AHQ INSIDER Lake Murray (SC) Spring 2019 Fishing Report – Updated May 23 Reviewed by Momizat on . -- The newest Lake Murray fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-lake-murray-sc-summer-2019-fishing-report/ May 23 Lake -- The newest Lake Murray fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-lake-murray-sc-summer-2019-fishing-report/ May 23 Lake Rating: 0
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AHQ INSIDER Lake Murray (SC) Spring 2019 Fishing Report – Updated May 23

The newest Lake Murray fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-lake-murray-sc-summer-2019-fishing-report/

May 23

Lake Murray water levels are at 357.84 (full pool is 360.00), and water temperatures are holding around 80.  The water color is a little more stained than normal.

For now you can still fish the very tail end of the herring bite around shallow points, but veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that he is already seeing signs that bass are headed to deeper water.  In some of the spots he fishes they are far out on the flats and ridges, in the last place they go before heading deep.

With so much bottom grass and pond weed grown up and providing habitat to crayfish, white perch, yellow perch and bluegill, bass will be holding around the weed as they move deeper.  However, because it is so difficult to fish you pretty much have to target the inside or outside edges because there isn’t much besides a frog that you can fish through it.  That means fishing 8 feet on the inside, or fishing in about 15-20 feet on the outside. Pulling a crankbait, Carolina rig, or shakey head along the edges is a good bet.

There is also always a population of fish that stay shallow near the banks, and a buzzbait is a good option for these fish.  You can also fish shallow cover up the rivers.

There is still a good striped bass bite on Lake Murray, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that the most consistent way to catch them is to fish cut bait on main lake points in 30-40 feet.  There are also a lot fish being caught on down-lines in the same areas, and in the morning free-lines are still productive. Fish are in most of the lake, and there are still some striper up the river.  However, there are plenty of fish everywhere from Buffalo Creek down.

On the crappie front, Brad reports that fish are moving into deeper brush in the 15-18 foot range.  They can also be caught on deeper docks, a typical May post-spawn pattern.  The better brush is out of the creeks towards the main lake, and minnows have been working better than jigs recently.

A nice mess of Lake Murray crappie caught recently with Captain Brad Taylor

A nice mess of Lake Murray crappie caught recently with Captain Brad Taylor

On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway(803-924-0857) reports that the fishing is really good although the beginning of the spawn is slowing the bite.  The best place to look is from the bank out to 10 feet in creeks and coves, and anchoring cut herring is the preferred pattern.  However, dip baits are starting to come on strong as the water warms.

May 7

Lake Murray water levels are at 358.00 (full pool is 360.00), and water temperatures are are in the lower 70s with up the river warmer than down the lake.  The water color is a little more stained than normal.

There is no doubt that Lake Murray has plenty of big bass in it, and in the Big Bass Tour event this weekend it took at least a 5-pounder, usually a 6-pounder, and sometimes a 7-pounder to win each of the hourly prizes.  There were four 7+ pound fish caught, highlighted by Tyler Dotman’s 7.65 pound hawg worth $45,000!

While there is a full-blown herring spawn going on at Lake Murray, veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that the traditional May patterns of throwing topwater baits in areas where herring are spawning doesn’t seem to be the best pattern for catching quality fish right now.  Part of that is a result of fishing pressure, as there were over 1000 fisherman competing last weekend, and when the herring are spawning the lake fishes relatively small with everyone trying to get on the same points. But it also seems that a lot of the bass may be eating crawfish, abundant in the lake with the grass that is still out there 8 feet down after the winter drawdown.

Whatever the reason a lot of the better fish right now are being caught on the bottom, with shakey heads and jigs both working.  Certainly you can catch fish throwing Spooks, flukes and topwaters, but a lot of those fish 1-3 pounders.

From some of the places fish are starting to set up it is clear to Doug that they are not far from heading offshore, particularly as the water continues to warm.  What they will do this summer with water dirtier than usual is anyone’s guess.

Tyler Dotman with the fish worth $45,000!

Tyler Dotman with the fish worth $45,000!

There is still a really good striped bass bite on Lake Murray, but Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that fish are setting up just a little deeper than is typical right now.  Pulling free-lines and planer boards across main lake points in 10-30 feet of water has been the best pattern, although fishing cut bait in the same areas has led to some of the best quality fish.  There has also been some schooling activity in the morning, particularly on cloudy days.

