AHQ INSIDER Lake Wateree (SC) Summer 2018 Fishing Report – Updated September 21 Reviewed by Momizat on . -- September 21 Lake Wateree is at 98.1% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the lower 80s.  The water is dirty. Just days ago Lake Wateree was over ful -- September 21 Lake Wateree is at 98.1% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the lower 80s.  The water is dirty. Just days ago Lake Wateree was over ful Rating: 0
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AHQ INSIDER Lake Wateree (SC) Summer 2018 Fishing Report – Updated September 21

September 21

Lake Wateree is at 98.1% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the lower 80s.  The water is dirty.

Just days ago Lake Wateree was over full, but now that the waters have receded somewhat veteran tournament crappie angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that fish will be back on the brush in 15-21 feet of water. At times and in areas with a lot of current you need to fish in the brush where fish will try to get out of the current, and when the water is calmer they will suspend just over it. Vertically jigging Fish Stalker jigs is still Will’s go-to method for fishing brush, but he also suggests trying minnows as often the fish want the most natural presentation after flood conditions.  It’s a good time of year to start looking on the upper end of the lake once the mud and current settle out.

Weather and very high water conditions have limited bass fishing on Lake Wateree, but FLW fisherman Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that there could be an improved shallow bite with the high water levels.  He still suggests concentrating on the main lake and front third of creeks with the summer water (and air) temperatures.

August 24

Lake Wateree is at 96.8% of full pool, and water temperatures have cooled off to about 82-84 degrees.

There continues to be a deep summer bass bite on Lake Wateree, and FLW fisherman Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that fishing around ledges, humps and creek channel swings in 10-18 feet of water is catching fish on crankbaits, jigs and worms.  Since water levels have dropped a bit the deep bite has gotten better while the shallow bite has dropped off.

Overall the main lake and the front third of creeks are the best places to look.

Lake Wateree crappie remain in a typical summer pattern over brush, but veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that the depth range has opened up a bit and he is now fishing 12-18 feet deep.  He has been able to catch some fish on the bottom in 17-18 feet, so it appears that the thermocline is gone.  The best brush has been along the river ledge from one end of the lake to the other.

The best pattern for Will has been one-pole jigging Fish Stalker jigs in army green, mountain dew and pearl white.  However, some people are catching them on minnows.

A nice mess of Wateree crappie

A nice mess of Wateree crappie

August 3

Lake Wateree is at 96.6% of full pool, and water temperatures are about 86-87 degrees.  Before the latest round of rain clarity was decent.

While the deep bass bite never materialized last year on Lake Wateree, FLW fisherman Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that he has found the best action out there this year.  Fishing around ledges, humps and creek channel swings in 10-18 feet of water has gotten even better, with fish mostly being caught on crankbaits, jigs and worms.

Early there has been a decent topwater bite that does not last long, although on cloudy days you can fish that way further into the day.  Rocky points have been good, and while Dearal is sure some people are catching them around grass he is not.

Overall the main lake and the front third of creeks are the best places to look.

In the morning there is also a window for a topwater bite from 6 feet of water to the bank over rocky points.  There are probably some fish in the grass but Dearal hasn’t had much success there.

Lake Wateree crappie are in a typical summer pattern in that they are over brush, but veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that they are shallower than usual and the best action is 12-14 feet down.  While he is fishing brush in 18 feet of water he can’t get a bite below 15 feet, which makes him wonder if a thermocline is setting up down there.

The best pattern has been one-pole jigging Fish Stalker jigs in army green, mountain dew and pearl white. He is fishing from one end of the lake to the other along the main channel.

July 13

Lake Wateree is at 97.5% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the mid- to upper-80s.

There is finally starting to be a true deep summer bass bite on Lake Wateree, and FLW fisherman Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that around ledges, humps and creek channel swings in 10-20 feet of water bass can be caught on football jigs, swimbaits on a ¾ ounce head, crankbaits and shakey heads.  The main lake and the front third of creeks are the best places to look.

