AHQ INSIDER Clarks Hill (GA/SC) Spring 2018 Fishing Report – Updated May 11 Reviewed by Momizat on . -- The newest Clarks Hill fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-clarks-hill-gasc-spring-2018-fishing-report/ May 11 Cla -- The newest Clarks Hill fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-clarks-hill-gasc-spring-2018-fishing-report/ May 11 Cla Rating: 0
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AHQ INSIDER Clarks Hill (GA/SC) Spring 2018 Fishing Report – Updated May 11

The newest Clarks Hill fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-clarks-hill-gasc-spring-2018-fishing-report/

May 11

Clarks Hill water levels are at 329.88 (full pool is 330.00), and water temperatures are up to the mid-70s and higher in some areas.  Visibility remains good overall.

On the catfish front, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that the fishing is decent for 1-10 pound blues and channels anchoring on humps and points in the 10-25 foot range.  Fan-casting cut herring is working best, but while using bigger pieces of gizzard shad may decrease the number of bites it increases the chances of hooking up with a big blue.  And while you may have to deal with nuisance garfish, fishing live bream in the same areas may entice a big flathead or two.

A big Clarks Hill blue caught recently with Captain Chris Simpson

A big Clarks Hill blue caught recently with Captain Chris Simpson

As reported lots of anglers have been pulling free-lines and planer boards for striped bass, but Captain Chris notes that the last few days of really warm weather have got the gar feeding so aggressively that pulling bait in the mid-lake area is almost impossible.  Chris also reports that plenty of good-sized hybrids and striper up to about 6 pounds are being caught on down-lines in 20-35 feet of water, but anchoring on points and cut bait fishing is catching more quality striper.

May 10

Clarks Hill water levels are finally back below full pool at 329.80 (full pool is 330.00), and main lake water temperatures range from about 73 in the morning to 75 in the afternoon. Visibility is good overall.

The herring spawn is very much underway on Clarks Hill, but as on some other South Carolina herring lakes the bass bite isn’t as good as it can be. Augusta University bass team angler Josh Rockefeller says that there are bass on pretty much every point, but the trick is to find the biting ones.

For now the best bite seems to be on points that are about ¼ to ½ way back in the creeks, and Josh is finding plenty of fish but generally smaller ones on the main lake.  That could change as it gets hotter.  In the creeks the points that stick out the furthest have generally been the best (and most pressured), but there are some jewels that don’t look as good as they are.  Orange clay bottoms with rock are ideal.

Traditional baits likes flukes and Gunfish are hard to beat, and you can also catch fish on a jig in the same areas.

Tournament angler Tyler Matthews with Buckeye Lures in Augusta has also found the herring bite a little spotty, although when the wind is blowing everything seems better.  To prove the point that feeding fish aren’t on all the points, Sunday Tyler caught eight fish off one point over the course of the day and none anywhere else.

A 7.90 pound bass won the Oakley Big Bass tournament Sunday, reportedly on a swimbait, and there are also starting to be some fish caught early on buzzbaits.

In striped bass news William Sasser Guide Service (864-333-2000) reports that especially early striper and hybrids are being caught very shallow in 8-15 feet of water chasing herring.  When that bite slows down they can be caught in the same areas but a little bit deeper off the sides of humps, shoals and points.

While some people are fishing planer boards and free-lines, their boats are pretty much sticking to down-lines although you can also throw small jigs first thing.  After the sun gets up then they are moving out to 17-29 feet of water with the down-lines.  The same pattern is going on from one end of the lake to the other, and in all arms of the lake.

Limited crappie reports indicate that fish have are in brush piles in 18-19 feet of water.

April 27

Clarks Hill water levels have risen rapidly to above full pool at 330.29 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures range from the mid- to upper-60s.  The water is pretty dirty with a lot of debris.

For several weeks now it has looked like the herring spawn was getting underway on Clarks Hill, but Augusta University bass team angler Josh Rockefeller and tournament angler Tyler Matthews with Buckeye Lures in Augusta both agree that it just hasn’t gotten right yet.  In some areas the herring are up on the points, in some areas the bass are up on the points, but it’s rare for them to have found each other.  When they are together a lot of times the fish have been finicky.   Intermittent cold fronts don’t seem to be helping, fishing pressure at this time of year on Clarks Hill is well known, and now very high water levels add another factor. However, between the calendar and the possibilities it’s hard not to be up on points right now throwing flukes, Gunfish, and swimbaits.  You just need to keep moving until you find the right areas, and know that any time it could bust wide open.

