Freshwater Fishing Trends - Feb. 1
Fishing trends courtesy www.SCFishingReport.com. Check the site for recent updates and detailed reports.
- Bass: Slow Largemouth bass can be caught on Lake Jocassee in January and February, but Guide Rob McComas says that he typically spends relatively little time targeting them at this time of year. When Rob is able to target smallmouth he likes to go after them, and the winter months are the most consistent smallmouth bass season on Jocassee. For the next month or two Rob says that he will chiefly be targeting brown fish on the lake. Pursuing smallmouth in January and February means fishing off steep points and bluff walls, and that can mean fishing in the main lake or in the rivers. The Whitewater River has some good steep points and bluff walls, and he will be fishing anywhere that has the structure he is looking for. The bait of choice for Rob is a float n fly rig, and he is usually fishing it 12-20 feet deep.
- Bass: Fair. Until the very recent cold snap this action could be found throughout the day, both in overcast and sunny conditions. Fish could also be found on the surface over deep water as well as in the shallows. While the surface pattern will probably wane as the water starts to approach more normal winter temperatures, the deep/ drop-shot pattern will get stronger and stronger. As is typical finesse worms fished on drop-shot rig are accounting for the greatest number of his fish, but small spoons have also been catching bass.
- Catfish: Fair to good. This time of year blue catfish have moved up shallower and into the creeks this January, and when conditions permitted you can catch some pretty good numbers of 8-12 pound blues on cut herring. Drifting in 15-30 feet of water has been pretty effective, and if anglers could find a shore that was possible to pull up on they could probably do well anchoring baits at the same depth. The wind has been periodically strong so that anchoring a boat in open water has been tough. Cut herring, cut shad, or most any other fresh cut bait is working. Striped Bass: Slow to fair. Captain Bill Plumley reports that fishing has been pretty tough for striper, but some fish have been caught on jigging spoons. Anglers should first mark fish on the bottom, and then drop a spoon down – and expect plenty of white perch to be mixed in with the catch. In the afternoon when temperatures warm up marginally some fish have also been caught on free-lined live herring.
- Bass: Fair to Good. Fish were recently grouped up in 20-40 feet of water in the middle to backs of the creeks, but as temperatures dropped they moved into 60-80 feet of water at the mouths of creeks and stacked up on deep flats. Utilize drop shots and jigging spoons he expects to catch 100 or more fish in a day. It’s anyone’s guess what the next few weeks will bring with plenty of rain and at least some balmy weather in the extended forecast.
- Striped and hybrid bass: Good. Captain William Sasser reports that striped bass seem similarly unaffected by fluctuating water conditions as the bass. Fish bit right through the wild, running current when all of the water was running through the lake, and if anything the action seemed to excite the fish. Right now fish are being caught all over the place on Clarks Hill, and the last few outings William has been concentrating on 25-30 feet of water off main lake points on the lower part of the lake. Fishing down-lined live herring right on the bottom has been effective for striper and hybrids.
- Largemouth Bass: Slow to fair. Fish have moved deep due to cold temperatures. Try grubs for bait. If you get a sunny day then move to the flats near the creek channels. If the lake is muddy then use a spinnerbait or rattletraps.
- Bass: Fair to good. Muddy water can often kill a winter bite. Fish can be caught around laydowns, but the best fishing has been around rocky banks and other hard cover such as boat ramps. The best shallow areas have been in the back of creeks and coves, probably because of annual bait migration patterns that still have the bait in the creeks. As would be expected in the muddy conditions, big white and chartreuse spinnerbaits are fishing well. Jigs and crankbaits in highly visible colors such as chartreuse and black backs, or red, are also working well. The cold front might push fish a bit deeper, but with conditions still so muddy he doesn’t expect fish to go very deep. They might move onto slightly deeper docks but should probably stay in the same area.
- Catfish: Good. Anchoring on main lake humps and points with steep ledges is most effective for putting big blue catfish in the boat; being patient and staying in one spot for a while can really pay off. Cut gizzard shad, big threadfin shad, and white perch seem to be the best baits.
- Crappie: Improving. Once the water settles down, the crappie bite should be on since fish haven’t had a good opportunity to feed recently. While the river run is a traditional place to fish at this time of year, with so much current coming down the lake it will be a while before anglers can keep bait down there and so the first place be looking in the creeks. Expect Beaver Creek to clear early, and with dropping water temperatures the bite should get right there first. Fish in 6-9 feet of water, and tight-lining (pushing) will be the name of the game. Fish Stalker 2-inch Slab Tail Jigs in Ugly Green, Yellow and Orange colors will be good as they are high-visibility.
- Crappie: Slow. Some results reported by tightlining. Go shallower in the afternoon when the water warms up. Some can be found on deep brush around 20 feet. Use jigs or minnows very slow. Fish can be hard to find in deep water, so look at the mouths of creeks that split off from the main river in 12-15 feet. Striper: Fair. Check down the lake in the back of the big creeks. Some schooling reported up the river. Use freelining with live bait.
- Not a great time to be on the lakes with the high inflow, muddy conditions and cold temps. Slow reports for crappie, catfish and bass.
South Carolina freshwater recreational fishing regulations.