The best area of the lake has been from the mid-lake down, and while there is still some good fishing in the creeks that will die off as the water warms.

Crappie are getting into a typical May pattern on Murray, and Brad reports that that means they are setting up on brush and docks – although he has caught some fish trolling.  The fish his boat has caught are typically suspended 4-8 feet deep over brush in 12-15 feet of water, and the creeks in the upper part of the lake have been the best.

On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the fishing is really good and should stay that way until the spawn gets underway.  The cats won’t all spawn at once, and William expects the fish up the lake to spawn earlier because of the warmer temperatures.

The best place to look is from the bank out to 10 feet in creeks and coves, and anchoring cut herring is the preferred pattern.

A truckload of catfish caught with Captain William Attaway

A truckload of catfish caught with Captain William Attaway

April 25

Lake Murray water levels are at 358.06 (full pool is 360.00), and water temperatures are in the upper 60s and even lower 70s.  The water color is a little more stained than normal.

Without a doubt the striped bass bite is the best thing going on Lake Murray, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that people are catching striper a bunch of different ways.  There have been some excellent reports fishing cut bait, and there are also a ton of fish being caught on free-lines and planer boards.  There are also a lot of fish being caught with flukes and plugs off points in the morning.  While the blueback herring should be spawning right now it’s not clear how widespread that is, and in a lot of areas the predominant forage source has been threadfin shad.  However, herring is still the go-to bait for fisherman.  Down-lines will work but mainly small fish are being caught that way with most of the better ones shallower.

All over the lake fishing has been good, but one hot spot has been Ballentine.

Captain Brad Taylor shows off a couple of Lake Murray linesides

Captain Brad Taylor shows off a couple of Lake Murray linesides

There is some confusion over exactly what the herring are doing right now, but there’s no questions that the majority of the bass fisherman are set up on points in the ways that fisherman traditionally fish for herring fish in late April and May.   Veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that he has not been seeing a lot of herring spawning up the lake, and he wonders if the dingy water has pushed them more into the lower lake.  Regardless, fishing flukes, Spooks and other traditional topwater lures is a main pattern and most fisherman are set up on points.  In the upper lake the bass are definitely targeting threadfin off points, which spawn in similar areas to blueback herring but like brush.

In other patterns, there are still some fish on beds, and you can also fish around docks.  It’s also getting to be a good time to throw a buzzbait early.  Last year the suspended bite started in late April, but it may not happen as soon this year since the winter drawdown cleaned up the bottom some and so fish may not be as quick to want to move offshore.

Captain Brad reports that crappie have been a little unpredictable in this post-spawn phase, and probably the best bet right now is trolling up the river and covering as much water as you can.  You need to cover an array of depths until you find fish, but looking for fish suspended in about 10-15 feet is a good place to start.  Up the river the main channel has been the best area.

Some fish are starting to set up on brush and docks, but when fish get out of the worst of the post-spawn funk in the next 10-12 days that bite should get better.

On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the best place to look is still back in the creeks.  Drifting cut bait in 10-25 feet of water is the best pattern, and you can also set up anchoring on long, tapering points in the backs of creeks.

April 3

Lake Murray water levels are at 358.06 (full pool is 360.00), and water temperatures range from about 56 to 64 degrees depending on area of the lake.  The water color is fairly normal.

The bass spawn is underway on Lake Murray, and as is typical every year at this time veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that the fishing has dropped off a little.  Doug and his tournament partner Rhett Manus won the last CATT event but only caught seven fish all day, and in the CBC last weekend 21 pounds won.  Out of 180 boats there were only a few big fish caught and three bags over 20 pounds, and below that it dropped off.  Doug believes it will be a little while before the 25s and 26s start showing up again because fish are thinking more about spawning than eating.

In the last CATT they caught all of their fish off docks near secondary points, but Doug believes the dock pattern is about to play out.  The best pattern right now may be picking up a buzzbait and throwing it in areas where fish will be spawning, which can tempt some big females to bite.  Soft plastics are a good way to try to catch numbers of fish.

If we get a week or so of settled weather fish may get into a more consistent pattern.

