Freshwater Fishing Trends - Nov. 20
Fishing trends courtesy www.SCFishingReport.com. Check the site for recent updates and detailed reports.
Lake Jocassee: (unchanged from Nov. 13)
- Trout: Fair. Captain Steve Pietrykowski reports that trout are still very deep on Jocassee and they are in a typical late summer pattern. The best depth range is now 80-100 feet of water, and both spoons and live bait will still catch fish. However, spoons and particularly Apex spoons have been working a bit better than shiners. Whether using live bait or hardware it is important to fish very slowly right now.
Lake Keowee: (unchanged from Nov. 13)
- Largemouth and Spotted Bass: Fair to good. Guide Brad Fowler reports that bass fishing has improved on Lake Keowee and there is a pretty good bite. Typical for this time of year, there is a lot of schooling activity found on the lake and topwater lures are working well. There is also a good drop shot bite in the 25-35 foot range. While decent numbers of baitfish and bass will move up the creeks on Keowee in the fall, there is not necessarily a mass movement like on other lakes such as Hartwell. On every lake a population of baitfish and bass will stay on the main lake, and on Keowee that may be even more common.
- Catfish: Good. Captain Bill Plumley reports that channel catfish are still biting well all over the lake, particularly in the 5-20 foot range. Cut bait (herring or other fish) and nightcrawlers are working best, although a few fish are still being caught on dip baits even as the water cools. The blue catfish bite continues to accelerate. The best blue catfish action has been in the creeks in 25-30 feet of water, with both anchoring and Santee-style drifting working. Cut herring, gizzard shad and white perch have all been productive. Flatheads can still be caught on live bream. Striped and Hybrid
- Bass: Fair. Captain Bill Plumley reports that striper fishing has been a bit slow as the lake has pretty recently turned over in places. Typically when the main lake water quality declines bait and fish move into the creeks where water movement can mean that the water quality is better. In the creeks down-lining and free-lining have both been working at times. There has also been some schooling activity from the mid-lake to the dam, although these are mostly smaller fish. Cast topwater plugs to catch them.
- Perch: Very good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that perch fishing is the best thing going on Lake Russell right now, and white and yellow perch are mixed in with bass in about 30-35 feet of water on deep flats. The best areas have been in the middle of creek channels on the South Carolina side of the lake, but the depth range is the key. It’s important to locate bait schools to find fish. Minnows fished just off the bottom are working best.
- Bass: Good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that bass are doing “what they should be” at this time of year, and they are moving deeper with the bait schools each day. For now they are in about 30-35 feet of water in the same areas where the perch are thick. Both jigging spoons and drop shots have been productive. Bass in these areas have been 80% spotted bass. To target largemouth Wendell suggests going up the creeks into areas with stained water (Rocky River, Beaverdam) and throwing ¼ ounce lipless crankbaits or #7 Shad Raps.
- Crappie: Fair. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that crappie are still on deeper brush, although the bite slows down when it gets very cold. On warmer days look for crappie 12-14 feet down over brush in 20-25 feet of water and fish minnows.
- Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good. Captain William Sasser reports that striped bass are making their way from the mid-lake on up the lake. Early in the morning they can be caught on down-lines fished around humps in about 30 feet of water, and in the afternoon they can be caught on planer boards fished in the middle of coves. Planer boards have been producing the most big fish.
- Largemouth Bass: Slow to fair. FLW Professional and Guide Matt Arey reports that right now the bite remains pretty tough on Lake Wylie as water temperatures don’t seem to have dropped enough for the late fall/ winter Alabama rig/ jerkbait/ grub bite to get good. For now fish are still 100% related to bait and the bite on the lower end of the lake has been better; look for fish around depth changes adjacent to deep water. Small square-billed crankbaits and ¼ ounce Rattle Traps will both catch fish and jerkbaits and grubs are starting to perform better, but later in the year these baits and Alabama rigs will come into their own. Spoons are also working decently right now and picking up a lot of white perch, too.
- Catfish: Good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that the Lake Greenwood catfish bite is pretty strong. For numbers of channel catfish drifting across main lake flats with shrimp, cut herring and cut shad in 15-20 feet is the best bet. As water temperatures continue to cool more and more fish will orient to the channel ledges. If you are hoping to catch a big flathead then anchoring on the edges of the river channel and using live bream or white perch is working pretty well.
- Catfish: Good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that drifting or anchoring in 45-65 feet of water is the most productive pattern, although Chris notes that the ideal depth range can change overnight. Gizzard shad and white perch have been working best for large fish. Free-line drifting with small pieces of cut herring has also been very productive.
- Crappie: Fair to good. Veteran tournament angler Will Hinson reports that crappie fishing is picking up. Fish are migrating north up the river, and lots of fish are being caught on the river ledge itself in 18-22 feet of water. It can take some time to locate fish, but once you do anglers should hover in that area and tight-line. Fish will suspend up and down the water column in approximately 16-20 feet depending on temperatures – on cooler days they will be at the deeper end of the range and on warmer days the opposite. As temperatures get very cold they will stay right on the bottom. For now hooks and minnows are working best with a few fish caught on jigs – results on long-line trolling have been very scattered.
- Largemouth Bass: Slow to fair. FLW Angler Dearal Rodgers reports that fishing has been pretty tough on Lake Wateree. Shad are in the creeks, and the best pattern is to fish topwater lures such as buzzbaits and Zara Spooks first thing. Later in the day the best pattern is to look for suspended fish under docks on flats, throwing spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Dearal is having the most success in the lower and mid-lake, from Beaver Creek to the dam.
- Bream: Good. Lake World reports that the shellcracker bite remains very strong, both for sizes and numbers of fish. Concentrate in 4-10 feet of water and fish worms on the bottom.
- Striped bass: Good. Lake World reports that striper continue to school all over the lake, and looking for schooling activity is the best way to catch keeper-sized fish. Schooling can take places in coves or out in open water, and it can happen all day long. Some days the best schooling activity has been mid-afternoon. There is also some down-line fishing as deep as about 30 feet, and with cooling water temperatures and fish moving shallower free-lining is also becoming more productive.
- Crappie: Very good. Captain Steve English reports that his boat has been catching limits every day, with sizes also strong including a recent fish over 3 pounds. Fish have moved a bit deeper, and right now the best fishing has been dropping minnows 10-18 feet down over brush in 20-35 feet of water. More fish have been caught in the lower lake, but nice sized crappie have been caught in both. This bite should hold up through mid-December.
- Bream: Good to very good. Captain Steve English reports that bluegills are very heavy on the brushpiles. Fishing crickets 10-18 feet down over brush in 20-35 feet of water has been the best pattern, which equates to the same areas that crappie are being caught. Bluegill are generally a bit more aggressive than crappie so the best bet for anglers targeting crappie is to move on to the next brushpile if they start catching bream.
- Catfish: Good. Captain Jim Glenn reports that the expected seasonal improvement in catfishing has occurred as predicted, and with water temperatures dropping into the mid-60s and then below fishing got much better. In addition to seasonal factors this probably indicates that there has been better growth with the population decline over the past few years, and the protection of big fish may be helping. In his own fishing Captain Jim has found good results drifting cut shad in 8-25 feet on days with a steady breeze. Fish still seem to be scattered but they will begin to move into deeper water in both lakes as temperatures continue to fall.
South Carolina freshwater recreational fishing regulations.