Freshwater Fishing Trends - March 2020

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.

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Piedmont Area

Lake Russell

Bass: Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that in March bass should pull into shallower water, and depending on weather and water conditions there could even be some early spawners late in the month. Generally look for fish to get into the creeks, and expects crankbaits and spinnerbaits to be effective for both spots and largemouth.

Striped bass: Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) reports that in March fish will be scattered all over the lake, but they will also move shallower. Pulling live herring on planer boards is usually the best pattern.

Crappie: Guide Wendell Wilson reports that in March fish will start to move shallower, and depending on weather conditions there will often be a strong spawn this month. It can happen very fast once air temperatures get into the 70- to 80-degree range, and usually the biggest fish spawn first. Trolling jigs is usually the best pattern until fish are actually bedding, when they can be caught casting jigs or minnows shallow.

Catfish: Guide Jerry Kotal reports that in March catfish will start to bite better again, and they can be caught on shallow points with cut herring.

Most detailed Lake Russell Updates

Lake Thurmond

Bass: Tournament angler Tyler Matthews of Augusta reports that in March fish should pull shallow, with substantial numbers of fish on beds spawning by the end of the month. While there will be anglers sight-fishing this month, this is likely to be a tough year for sight-fishing due to water conditions. During the pre-spawn and even spawning period a spinnerbait and jig should be very effective for shallow fish on Lake Thurmond.

Striper and hybrids: William Sasser Guide Service (706-589-5468) reports that in March fish will move shallower off channel points, and first thing in the morning there should be a really strong bite right at daybreak. After that it will be more of a grind with down-lines, although some anglers will pull planer boards across points.

Crappie: Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that – except for the wind – March is one of the best months of the year for catching crappie on Lake Thurmond. Generally fish are feeding heavily in preparation for the spawn and then actually spawning, and they will be shallow in the backs of creeks and coves as well as along the banks around cover. Long-line trolling, tight-lining, and casting a cork with a jig/minnow at the bank will all catch fish.

Catfish: Captain Chris Simpson reports that March can also be a good month for catching large catfish on Lake Thurmond, although again the wind can be problematic. Anchoring in shallow water where fish are feeding on threadfin and gizzard shad is generally the best pattern.

Most detailed Lake Thurmond Updates

Lake Wylie

Bass: Tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that it would be rare for bass to spawn on Lake Wylie in March, but this month fish be migrating in the direction of spawning areas and getting into pre-spawn mode. They will be making their way out of the main lake towards creeks and staging areas, and crankbaits, Alabama rigs and soft plastics can all be effective.

Catfish: Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that in the beginning of March fish can still be caught drifting deep water with cut bait on the lower end, but as the month progresses more fish will move up the lake. By April most of the catfish will be concentrated in the upper one-quarter of Wylie. Anchoring with cut shad is the best pattern.

Most detailed Lake Wylie Updates

Midlands Area

Lake Greenwood

Bass: Veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Greenwood reports that typically April is a bigger spawning month than March on Lake Greenwood, although by the end of this month there could be some fish on beds depending on water conditions. Still, typically the primary pattern in March is targeting pre-spawn bass which are staging around points and at the mouths of creeks. They like to gravitate towards brush, and jigs, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, worms or soft plastics will all catch fish.

Most detailed Lake Greenwood Updates

Lake Monticello

Bass: B.A.S.S. angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that because Lake Monticello is a power plant lake, it is not unusual for there to be some fish that spawn even early in March, but generally this month fish will be moving into the pre-spawn phase. They will set up off of secondary points where they can be caught on Carolina rigs and crankbaits.

Catfish: Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that in March fish should move shallower where they can be caught on long points that extend out into the lake. Cut bream, gizzard shad, white perch and even herring will all work.

Most detailed Lake Monticello Updates

Lake Murray

Bass: Captain Doug Lown reports that depending on weather and water temperatures a fair number of Lake Murray bass could spawn in March, and there have actually been years where the spawn started in late February. Once we get a couple of stable weeks where temperatures reach the upper 50s then the first wave of fish will spawn, although it is expected that visibility will be limited this spring. As fish start to stage and prepare to move into spawning areas spinnerbaits and square-billed crankbaits should be effective, and before fish actually get on beds they will often stage at docks adjacent to spawning flats.