In the morning there is also a window for a topwater bite from 6 feet of water to the bank over rocky points. There are probably some fish in the grass but Dearal hasn’t had much success there.

Lake Wateree crappie are in a typical summer brush pattern in 12-18 feet of water on the main lake off both sides of the river channel. However, veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that they aren’t on all the brush piles like they are usually are right now.  Fish are flat on the bottom around the brush, particularly once the sun gets up, and they will eat Fish Stalker jigs and minnows.   Will has mainly been fishing from Clearwater to June Creek.

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that anglers should anchor up and fish mid-lake humps in 8-14 feet of water.  These areas commonly hold good mussel beds and produce blues from 2-15 pounds with big fish possible.

There is also a good to very good bite drifting shallow waters in creeks and shallow flats on the main channel.  Fish average 2-12 pounds.

Gizzard shad is always the best bait option at Lake Wateree.

June 20

Lake Wateree is at 97.3% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the 80-83 degree range.  The water is pretty clear.

Despite the heat there has been a pretty decent bass bite on Lake Wateree, and FLW fisherman Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that in the morning the topwater bite has been good in the 5-6 foot range around rocks.  In some areas there are no doubt fish around grass, but with the dropping water levels Dearal hasn’t found much of that.  Walking baits and Pop-Rs have both been working.

Dearal has also found a decent “deep” bite, and fish are in some of the areas where they get offshore in the summer.  However, they are on the very shallow end of those spots in 6-8 feet of water – instead of being down the ledge they are on top of it.  Dearal speculates that this is because the shad have not gone very deep yet, and also because they are on shallow, spawning bream.  He has found a pretty decent jig bite which often indicates a bream pattern.

In the evening Dearal has also caught some fish on jigs and a shakey head around rocks in 6-8 feet of water.

Fisher Rodgers with a summer Wateree bass

Fisher Rodgers with a summer Wateree bass

Lake Wateree crappie are pretty solidly in a summer pattern, and veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that fish have moved away from the banks towards the center part of the main channel where they are holding around brush in 12-22 feet of water.  They can be found from one end of the lake to the other, and often the best way to pick your area is where you can best avoid boat traffic. Early in the morning the fish are suspended on top of the brush while later they are sinking down into it. Will is one-pole jigging with Fish Stalker jigs but other anglers are tight-lining minnows.

Fish can also be caught casting jigs into the darkest areas of bridges, and they can also be caught at night with lights around bridges.

May 25

Lake Wateree remains at 96.8% of full pool.

On the catfish front,Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that the pattern is pretty similar to Lake Wateree and you are also looking for pre-spawn fish.  The best bet first thing when there is some current flow is to fish the upper end of the lake and fan-cast baits on the bottom. Wateree has some good deep holes, and so the fishing may be a little deeper than Wylie.  Later in the morning the best bet is to head into the backs of creeks on the upper end, such as Wateree Creek, and look for a shallower pattern.  The creeks are less likely to generate monster bites but there are certainly plenty of good fish back there at this time of year.

Again, have a couple of different baits available to see what fish prefer on a given day.  Gizzard shad and bluegill are two of the best choices this time of year.

A nice Wateree blue caught this spring

A nice Wateree blue caught this spring

May 24

Lake Wateree is at 96.8% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the upper-70s.

Lake Wateree crappie fishing is getting better and better, and veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that with every day more fish get on brush.  From dam to dam fish have pulled out of the creeks into the main lake, but they are not quite in the river channel yet.  They are closer to the bank around brush in 12-18 feet of water.

Early in the day fish are higher in the brush, and later they will drop down in it. Will is having the best success fishing brush with a single pole and Fish Stalker jigs in Ugly Green, black and chartreuse and black and yellow.  Other anglers are tight-lining minnows around the brush.

Bridges are also holding some fish.

