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 Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that in September bass should start to move shallower around points and brush piles. Drop shots and shakey heads should both work. Also look out for schooling activity across the lake, and always have a topwater lure tied on.

Striped bass: Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) reports that fish have been have caught on both ends of the lake this summer, but in September he expects more fish to move to mid-lake flats where they can be caught on down-lined herring.

Crappie: Guide Wendell Wilson reports that in the first part of September the crappie are likely to continue to hold around deeper brush and be a little lethargic. However, with dropping temperatures they should move onto shallower brush where they can be caught on jigs and minnows.

Catfish: Guide Jerry Kotal reports that fish should move shallower this month where they can be caught on cut herring in less than 15 feet of water.

Most detailed Lake Russell Updates

Lake Thurmond

Bass: Tournament anglers Tyler Matthews and Josh Rockefeller report that in September buzzbaits should be really good against the banks, and anglers should also be on the lookout for schooling activity and keep a topwater lure close. Deeper fish should also be caught on drop shots around humps and bridges.

Striper and hybrids: William Sasser Guide Service (706-589-5468) and Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) report that in September fish should continue what has been an early migration out of the lower lake. Bait will move shallower into the 10- to 15-foot range, leading to more surface activity, and fish should be related to the sides of humps in 25-35 feet of water.

Crappie: William Sasser Guide Service reports that at the beginning of September fish are generally still holding around deeper brush, but if the weather cools they should move shallower into the 12- to 15-foot range.

Catfish: Captain Chris Simpson reports that in September fish will be scattered everywhere. Some will be in the backs of creeks in shallow water feeding on threadfin and gizzard shad, while some fish will be staging out on main lake humps and points in deeper water feeding on blueback herring. This is the beginning of the prime time to catch big blue catfish on Lake Thurmond.

Most detailed Lake Thurmond Updates

Lake Wylie

Bass: Tournament angler Reid McGinn of Fort Mill reports that September should see an improvement in shallow fishing, and this is a period when working the banks with buzzbaits and Whopper Ploppers can be productive. Schooling action should also get more widespread over the lake, and some better fish should start coming up.

Catfish: Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that during the day this month drifting mid-depths with cut bluegill is the best option, while at night anchoring with cut bait and fan-casting to a variety of depths is the best pattern.

Most detailed Lake Wylie Updates

Midlands Area

Lake Greenwood

Bass: Veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Greenwood reports that in September bass fishing should improve on Lake Greenwood, and generally more fish should be caught in 5-6 feet or less. Anglers will be able to catch fish running the banks with a buzzbait, and fish should also school better this month.

Catfish: Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that drifting the flats with shrimp or cut bait will work this month. Flathead catfish will also be caught at night on live bream or perch.

Most detailed Lake Greenwood Updates

Lake Monticello

Bass: FLW angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that in September fish are generally in the same pattern as in August, spread out around cover in middle depths. However, even though the pattern does not change much, with some cooling the fish generally bite better – particularly during daytime. Finesse-oriented soft plastics are still the best bet. The early morning topwater bite also usually gets much better in September.

Catfish: Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that in September numbers of fish will still be caught free line drifting over deep water, but the biggest change is that by the latter part of September big fish will start to bite much better on large chunks of cut bait fished deep.

Most detailed Lake Monticello Updates

Lake Murray

Bass: Veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that in September fish are still stressed and suspended, but in general anglers need to make the fish come up to feed. Throwing a buzzbait until 9 or 10, or all day on cloudy days, is one possible pattern, and floating worms are also a good option in September. Fish should suspend around offshore structure this month, but it is hard to know when that will take place.

Striped bass: Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that in September fish will typically be found at the mouths of creeks, and it is a very good month to look out for schooling activity. Fish can also be caught on relatively shallow down-lines.

Crappie: Captain Brad Taylor reports that typically by September fish will be grouped up at the mouths of creeks or along main river ledges, and they will be sitting on brush in big numbers. Fish will be deeper down the lake than up the river.