There seem to still be some smaller females and buck bass up on beds, and with a lot of post-spawn females pulled out to points you can catch fish pulling a Carolina rig or jig. In stained water spinnerbaits have been catching fish.  A frog/ buzzbait bite does not seem to have started yet.

Tyler Matthews with a nice one caught on a double willow chartreuse Buckeye spinnerbait

Tyler Matthews with a nice one caught Friday on a double willow chartreuse Buckeye spinnerbait

In striped bass news William Sasser Guide Service (864-333-2000) reports that striper are moving shallow and attempting to spawn.  They can be found along shoals, points and humps and are full of roe.  In the morning the best pattern is down-line fishing very early in 8-25 feet of water, and after that they are moving out to shoals and pulling free-lines and planer boards.  Fish can be found throughout the lake, but they are concentrating their fishing down the lake.  There is also a good bite in the Georgia Little River and below the Russell dam.

Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that he is still catching decent numbers of quality striper pulling planer boards and free-lines across and around secondary humps and points, but the biggest change is that the cut bait bite for fish over 15 pounds has gotten better. They are catching some very nice fish this way.

On the catfish front, Chris reports that the blue catfish bite remains inconsistent for big fish but that overall numbers are picking up. Fish remain scattered from 5 feet down to as deep as 50, with anchoring on ledges the best way to get a big one.  Look for the night bite to get good soon.

Limited crappie reports indicate that post-spawn fish have pulled out to brush piles in 15-20 feet.

April 12

Clarks Hill water levels are up to 327.71 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures range from about 63 in the main channel to the mid-60s in the backs.

The main event on Clarks Hill is finally arriving, and Augusta University bass team angler Josh Rockefeller reports that the herring spawn is getting underway.  This past Saturday fishing the Tommy Shaw Memorial Josh saw bass knocking herring out of the water around a couple of points, but they weren’t everywhere and you needed to find 65-degree water – on the main lake – to locate the fish. If temperatures stay warm then that bite will get even better.

It seemed to Josh that the fish feeding on herring were a mix of pre-spawn and post-spawn bass, and some were females full of eggs while others were clearly laid out.  The best baits were Zoom flukes, 5-inch Zoom paddletail swimbaits fished on Buckeye J-Will heads, and Gunfish 115s and 135s.

As would be expected with pre-spawn and post-spawn fish around, there are plenty of fish on beds right now.  However, Josh says that even though he is seeing a lot of nice 5+ pound fish they don’t seem to be locked on to beds yet and aren’t very committed.   Maybe they will this weekend, but for now the females are hard to catch.

In striped bass news Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that fishing is wide open right now.  In the mornings striper and hybrids can be caught off main lake points on the lower end with down-lines fished on the bottom in about 30-40 feet. Later in the day as the water warms these same fish can be caught on free-lines in the same areas.  Around and after dark there has been an excellent bite out in front of the dam tied up to the cable fishing about 30-40 feet deep.

Farther up the lake, Captain Chris Simpson(864-992-2352) reports that he is catching decent numbers of quality fish pulling planer boards and free-lines across and around secondary humps and points.  He is also catching some good fish pushing 20 pounds anchoring and fishing cut bait as the sun gets up and pushes the fish deeper.

A nice Clarks Hill striper caught recently with Captain Chris Simpson

A nice Clarks Hill striper caught recently with Captain Chris Simpson

William reports that crappie fishing is still extremely good, and although there are some deeper patterns at play across most of the lake fish are still spawning.  They are all over docks with less than 10 feet of water and you can catch them throwing little jigs up shallow.

There is also some tight-lining and long-lining action shallow in the creeks.

On the catfish front, Chris reports that the big blue catfish bite is inconsistent because the fish are scattered from 5 feet down to as deep as 50.  Anchoring in highly-travelled areas like ledges near the mouths of coves or adjacent to large flats is still catching a few, but patience is the name of the game right now.  Look for the night bite to get good soon.