Bass fishing remains tough, and FLW fisherman Dearal Rodgersof Camden reports that in the Take a Child Fishing tournament Saturday it took 16 pounds to win and then weights dropped off sharply below that.  Nothing is hot, but throwing spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and frogs in the morning is a decent pattern.  When the sun gets up jigs, shakey heads, and Carolina rigs fished around rock in 5-10 feet are as good as anything.  There are no reports yet on a deep bite, and last summer it never really came together.

May 10

Lake Wateree is at 97.8% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the upper-70s.

Bass fishing has gotten tough on Lake Wateree, and FLW fisherman Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that, as on the lake up the road, fish seem to be in something of a post-spawn funk.  In the morning there is a shad spawn going on around grass and docks, and you can fish a spinnerbait, buzzbait, or frog.  When the sun gets up there is a bit of a bite off points in the 10-foot range, throwing jigs and lizards.  You can also fish the same baits off docks in the shade.

The offshore bite never really got going last summer, and at least so far it doesn’t seem to have started this year, either.

Dearal Rodgers with a big Smith Lake spotted bass

Dearal Rodgers with a big Smith Lake spotted bass

Lake Wateree crappie are starting to move deeper and become more structure-oriented, and veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that means they are starting to firmly establish themselves in brush. Early in the morning he is finding them suspended over the top of brush in 12-18 feet, and when the suns gets up they are dropping deeper into the brush.  Most of these fish are from the mid-lake down.  The main lake is holding the better fish, although some smaller ones can be found at the mouths of creeks.

Will is having the best success fishing brush with a single pole and Fish Stalker jigs in Ugly Green, black and chartreuse and black and yellow.  Other anglers are tight-lining minnows around the brush.

Bridges are also holding some fish.

April 27

Lake Wateree is at 99.4% of full pool, and water temperatures range from the mid to upper-60s. A lot of dirty water is coming into the lake.

The final CBC tournament of the spring takes place on Lake Wateree tomorrow, and FLW fisherman Dearal Rodgers of Camden says that from what he has seen there is a mix of spawning and post-spawn fish right now. However, it doesn’t seem that there are still a lot of big female fish on beds.  Weights continue to be a little down on Wateree, and it will be interesting to see what comes in this weekend.

There seem to be a lot of fish shallow on docks as well as in pockets, and there are also some fish starting to suspend a bit off of docks.  With the very cold winter there isn’t as much grass this spring on Wateree, but there are still some fish related to it.

As frequently happens at this time of year right now the fish seem to want soft plastics more than jigs, and spinnerbaits are working around the grass.  A buzzbait/ frog bite should not be far off.

Fisher Rodgers with a couple of good ones caught this week on Wateree

Fisher Rodgers with a couple of good ones caught this week on Wateree

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that he has found a very good bite on Wateree recently, with excellent numbers of 3-8 pound fish.  The only reason he does not rate it “excellent” is because fish over 20 pounds have been a little hard to come by.

Threadfin are plentiful at every depth right now, and perhaps for that reason it’s hard to pick a bad area to catfish on Wateree right now.  Right below the dam Rodger has found fish in 6-11 feet when they are running water, at a number of places up the lake he has caught them in 3-8 feet, and scattered at all different depths off deep drops and ledges they have also been caught.  At the backs of creeks in 3 feet the bite has also been good.  Pretty much anywhere you anchor cut shad you have a good chance at finding a hungry blue.

It continues to be a very unusual year for Lake Wateree crappie, and veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that right now fish seem to be in a bit of a postspawn funk.   They are coming back out to deeper water and setting up near brush in 12-15 feet of water near the bottom, but they aren’t on all brush.  From the dam to Dutchman’s Creek, on both sides of the lake, it’s hard to find a pattern and you just have to keep moving.  There are still a few straggler fish in creeks but most have moved out, although there is starting to be some action around bridges.  Around bridges casting is the best pattern, and around brush jigging.

There are a few straggler females that have not laid, and Will recently caught a 1.80-pound female full of eggs.  In turn there are some males running the banks waiting for the last females.

