticello, although cold fronts and up-and-down weather can make the bite a little unpredictable. Anchoring around deep structure is usually the best pattern, and cut white perch and gizzard shad are typically the best baits.

Most detailed Lake Monticello Updates

Lake Murray

Bass: B.A.S.S. angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that the pattern in January will depend on water conditions, and if the water is dirty then throwing a crankbait around the banks is likely to be the most effective pattern. In clearer areas jigging a spoon should also work this month, and an Alabama rig can also be in play.

Striped bass: Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that in January on Lake Murray fish should continue to be caught on free-lines, on planer boards and by casting at birds. However, if it gets very cold then fish should go deep and be caught on spoons bumped off the bottom.

Crappie: Captain Brad Taylor reports that in January tight-lining for suspended fish up the rivers should be effective. However, if there is a hard cold-front then fish will hunker down and move into deeper water where they will be caught fishing right off the bottom on minnows and jigs.

Catfish: Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the quality of the bite in January will depend on water conditions, but drifting or anchoring with cut bait in the channels is likely to be the best pattern. If it gets very cold then fish should group up in deeper areas.

Most detailed Lake Murray Updates

Lake Wateree

Bass: FLW fisherman Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that in January fish will still be in steep areas with access to deep water, but with the spawn approaching they should start to feed up. Crankbaits, worms and jigs fished around rock should catch fish.

Crappie: Veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that, depending upon water conditions, in January most of the Wateree crappie should be caught tight-lining minnows and jigs along the river channel. Late this month some of the shallower creeks could also turn on.

Catfish: Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that in January catfish on Lake Wateree should be mixed between shallow and deep. A general pattern can be to anchor in deep water early and then try the shallows later in the day when the water warms.

Most detailed Lake Wateree Updates

Santee Cooper System

Bass: Captain Brett Mitchell (803-379-7029) reports that in January fish will still be concentrating on shad, and just about anywhere you can find baitfish is worth fishing. For now fish are biting crankbaits and swimbaits, but if water temperatures get very cold then spoons will be a good choice.

Crappie and Bream: Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports that the bite has slowed down as the water temperatures have dropped, and in January the fishing should get even slower. However, anglers can still pick up fish on minnows and crickets fished around deep brush.

Catfish: Captain Stevie English (843-709-8138) reports that in January drifting deep water is still the best bet, but on very warm days there can be a night/evening bite in shallow water. Cut herring, shad or white perch will all work.

Most detailed Santee Cooper System Updates

Mountains Area

Lake Jocassee

Trout: Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that as expected the trout fishing really improved late in December, and in January it should continue to be very strong. Fish will be as shallow as they can be found all year, and they will take both live bait and artificials. This is one of the best months of the year to catch big fish.

Bass: Guide Rob McComas (828-674-5041) reports that January is the most consistent month of the year for catching smallmouth bass on Lake Jocassee. Although spotted bass and largemouth will be mixed in, this month he targets steep bluff walls and sees a disproportionate number of brown fish come up to take hair jigs fished up in the water column. A jigging spoon can also be effective.

Most detailed Lake Jocassee Updates

Lake Keowee

Bass: Guide Brad Fowler reports that in January the best bet is to target deep water with drop shot rigs, blade runners or football jigs. Underspins can also work well. Fish will be mixed between the main lake and deeper creek channels.

Most detailed Lake Keowee Updates

Lake Hartwell

Bass: Guide Brad Fowler reports that in January the best bet is to target deep water with drop shot rigs, blade runners or football jigs. Underspins can also work well. Fish will be mixed between the main lake and deeper creek channels.

Striper and hybrids: Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that in January the bite should remain good as long as water temperatures stay above 50 degrees, but if water temperatures drop to about 50 or below the fish will get more sluggish. Overall down-lines in the creeks should remain the best way to catch fish, but on warm afternoons anglers should be able to catch some on free-lines.

Crappie: Captain Bill Plumley reports that in January fish should continue to be caught around deep docks in both the creeks and on the main lake.

Catfish: Captain Bill Plumley reports that in January blue catfish should come out of the deep timber, and they should begin to be catchable in the creek channels. A variety of cut baits will work.

Most detailed Lake Hartwell updates


South Carolina freshwater recreational fishing regulations.