AHQ INSIDER Lake Monticello (SC) Summer 2017 Fishing Report – Updated August 10 Reviewed by Momizat on . -- August 10 Lake Monticello water temperatures have dropped slightly into the 80s.  Lake levels generally fluctuate daily. It’s unclear why, but the bass bite -- August 10 Lake Monticello water temperatures have dropped slightly into the 80s.  Lake levels generally fluctuate daily. It’s unclear why, but the bass bite Rating: 0
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AHQ INSIDER Lake Monticello (SC) Summer 2017 Fishing Report – Updated August 10

August 10

Lake Monticello water temperatures have dropped slightly into the 80s.  Lake levels generally fluctuate daily.

It’s unclear why, but the bass bite on Lake Monticello has taken a nosedive.  Tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria and his brother have won the last couple of Thursday night tournament with between 9 and a little over 10 pounds, and second place has ranged from 3-6 pounds.  The offshore pattern has pretty much fallen apart, even though the fish still appear to be down there, and they have only picked up a few fish on big crankbaits.  The fish they have been catching are mainly coming from dragging a worm slowly through the brush.

While the bass bite has gotten tough on Lake Monticello, the free-lining catfish bite continues to be really good.  Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that in addition to numbers of fish they are catching some really good ones free-lining pieces of cut herring, and on a recent trip he caught seven fish in the 12-15 pound range as well as a 20-pound fish.  The depth varies from day to day but the best results have come recently over 100-plus feet of water, with the baits generally running 5-15 feet down.  The hottest action has been close to the discharge where William speculates that the fish are eating cut bait that gets churned back up.  Look for the big fish bite to come on once temperatures cool off.

A nice summer catfish caught recently with Slick WIllie's Guide Service

A nice summer catfish caught recently with Slick WIllie’s Guide Service

July 14

Lake Monticello water temperatures are hot, and by the evening they are in the lower 90s.  Lake levels generally fluctuate daily.

The offshore bass bite continues to be pretty good on Lake Monticello, and last Thursday tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria and his brother won a night tournament with 20.7 pounds.  Last night weights were more modest again, but the fishing is still good.

Overall the deep pattern is holding pretty constant, but there are a couple of changes.  First, as the summer has gotten hotter the fish have actually moved shallower, perhaps looking for better oxygen levels.  There are still some fish out in the 35-foot range but the 20-22 foot zone has been better.  Second, more fish have been around brush recently.

Andy Wicker and Gary McGlohorn show off a nice tournament bag caught last week on Monty

Andy Wicker and Gary McGlohorn show off a nice tournament bag caught last week on Monty

On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports no change.

June 30

Lake Monticello water temperatures are hot, ranging from the mid-80s to 90.  Lake levels generally fluctuate daily.

The offshore bass bite is still pretty good on Lake Monticello, and the best pattern remains unchanged from that described June 6.  However, tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that it is starting to get tougher out there.  You can still catch fish on the deeper places, but instead of catching a bunch you now get 1 or 2 off a spot.  They seem to be getting better educated as the summer goes on, probably because of the fishing pressure and just seeing so many lures.  Fish that are related to brush seem to be a little more willing to consistently eat than ones that are just related to humps and long points.

There is still a topwater pattern first thing.

Andy Wicker and his brother show off a 19 1/2 pound bag caught recently in a Monticello night tournament

Andy Wicker and his brother show off a 19 1/2 pound bag caught recently in a Monticello night tournament

On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the fishing has turned around – in addition to the mussel die-off being behind us the majority of the catfish spawn seems to be past.  The best pattern is fishing around deep humps in the 45-65 foot range with fresh cut bait, be that perch, bream or gizzard shad.

The free-line drifting bite has also gotten good again, and should stay that way through August.  Fish can be caught over 15-150 feet of water this way, and they could be over trees, humps, points – or just out in the middle.  Anglers need to study their graph to decide where to fish.

June 6

Lake Monticello water temperatures are in the lower to mid-80s, and conditions are relatively clear.  Lake levels generally fluctuate daily.

Tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that bass have finally gotten out deep on Lake Monticello.  On Sunday afternoon he saw water temperatures hit 85 degrees, and he speculates that the warm water is the reason the fish have finally headed offshore.

Most of the fish Andy has been catching have been in the 35-foot range, although a few have come in 21-22 feet.  Long points and humps are usually the best spots.  Spoons and jigs have been the best baits, although big Texas-rigged worms like Ole Monsters and deep diving crankbaits like Strike King 6XDs and 10XDs will also catch fish.

Early in the morning there is a good topwater bite around the banks, and you don’t have to worry about missing the best deep bite during that window.  It stays good all day.  Anglers can try to scratch out a limit shallow during the day, but it can be hard to find big fish around the banks.  After dark fish will often back into the shallows to feed around brush.

Andy Wicker shows off a couple of nice Monticello fish caught Sunday afternoon/ evening

Andy Wicker shows off a couple of nice Monticello fish caught Sunday afternoon/ evening

On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) is disappointed to report that fishing has been a little tough the last few days.  This happens every year at some points, as the mussels die off and the fish feed up on them to the point where they are gorged.  The beginning of the mussel die-off can be hot, but not the tail end.