Doug Lown and Rhett Manus with the winning bag in the last CATT

Doug Lown and Rhett Manus with the winning bag in the last CATT

Striped bass are doing pretty well on Lake Murray, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that there are fish being caught schooling over deep water in the big part of the lake.  Birds are all over them and so they are easy to spot, and throwing something like a fluke is a good way to catch them.  There is also a good pattern fishing with free lines and planer boards in 25-40 feet of water, and while you can fish in the creeks the better catches seem to be coming in the main lake.  A lot of the bait seems to have stayed there.  Some small fish are being caught on down-lines, and there are some striper being caught on cut bait around Macedonia Church.

While water temperatures are almost exactly where they should be for the crappie spawn, Brad reports that the best fishing is still coming trolling and tight-lining 5-10 feet down over the main channel.  It seems like a lot of the fish have not really pulled up shallow, although a few warm days may move them up.

On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that as water temperatures warm fish are starting to work their way back in the creeks.  They are moving shallower, and the best bet for catching them is to drift cut bait in 20-30 feet of water in the creeks.

March 22

Lake Murray water levels are holding around 358 (full pool is 360.00), while water temperatures have slid backwards to around 54-55 degrees in most areas.  The lake is fairly stained.

The bass bite has dropped off a little on Lake Murray, and veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that while there are still some good fish being caught overall weights are down.  The drop in water temperature also appears to have slowed the progression of fish shallower, although it is hard to know what is due to the temperatures and what is due to the rapidly rising water that has refilled the lake.

Either way fish seem to have stayed deeper where they were before the lake started coming up significantly, and the best catches have been in about 8-10 feet of water around drops and secondary points.  The crankbait bite also seems to have died off, and fish seem more reluctant to chase a bait.  Jigs and shakey heads have been working better.

Striped bass again seem to be on several different patterns, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that one of the best bites for catching keeper-sized fish has been pulling free-lines and planer boards.  Usually they don’t catch a lot of fish on big ocean herring (currently available at Riverwinds Landing), but right now they are working very well.  Fish are scattered out all over the lake from one end to the other, and particularly over areas with 40-60 feet of water.

A less consistent but equally strong way to target big fish has been fishing cut bait in the shallows.  This is a boom-or-bust pattern, and you are as likely to catch 0 fish as 20.  The best cut bait fishing has been taking place above Dreher Island and up the river, and most of the action has been coming anchoring in 10-12 feet of water and throwing to cover depths from 5-20 feet.

There are also some very large schools of fish, mainly smaller but with some better ones mixed in, that are being caught on down-lines in the main lake. Most of these fish are from Bear Creek down and they are being caught in 40-60 feet of water close to the bottom.

Again saving the best for last, the crappie bite continues to be very strong.  As the water temperatures have dropped the fish have backed up just a bit, and the best fishing is now at the mouths of major creeks on the upper end of the lake.  Most fish are suspended about 8-12 feet down over water anywhere from 14-25 feet deep. Fish have found the depth where they want to be right now, and either tight-lining or long-lining 8-12 feet deep is the key. Jigs tipped with minnows are working well.

A nice Murray slab caught with Captain Brad Taylor

A nice Murray slab caught with Captain Brad Taylor

March 7

Lake Murray water levels have risen fast to 356.89 (full pool is 360.00), and water temperatures are around 52-55 degrees depend on where you are on the lake.  The north side warms faster than the south.  The water is stained everywhere, but up the river is the now basketball orange.

It continues to be a good year for bass fishing on Lake Murray, and last week in the CATT tournament Captain Doug Lown reports that his and tournament partner Rhett Manus’ 24 pounds was only enough for second place.  There seem to have been more fish over 6 pounds caught this year than usual, and fish continue to be shallower than usual.

Most of the fish are being caught in less than five feet of water, and it’s now gotten to the stage where you can pretty much beat the bank and catch fish. From day to day anglers need to figure out whether fish are more oriented towards points or pockets, but so far this season they seem to be setting up best on points and points within short pockets. They don’t seem to be way back in the coves yet, and they want to be around rock. As the water rises they seem to be moving further back.

Fish seem to be related to the bottom, and if you are fishing a squarebill crankbait it needs to be banging against rock.  Jigs and shakey heads are also working.