There has not been a seasonal striped bass bite reported up the lake.

April 12

Lake Wateree is at 97.1% of full pool, and water temperatures range from the lower 60s to the mid-60s.

Sometimes things happen very fast in the fishing world, and this year that happened with the Lake Wateree crappie.  Veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that the water temperature the week of Good Friday was around 55, but then with a very warm spell temperatures shot up to about 65 degrees in just a few days. The vast majority of the fish hit the bank and spawned, and by now most of them are headed back out.  It’s now hit-or-miss fishing in the shallows and mainly small males are left around the banks.

As 95% of the females have spawned and are in the process of recovering, fishing is a little tough. Will is catching fish on the outside of points, and he is long-line trolling 7-8 feet deep in 12-15 feet of water. There are already some fish on shallow brush piles, and in another week or two they should be all over creek and main lake brush in 10-15 feet.

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that fishing is good to very good. When there is water flow present the bite in the upper lake is excellent.  There is also a very good shallow bite, and lots of fish in the 8-15 pound range are being caught to go with occasional larger fish.  Gizzard shad and white perch are the best baits.

A nice Catawba chain catfish caught recently with Captain Rodger Taylor

A nice Catawba chain catfish caught recently with Captain Rodger Taylor

Unusual for Lake Wateree in the spring, bass weights have been pretty low in recent tournaments.  The most recent CATT was won with 15.29 pounds, and the one before that no one beat the 20-pound mark either (although a team came close).  Our usual sources have been on Santee and so not much information is available on Wateree, but hopefully after the CATT Spring Final this weekend more information will come to light.

FLW fisherman Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports fish certainly should be bedding right now in the middle of April with temperatures having risen sharply in the last couple of weeks.

March 30

Lake Wateree is at 97.5% of full pool, and water temperatures range from 55-61 degrees in the afternoon.  Overall clarity is normal, not super clear or dingy.

On the water today, veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that there are a lot of small male crappie on the banks but the bigger female fish are scattered in 7-18 feet of water.  They are suspended 3-12 feet down, and they are in creeks, coves and pockets.  They are following baitfish that are in the warmest water they can find, and the warmer a creek the further back in it they are going.  The best pattern is trolling jigs in a variety of colors.

With three bags weighed in over 20 pounds last weekend in the CATT tournament, FLW fisherman Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that Lake Wateree bass are biting pretty well.  They are staging around rocks, boat ramps, grass and docks near the bank, and they are just starting to get in coves a bit.  However, the spawn is not yet underway and seems to be on track for about mid-April.  For now jigs, spinnerbaits, and Chatterbaits are good lures to throw, and flipping a lizard is also an option.

Mike Ware and Bryan Holmes with their winning 22+ pound bag last weekend

Mike Ware and Bryan Holmes with their winning 22+ pound bag last weekend

No new catfish report.

March 15

Lake Wateree is at 97.5% of full pool, and water temperatures have fallen into the mid-50s.  Clarity varies over the lake, with Wateree Creek muddy, creeks further down the lake heavily stained at the backs, and the main lake dingy.

Despite dropping temperatures the bass fishing on Lake Wateree remains pretty good, and FLW fisherman Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that fish have been biting pretty well in the 3-6 foot range on crankbaits fished around rocky points leading back into coves, particularly in the front part of creeks closer to the main lake  There have also been some good fish caught around grass and docks on jigs, but it doesn’t seem that many fish have moved super shallow or into the very backs.  With the calendar and water temperatures it’s still pretty early on Wateree and fish are waiting to move very shallow in the backs of creeks.

With the strange weather crappie fishing has been hit-or-miss on Lake Wateree, and veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that in warmer periods fish try to move up, but then each time it gets cold the temperatures push the fish out deeper again.  Some fish have moved up in Beaver Creek, Singleton Creek, Dutchman Creek and Wateree Creek, and on warm days they can be caught 4-6 feet deep in 8 or 10 feet of water.  In cooler periods they suspend in more like 8-10 feet over about 20 feet of water.  You can catch fish either pushing or pulling, but the best action has come tight-lining jigs.  Fish are not on the banks yet.

Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that the catfish bite remains very good on Lake Wateree.  The best action is still in shallow to intermediate depths ranging from about 4-17 feet.  There is a lot of bait in the creeks and cut gizzard shad has been working very well.

March 2

Lake Wateree is at 97.5% of full pool, and water temperatures are approaching 60 degrees in main lake areas, and mid-60s in the backs.  Before yesterday’s rain the lake was pretty clear for Wateree.

Spring is usually a good time to fish for catfish on Lake Wateree, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that right now the bite is actually red hot.  He has found the best action in shallow to intermediate depths ranging from about 4-17 feet, and in the mid-lake areas from Rochelle to Taylor Creek they have found fish pretty much everywhere they have looked.  There is a lot of bait in the creeks and cut gizzard shad has been working very well.

The big fish caught off Rodger's boat last weekend

The big fish caught off Rodger’s boat last weekend

On the bass front, FLW fisherman Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that Wateree bass are shallow and biting.  In the CATT event this past Saturday about 3/5 of the teams had 12 plus pounds, with a couple of nice bags over 20 pounds brought to the scales.  There have been no reports of fish actually bedding, but fish are in the 5 foot and less zone.  Fishing crankbaits off points has been the top pattern.  Fish might be even shallower but about a week ago they dropped the water levels a couple of feet, and then the cooler temperatures came in.

Crappie are in a similar pattern to a week ago, and veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that while fish are heading shallow it’s still mostly the males that have moved up.  Fish are moving towards the backs of the creeks, but with dropping temperatures the migration is temporarily on hold.  Right now the males are holding about 2-5 feet deep in 8-12 feet of water, while the females are still out in the channel.

February 23

Lake Wateree is at 96.9% of full pool, and water temperatures vary from about 58-67 degrees.  Up the lake is stained but the lower lake is still pretty normal for Wateree.

The bass fishing on Lake Wateree continues to improve, and with FLW fisherman Dearal Rodgers of Camden away fishing the Tour CATT director Brett Collins reports that fish are shallow but they are still being caught mainly off rocks and points.  There are some fish halfway back in the pockets, but it’s still a little too early for fish to be in the very backs.  If temperatures continue on this trend they will be very soon, though.  The best baits have been crankbaits.

On the crappie front, veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that, while bigger female crappie are still suspended out in the main channel in 15-18 feet, male fish are starting to move up some and coming out of the river channel and into Beaver, Singleton and Dutchman Creeks.   They will be suspended from 18 feet to 10 feet below the surface, although in shallow Beaver Creek they could be closer to the surface.  Fish are migrating towards the backs, and as longer as the weather holds bank fishing should gradually increase for the next 3-4 weeks – starting anytime.

Right now fish are generally “floating and feeding” in preparation for the spawn, and looking for baitfish is the key right now.

There’s no obvious change with the catfish pattern, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that in the middle of creeks out to the main channel you can still catch fish drifting cut gizzard shad in 15-28 feet of water.

February 16

Lake Wateree is at 97.2% of full pool, and water temperatures have moved into the lower 50s.  Up the lake is stained to muddy but the lower lake is still pretty normal for Wateree.

The bass fishing on Lake Wateree is getting better, and FLW fisherman Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that fish seem to be starting to move into a pre-spawn pattern.  Valentine’s Day very often coincides with the beginning of the pre-spawn, and particularly with warming temperatures this year is no exception.

Most of the best fishing is in 5 feet or less, both on the main lake and at the mouths of creeks.  As temperatures continue to warm fish will get further back into the creeks.  Grass and rocks are both holding fish, and flipping the grass or bouncing a crankbait are both good patterns.

CATT director Brett Collins also says that fish are shallow, and the best reports he has heard have come burning a Rattle Trap or crankbait down the banks.  At time jigs have been hard to catch a fish on.

