AHQ INSIDER Santee Cooper (SC) Winter 2017/18 Fishing Report – Updated February 9
The newest Santee Cooper fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-santee-cooper-sc-spring-2018-fishing-report/
Santee Cooper water levels are up to 74.74 in Lake Marion (full pool is 76.8) and 73.97 in Lake Moultrie (full pool is 75.5). Water temperatures range from as cold as 47 on the main lake to 54 in some of the backwater areas, and there is muddy water coming down the lake.
The most exciting news on the Santee Cooper lakes this week is that crappie are starting to move shallower, and Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) says that they are catching some fish shallow. He even talked to one bass angler who caught three crappie very shallow on jerkbaits. Steve says there are still some crappie on deeper brush, but not like it was.
Captain Jim Glenn (843-825-4239) has had a similar experience, and he reports that with some 60 and even 70-degree days some of the backwater ponds have gotten into the mid-50s. When that happens some of the crappie move up. After looking on open lake, deep brush to catch a few for dinner – and finding nothing – he decided to head shallow where he caught several nice crappie 1 foot deep in 2 ½ feet of water swimming a small jig. They aren’t everywhere in the shallows, but in some places they have clearly moved up.
On the catfish front, Steve and Jim both report that there continue to be some really nice catches in deep water in both lakes. One angler couldn’t keep more than two rods baited earlier this week in 54 feet of water. There are also tons of small blue cats in 35-48 feet. In striped bass news, Jim reports that striper are still suspended in deep water in both lakes. Trolling, jigging spoons, or fishing live bait will work. On warm days fish can run up as shallow as a few feet of water following bait.
In bass news, tournament angler Steve Harmon says that most of the bigger fish are still deeper in 8-12 feet of water, but on warm afternoons they will come shallow – including into the backwater areas. Crankbaits, chatterbaits, swimbaits, worms and jigs will all catch fish.
Santee Cooper water levels are at 74.27 in Lake Marion (full pool is 76.8) and 74.08 in Lake Moultrie (full pool is 75.5). Water temperatures are around 45 or 46 degrees, and the upper lake is pretty stained and getting muddier.
It’s time to start thinking about bass on the Santee Cooper lakes again, and tournament angler Steve Harmon says that when water temperatures warm a degree or two in the late afternoon sun some fish will come up a little shallower. Most of the bigger fish are still deeper in 8-12 feet of water, but as water temperatures warm up they will continue to move shallower. Over the next month they will be transitioning from their winter hiding places and coming shallower to start to feed in the pre-spawn period. Crankbaits, chatterbaits, swimbaits, worms and jigs will all catch fish.
On the catfish front, Captain Jim Glenn (843-825-4239) reports that there is not much change and the bite continues to be pretty good. In addition to the deeper bite in both lakes, with rising water levels some good fish will also be caught shallow at anchor.
In striped bass news, Jim reports that striper are suspended in deep water around schools of bait in 30-55 feet of water on the lower lake. On the upper lake they will be anywhere on the river channel in flooded timber in 25-30 feet or in major creeks like Wyboo and Taw Caw. Around these deeper fish trolling, jigging spoons, or fishing live bait will work. When the water warms a little fish can run up as shallow as a few feet of water following bait.
Crappie fishing is fair right now, but Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports that on warm days a few fish have been caught as shallow as 8-12 feet of water. However, with temperatures generally pretty cold a lot of the fish are still out in 30-35 feet.
Bream are pretty lethargic in the cold water.
Santee Cooper water levels are at 73.23 in Lake Marion (full pool is 76.8) and 73.29 in Lake Moultrie (full pool is 75.5). Water temperatures range from the low-40s to 44 or 45 degrees. The upper lake is a bit dingy with the lower lake more clear.
It’s no secret that blue catfish don’t mind the cold, and Captain Jim Glenn (843-825-4239) reports that there is a typical cold water bite in or near schools of bait in deep water. Both suspended fish and fish on the bottom will take cut bait fished vertically at anchor or on a very slow drift.
In Lake Marion there is a good bite in timber tied off or anchored – look in the 20-30 foot range. The open water between timber and the Lake Marion dam is holding bait and catfish with frequent catches of 20+ pound blues.
With water levels falling the bite in the swamp has not been good, but with increased flow and rising water fish should move back into areas like Elliot’s, Pack’s, etc.
In crappie and bream news, Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports that with temperatures the coldest they have been in three to four years he has had to cancel trips. When water temperatures are in the low 40s the shad are stunned and easy prey, so it’s just hard to get a bite from sated fish. In the last spell where temperatures warmed for three or four days crappie moved shallower into 8-12 feet to feed, and with a sustained warm spell coming this is likely to happen again.
No new bass report.
Santee Cooper water levels are at 74.21 in Lake Marion (full pool is 76.8) and 74.33 in Lake Moultrie (full pool is 75.5). Water temperatures are up slightly and range between about 50-54 degrees. Clarity is pretty good for the Santee Cooper lakes.
The catfish bite seems to be a little off on the Santee Cooper lakes right now, which Captain Jim Glenn (843-825-4239) says could be the result of a variety of things – or a combination of factors. For now he is finding some fish in 25-30 feet as well as some showing up in 35-40 feet, but he believes that the next cold front should likely put better numbers in 35-40 feet and improve the bite.
In crappie and bream news, Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports that the bite is about the same. However, with temperatures a little warmer they seem to be a bit more scattered out and at some shallower depths than a week ago. Right now his boat is finding fish 12-20 feet deep over brush in 20-35 feet of water, with the lower lake producing much better than the upper.
Santee Cooper water levels are at 74.29 in Lake Marion (full pool is 76.8) and 74.36 in Lake Moultrie (full pool is 75.5). Water temperatures have dropped to about 50 degrees.
It’s gotten cold on the Santee Cooper lakes, and accordingly Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports that the crappie and bream bites have really slowed down. The fish are also moving deeper, and they are now hanging out on brush in the 25-35 foot range. Steve’s boat is fishing about 18-20 feet down.
On the catfish front, Steve reports that there have been some good fish caught recently. The bait is pretty deep, and the best bite recently has been drifting in 35-45 feet of water.
Santee Cooper water levels are at 74.38 in Lake Marion (full pool is 76.8) and 74.32 in Lake Moultrie (full pool is 75.5). Water temperatures have dropped all the way into the mid-50s.
With dropping water temperatures the catfish bite on the Santee Cooper lakes is starting to change. Captain Jim Glenn (843-825-4239) reports that with cooler water it’s the time of year when all sizes of catfish can be at any depth, and so from day to day you have to find the most productive range (which can vary in different areas of these large lakes.)
Generally, Jim has found that smaller blues in the 2-6 pound range are biting well for anglers drifting in 24-28 feet. Some bigger blues can be found scattered at various depths, particularly the 12-25 foot range, but the small fish still dominate the creel. Any fresh cut bait including shad, perch, menhaden and mullet will work.
In crappie and bream news Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports that in the lower lake the bite has been very good for crappie, and the fish are starting to group in 12-14 feet of water. Both bluegill and crappie are being caught around natural structure of various sorts as well as brush. Both species are ganging up in big schools as temperatures drop.
In the upper lake both crappie and bluegill are starting to move towards the river channel. On warmer days they will be found in 12-15 feet of water, and at other times they are holding on the edge of the channel in about 18 feet.