Striped bass seem to be on a couple of different patterns, and up the lake Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that fish are extremely shallow in the rivers.  Mid-lake there are some big schools of fish in the creeks, and Hollow Creek has been fishing well.  These fish are deeper in 15-30 feet of water.  Free lines and planers boards are the go-to pattern everywhere.

The crappie fishing on Murray remains excellent.  Brad reports that even though fish had gone shallow last weekend, they backed out a little bit with the cold.  The last few days tight-lining in the Little Saluda has been working the best, and fishing over 8-12 feet of water has been the best pattern.  In the muddy water red and orange jigheads tipped with the same color jig and minnows are working best.

In the next few days as water temperatures rebound Brad expects fish to go shallow again, and next week the fishing should be wide open in the shallows as they set up to spawn.

It would be hard to pretend that there is a good pattern for catfish on Lake Murray right now, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that fish are still very scattered and unpredictable.  However, if you want to look for fish the best bet is anchoring shallow up the rivers.  With the muddy conditions expect fish to be in 1-10 feet of water.

A pair of nice crappie caught this week with Captain Brad Taylor

A pair of nice crappie caught this week with Captain Brad Taylor

February 21

Lake Murray water levels are at 352.07 (full pool is 360.00) and water temperatures are in the lower 50s. Despite some rain the last few days the lake is stained but clearing, especially as you go down the lake.

Tournament bass fishing weights aren’t quite as good as they were a couple of weeks ago when warm temperatures were pulling fish to the banks, but there have still been some large sacks caught.  Captain Doug Lown reports that the pattern is pretty consistent, and with the water way down and not a lot of other cover accessible throwing crankbaits around rocky points has been the go-to option.  The better bite has been the in the more stained areas from Shull Island up.  Most of the fish are in less than 10 feet of water, and there has been no good deep pattern reported.  The best depth range has been 4-10 feet.

Doug reports that as water levels rise fish will follow the water back into the creeks, but for now the best action is in the main lake or the main part of creeks.

FLW pro Andy Wicker of Pomaria has been finding Lake Murray bass on the same pattern, and he points out that fish can also be caught in the clearer water below Wessinger Island. However, you pretty much need some wind to get bit down there.  Up the lake wind is not as important.

Rising water levels and temperatures on Lake Murray have striped bass scattered out around the lake, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that with fish so spread out it’s important to cover a lot of water.  In the Midlands Striper Club tournament this weekend a few people caught fish, but a lot of boats did not.

Free-lines and planer boards are the best way to fish right now, and below the Gap anglers need to use trial and error to find the best depths and areas.  Most of the bait is in the creeks right now, and so focusing on the creeks is better than the main lake.  But there is the potential for big schools to be about anywhere.

There are some good fish up the rivers, and up the rivers most of the fish seem to be super shallow in 2-4 feet of water.  But the best chance to find a big school of fish is down the lake.

Some fat Lake Murray striper caught recently with Captain Brad Taylor

Some fat Lake Murray striper caught recently with Captain Brad Taylor

Saving the best for last, probably the best bite right now on Lake Murray is for crappie.  Brad reports that in the last week or two literally thousands of fish have been caught from the Highway 391 Bridge up on both rivers, including in front of Riverwinds Landing.  Most of the fish are being caught trolling, although some are being caught tight-lining.  The depths vary from day to day, and it’s important to put baits down and just see what works.  However, in general a lot of the fish have been in about 10-11 feet of water.  On overcast days they will be suspended within 3-4 feet of the surface, while sunnier weather will push them deeper.

Jigs, jigs tipped with minnows, and minnows on a red or pink jighead will all catch fish.

February 6

Lake Murray water levels are at 350.51 (full pool is 360.00) and water temperatures are in the lower 50s. The lake is clearing pretty well.

There have been some very strong weights in recent bass fishing tournaments on Lake Murray, and in the most recent CATT tournament the top five teams all had over 20 pounds.  Captain Doug Lown reports that pretty much all the basscontinue to be caught in shallow water 10 feet or less deep, and he says that it’s as if the fish never really got into a winter pattern.  Fish are still mostly point-related, particularly around rocky points with deep water nearby.  Small crankbaits like Shad Raps and jigs seem to be working the best.