Striped bass: Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) predicted that water conditions would determine the location of Lake Murray striped bass in February, and with the lake very muddy going into the month the same is almost certainly true for March. Striped bass and the bait they feed on do not like muddy conditions, and they will seek out cleaner water. More generally, this month fish should migrate into the creeks and start to be caught on free-lines, planer boards and cut bait as the shallows warm. There will also be fish caught on down-lines.

Crappie: Captain Brad Taylor reports that crappie do not like strong current or muddy conditions, and so water conditions may need to settle down before the fishing gets good up the rivers this March. Still, a significant number of crappie should spawn on Lake Murray this month. Fish will move shallower into creek runs and then set up on structure adjacent to spawning areas before they lay eggs.

Catfish: Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that in March fish should move shallower as they get into pre-spawn mode. Fish will be scattered across the lake and they will eat a variety of cut baits.

Most detailed Lake Murray Updates

Lake Wateree

Bass: FLW fisherman Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that if the moon and water conditions are right then fish could spawn at the end of March, but generally he looks for March to be about pre-spawn bass. Fish will move shallower and into the creeks, and they will set up around rocks and grass. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jigs will all work.

Crappie: Veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that in March fish will start to go shallower and into the creeks in preparation for an early-April spawn. The mouths of creeks are good places to long-line troll, and as we get further into the month fish will get closer to the backs where they can be caught against the banks with jigs and minnows.

Catfish: Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that in March catfish on Lake Wateree will start to transition up the river channel. Anchoring with cut gizzard shad is generally the best pattern. .

Most detailed Lake Wateree Updates

Santee Cooper System

Bass: Captain Brett Mitchell (803-379-7029) reports that in March fish will start to move shallower in preparation for the spawn, and some fish will go onto beds this month. As the month progresses look for fish to move into the blackwater ponds and pockets seeking the warmest water. This month pretty much any lures will be in play, from Chatterbaits and spinnerbaits to topwaters to soft plastics.

Crappie: Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports that March fishing will depend on the weather, but fish will pull into the creek channels in preparation for the spawn. They will suspend over brush before actually moving to the banks. Jigs and minnows will both catch fish.

Catfish: Captain Stevie English (843-709-8138) reports that in March fish should be caught anchoring in shallow water during the day. Cut perch, bluegill and herring will all work.

Most detailed Santee Cooper System Updates

Mountains Area

Lake Jocassee

Trout: Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that since Jocassee typically warms slowly, in March cold-water trout will probably still be as shallow as they can be found all year. They will be scattered over the whole lake, and they will take both live bait and artificials.

Bass: Guide Rob McComas (828-674-5041) reports that unlike at some lakes that warm more quickly, on Jocassee March is generally a tough month to catch bass. At the beginning of the month fishing steep bluff walls is a decent pattern, but later in the month they should start to think about sliding up into shallower water. Fishing around trees with soft plastics is a good pattern. .

Most detailed Lake Jocassee Updates

Lake Keowee

Bass: Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that in March most of the fish will be moving up and into pre-spawn patterns on Lake Keowee, and in the warmest middle section of the lake they could actually begin to spawn. Finesse worms, wacky-rigged Senkos, and jigs are all good lure options.

Most detailed Lake Keowee Updates

Lake Hartwell

Bass: Guide Brad Fowler reports that it is possible that some Lake Hartwell bass could spawn in March depending on water conditions and the moon phase, even as April is a much stronger month for spawning fish. This month expect bass to be moving towards the banks as they get into pre-spawn patterns and begin to stage adjacent to spawning areas. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits and a variety of soft plastics will all work.

Striper and hybrids: Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that March can be an excellent month for catching fish on Lake Hartwell, and fish should make a run into the rivers. They will be caught on free-lines, shallow down-lines, and planer boards, and there will also be some action casting swimbaits towards the banks.

Crappie: Captain Bill Plumley reports that in March crappie should pull into the creeks and start to move shallower. Some fish will spawn this month, but trolling in the creeks will be the best pattern until fish are actually on the banks.

Catfish: Captain Bill Plumley reports that by the middle to end of March the better blue catfish should move shallower into the creeks. Cut shad and cut herring will be the best baits.

Most detailed Lake Hartwell updates

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