Freshwater Fishing Trends - November 30, 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 November 30)

Bass: Bass fishing on Lake Russell is hot, and Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that on recent trips they have been catching 50-60 spotted bass each time. And believe it or not, the fishing will get even better! Right now Jerry is finding the fish grouped up in about 20-45 feet of water, generally off the end of points where they drop off into the channel. Oftentimes they are around natural timber at that depth. He is finding fish all over the lake at that depth, including at the mouths of creeks, in the back of creeks, and out on the main lake. Drop shot rigs as well as spoons are both working. Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) reports being on a similar pattern, and he says that despite temperatures being warmer than the calendar says they should be fish are basically doing what they should be around the beginning of December. Wendell is finding the magical depth range where bait and fish are gathering to be in about 30 feet of water just off the bottom, and he is finding that about halfway back in the creeks.
Spotted bass: Spotted bass are on a "tear," but like Jerry he is also finding yellow perch and white perch in the same areas, as well as some crappie and catfish. While everything is eating in the same areas the catch is dominated by spots.
Striped bass: Striped bass fishing has been a little tough, and Jerry reports that he expects cooler weather to group the fish up better. Wendell concurs, and says that his boat hasn't definitely seen any fish although they have observed one or two likely striper roll on the surface. The best bet for locating striper is to go about halfway up the Savannah or Rocky River and pull free lines, and also to have an Alabama rig ready if you see fish on the surface. Some birds and loons are showing up on the lake and they will often point the way to striper.

Lake Thurmond (Updated November 8)

Bass: Fair to good. Buckeye Lures reports that fish are moving into a pretty strong fall pattern. A variety of surface-oriented lures including Spooks, floating worms and buzzbaits have all been catching fish.
Striper and Hybrids: Fair to good. Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that striper are in a transition period, and even though numbers remain strong they aren't catching a ton of big fish. Down-lining live herring in mid-depths has been the best pattern.
Crappie: Good. Captain William Sasser reports that nice crappie continue to be caught in about 25 feet of water around brush.

Lake Wylie (Updated November 4)

Perch: Excellent. Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that there continues to be some very good perch fishing, particularly in the evenings with small shad. Both numbers and good-sized fish are being caught.
Catfish: Good. Captain Rodger Taylor reports that both channel and blue catfish are biting well on cut bait slow-drifted.
Bass: Slow but improving. Guide and FLW Angler Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that fishing remains tough, albeit improving very slightly. Some fish are being caught on crankbaits in the backs of creeks, and it's worth keeping your eyes open for schooling activity.

Midlands Area

Clarks Hill (Updated October 20)

Bass: Good. Buckeye Lures reports that fishing remains improved, and there are several different patterns for catching bass. Topwater lures, buzzbaits and shakey head worms will all work in the right conditions.
Striper and Hybrids: Good. Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that striper have moved into shallow water where they will take down-lines, and there is also good schooling activity taking place.
Crappie: Good. Captain William Sasser reports that nice crappie continue to be caught in about 25 feet of water around brush.

Lake Greenwood (Updated November 30)

Bass: It's getting to be that time of year for bass fishing on Lake Greenwood when some of the best bags are caught on that β€œone” particularly bait. Veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter reports that the Alabama rig season is fast approaching, and in the benefit tournament this weekend some of the best bags were caught on the A-rig. While this bite will only get better as temperatures drop, already fish are being caught on it in a range of depths. Some fish are being caught on the A-rig around docks with some decent water depth around them, while some fish are being caught on the rig over brush in 15-18 feet of water. There is also a decent bite on floating worms, too. Stan says that there is an absolute ton of eel grass in the lake right now, and he has had some luck fishing the worm around it. Overall, most of the bass are in the main lake or the main part of the creek right now, and there is very little going on in the backs.
Catfish: Catfish fishing remains pretty good on Lake Greenwood, and Captain Chris Simpson reports that drifting main lake flats in 10-15 feet of water is still an effective pattern. However, warm temperatures have caused fish to spread out some and anglers need to do a little work to make sure they are in the best zones.
White Perch: The bite isn't quite as good as good as several weeks ago, but anglers are still catching a fair number of perch on spoons in 18-25 feet of water.
Striped Bass: The bite isn't as good as it usually is at this time of year, probably because of unseasonably warm conditions, but some fish are being caught pulling live herring and shad on free-lines and planer boards across points and humps. Some fish are also being caught chasing early season birds and throwing artificials at fish on the surface. It is hoped and expected that incoming cooler temperatures will get the striper bite back on track.