Jake Wright and Tim Slice with 25.37 pounds last Saturday

Jake Wright and Tim Slice with 25.37 pounds last Saturday

Striped bass fishing on Murray is improving, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that even though the schooling activity is pretty dead pulling free-lines and planer boards has been working very well. With the shallows warming you need to get the bait as shallow as possible, and around four feet of water has been a good depth.  There are a lot of fish up the river and the same pattern is also taking place in the creeks.

Brad also reports that crappie fishing has gotten good, and in the Big Saluda River there is a ton of fishing activity with anglers tight-lining and trolling jigs and minnows about 8-12 feet deep in 18-22 feet of water.  The bite seems to have improved because they have finally stopped pulling so much water and the fish have been able to come out of the coves into the main channel.

Unfortunately, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the catfish bite on Lake Murray remains really tough.

January 24

Lake Murray water levels are at 350.24 (full pool is 360.00) and water temperatures vary from the upper 40s to lower 50s.  Up the rivers the water remains the color of a basketball, and the lake is stained all the way down.

Once again a cautionary note is that if temperatures drop the pattern could change, but for now Captain Doug Lown reports that pretty much all the bass continue to be caught in shallow water less than 6 feet deep. Shallow water adjacent to deep water is still best, especially if water temperatures do drop in the next week, and the presence of rock is a key.  Fish are being caught on crankbaits, jigs and jerkbaits, and right now it seems that the best area has been the lower lake.  In the last CATT tournament it seemed that plenty of fish were caught up the lake but the quality was not as good.

Wade Amick & Zach Huffstetler had five bass for 23.52 on Saturday

Wade Amick & Zach Huffstetler had five bass for 23.52 on Saturday

Striped bass fishing on Murray hasn’t changed a whole lot in the past week, but Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that it does seem a few more fish are starting to get up the rivers.  Generally fish are in about the 5-6 foot range.  A mix of free-lines and planer boards is catching fish, and anglers are also having success throwing double rigs with bucktails and ice flies at the birds. The afternoon bite is still better.

Captain Brad reports that if water levels will ever stabilize crappie should get into a better pattern, but for now fish are pretty scattered and anglers basically have to move around a lot until they find some bait.  Up the rivers has not been good because the current has been so strong.

The best pattern has been trolling jigs in the mouth of the creeks in the mid-lake area, and fish have generally been about 5-6 feet down in 20 feet of water. Colder temperatures may push them deeper again.

Unfortunately, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the catfish bite on Lake Murray remains really tough.

January 17

Lake Murray water levels are down to 350.23 (full pool is 360.00) and water temperatures vary from the upper 40s to lower 50s.  Visibility is very limited up the rivers and it’s dirty down to Shull Island, while the lower lake is clearing.  With Greenwood down and SCE&G keeping Murray low there is a ton of current coming through the lake.

The upcoming round of cold water may change things, but for now Captain Doug Lown reports that there continue to be some good bass caught in relatively shallow water on crankbaits and spinnerbaits.  Anglers are catching fish in the dirtier water above Shull Island, as well as in the cleaner sections of the lower lake.  It seems that the shallow fish are biting better on cloudy days, and on sunny slick days the shallow bite can get tough. At times fish will move shallower in the afternoon, though, when the water warms.  Generally they will be in areas with good depth change where they can move back out to deeper water quickly, and not in flat shallow areas.

There is not a lot of bass fishing activity up the lake because cold, muddy water with a lot of current generally fishes tough.

Striped bass fishing has improved on Murray, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that even in dirty conditions some fish are starting to move back up the rivers where they can be caught on free lines and planer boards.  Generally fish are in about the 5-6 foot range.

There is also some good schooling action at the mouth of Big Hollow Creek.  Anglers have been throwing double rigs with bucktails and ice flies at the birds, and they are finding a better bite in the afternoon.  Anglers can also fish down-lines in the same areas as well as the mouth of Bear Creek, although this has mainly been catching smaller fish.

A nice winter Murray striper caught with Captain Brad Taylor

A nice winter Murray striper caught with Captain Brad Taylor

Captain Brad reports that dirty water still has the crappie on the move, but fish are still being caught at 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, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the catfish bite on Lake Murray remains really tough.

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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