A big blue caught last week with Captain Chris

A big blue caught last week with Captain Chris

March 30

Clarks Hill water levels are up to 327.31 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures are back to 60 and above in much of the lake.  The very lower lake is clear while some of the creeks are heavily stained.

It’s finally starting to really happen on Clarks Hill, and Augusta University bass team angler Josh Rockefeller reports that, while it’s not everywhere, in certain places there is already some pretty heavy bedding activity.  There are also a ton of buck bass up shallow in the grass, and it’s hard to go wrong fishing a floating worm or jig in very shallow water.  With the full moon he expects there to be a very strong wave of bedding fish over the next few days.

Fresh off the water this afternoon, Tyler Matthews with Buckeye Lures in Augusta reportsthat he found the fish in less than a foot of water in a muddy creek.  They were eating a spinnerbait and a Chatterbait around the bank grass, and he also saw some fish that were already on the bed.  However, it looks like water temperatures need to warm a few more degrees for the spawn to be wide open.  By next weekend pretty much all the fish should be on the bed, heading that way – or done.

Tyler with a nice one caught today

Tyler with a nice one caught today

In striped bass news Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that they are finding an outstanding bite for striper and hybrids fishing 35-40 feet down over 35-50 feet of water off main lake points.  The best area has been the lower lake in front of the dam, and there are a lot of fish being caught right in front of the dam tied up to the cable.  Mornings have been very productive, and there has been a good mix of large and small fish.

On the crappie front, Captain Chris Simpson(864-992-2352) reports that crappie are at all depths.  Some anglers are catching them on the banks, while other anglers are catching them over open water tight-lining and long-lining.  Curly-tail jigs and slider jigs tipped with minnows are both working well, and in the more stained water darker colors have been better.

A nice crappie caught this week with Captain Chris

A nice crappie caught this week with Captain Chris

William’s boats have even found some fish 30 feet deep over 35-40 feet of water, and they have also been catching some spawning fish up against the bank.  The best shallow bite seems to be in the evening.

Chris reports that catfish are still hanging near the ledges of creek runs and off of points near the mouths of creeks in 20-40 feet of water. The bigger blues have been holding really tight to the drop-offs.  Anchoring and using cut herring is the best pattern for 1-10 pound fish, while gizzard shad, white perch and large river herring are the best bet for big fish.

They are still catching the big blue cats with Captain Chris

They are still catching the big blue cats with Captain Chris

March 15

Clarks Hill water levels are up to 326.85 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures have dropped into the mid-50s.  Much of the lake is relatively clear, while some creeks are stained.

After two weeks of cold weather bass fishing on Clarks Hill has changed, but Augusta University bass team angler Josh Rockefeller reports that fish are still biting pretty well – although weights have dropped.  However, instead of being up super shallow they have backed off to the first staging areas and a lot of the fish are now being found around points with rocks.  In clearer areas jerkbaits have been working well, but in the more stained areas he has been having better success with a PB&J Buckeye Lures Football Mop Jig.

Josh notes that he believes that a lot of the bigger fish do spawn on rocky points, and so some of them may not have too far to go.

In striped bass news Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that the fishing is wide open, and in front of the dam and off lower lake points they are catching some really nice fish early and late on free-lines and planer boards.  The same pattern is working in the Parksville area, and in both sections the same fish pull out mid-morning where they can be caught on down-lines in 25-30 feet of water on the bottom off the points.

On the crappie front, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that cooler temperatures have stalled their shallow movement.  Big female crappie are staging and suspended in depths of 5-15 feet in the clearer creeks off the main lake depending on the time of day.  Some creeks are still stained and usually the fish in those creeks can be found a little shallower.  Long-lining and tight-lining are both working well.  Curly-tail jigs and slider jigs tipped with minnows are both working well, and in the more stained water darker colors have been better.

Some big Clarks Hill crappie caught with Captain Chris Simpson

Some big Clarks Hill crappie caught with Captain Chris Simpson

Chris reports that catfish of all sizes are hanging around the mouths of creeks, main lake points, and humps at the entrance to creeks in 20-40 feet of water.  The bigger blues have been holding really tight to the ledges in these areas.  Anchoring and using cut herring is the best pattern for 1-10 pound fish, while gizzard shad, white perch and large river herring are the best bet for big fish.