For now the best action can probably be found at night in the shallows, and fishing around sandy banks or sandy spots in the coves is a good option.  Fresh cut gizzard shad, bream or perch are the best baits.

The bite including the free-line drifting bite should get good again very soon – things typically change after the mussel die-off within a week or so.

May 17

Lake Monticello water temperatures are in the mid-70s, and conditions are clear.  Lake levels generally fluctuate daily.

It’s an in-between time for catching bass on Lake Monticello, and tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that that means that fish are scattered out between deep and shallow.  In turn, that makes for a tough bite!

For now the best way to put a (likely small) limit of fish in the boat is to fish shallow and cast at the bank with topwater lures, particularly in the morning and late.  During the day you need to fish subsurface baits in the same areas.  At daybreak there is still the tail end of the shad spawn, and during the day bass are feeding on bream up shallow.

Right now the deep schools just aren’t big enough for a consistent bite out there, but there is little doubt that is the direction the fish are headed.  Already some are deep, and within the next week or two fishing in 20-30 feet of water around points and humps will be the best way to catch fish.  Big jig, big Texas-rigged worms like Ole Monsters, deep diving crankbaits like Strike King 6XDs and 10XDs, and even spoons if you see fish directly under the boat will all work.

Andy Wicker with the kind of Lake Monticello bass they will be catching out deep soon

Andy Wicker with the kind of Lake Monticello bass they will be catching out deep soon

On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the free-line bite is starting up in a big way on Lake Monticello.  While this is generally a way to catch large numbers of fish likely in the 1 ½ – 3 or 4 pound range, there are certainly some 20+ pound fish caught this way.  Depths vary from day to day, but it’s a good bet to start out looking in 100 plus feet of water with baits suspended about 15-20 feet down.  For free line fishing small pieces of white perch or herring will both work.

If you want to target bigger fish the best bet is to anchor in about 20-40 feet of water and put out cut gizzard shad or bream.  Mussel beds, long points and humps are all good places to look right now, and if you can find 35-40 feet of water near a steep drop-off that is hard to beat.

April 26

Lake Monticello water temperatures were in the mid-70s but dropped because of the cool, rainy weather.  Lake levels fluctuate daily.

On the catfish front, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that the shallow bite on Lake Monticello is very good right now, and fish are being caught in 5-25 feet of water around humps, points, and in the backs of coves.  Mussel beds are still producing some fish.  Anchoring a number of rods with cut bait is the best way to catch big fish.

Bass report to follow.

March 28

Lake Monticello water temperatures range from the lower to upper 60s depending on area of the lake, with the lower end warmer because of proximity to the cooling station.  Lake levels always fluctuate daily.

Most years things seem to happen earlier on Lake Monticello than on many area lakes, and even under normal circumstances the warm water discharge often has fish about 3 weeks ahead of other lakes on Monty.  This year was no exception, and with the heat wave a few weeks ago this made for a super early spawn on Monticello.  Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that a lot of the bass which are being caught there now are post-spawn.

There are certainly still some spawning and pre-spawn fish on the lake, but considering that bass like to hang around spawning pockets even after they finish their business a very good pattern is to fish floating worms and shakey heads in these areas.  You can also catch plenty of fish just covering lots of water with a topwater lure and going down the banks and hitting points and pockets.

It’s also a pretty good pattern to fish the same secondary points where bass came in when they were pre-spawn, because they will usually go out the same way.  Bigger baits fished on the bottom such as Carolina rigs, big Texas rigs and larger shakey head worms will all catch fish.

Catfish are starting to get into a spring pattern on Lake Monticello, and Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that with recent warming fish are being caught anchoring in 5-25 feet around humps, points and in the backs of coves.  Mussel beds are also producing some fish.  There are still some fish to be caught out deeper, but the shallow fish seem to be more aggressive – at least for now.  Cut gizzard shad and white perch are still working.

Captain Chris Simpson with a big blue catfish caught this week

Captain Chris Simpson with a big blue catfish caught this week

March 9

Lake Monticello water temperatures still range from the upper-50s to mid-60s depending on area of the lake, with the lower end warmer because of proximity to the cooling station.  Lake levels always fluctuate daily.

Considering the temperatures it’s not surprising that Lake Monticello bass are moving shallow, and Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that there are a lot of buck bass around the banks.  Some of these fish are already making beds and some are just thinking about it, but soft plastics are a good way to catch them.  Fishing a Texas-rigged worm, a shakey head or a floating worm in spawning pockets should generate lots of bites from fish up to 3 pounds or so.

Another group of fish is staging for the spawn, and this group should include more of the big female bass.  They will be off points leading into spawning pockets, and could be out to about 15 feet of water.  Andy wouldn’t advise fishing deeper than about 15 feet right now.  Alabama rigs and Carolina rigs are a good way to target these fish.

On the catfish front Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that there is not a whole lot of change in the last few weeks, and many catfish remain scattered out in 45-70 feet of water.  However, with continued warm temperatures more and more fish are moving into the shallows.  Fishing around mussel beds will become a stronger and stronger pattern as temperatures rise.  Cut gizzard shad and white perch continue to be the best big fish baits.

A large blue cat caught recently on Captain Chris Simpson's boat

A large blue cat caught recently on Captain Chris Simpson’s boat

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