AHQ INSIDER Lake Murray (SC) Winter 2017/18 Fishing Report – Updated February 9 Reviewed by Momizat on . -- The newest Lake Murray fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-lake-murray-sc-spring-2018-fishing-report/ February 9 L -- The newest Lake Murray fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-lake-murray-sc-spring-2018-fishing-report/ February 9 L Rating: 0
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AHQ INSIDER Lake Murray (SC) Winter 2017/18 Fishing Report – Updated February 9

The newest Lake Murray fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-lake-murray-sc-spring-2018-fishing-report/

February 9

Lake Murray water levels are up to 355.99 (full pool is 360.00).  Water temperatures on the main lake are still around 49 degrees, while they may be as warm as 52 or 53 degrees in the backs.  Up the river and in the backs of creeks it is muddy, but with water not being released the mud line isn’t really moving down the lake.

The top teams in Saturday’s Carolinas Bass Challenge event on Lake Murray brought some impressive weights to the scale, and in first place Bradford Beavers and his father Dwight Beavers weighed an impressive 27.270 pounds.  In second place were Thomas Hardwick and Tommy Williams with a big 26.820 pound bag, and there were thirteen total bags over 20 pounds.  With weights like that you could be forgiven for thinking the bass fishing is on fire.

However, it’s worth remembering that some of the very best fishermen in the Carolinas and beyond were fishing, and of this 165-boat field more than half weighed 10 pounds or less.  Veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown, who cut a check in the tournament with partner Rhett Manus, says that overall it looks like the bite was fairly feast or famine.  Yes, weights (with over 300 anglers fishing) were better than the previous two weeks – but not for everyone.  Certain areas were producing, but not everywhere and not for everyone.

Overall, it seems that anglers caught fish both deep and shallow – and in between.  Muddy, rising water conditions did have some fish up shallow in certain places, but these shallow fish were mainly close to deep water.  First thing there has been a decent shallow bite on crankbaits.  When there is some wind even more fish pull up shallower to feed.

While there were certainly some anglers who finished well and were fishing deep, it seems like the best sacks might have come not deep or shallow but suspended off the break.  Alabama rigs, jerkbaits and jigs fished in 8-16 feet of water produced some of the top bags.

Conditions are supposed to stay warm, and so more and more fish should make their way towards shallower water.

Mike Stephens and Bryan New with their fifth place bag Saturday, including the 7.63 pound big fish!

Mike Stephens and Bryan New with their fifth place bag Saturday, including the 7.63 pound big fish!

On the striped bass front, Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that even though it has gotten muddy up the lake anglers are still having success with bucktail/ ice fly double rigs.  On the live bait side free-lines and planer boards are still working.  The best fishing has been in clear pockets, but as the whole upper lake gets muddy the bite may slow down and some fish could be pushed down the lake.  However, as fast as that happens the river bite may also bounce back.

Even thought it hasn’t gotten warm, Captain Brad reports that most of the crappie are already in 10-12 feet of water or less.  He predicts that as the lake rises most of the fish will go shallower, and now that the water has some good color it should warm a little faster.  Rising spring water levels usually take the crappie with them, and especially in the afternoon anglers should not be afraid to look shallow.  Tight-lining minnows and jigs is still the best pattern.

In catfish news, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that fish are still biting very well in 50 plus feet of water.  He is catching a mixed bag of species drifting with cut bait.

February 1

Lake Murray water levels are at 354.86 (full pool is 360.00), and water temperatures are in the upper-40s.  There are some muddy conditions on the upper end of the lake.

Water temperatures are trying to warm up a bit on Lake Murray, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that there has been some pretty good striped bass schooling action up the lake under the birds with bucktail/ ice fly double rigs.  On the live bait side free-lines and planer boards are the best ways to present bait.

With changing temperatures the fish are moving around a lot.  Most days you want to start out in the river channel in 20+ feet of water, but then as the water temperature rises work your way towards the bank.  In the late afternoon fish can get very shallow, because with the whole water column about the same temperature the warmest water will be the extreme shallows that the sun has warmed.