March 2

Clarks Hill water levels are up to 326.36 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures have dropped from the mid-60s back into the upper 50s.  Water conditions were pretty clear before yesterday’s rain in the lower lake, and already stained up the lake and in the backs of creeks.

The up-and-down weather is changing the bass bite on an almost-daily basis, and Tyler Matthews with Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that water temperatures that have dropped 7-8 degrees are keeping the fish from settling into a stable pattern.  Before the cool temperatures came in Tyler saw some fish in the clear water near the dam laying eggs, and he was able to catch a few fish in the lower lake.  However, he found a much better bite in the more stained water up a creek on the Georgia side where fishing in less than three feet of water he wore them out a chartreuse spinnerbait.

After the cooler weather came in, though, those fish backed out to slightly deeper water in the same areas.  Overall it seems that fish have gotten into the backs where they will spawn, and some have already bedded, but as spring fronts roll throw the pattern and depths will change from day to day.

In striped bass news Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that the pattern is virtually unchanged from last week, with nice hybrids in front of the dam about 20 feet down.  They are also still fishing off secondary points in the mid- to lower lake with down-lines 20 feet down over 30 feet of water.  Anglers can also pull free lines with herring or small gizzard shad in the backs of coves in the major creeks to hook a big one.

On the crappie front, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that long-lining in the backs of creeks in 5-15 feet of water has been productive, with dark black and blue jigs working best in the stained water.   Some anglers have also had decent success casting jigs up towards the bank in very shallow water, particularly in areas that crappie couldn’t access until water levels came up.

William also reports that in certain areas fish are up shallow and spawning, and his boat is throwing very small hair jigs under a bobber to catch them.

Like the crappie catfish have moved shallower, and Chris reports that most of the big blues are hanging around ledges on humps that top out around 10-20 feet, while some are roaming flats at that depth and others are migrating towards creeks with the shad.  Anchoring has been the best approach.  It is predicted that the cooler temperatures will stall the shallow movement until temperatures stabilize/ warm again.

A monster Clarks Hill blue caught this week on Captain Chris Simpson's boat

A monster Clarks Hill blue caught this week on Captain Chris Simpson’s boat

February 23

Clarks Hill water levels are up to 326.10 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures have shot up to the low 60s on the main lake and the mid-60s in the backs on warm afternoons.  Water conditions are pretty clear on the main lake but stained in some of the creeks.

Augusta University bass team angler Josh Rockefeller has spent a lot of time on Clarks Hill recently, and the biggest change he has found in the last week is that as water levels and temperatures have risen fish have moved from the outer edge of the grass to way back in it.  He is also finding that the best fishing is in the very backs of pockets, with less fish on the points and coves leading back into them.  He has not seen fish spawning, but it’s almost like they are on the beds already from the ways they are hitting and the places they are sitting.

Yesterday Josh found that fish were in no deeper than 1 ½ feet of water, and throwing a Texas-rigged 5 inch swimming fluke on 65-pound braid he caught a bunch of buck bass in the two to two and a half pound range as well as a nice almost six pound pre-spawn female.  Fish are really tight in the grass and on most casts some fish were spooked out of it, possibly including some gizzard shad and other species.

Josh Rockefeller with a nice one caught yesterday

Josh Rockefeller with a nice one caught yesterday

Tyler Matthews with Buckeye Lures reports that the last time he was out was at the beginning of the week, and that day he found fish that seemed to be getting ready to spawn.  He also found a lot of fish keying on bait and schooling in shallow pockets, and at one point on every cast for five minutes he caught a bass.  He did well with square-billed crankbaits.

In striped bass news Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that more and more 3-5 pound hybrids are showing up in front of the dam about 20 feet down, with the best fishing in the afternoon and late evening.  They are also still fishing off secondary points in the mid- to lower lake with down-lines 20 feet down over 30 feet of water.  Anglers can also pull free lines with herring or small gizzard shad in the backs of coves in the major creeks to hook a big one.