On the crappie front, veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that the high, muddy water up the lake has pushed the fish down towards clearer, warmer water.  The best place to look is mid-lake around Colonel and Beaver Creeks, and right now with warming temperatures Will advises heading to the very backs of the creeks and working your way out deeper until you locate fish.  With fish getting a little more active long-lining techniques are probably a little more efficient than tight-lining.

There’s no change with the catfish pattern, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that in the middle of creeks out to the main channel you can still catch fish drifting cut gizzard shad in 15-28 feet of water.

February 9

Lake Wateree is at 97.1% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the upper 40s.  Up the lake is stained to muddy but the lower lake is still pretty normal for Wateree.

On the crappie front, veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt has been down in Florida where he and his tournament partner just won the Florida State Championship.  However, he’s back home on Lake Wateree now where the best pattern has been tight-lining plain minnows 18-21 feet down over 23-24 feet of water near the mouth of Wateree Creek.  Muddy conditions have slowed the bite but that’s still the best thing going.

Who says South Carolina boys can't be Florida State Crappie Champions?

Who says South Carolina boys can’t be Florida State Crappie Champions?

In bass news, FLW fisherman Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that on Lake Wateree cold, muddy rising water doesn’t usually equate to a better bite.  However, the influence of warmer days is a positive factor.  The best bet is still to fish main lake rocky points and in the first part of creeks, mainly in 10 feet of water or less.  Alabama rigs, Shad raps, and shakey head worms and jigs are good choices.

There’s no change with the catfish pattern, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that in the middle of creeks out to the main channel you can still catch fish drifting cut gizzard shad in 15-28 feet of water.

February 1

Lake Wateree is at 96.7% of full pool, and water temperatures are around 46-48 degrees.  With recent rainfall the lake is getting muddier.

In bass news, FLW fisherman Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that fishing is picking up on Lake Wateree as the fish see longer days and get a bit more active.  The best bite has been on main lake rocky points and in the first part of creeks, mainly in 10 feet of water or less.  Alabama rigs, Shad raps, and shakey head worms and jigs are working.

On the crappie front, veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that fishing has been slow.  Some fish are being caught in the rivers, but with cold, stained water headed down the lake conditions are not ideal.  The best pattern has been tight-lining 18-26 feet of water with jigs tipped with minnows about a foot off the bottom.

Probably the best Lake Wateree bite right now is for catfish, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that his boat has caught a good number of 6-10 and 12-20 pound fish.  The shallow bite has become almost non-existent, but in the middle of creeks out to the main channel there has been some good action drifting cut gizzard shad in 15-28 feet of water.  The best fishing is when they are running some water.  Look for birds to point out areas holding bait and catfish.

January 18

Lake Wateree is at 96.7% of full pool, and water temperatures have dropped into the low 40s.

With water temperatures very cold on Lake Wateree, most species have slowed down feeding.  On the crappie front, veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that pretty much the only fish that are being caught are up the river run.  You have to slow way down and fish in 22-26 feet of water on the bottom, tight-lining with jigs tipped with minnows vertically.

Will also notes that, for reasons that are unclear, when water temperatures get very cold in January or February fish will often move into the back of Beaver Creek.  Beaver Creek was so cold recently that there was ice across the back, and so counterintuitively the time may be getting right to fish there.  When the crappie move up in Beaver Creek anglers need to fish on the bottom very slowly.

In bass news, FLW fisherman Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that very few people have been fishing, but the best bet is fishing around main lake rocks with Shad Raps, shakey heads and jigs.  Fish will want deep water nearby but when the sun is up they may move into 5-8 feet to feed, and at other times they may be in 10 feet.

The Lake Wateree catfish bite is almost certainly the best thing going, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that his boat is still finding a really strong bite on a variety of different patterns.  They have caught fish anchoring up the lake just below the river run, anchoring shallow in the backs of mid-lake creeks, and drifting mid-depths on the middle and lower sections of the lake.  Watch for bird activity, and be flexible and open to the unexpected – including catching catfish in the dead of winter in only a few feet of water.  Cut shad has been the best bait.

