AHQ INSIDER Lake Murray (SC) Spring 2019 Fishing Report – Updated January 11 Reviewed by Momizat on . -- January 11 Lake Murray water levels are down to 351.18 (full pool is 360.00) and surface temperatures range from about 48-53.  There is still a ton of muddy -- January 11 Lake Murray water levels are down to 351.18 (full pool is 360.00) and surface temperatures range from about 48-53.  There is still a ton of muddy Rating: 0
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AHQ INSIDER Lake Murray (SC) Spring 2019 Fishing Report – Updated January 11

January 11

Lake Murray water levels are down to 351.18 (full pool is 360.00) and surface temperatures range from about 48-53.  There is still a ton of muddy water moving down the lake and above Dreher Island is pretty much red mud.

Cold, muddy water doesn’t always make for great bass fishing, but Captain Doug Lown reports that there have been some good sacks caught in recent tournaments.  First the fish were biting a jig deep, but after it started to get muddy then the better pattern became fishing a crankbait shallow.  Fish aren’t everywhere, and so you have to know where to look and be in the right places. If there is not rock you can pretty much forget about it, and steep channel points with shallow water near deep water are ideal.

It’s unlikely that the cold weather will totally move the fish, but they could move a little deeper and suspend out in the same areas where they have been.  A jerkbait may be a good option.

In the lower lake where it is clearer there may be a decent deeper bite, but as of now most of the fishing action has been up the lake.

It’s still pretty tough conditions for striped bass fishing on Murray, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that if anything the fish have gotten a little harder to catch in the last week.  And for the next few days they may get even tougher with this cold blast – which is unlikely to turn on the bite in these muddy conditions.  At best the bite can be characterized as sporadic.

Fish are constantly moving around from day to day, and basically the name of the game is trying to escape the mud and find clean water right now.  Since the fish really want to be up the rivers in the current right now the further up the lake you can find clean water the better.

In cold, dirty conditions fish tend to go shallow, and so shallow flats and other bays have been good areas.  Look for the birds to find concentrations of fish, and target them with free-lines or planer boards.  You can also cast double rigs at actively feeding fish.

Captain Brad reports that dirty water also still has the crappie on the move, chiefly because the bait wants to find the cleanest water it can be in.  There are still fish being caught, but they have moved out of the dirtiest water into the mouths of creeks.  Tight-lining minnows and jigs about 15 feet down in 20-30 feet of water is the best pattern.

You will also pick up a lot of white perch in the same areas.

Unfortunately, the catfish bite on Lake Murray has gotten really tough and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) is actually taking parties to other lakes until conditions improve.

January 1

Lake Murray water levels are down to 350.19 (full pool is 360.00) and surface temperatures are in the lower 50s.  There is a lot of muddy water moving down the lake.

It’s still tricky conditions for striped bass fishing on Murray, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that with all the new rounds of rainfall and mud the fish are impossible to pin down.  Fish are constantly moving around from day to day, and basically the name of the game is trying to escape the mud and find clean water right now.

Things are changing from day to day, but the last good bite that Brad found was in the mouths of some of the mid-lake creeks and in the Crystal Lake area.  Since the fish really want to be up the rivers in the current right now the further up the lake you can find clean water the better.

In cold, dirty conditions fish tend to go shallow, and so shallow flats and other bays have been good areas.  Look for the birds to find concentrations of fish, and target them with free-lines or planer boards.  You can also cast double rigs at actively feeding fish.

Captain Brad reports that dirty water also has the crappie on the move, chiefly because the bait wants to find the cleanest water it can be in.  There are still a lot of fish being caught, but they have moved out of the dirtiest water into the mouths of creeks.  There have also been some big wads of fish in Crystal Lake.  Tight-lining minnows and jigs about 15 feet down in 20-30 feet of water is the best pattern.

You will also pick up a lot of white perch in the same areas.

There has been a surprisingly good bass bite considering difficult weather conditions, and FLW angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that fishing out deep with a jig Steve Wicker and tourney partner Reid McGinn weighed just under 22 pounds in the CATT Final last weekend. Some of the fish were around brush, and some came around deep rock, in the mid- to lower lake.  There can also be a shallow cranking bite but it is spotty right now.  Overall weights have been good, with multiple bags over 17 pounds in the same event.