On the crappie front William reports that fish are up very shallow and spawning, and you can catch them on your favorite shallow water technique.  His boat is throwing very small hair jigs under a bobber.

The catfish bite is fair, and Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that with warming temperatures fish are scattered.  Humps that top out around 25-35 feet are becoming most productive.  The best bet is to anchor on these humps for 35-45 minutes and then move on to find more aggressive fish if you don’t get bit; sometimes when you find the sweet spot fish will just keep coming through in feeding waves.  Cut gizzard shad has been the best bait for bigger blues.

On a side note blueback herring have been hard to find since the rain.

February 17

Clarks Hill water levels are up to 325.80 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures shot up yesterday to the mid- to upper-50s – and warmer in some areas.  Visibility on the main lake is pretty good but some of the creeks are very dirty.

Yesterday Augusta University bass team angler Josh Rockefeller spent the day in the South Carolina Little River on Clarks Hill, and in the back of the creeks he found water temperatures pushing 65 and even 66 degrees in the shallows!  He suspects that the inflow of warm rain (as well as the fact that dirty water heats up faster) accounts for these temperatures, and the runoff is certainly accountable for what he describes as muddy conditions with almost no visibility.  A lot of people would have considered it unfishable.

But Josh did find fish in the super muddy water, mostly very shallow in the 1 – 2 ½ foot range.  They were blowing up on 3-inch fingerling herring along the edge of the grass (where the water has come up a couple of feet recently).  With the fish keying on small bait they were a little picky, but he was able to catch a bunch of fish in the 3-4 pound range on spinnerbaits and flukes.

Josh Rockefeller shows off a nice Clarks Hill bass caught yesterday

Josh Rockefeller shows off a nice Clarks Hill bass caught yesterday

February 16

Clarks Hill water levels are up to 325.67 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures range from about 52-54 degrees.  The water is a little stained.

Even before air and water temperatures really started to rise Tyler Matthews with Buckeye Lures reported that bass were shallow, but that trend has only accelerated over the last few days.  The deeper ditches were not producing and so Tyler started looking shallower, and he realized he was onto something when on his first cast at brush in about 3 feet of water he caught a 3-pounder.

Overall Tyler has been finding good numbers of fish over 3 pounds in the backs of creeks, and working his boat parallel to the bank and throwing a square-billed crankbait has been the ticket.  He lets the bait dive 4-5 feet until it makes contact with the grass just above the bottom, then stops and lets it float, then pulls it into the grass again.  Contact with the grass has been key, and sometimes fish have been grouped up in areas where there is some other form of cover in the grass like a stick-up.

In clearer water a shad-colored crankbait has worked best, but in dingier water up the creeks a red crawfish colored bait has been better.

Tyler Matthews shows off a couple of Clarks Hill bass caught last weekend

Tyler Matthews shows off a couple of Clarks Hill bass caught last weekend

In striped bass news Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that the pattern remains relatively unchanged, except for the fact that 2-3 pound hybrids are starting to show up in front of the dam about 20 feet down.  Other than that they are still fishing off secondary points in the mid- to lower lake with down-lines 20 feet down over 30 feet of water.  Anglers can also pull free lines with herring or small gizzard shad in the backs of coves in the major creeks to hook a big one.

Crappie are also moving up, and William reports that more and more fish are getting shallower in the 5-10 foot range and even near the banks.  They Plum Branch area has been good.

On the catfish front, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that the bait and catfish are still deep in the trees on the main lake flats near the river channel.  Anchoring in about 40-50 feet at the mouth of major creeks is still the best pattern.

February 9

Clarks Hill water levels are up to at 324.64 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures still range from about 49-52.  The upper part of Clarks Hill is very muddy and has a lot of floating debris, while lower down the lake is still relatively clear.

In striped bass news Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that the pattern is relatively unchanged.  They are still fishing mainly from the mid-lake to the dam, and off

secondary points in the mid-lake they are catching fish on down-lines 20 feet down over 30 feet of water.  The only change is that they are also catching some good striper that way, and not just 3-5 pound hybrids.  You can also still pull free lines with herring or small gizzard shad in the backs of coves in the major creeks to hook a big one.

