Freshwater Fishing Trends - July 26, 2016

Information on fishing trends provided courtesy of, 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.

Piedmont Area

Lake Russell (Updated June 21)

Bass: Fair to good. Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) and Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) report that bass are setting up in a typical summer pattern where they can be caught in 20-40 feet of water around depth changes as well as off main lake points. Drop shot rigs, Spot Removers, and deep-diving crankbaits will all catch fish.
Catfish: Very good. Guide Jerry Kotal reports that channel catfish are scattered across the lake and feeding very well on cut herring as well as catalpa worms.
Crappie: Very good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports strong numbers of crappie as well as big fish are being caught around brush in 15-18 feet on worms, and 35-70 fish trips has been the norm.
Striped Bass: Slow. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that striper fishing will get better soon but for now pulling free-lined herring in the mid-lake is the best bet.

Lake Thurmond (Updated June 16)

Bass: Fair to good. Buckeye Lures reports that some big bags have been caught in local tournaments even though it has gotten very hot. Fish can be caught around main lake humps on jigs and soft plastics, and there is also some shallow activity early and late.
Striper and Hybrids: Very good. Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that early in the morning his boat is catching fish 40-50 feet deep on down-lines. In the backs of coves tons of two-pound hybrids can be caught.
Crappie: Good. Captain William Sasser reports that crappie are still biting well over mid-depth brush.

Lake Wylie (Updated July 7)

Catfish: Fair. Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that priority one for the fish is spawning, and that can make for a tougher catfish bite. Anglers need to display a lot of flexibility and be willing to move around, anchor, drift and try different baits. While it is still worth trying up the river for a big bite, particularly when there is current, more catchable fish may be found in the less riverine areas.
Bass: Slow. FLW angler Bryan New reports that fishing is really tough right now, with tournament weights significantly below normal. A shallow pattern is almost non-existent, and almost the only way to catch bass is to fish deeper areas with finesse baits such as shakey head worms, drop shots, and wacky-rigged worms.

Midlands Area

Lake Greenwood (Updated June 23)

Bass: Good. Stan Gunter reports that – particularly for early summer – tournament sacks have been pretty good, although the action is a little better for numbers than big fish. Fishing deep-diving crankbaits and large plastic worms around brush has been the best pattern, and some fish have also been caught flipping docks.
Striper: Fair to good. Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that early in the morning some fish can be caught on free-lines, but the best pattern for catching striper is to fish down-lines in the 18-22 foot range. Schooling activity is just getting underway.
Catfish: Fair to good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that channel catfish can be caught around humps and points on dip baits.

Lake Monticello (Updated June 23)

Bass: Good. Andy Wicker reports that big bass have been hard to locate, but lots of solid 3-pound fish are being caught. Bass are stacked up around deeper humps and points as well as mid-depth brush, and they will take spoons, deep-diving crankbaits and worms.
Catfish: Very good. Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that this isn’t the peak time to catch big fish, but for anglers looking to fill up a cooler with lots of fish – or simply to get their lined pulled over and over – the action right now is hard to beat. The best pattern is free-line drifting over deep water with small pieces of cut fish or shrimp.

Lake Murray (Updated July 6)

Striper: Good. Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that the best fish are being caught on down-lines fished in 55-70 feet of water in the lower lake. The free-line bite has declined and is mainly yielding smaller fish now.
Crappie: Good. Captain Brad reports that good numbers of crappie are still being caught over brush in 18-25 feet of water and around deeper docks. Both minnows and jigs will catch fish.
Catfish: Good. Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that fan-casting a variety of baits – including dip baits and cut herring – in 10-25 feet of water has been productive for channel catfish.
Bass: Fair to good. Captain Doug Lown reports that largemouth can be found from shallow to mid-depth to deep water. The fishing has been far better early and late. Buzzbaits fished around the banks when there is some shade will catch fish, and plastic worms fished off points have also been working.

Lake Wateree (Updated July 7)

Crappie: Good. Will Hinson advises that fish are in brush piles along the main river channel and they are biting well. Minnows are catching fish but the best bite has been on jigs.
Bass: Fair to good. Brett Collins reports that there has been a pretty good shallow bite. The bait hasn’t moved very deep, and so early in the morning fish can be caught shallow on topwaters and once the sun gets up they will take worms dragged on the bottom. Fishing docks with jigs and worms has also been working.
Catfish: Fair. Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that most fish are focused on spawning, and that can make for more challenging catfish conditions. While it is still worth trying up the river for a big bite, particularly when current is present, the best bite may be further down the lake where pre-spawn and post-spawn fish are more likely to be found. Anglers should experiment with a variety of cut baits to find what the fish want.

Santee Cooper System (Updated July 3)

Bass: Fair to good. Steve Harmon reports that fish have settled into a normal summer pattern. Early in the morning fish can be caught in shallow water where they will take topwater lures, but later in the day the best action is in deeper water. When conditions are calm soft plastics are working best for the deeper fish, and when it is windy spinnerbaits work better.
Catfish: Fair to good. Captain Jim Glenn (843-825-4239) reports that catfish the bite for numbers of small blue catfish continues to be strong, and more 20-40 pound fish are also being caught drifting cut bait during the day and at night in a variety of depth ranges.
Crappie: Fair to good. Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports that crappie fishing remains pretty good, particularly in the lower lake. Fish have not gone super-deep and they are being caught over brush in 12-14 feet of water on minnows.
Bream: Fair. Captain Steve English reports that the bream bite is inexplicably down, although some bluegill and shellcracker have been caught shallow in both lakes.

Mountains Area

Lake Jocassee (Updated June 22)

Trout: Good. Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that some nice trout have been caught recently. Fish are getting deeper and moving into a summer pattern, and they are being caught as shallow as 40 feet down into the 70-foot range. Spoons are working best.

Lake Keowee (Updated July 25)

Bass: Guide Brad Fowler reports that fish remain in a pretty typical summer pattern, but unfortunately the action has slowed down. Early in the morning there is a topwater bite and fish will continue to show themselves periodically throughout the days, and fish can also be caught on drop shots and shakey head worms. Live bait is the easiest way to put summer spotted bass in the boat.

Lake Hartwell (Updated July 25)

Striped and Hybrid Bass: Very good. Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) and Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) report that striper have generally moved into the lower lake, and they can be caught from about 35 feet all the way down to 100 or more. Down-lining live herring is the predominant pattern. Hybrids can be caught at night over humps.
Catfish: Good. Captain Bill Plumley reports that channel catfish are scattered out in the middle depths where they will eat dip baits, cut bait, worms and more. Flathead catfish can be caught at night on live bait while blues are in deeper timber.
Bass: Slow to fair. Guide Brad Fowler reports that the shallow pattern has pretty much disappeared, and even though the fishing has gotten slower some bass can be caught on drop shots rigs as well as topwater lures around deeper points. There is also sporadic school activity right through the day.
Crappie: Slow. Captain Bill Plumley reports that during the day crappie can be caught around mid-depth to deep brush, and at night they can be caught around lighted bridges.

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