Freshwater Fishing Trends

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The Columbia full-service Licensing and Boat Titling office is now located at:

SCDNR at the State Farmer's Market
326 Little Brooke Lane
West Columbia, SC 29172

The State Farmers Market has convenient parking and easy access to both I-77 and I-26.

These services are no longer offered at 1000 Assembly Street in Downtown Columbia.

Piedmont Area

Lake Russell

Bass: Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) reports that in the first part of February a mixed bag of bass, yellow and white perch, sometimes catfish, and occasional crappie should all be grouped up in the same areas around deeper bait schools. If you fish minnows it is not unusual to catch some of each species, and until you get a fish to the surface you never know what is on the end of your line! If there is a warming trend towards the end of the month then fish may start to move shallower, and then they will scatter.

Striped bass: Guide Wendell Wilson reports that there can be some striped bass mixed in with the other species around deep bait schools, but in general striped bass are more likely to be roaming this month. Following the birds and covering water with free-lines or planer boards is the best pattern.

Most detailed Lake Russell Updates

Lake Thurmond

Bass: Tournament angler Josh Rockefeller of Augusta reports that in February fish will still be related to rock until it gets time for them to move towards their pre-spawn and then spawning locations. Fishing The Sled and jigs around rocky points will remain the best pattern until fish get very shallow when they will take a variety of moving baits as well as soft plastics.

Striper and hybrids: William Sasser Guide Service (706-589-5468) reports that in February fish will start to migrate down towards the lower lake, and they will begin to show up near the dam where they can be caught by bank fishermen. As the water warms they will also stage for their false spawn.

Crappie: William Sasser Guide Service reports that February is one of the best months of the year for catching big fish. As the weather warms they will begin to stage for the spawn and can be caught trolling in the backs of creeks.

Catfish: Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that February should be a very good month for catfish on Lake Thurmond. Anchoring on creek channel ledges and fan-casting cut gizzard shad, white perch and herring will be the best way to target big blue catfish. If the lake remains dirty fish will continue to feed best in the muddiest areas.

Most detailed Lake Thurmond Updates

Lake Wylie

Bass: Tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that in February fish should be coming out of their winter patterns by the latter part of the month, and they should be just starting to make a push shallower towards their pre-spawn areas. Alabama rigs, crankbaits and football jigs should be the most popular baits this month.

Catfish: Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that February should also be a good month for big fish. While unusual water conditions could change the pattern, usually expect the best fish to come drifting deep water with cut bait on the lower end. However, anchoring shallower produced better in January so be flexible.

Most detailed Lake Wylie Updates

Midlands Area

Lake Greenwood

Bass: Veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Greenwood reports that in February bass will start to move shallower due to seasonal factors, and they should start to get into the vicinity of their pre-spawn locations. Depending on water conditions shallow-running crankbaits, spinnerbaits, Chatterbaits, and jigs should all work

Striped bass: Guide Daniel Skipper (864-430-0488) reports that in February striped bass could be found anywhere on Lake Greenwood, but the key to finding them is to locate the bait. Casting at diving birds with Alabama rigs or bucktails is the technique of choice.

Crappie: Guide Daniel Skipper reports that there are basically two patterns in February, and on the upper end of the lake fish will be caught deep around bridges. On the lower end fish will be starting to suspend in creek mouths preparing for the spawn. Both minnows and jigs will work in both locations.

Catfish: Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that drifting cut herring, shad or white perch in mid-depths should be the best pattern in February.

Most detailed Lake Greenwood Updates

Lake Monticello

Bass: B.A.S.S. angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that February is another transition month on Lake Monticello, but there should still be some fish deep that can be caught on a spoon. There should also be fish shallower that can be caught on a crankbait.

Catfish: Catfish: Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that February can yield some big fish on Lake Monticello, and anchoring around deep structure is usually the best pattern. Cut white perch and gizzard shad are typically the best baits.

Most detailed Lake Monticello Updates

Lake Murray

Bass: B.A.S.S. angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that there will be a number of variables that affect the bite in February, including water temperature, lake level, clarity and current. However, as a general rule fish will be starting to move into pre-spawn locations adjacent to where they will begin to spawn when temperatures get into the mid to high-50s. Fish will feed best in the warmest areas and crankbaits and jigs should both be effective.