Yesterday with William Sasser Guide Service

Yesterday with William Sasser Guide Service

William also reports that, even though water temperatures are still pretty cold, crappie have started to move up some.  They are catching them in the backs of coves around Fishing Village about 10 feet deep around docks and other cover.

On the catfish front, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that lots of cold water dumping into the lake has kept the bait and catfish deep in the trees on the main lake flats near the river channel.  Anchoring in about 40-50 feet at the mouth of major creeks is still the best pattern.

Augusta University bass team angler Josh Rockefeller reports that the bass pattern has not really changed on Clarks Hill, but recently bites have been a little harder to come by.  It’s still worth fishing crankbaits in ditches.

February 1

Clarks Hill water levels are at 323.09 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures range from about 49-52.  The lake is very clear.

The bass bite has changed a little on Clarks Hill, and Augusta University bass team angler Josh Rockefeller reports that they are not doing as well on the jigging blade.  They are still picking up a few fish on it, but Bandit 200 series crankbaits in crawfish color have been a lot more effective.  Fish are still being caught pretty shallow in the ditches, with the better fish coming from secondary points inside the ditches.  Any sort of structure in the ditches such as a roadbed or wood is also a magnet for fish, and they seem to be biting better when you can find some stained water.  Early and late fish are moving up shallower, and then in the middle of the day they are holding a little deeper in the ditches.

There have still been a few fish spotted rolling on herring, but that seems to have slowed down.  And a deep bite has been really, really hard to find.

Josh Rockefeller with a nice Clarks Hill bass caught recently

Josh Rockefeller with a nice Clarks Hill bass caught recently

On the striped bass front, Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that a lot of fish seem to be moving back down the lake and his boats are now catching them mainly from the mid-lake to the dam.  To target big fish the best bet is to pull free lines with herring or small gizzard shad in the backs of coves in the major creeks.  For 3-5 pound hybrids look off secondary points in the mid-lake and fish down-lines 20 feet down over 25 feet of water.

Crappie continue to be caught in the same winter pattern, and William reports that he is catching them pulling small jigs 20 feet down near the bottom in the creek channels.

In catfish news, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that the bite for big blue catfish is fair because the fish are constantly moving with the baitfish.  The larger concentrations of baitfish are holding in the trees on the main lake near the mouths of big feeder creeks in about 40-50 feet of water, at least in the upper half of the lake.  Anchoring on humps at the edge of the timber and waiting for the fish is the key right now.  Gizzard shad and white perch are the best baits if you want to target a big one, with herring leading to more bites from smaller fish.

January 18

Clarks Hill water levels are at 322.59 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures are in the low 50s, with some parts of the lake in the upper 40s.

It’s been a pretty good period for bass fishing on Clarks Hill, and tournament angler Josh Rockefeller reports that he recently won a club tournament with more than 22 pounds throwing a ¼ ounce Buckeye Lures jiggin’ blade in the backs of pockets along the edges of hydrilla.  While there was deep water nearby, the fish were in only 3-5 feet of water.  Look for areas that have 10-12 feet of water and fish at the point where it starts to break off into about 5 feet.

There has also been a pretty good bite on a 3/8 ounce Su-Spin blade in the same areas, and they have actually found some fish schooling in the backs of creeks.  Bass aren’t busting the surface but instead rolling, where they are feeding on 2-3 inch young of the year blueback herring.  Let the bait sink and then slow roll it back to the boat.

Some deeper fish can also be caught at the mouths of creeks in deeper water, and fishing parallel to steep rocky banks with the Su-Spin blade has been working.  Fish might be in 20-30 feet of water but they seem to be suspended alongside the rock in 5-10 feet.

On the striped bass front, Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that they are catching fish mid-lake around the 378 bridge and up the Georgia Little River arm just below Raysville.  To target fish in the five-pound range fish down-lines 20 feet down in 20-30 feet of water, but to go after larger fish pull free-lines and planer boards in the backs of the coves in 10-15 feet of water.   Around 10 or 11 in the morning has been the most productive time to fish.

A nice catch on Captain William Sasser's boat

A nice catch on Captain William Sasser’s boat

Crappie continue to be caught in a similar pattern, and William reports that he is catching them pulling small jigs 20 feet down near the bottom in the creek channels.  They can also be caught around brush 15-20 feet deep over about 25 feet of water.