Even though the lake has gotten muddier, in some ways this has helped the fishing as the mud is spotty and so it is has shuffled the fish around.

Captain Brad reports that the pattern for crappie is similar, and anglers are having very good success tight-lining in the creeks up the lake.  When the water warms fish will move up onto the flats in 10-12 feet of water as the bait moves up.

On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that fish are still biting very well in 50 plus feet of water.  He is catching a mixed bag of species drifting with cut bait.

Bass report to follow after this Saturday’s Carolinas Bass Challenge.

January 18

Lake Murray water levels are at 353.88 (full pool is 360.00), and water temperatures range from 49 at the dam to the mid-40s around Buffalo Creek to the low 40s in the river.  Most of the lake has pretty good visibility.

There have been some pretty good bags of bass weighed in recent tournaments, but veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that with very low temperatures fish will be caught in some particular patterns.  Jerkbaits and Alabama rigs are good options with water temperatures in the 40s, and you can also catch some fish on the bottom with a shakey head.  However, these are likely to be smaller keepers.  Jigging spoons are also in play right now, particularly in areas where you find bait balls in about 25-30 feet of water.

45 degree banks are good places to look, as these steep banks allow fish deep water access without having to go too far.  It’s worth noting that winter fish on Murray are as likely to pull out to deeper water and suspend as to get on the bottom.

In some years there is a window early in the morning in the winter when fish will still come shallow to feed, which usually lasts for about two hours.  This seems to be because at night bait will pull up shallow to feed, but once the sun comes up it will head out to deeper water.   When this takes place a crankbait can be a good option.

There are also reports that some good fish have been caught on Rattle Traps.

On the striped bass front, Captain Ron Davis, Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that schooling activity has dropped off with a high percentage of the very small shad that gulls feed on dead after the very cold weather in the last few weeks.  Hearty gizzard shad are resilient,  though, and anglers can troll umbrella rigs with baits in the 3-4 inch range that imitate smaller gizzard shad to catch numbers of fish.  15-20 feet is a good depth range, and 1.2 to 1.6 miles per hour a good speed to troll. For bigger fish pulling larger herring or large gizzard shad are a good option.

The best fishing is between Macedonia and Black’s Bridge.

On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that fish are still biting very well in 50 plus feet of water.  He is catching a mixed bag of species drifting with cut bait.

A nice haul of Lake Murray catfish on Captain William Attaway's boat

A nice haul of Lake Murray catfish on Captain William Attaway’s boat

No new crappie report from Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354).

December 21

Lake Murray water levels are at 354.70 (full pool is 360.00), and water temperatures are in the low to mid-50s.  Clarity is normal.

Last week Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reported that the striped bass fishing on Lake Murray had gotten really good up the rivers, but this week if anything he says it has gotten even better!  With an extremely cold weekend, then a really warm start to the week, then a really wet day yesterday, you have to be open-minded and willing to adjust to what the fish are doing.  Brad says the key is to watch the birds, and they will tell you where the bait is.  Once you figure out what depth the bait is in it is just a matter of time until you find the fish.  Some days they are out shallow, and some days they are deeper.

Because of the dynamics of guide trips Brad’s boat is mainly fishing live bait on free-lines or down-lines, but anglers throwing double rigs are actually catching more fish.

On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that fish are still biting well but they are starting to move into the main river channel.  His boat is catching a mix of channels and blues drifting in 45-55 feet with cut shad, herring, perch and shrimp.

Captain Brad reports that the crappie bite is still really tough.

While bass can certainly be caught other ways, for now the best big fish pattern seems to be the one described below.

December 18

In the Lake Murray CATT Fall Final this Saturday, tournament anglers Steve and Andy Wicker of Pomaria busted a monster sack.  It weighed 27.74 lbs and was anchored by an 8.40 lb Lake Murray behemoth.

Steve and Andy fished from one end of the lake to the other, but all of their weight came off of three spots.  They were fishing around brush in about 30 ft. of water and used a combination of jigs and spoons.