Striped bass: Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that water conditions will determine where the action is in February on Lake Murray, and fish will seek out less stained areas. They should continue to be caught on free-lines, planer boards and by casting at birds.

Crappie: Captain Brad Taylor reports that in February fish should feed better as the spawn will be rapidly approaching. Tight-lining for suspended fish up the rivers should remain effective.

Catfish: Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the quality of the bite in February will again depend on water conditions, but drifting or anchoring with cut bait off the river channel is likely to be the best pattern.

Most detailed Lake Murray Updates

Lake Wateree

Bass: Veteran tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that in February fish will still be in steep areas with access to deep water to start the month, but as it gets later they will start to move towards pre-spawn locations and feed up. Crankbaits, worms and jigs fished around rock should all work.

Crappie: Veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that patterns in February are almost entirely dependent on weather. At the beginning of the month fish should be closer to the river channel or the mouths of creeks where they can be caught tight-lining deep, but if conditions warm significantly in the backs of creeks then fish should move shallower into pre-spawn locations.

Catfish: Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that in February catfish on Lake Wateree should be mixed between shallow and deep. A general pattern can be to anchor in deep water early and then try the shallows later in the day when the water warms.

Most detailed Lake Wateree Updates

Santee Cooper System

Bass: Captain Brett Mitchell (803-379-7029) reports that in February fish will still be concentrating on shad, but what lures they will be willing to eat will depend on water temperature. In colder conditions they will want more subtle, slow-moving lures like spoons, while if temperatures rise they will be willing to chase faster moving baits like spinnerbaits or crankbaits.

Crappie and Bream: Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports that unless temperatures warm dramatically later in the month February can be a very slow month for these species. However, anglers can still pick up fish on minnows and crickets fished around deep brush. Catfish: Captain Stevie English (843-709-8138) reports that in February drifting deep water is still the best bet, but on very warm days there can be a night/ evening bite in shallow water. Cut herring, shad or white perch will all work.

Catfish: Captain Stevie English (843-709-8138) reports that in January drifting deep water is still the best bet, but on very warm days there can be a night/ evening bite in shallow water. Cut herring, shad or white perch will all work.

Most detailed Santee Cooper System Updates

Mountains Area

Lake Jocassee

Trout: Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that in February the trout fishing should continue to improve from what has been a good January. Fish will be as shallow as they can be found all year, and they will take both live bait and artificials. This is one of the best months of the year to catch big fish.

Bass: Tournament angler Joe Anders reports that on Lake Jocassee in February the fish will still be deep, and they are mostly likely to be suspended in the channels. The key to locating bass is finding bait, and they will take Alabama rigs, jerkbaits, small jigging spoons and more.

Most detailed Lake Jocassee Updates

Lake Keowee

Bass: Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that early in the month winter patterns will be unchanged, but as water temperatures begin to warm in February bass will start to migrate toward shallower water and structure as the pre-spawn stage begins. They will be caught on shakey head worms, jerkbaits, and square-billed crankbaits.

Most detailed Lake Keowee Updates

Lake Hartwell

Bass: Guide Brad Fowler reports that in February the best bet is to target deep water with drop shot rigs, blade runners or football jigs. Underspins can also work well. Water conditions will determine whether fish are in the creeks or main lake.

Striper and hybrids: Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that in February the bite will depend on which side of 50 degrees water temperatures are. When water temperatures are below 50 the fish will be more sluggish, although there was surprisingly good action at the end of January in the cold. Overall down-lines in the creeks should remain the best way to catch fish, but on warm afternoons anglers should be able to catch some on free-lines.

Crappie: Captain Bill Plumley reports that at the beginning of February fish are most likely to be found around deeper docks on jigs and minnows, but if temperatures warm then later in the month they should be caught on creek ledges.

Catfish: Captain Bill Plumley reports that February patterns are almost entirely dependent on the weather, and if it gets warm later in the month fish should move shallower into the creek channels. If it stays cold then they will stay deeper. A variety of cut baits can work.

Most detailed Lake Hartwell updates


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