Lake Monticello (Updated November 28)

Bass: Good. Andy Wicker reports that bass are starting to group up (with the white perch) in their winter holes, and vertically fishing a jig has been very effective.
Catfish: Fair to good. Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that the big fish bite is improving on Lake Monticello as temperatures drop. Fishing on the bottom in deep water with cut gizzard shad or white perch is the best option for catching big fish.

Lake Murray (Updated November 30)

Bass: It continues to be a pretty tough fall for bass fishing on Murray, and veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that it's been hard to establish a consistent pattern for catching fish. Even when anglers find numbers of fish it has been hard to find good ones – a 4 1/2 pounder has been a big bass in most recent tournaments. For the most part Doug says that the fish that he and his tournament partner have been catching have been fairly shallow, and they haven't caught much in more than 10 feet of water. Most of the fish they are catching have been in less than 4 feet, but deeper water has been close by. Fish are not scattered out in certain depth ranges but instead are holding to certain little spots, and it has been hard to locate them as they move around a lot. Doug suspects that constantly dropping water levels have forced the fish to constantly reposition. At times rock has been the best cover, and with water levels low a lot of docks don't have any decent water. Most of the fish they are catching are coming on shakey head worms and jigs, and Doug believes that if water levels will stabilize fishing could get more consistent.
Channel and blue catfish: The bite is still pretty strong, although Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) warns that the recent warm weather has scattered fish out and slowed the bite just a little. The best action is still coming drifting cut herring across main lake humps and points in 20-40 feet of water, as well as exploring certain feeder creeks which are holding good numbers of fish. With weather fluctuations anglers need to assess where the fish are holding on a particular day and then cater their game plan accordingly.

Lake Wateree (Updated November 30)

Crappie: Lake Wateree crappie are making their annual move up the lake, according to veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt. The majority of the fish are now concentrated on the upper end of the river near Wateree Creek, and they are basically holding along the edge of river channel. Fish are suspended 12-18 feet down over 18-22 feet of water – as the season progresses they should get tighter to the bottom. The best pattern for catching them is tight-lining jigs tipped with minnows. A few fish are also still being caught on brush along the edge of the river channel.

Santee Cooper System (Updated November 4)

Catfish: Fair to good. Captain Jim Glenn (843-825-4239) reports that good numbers of small to medium-sized catfish have been caught drifting cut baits.
Crappie: Fair to good. Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports that crappie have moved shallower and they can be caught on minnows fished over brush.
Bream: Fair to good. Captain Steve English reports that bluegill are starting to stack up on brush piles where they will take crickets and worms. Some better fish are starting to show up.
Bass: Fair. Steve Harmon reports that some nice bags have been caught recently, with topwater lures fished shallow the best pattern.

Mountains Area

Lake Jocassee (Updated November 4)

Trout: Slow to fair. Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that trout fishing is slightly improved, but it will take some cooler weather to really pick up. Fish are still being caught trolling both spoons and live bait in deep water, and some bass are still being picked up as a by-catch.

Lake Keowee (Updated November 30)

Bass: Fishing continues to improve on Lake Keowee, and Guide Brad Fowler ( reports that there is now a pretty good drop shot and spoon bite. As predicted fish are getting deeper and starting to group up well in 50-70 feet of water, but this early in the season they are pretty dispersed throughout the water column. Brad says that some fish will be 15-20 feet below the surface, others will be 40-50 feet down, and some are already on or near the bottom. Later in the season more fish will be hugging the lakebed. Drops and creek channels are some of the best deep-water structure right now. As always on Keowee there are a few fish shallow, but Brad doesn't spend much time messing with them this time of year. He says that unlike on Hartwell you can't usually do a lot of good just throwing a crankbait up shallow. Finally, the topwater bite has slowed down. There may be some fish chasing bait high in the water column, but they will probably just be rolling on the surface and not knocking bait out of the water.

Lake Hartwell (Updated November 28)

Striped and Hybrid Bass: Fair to good. Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) and Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) report that striper fishing is improving and at times there has been some good schooling activity. The most common pattern has been fishing live herring vertically in mid-depth water.
Bass: Fair to good. Guide Brad Fowler reports that bass are slowly starting to move into a winter pattern, and fish can be caught shallow, in mid-depths and deep. Crankbaits, soft plastics, and even spoons are all catching fish.
Catfish: Fair. Captain Bill Plumley reports that channel catfish are feeding very well on a variety of baits including cut herring and worms, and blue catfish should turn on soon now that temperatures are dropping.
Crappie: Slow. Captain Bill Plumley reports that crappie fishing is still slow but fish can be caught around deeper docks and brush on minnows.

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