Reid McGinn and Steve Wicker with some of the winning fish

Reid McGinn and Steve Wicker with some of the winning fish

While the catfish bite on Lake Murray has improved slightly, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that it still hasn’t gotten good.  The muddy inflow has the fish on the move, and instead of being out along the main channel a lot of the fish seem to have moved into the creeks.  Fishing in about 30 feet of water has been the best pattern but overall it is still kind of slow.

December 20

Lake Murray water levels have fallen to 350.78 (full pool is 360.00) and surface temperatures are in the lower 50s.  Before today’s rain it was clearing up the river but still dirty down to the Gap.

Significant, periodic rainfall is making for some tricky striped bass fishing conditions on Murray, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that every time the water clarity gets straightened out it pours again. The only good part is that they are pulling the lake so hard that the mud drops down the lake quickly.

The Little River area is now clearing and the fishing is improving up there, with free-lines and planer boards both catching fish.  However, the best pattern is throwing bucktails and ice flies under the birds.

Captain Brad reports that the crappie bite is also really good, and tight-lining in the Little River area, around the 391 bridge, and around Big Man’s has been awesome.  Fishing minnows about 10 feet down over 25 feet of water has been the hottest pattern.

On the bass front, FLW angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that the pattern seems to be changing on Lake Murray. Very recently there was a solid shallow cranking bite, but a lot of the fish now seem to have moved out deeper.  Some good catches have been reported fishing jigs in about 25 feet around brush and rocks, and jigging spoons fished in 14-25 feet have also been working.  Lots of white perch will also be caught this way.

Unfortunately, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that mud and rain have finally slowed down the catfish action on Lake Murray.  Fish are scattered throughout the water column and difficult to catch.

November 30

Lake Murray water levels are at 353.63 (full pool is 360.00) and surface temperatures are in the mid- to upper-50s.  Water clarity is improving as the mud settles out.

There’s a lot of good action on Lake Murray right now, and despite some dirty water that has flowed into the lake Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that the striped bass fishing never really got messed up.  Fish essentially ran from the muddy water and tucked into areas such as the Little Saluda, Buffalo Creek and Rocky Creek that stayed relatively clear.  The best quality fish are now from Dreher Island on up.

It’s a typical late fall/ early winter pattern, and on the live bait side both free-lines and planer boards are working.  Anglers are also having success throwing bucktails and ice flies at the birds.  The birds are thick from Buffalo Creek up to the rivers, and there are plenty of keepers in that area.

Most of the fish are over the channel, but on warm afternoons they will pull up shallower.

Captain Brad reports that the crappie bite has also been really good, and they are catching a lot of nice fish 10-12 feet deep over brush about 20 feet deep on the upper end of the lake.  While you can tight-line or even troll for these fish, his boat is anchoring in one place (with the trolling motor) and dropping minnows and jigs down vertically.

On the bass front, FLW angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that there has been a good bite up shallow as well as deeper.  Even though the water has dropped a lot fish have been eating spinnerbaits and crankbaits fished shallow in wind-blown areas.  There has also been some good action with Alabama rigs and jerkbaits along steep banks that drop off into deep water.

Steve Wicker with his winning catch from November 17

Steve Wicker with his winning catch from November 17

The catfish action is still wide open on Lake Murray, and  Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that rain and muddy water didn’t even slow it down.

Fish can be caught drifting 30-45 feet deep, and some days they are close to the river channel while some days they are on the flats off the channel. Most of the time they are closer to the main lake, in the mid-lake area, and William has not found much up the creeks.

The catch is a mixture of blue and channel catfish, with the occasional striped bass thrown in.  Both herring and white perch are working.

Another big catfish caught with Captain William Attaway

Another big catfish caught with Captain William Attaway

November 15

Lake Murray water levels are at 354.62 (full pool is 360.00) and surface temperatures are in the mid- to lower-60s.  The river and the backs of creeks have already gotten muddy from this rain.