December 21

Lake Wateree is at 96.7% of full pool, and water temperatures are around 50 degrees.  There is still a pretty strong mud line partway up the lake.

In catfish news, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that his boat has found a very good bite on Lake Wateree recently.  The best bait has been shad, and on Rodger’s most recent trip they caught about 200 pounds of catfish with fish up to the high-teens/ twenty pounds.  They have caught fish in a variety of patterns, including anchoring shallow in the backs of some mid-lake creeks, anchoring deeper up the lake, and drifting shallower and deeper.

However, the most productive pattern has been drifting in 10-20 feet.

A nice Lake Wateree blue cat caught with Captain Rodger Taylor

A nice Lake Wateree blue cat caught with Captain Rodger Taylor

On the crappie front, veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that the crappie are still in about the same pattern as a week ago.  Right now most of the boats are around the State Park, and the mouths of Dutchman’s and Taylor Creek are still seeing a lot of action.  Tight-lining the channel ledge near the bottom in 18-21 feet of water is still the most popular pattern.

Will notes that even though the upper river run is still muddy, after four or five days for the fish to get used to the mud they will bite again.  So, even though the majority of fishermen are further down the lake the upper part should be turning on again.

No bass updates from FLW fisherman Dearal Rodgers of Camden.

December 14

Lake Wateree is at 96.8% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the mid-50s.  The recent rain muddied up the river run.

CATT owner Brett Collins reports that the bass tournament season has been in a lull on Lake Wateree, but some diehard fishermen like FLW angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden are still out there chasing the fish.  While the bite is certainly still tough, Dearal says the best bet is to fish in 5-10 feet of water around rocks.  Steep, 45 degree banks with rock can be ideal, but as long as there is deep water close by any rocky area is worth exploring.  Crankbaits such as Shad Raps, Alabama rigs and jerkbaits are all working.

On the crappie front, veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that fish are still concentrated along the river channel.  However, since the rain muddied up the water the better fish have been caught just ahead of the mud line near the State Park on the main lake.  Fish can still be caught above Wateree Creek but they are smaller and that bite has been a little slower.

The best way to catch them is tight-lining the edge of the channel ledge in 18-20 feet of water just off the bottom by 6 inches to 2 feet.

The most exciting fishery on Lake Wateree right now is the striped bass.  Fish are schooling in the coves and at the mouths of creeks, where they seem to be balling up the bait and corralling them.  Some largemouth are also mixed in.

A Shane's Baits Alabama rig caught this striper/ bass double this week on Wateree... photo courtesy of Bryan New

A Shane’s Baits Alabama rig caught this striper/ bass double this week on Wateree… photo courtesy of Bryan New

December 1

Lake Wateree is at 96.4% of full pool, and water temperatures are around 60 degrees.

Bass fishing remains very tough on Wateree, and FLW angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that it has only been taking about 15 pounds to win in recent weeks.  Water levels are relatively low and so fish can be found off rocky points or on the ends of docks, and shad are mainly out towards the main lake.  Baitfish can also be found at the mouths of creeks or in pockets, but it isn’t worth spending much time heading back into the creeks.  The best depth range right now has been 4-8 feet, and crankbaits, spinnerbaits and jigs in that order have generally been working best.  The Alabama rig has also been catching some fish, fairly unusually for Wateree.

On the crappie front, veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that fish are truly starting to get into a winter pattern.  That means that fish are being caught in the river channel above Wateree Creek, mostly by anglers tight-lining near the bottom in 18-22 feet with jigs tipped with minnows.  Working along the edge of the river channel has been the best bet.

There are also some reports of fish being caught around brush in 18-30 feet of water all over the lake.  While the better numbers are up the river, some pretty good fish are being caught on brush.

Striper schooling activity has been reported.

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