The pair loves fishing in the winter because the fish group up well, and when you activate them you can get healthy very fast.  On Lake Monticello you can catch ten or fifteen fish before the school cools off,  but on Murray the bass are so educated that catching three is good.  Andy and Steve caught their three of their biggest, including the 8+ pounder, in a matter of minutes. (In fact, they thought the big one was a catfish until it came to the surface!) A lot of the day they could see the schools on the depth finder but they were shut down.

Water temperatures ranged from 47 to 53 degrees, and visibility was normal for Lake Murray – 2-4 feet on the upper end and 5-10 feet on the lower end.

Thanks to Andy and Steve for sharing their winning secrets and good luck to Andy on the FLW tour next year!

Andy and Steve Wicker show off their four biggest Saturday

Andy and Steve Wicker show off their four biggest Saturday

December 14

Lake Murray water levels are at 354.66 (full pool is 360.00), and water temperatures are in the mid-50s.

Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that striped bass fishing on Lake Murray has gotten really good, with by far the hottest action up the rivers where anglers are having great success throwing at fish where they can see birds, bait and fish boiling.  Earlier in the day fish remain a little deeper, and on warm afternoons they move into shallower water to feed.  The most success has come on double rigs with bucktails and ice flies, but fish can also be caught pulling bait.  Fish are feeding on threadfin right now and so smaller live bait has been the best bet.

A good Murray striper catch on Captain Brad Taylor's boat

A good Murray striper catch on Captain Brad Taylor’s boat

Captain Ron Davis of Edisto Island spends a lot of time on Lake Murray at this time of year, and he advises that when fish are shallow like they have been recently anglers might have better luck throwing smaller bucktails or lighter Alabama rigs rather than something that sinks too fast.  When fish are very shallow throwing the conventional rigs often means that you are fishing underneath the fish.

Catfish are still biting well, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the bite is good in 30-50 feet on herring, shad and perch.  There are very occasional off days but overall the fishing has been strong.

On the crappie front, Captain Brad reports that fishing has been tough at best.  A few fish have been caught tight-lining way up the rivers 10-12 feet down in 12-15 feet of water, and there have also been a handful of fish caught around deep docks and bridges.

The Lake Murray Fall CATT Final will be this Saturday, and more bass information will be forthcoming after that.  Everyone seems to be concentrating on rocks with baits like crankbaits, jigs and Alabama rigs.

December 1

Lake Murray water levels are down to 354.56 (full pool is 360.00), and water temperatures are in the lower 60s down the lake but in the mid-50s up the lake.

It’s been a weird fall for bass fishing on Lake Murray, and veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that fishing is pretty tough.  15-16 pounds is a really strong tournament bag right now.

All fall fish never really got into a good shallow pattern, and now it seems as if they have skipped over the fall pattern and gone straight into a winter bite.  The best bet for catching bass seems to be fishing around rocky 45-degree banks with a shakey head, no shallower than 6-10 feet of water.  More often 10-20 feet is a better depth range.

The Alabama rig is just starting to catch some fish, but only in certain places.  And unlike last year docks have just not been very productive.  The low water doesn’t help, but they don’t seem to even be around deeper docks.

In striped bass news, Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that the bulk of the keepers are being caught way up the Big and Little Saluda Rivers.  That’s not to say they can’t be caught in some other areas, but the best pattern has been pulling live bait on free lines and planer boards as well as throwing double rigs up the rivers.  There are really good numbers of fish up there.  Early in the morning fish are out over the channel in 20-something feet of water, and when the afternoon warms the bays they move into 8-10 feet.  The bite has overall been better later in the day.

When the water temperature really cooled down crappie got extremely finicky, and Brad reports that they were biting very light.  However, things are beginning to level out now and anglers are catching some fish trolling jigs and minnows.  Most of the fish are being caught adjacent to the channel, and if you can find any kind of cover it is concentrating fish.  Fish are very scattered but 12-15 feet has been the best depth range.

No change on the catfish front.

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