It would not be fair to lead off talking about anything besides catfish on Lake Murray, as  Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the bite has been wide open.  On October 19 he predicted that within the next couple of weeks it would be on fire, and that’s exactly where we are now.

Fish can be caught drifting 30-45 feet deep, although if the water gets much colder after this rain they could go even deeper.  Some days fish are close to the river channel, while some days they are on the flats off the channel.  Most of the time they are closer to the main lake, in the mid-lake area, and William has not found much up the creeks.

The catch is a mixture of blue and channel catfish, with the occasional striped bass thrown in.  Both herring and white perch are working.

William hopes that the rain doesn’t muddy the lake too much, and if it does then fish will scatter until the water clears a bit and they can return to the same pattern.  How muddy it gets probably depends on how much water SCE&G pulls down the lake by releasing it.

Last Saturday morning with Captain William Attaway

Last Saturday morning with Captain William Attaway

The first CATT fall largemouth bass tournament of the season is coming up Saturday, and veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that with the river getting muddy some of the patterns will have to change.  He predicts that it will be about a week until the water settles out if there are no more major rain events.

Fish had been roaming and suspending, but it is hoped that with the dropping water temperatures they will start to get into a normal late fall pattern around 45 degrees points and channel banks.  As long as water temperatures stay in the 60s fish can still be caught shallow, but they will be more likely found in shallow water close to deep water.

Buzzbaits had been working well before the cold snap, but a shakey head worm should be hard to beat after the temperature drop.

October 19

Lake Murray water levels are at 354.10 (full pool is 360.00) and surface temperatures are in the mid to upper-70s.

Schooling activity has continued to heat up on Lake Murray, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that from Spence Islands to Shull Island there is all the action you can stand fishing for schooling fish. Most of these are smaller fish, but this is also the best pattern for targeting bigger fish.  A good number of fish are being caught in the same area fishing down-lines 40-50 feet deep.

October is the month where fish typically start to move up the lake, and there are already some fish up to Dreher Island now.  By November they should get into the rivers.

On the bass front, FLW angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that fishing has been surprisingly tough.  There is still a suspended bite, and there is sporadic schooling activity, but the fall bite should be in its prime and it just is not. Andy expects the most big bass this weekend to be caught on buzzbaits and topwaters fished around the bank.

In catfish news,  Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that fishing is already improving but in the next two weeks it should be on fire.  Right now the best bite is drifting in 30-45 feet of water with cut herring and white perch, and his boat is mainly catching channels with some blues. For now the shallow end of that range is a little better but that could change as the lake turns over.

A nice haul of Lake Murray catfish with Captain William Attaway

A nice haul of Lake Murray catfish with Captain William Attaway

September 21

Lake Murray water levels are at 354.54 (full pool is 360.00) and surface temperatures are in the low to mid-80s.  Clarity is good over almost the whole lake.

Lake Murray striped bass have gotten into an early fall pattern, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that late in the afternoon there is a lot of schooling activity in the area between Bomb Island, Spence Island and Pine Island.  There are also a ton of fish being caught on down-lines fished 30-50 feet deep in the same stretch over the river channel.  This is pretty much a morning bite.

A good morning with Captain Brad Taylor

A good morning with Captain Brad Taylor

On the bass front, FLW angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that the pattern has been pretty consistent for the last month or so although the fishing has been tough.  He is almost exclusively fishing over cane piles in the 18-20 foot range, throwing topwaters and flukes.  There has also been a little schooling activity, and there seem to be scattered decent feeding windows throughout the day.  Very soon the bite should change, however, and the same pattern should get much better through mid to late-October when the water cools off enough to turn over and then messes up the suspended fishing.

There have also been reports of some fish caught very shallow in the backs of creeks.

In catfish news,  Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the fishing still hasn’t gotten very good – although it should very soon.  He has picked up a few fish drifting around ledges and humps close to the main river channel in 15-40 feet of water, and you could probably catch some fish anchoring too.  The last couple of weeks of September are typically slow but with some cooler weather October should be much better.

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