AHQ INSIDER Lake Murray (SC) Summer Fishing Report – Updated August 9
Lake Murray water levels are at 357.16 (full pool is 360.00), and water temperatures have dropped into the lower to mid-80s. Clarity is pretty good although the rain may reduce it.
Striped bass are doing what they usually do on Lake Murray in the summer, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that the fish are now 80-100 feet deep, with 80 feet the magic depth most days. They are grouped up in the lower pool and being caught on down-lines, although there has also been some schooling activity in the same areas. Most of the schoolies are small. The fishing has slowed a bit recently and anglers need to be more patient.
In catfish news, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that with the catfish spawn almost completely finished, if not finished, you need to look a little deeper to catch fish and get further out in the creek channel. 30 feet is a good depth range to target during the day, while at night 15-25 feet is a good range. Fish will be found off long points and humps, and fishing the deeper side of channel buoys on the lake is a good bet. Dip baits are hard to beat although the herring bite has also been picking up.
While there are other species in Lake Murray, much of the fishing world’s attention will be focused on its largemouth bass this week. In the lead-up to the Forrest Wood Cup Captain Doug Lown of Newberry and tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria both report that they expect the suspended bite to play a part this week. This isn’t usually a pattern that gets strong until the early fall until the lake turns over, but this year some really nice sacks have been caught over mid-depth and deep water on topwater/ barely subsurface lures. Fish are keying on bait schools, and there is also some schooling activity. Andy expects most of the weight to be caught in deep water, with some big ones caught up shallow first thing.
Most predictions are that the weights will be better than last time the FLW came to town. Reports of some 20-pound sacks being caught in recent weeks do nothing to dampen that optimism.
Lake Murray water levels are at 357.73 (full pool is 360.00), and temperatures are in the mid- to upper 80s. Clarity is good.
Even though the fish are deep it’s a great time to be striped bass fishing on Lake Murray. Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that, as expected this time of year, most of the fish are grouped up in the lower pool 60-100 feet deep and they are coming on down-lined herring. Fish will be around humps, main lake points, and ridges, and you need to use your graph to locate them. It’s always advisable this time of year to get on the water early, when the fishing is more enjoyable, and a lot of times the best bite is first thing. However, that varies day-to-day and some days the bite gets better later.
Tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that there is a surprisingly good bass bite for the first couple of hours of the day on topwater plugs and buzzbaits. However, by about 7:45 or 8:00 it’s time to get out of the bass boat and into a pontoon boat!
Still, if you stay out on the water in the heat that’s not to say you can’t catch some fish out in deeper water. There has been some random schooling action right through the day over very deep water in the 50-60 foot range and deeper, including some really nice fish coming up and eating. You have to move fast when they surface.
Crappie fishing continues to be good, and Brad reports that they are catching some nice fish 10-12 feet deep over brush in 15-20 feet of water. They are fishing from Dreher Island up around the mouths of creeks and on the side of the river channel, and they can’t get the fish to eat anything except very small minnows.
No change on the catfish or white perch front.
Lake Murray water levels are at 357.86 (full pool is 360.00), and temperatures are in the mid-80s. Clarity is good.
Lake Murray bass are firmly in summer mode, and veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that there isn’t a lot of change in the overall pattern since the beginning of the month. Early there is a shallow bite around the banks, and after that you need to look around deeper channel points. Doug notes that if we get some rain and cloudy weather it can be a good time to look around the bank later into the day, particularly since deeper fish don’t bite as well when it is cloudy. When it is hot and sunny you pretty much need to concentrate offshore outside of a small window first thing.
Tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria has also spent time on Murray recently, and he notes that it’s not taking a lot of weight to win tournaments. In addition to finding some fish shallow early (before 8:00) on topwaters like a buzzbait, frog or Pop-R he has also found some schooling fish out over deeper water. Most of these fish seem to be in the 2 to 2 ½ pound range. They have also caught them in the same areas on the bottom around brush.
On the striped bass front, Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that the best action has been coming on down-lined herring fished in 40-60 feet of water. Pretty much all of the fish are out on the main lake moving towards the lower pool, and there have even been some reports of fish caught in 80 feet along the dam.
Crappie fishing has been really good recently, and Brad reports that he is catching fish around brush in 15-20 feet of water at the mouths of major creeks on the upper part of the lake. The fish have been 6-12 feet down, and they will pretty much only bite toughies that are small as you can get.
In catfish news, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the spawn is winding down as in most of the area lakes. That means that most of the fish are headed deeper, although they will come into shallower water to feed at night. 30 feet is a good depth range to target during the day, while at night 15-25 feet is a good range. Fish will be found off long points and humps, and fishing the deeper side of channel buoys on the lake is a good bet. For numbers of fish dip baits are hard to beat, while for a little better quality try cut bait.
At night you have a good shot at tangling with a good flathead on Murray right now if you fish live bait around brush.
Finally, if you just want to catch numbers of fish – as most of the year – it may be hard to beat the white perch fishery. The best bite is up the lake because of the threadfin population, and fishing long ledges that run out to the channel are good places to look. 20-25 feet is a good range to target, and they may come up to 15 feet. Minnows, jigging spoons and even strips of fish belly meat will catch perch, with the best bite early and late.
Lake Murray water levels are at 357.99 (full pool is 360.00), and temperatures are in the lower 80s. Down the lake the water is very clear with more stain as you move up towards the rivers.
Lake Murray bass are getting into a summer pattern, and veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that the bait spawns are winding down if not completed. In early June there can still be a few threadfin spawning in the mid- to upper lake, but very soon it should be over.
First thing in the morning there can be some fish shallow, and some of the better fish will be caught throwing a buzzbait, Pop-R, or some other topwater. After that fish head to deeper points closer to the channels in 10-14 feet. The best action right now is from the mid-lake on up, and fish will be near places with some deepwater access nearby. Worms presented on a drop shot or shakey head are good options, and rock is always good to have nearby.
In this period when fish first head offshore it can be a good time to target deeper brush, particularly brush in 15-20 feet of water that rises at least 6-8 feet off the bottom. Texas rigged worms are the best option around this stuff.
Up the river fish can also be caught shallow flipping jigs in stained water around docks.
For the next few months getting bit after 10:00 or 11:00 may be tough.
More proof that fish are getting into a summer pattern comes from the striped bass, which Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports are getting into a summer pattern. Fish are scattered out about 50-60 feet deep on the main lake, and anglers need to be willing to spend some time searching to find them. Almost all of the catches are coming on down-lines with herring. There has been a little bit of schooling action but it is winding down.
Crappie fishing has been a little slow, and Brad reports that the few fish that are being caught are around brush in 15-20 feet in the middle part of the lake. However, since the recent rains the action has slowed for crappie.
On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that it can be a tough time to catch bigger channel catfish on Lake Murray as in many parts of the lake the fish are in the midst of the spawn. While the catch is smaller the basic pattern remains the same in the daytime and at night, with fish around secondary points, humps, and back in coves. The best depth range during the day is 25-35 feet. At night fish will be in 1-15 feet of water around fallen timber and riprap.
While you can catch probably catch bigger fish on cut bait, you have to deal with the gar and turtles and so William’s preferred bait right now is dip bait. Sonny’s Super Sticky is his personal favorite.