No new catfish report from Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352).

December 19

Clarks Hill water levels are at 320.91 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures are about 53-56 degrees.  Clarity is normal.

The bass on Clarks Hill are starting to get into a winter pattern that is pretty typical on area lakes.  This past weekend tournament angler and guide Brad Fowler of Pendleton fished Clarks Hill, and he found his fish relatively deep in about 25-35 feet.  He found them offshore around drops, and the best group of fish he found offshore near a depth change that had some rock on it.  A football jig and shakey head were the most productie, and he also picked up one better one and a few small fish on a drop shot.  Reports also indicated that jigging spoons were working well.

That’s not to say that there is not a shallower bite for some anglers, and Brad saw fish up shallow around docks.  They just wouldn’t bite for him.

Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports no change with striper or crappie.

Another banner day for striper yesterday with William Sasser Guide Service

Another banner day for striper yesterday with William Sasser Guide Service

Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports no change with catfish.

December 14

Clarks Hill water levels are at 321.37 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures are around 54 degrees.  Clarity is normal.

On the striped bass front, Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that fish are in a typical winter pattern, except that they are usually fishing a lot higher up the lake at this time than they are right now.   Right now they are staying in the mid-lake.

The pattern is fairly similar to a couple of weeks ago, and his boats are catching fish pulling free-lines back in the coves early in the morning, generally in 10-15 feet of water.  Mid-morning they are finding striper and hybrids on down-lines 30 feet deep over 30-40 feet of water off main lake points.

The most significant change is that more birds have arrived, and while there has been no schooling to speak of they are generally helping to pinpoint the fish.

The cold weather is starting to move some Clarks Hill bass into the ditches, but Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that there are still a bunch of fish chasing bait off points in the late afternoon when the water warms.  There have also been some fish caught on square-billed crankbaits around grass.

Crappie have been in a stable pattern for a while now, and William’s boat is finding them 15 feet down over 25 feet of water in the backs of coves over brush.

In catfish news, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that most of the big schools of baitfish are holding in the 30-45 foot range at the creek mouths to about halfway back into the creeks in the mid-lake.  Anchoring on secondary points that intersect with the depth range of the baitfish is the best bet.  When you locate fish the bite can be good, although finding fish that are not already gorged can be an issue when you are fishing around huge schools of baitfish.  Accordingly, Chris rates the bite fair to good.

A nice cold weather catfish caught this week on Captain Chris Simpson's boat

A nice cold weather catfish caught this week on Captain Chris Simpson’s boat

December 1

Clarks Hill water levels are at 321.1 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures are in the low 60s.  Clarity is normal with very little rain.

It’s an in-between time for catching bass on Clarks Hill, and weights have been pretty low in recent tournaments.  Lots of 8-9 pound bags are coming to the scales.  With water temperatures still pretty warm fish haven’t stacked up in the ditches yet.

Early in the morning the best bet is to throw a square-billed crankbait or a floating worm around the grass.  Crawfish, bream and sexy shad colors will all work, and a small 3 ½ – 4 ½ foot diver has been the best.  There have also been some fish caught slow-rolling a white spinnerbait around the grass.

Once the air warms a little, if there is some wind then bass will be chasing blueback herring.  A fluke or Gunfish is a good option, but if they are on very small bait then a small spoon may be the only way to get them to bite.

On the striped bass front, Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that mid-lake they are catching fish pulling free-lines back in the coves early in the morning, generally in 10-15 feet of water.  Mid-morning they are finding striper and hybrids on down-lines 30 feet deep over 30-40 feet of water off main lake points in the same part of the lake.  Birds are starting to show up and there is just beginning to be some winter schooling action.

Crappie are in a very similar pattern and William’s boat is finding them 15 feet down over 25 feet of water in the backs of coves over brush.

A big crappie haul on William Sasser's boat

A big crappie haul on William Sasser’s boat

Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that the catfish pattern is unchanged, and while the bite is still strong he now only rates it as “good.”  It’s unclear why the bite has slowed because that doesn’t usually happen at this time of year, but it’s possible lingering warm weather is responsible.

 

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