Catfish: Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that in September fish start to relate more to the creek and river channels where they can be caught on cut bait.

Most detailed Lake Murray Updates

Lake Wateree

Bass: FLW fisherman Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that in September fish should start to move a little shallower, particularly if bait moves up in the afternoons and evenings. Anglers will traditionally be concentrating on the creeks as the month progresses, but there will still be action to be found in the main lake. Buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and square-billed crankbaits can all catch fish.

Crappie: Veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that in September fish should start to move out of the summer brush pattern and relate to open water more if there is some cooling. If that happens then they can be caught long-line trolling or tight-lining jigs as fish will be related to bait schools and feeding up for cooler months.

Catfish: Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that in September fishing cut shad in the mid-lake area is the best pattern for both numbers of fish and big ones. Lake Wateree has a really strong population of blue catfish and fish will be scattered from shallow to deep.

Most detailed Lake Wateree Updates

Santee Cooper System

Bass: Captain Brett Mitchell (803-379-7029) reports that September should see a significant improvement in the bass fishing. The bigger fish that are so hard to find in August will begin to show up again, and instead of having to concentrate fishing activity in small windows early and late there will begin to be patterns that work all day. While topwater lures and soft plastics will continue to catch fish, it will also be possible to catch fish on more varied presentations again including swimbaits and spinnerbaits.

Crappie: Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports that in September the crappie fishing typically improves even if temperatures don’t drop, indicating that something about day lengths must be going on. This month fish should be caught on mid-depth and shallower brush with minnows.

Bream: Captain Steve English reports that in September it will continue to be easy to catch numbers of bluegill and shellcracker, but targeting the big fish will remain a little tricky. It usually isn’t until October and November that big numbers of fish go deep and they really group up.

Catfish: Captain Stevie English (843-709-8138) reports that during the first part of September night fishing should remain a better way to catch big fish, although at times numbers will be better drifting during the day in mid-depths. At night you can also anchor around shallow trees with cut bait.

Most detailed Santee Cooper System Updates

Mountains Area

Lake Jocassee

Bass: Tournament angler Joe Anders of Seneca reports that in September bass will start to feed more heavily on shad instead of bream. Paradoxically, as bait starts to move into the creeks bass will move out of the rivers and set up at ambush spots where they can intercept the migrating bait. The best ambush spots are usually deeper points and ledges at creek mouths. Football jigs and bulkier Ned rigs will both catch fish.

Trout: Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reminds anglers that Lake Jocassee cools slower than other lakes in the fall, and so in September he expects to continue to catch fish in the big water trolling spoons in 70-90 feet of water. Live bait will also work.

Most detailed Lake Jocassee Updates

Lake Keowee

Bass: Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that during the first part of September fish will remain in a summer pattern where they can be caught early and late off points on topwaters, while during the day fishing deeper with worms or jigging spoons is the best option. However, as water temperatures begin to cool schooling activity should become more widespread across the lake.

Most detailed Lake Keowee Updates

Lake Hartwell

Striper and hybrids: Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that in September fish will remain suspended over very deep water until temperatures cool, but when that happens they will begin to move shallower on the main lake or begin to inch up the creeks. Mostly it will remain a down-line bite. It was a slow August, and it is hoped a temperature drop will improve the fishing.

Bass: Guide Brad Fowler reports that in September bass usually begin to get on a bait pattern where they are chasing schools of bait over deep water. Topwaters, flukes and swimbaits will all work. As with most of the year, you can also catch spotted bass on drop shot rigs fished around brush piles.

Crappie: Captain Bill Plumley reports that until there is a cooling trend in September fish will stay in the same places, and they will mostly be suspended over deep water. Most fish will be in the main lake, although there will also be some fish found in the creeks at night around deeper bridges.

Catfish: Captain Bill Plumley reports that during September channel catfish will continue to bite well in 25-plus feet of water on a variety of baits including cut herring and nightcrawlers, but once temperatures begin to cool blue catfish and flatheads may move out of the deep timber and become more catchable.

Most detailed Lake Hartwell updates


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