Lake Monticello (SC) Spring Fishing Report – Updated May 17
Lake Monticello water temperatures are in the mid-70s, and conditions are clear. Lake levels generally fluctuate daily.
It’s an in-between time for catching bass on Lake Monticello, and tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that that means that fish are scattered out between deep and shallow. In turn, that makes for a tough bite!
For now the best way to put a (likely small) limit of fish in the boat is to fish shallow and cast at the bank with topwater lures, particularly in the morning and late. During the day you need to fish subsurface baits in the same areas. At daybreak there is still the tail end of the shad spawn, and during the day bass are feeding on bream up shallow.
Right now the deep schools just aren’t big enough for a consistent bite out there, but there is little doubt that is the direction the fish are headed. Already some are deep, and within the next week or two fishing in 20-30 feet of water around points and humps will be the best way to catch fish. Big jig, big Texas-rigged worms like Ole Monsters, deep diving crankbaits like Strike King 6XDs and 10XDs, and even spoons if you see fish directly under the boat will all work.
On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the free-line bite is starting up in a big way on Lake Monticello. While this is generally a way to catch large numbers of fish likely in the 1 ½ – 3 or 4 pound range, there are certainly some 20+ pound fish caught this way. Depths vary from day to day, but it’s a good bet to start out looking in 100 plus feet of water with baits suspended about 15-20 feet down. For free line fishing small pieces of white perch or herring will both work.
If you want to target bigger fish the best bet is to anchor in about 20-40 feet of water and put out cut gizzard shad or bream. Mussel beds, long points and humps are all good places to look right now, and if you can find 35-40 feet of water near a steep drop-off that is hard to beat.
Lake Monticello water temperatures were in the mid-70s but dropped because of the cool, rainy weather. Lake levels fluctuate daily.
On the catfish front, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that the shallow bite on Lake Monticello is very good right now, and fish are being caught in 5-25 feet of water around humps, points, and in the backs of coves. Mussel beds are still producing some fish. Anchoring a number of rods with cut bait is the best way to catch big fish.
Bass report to follow.
Lake Monticello water temperatures range from the lower to upper 60s depending on area of the lake, with the lower end warmer because of proximity to the cooling station. Lake levels always fluctuate daily.
Most years things seem to happen earlier on Lake Monticello than on many area lakes, and even under normal circumstances the warm water discharge often has fish about 3 weeks ahead of other lakes on Monty. This year was no exception, and with the heat wave a few weeks ago this made for a super early spawn on Monticello. Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that a lot of the bass which are being caught there now are post-spawn.
There are certainly still some spawning and pre-spawn fish on the lake, but considering that bass like to hang around spawning pockets even after they finish their business a very good pattern is to fish floating worms and shakey heads in these areas. You can also catch plenty of fish just covering lots of water with a topwater lure and going down the banks and hitting points and pockets.
It’s also a pretty good pattern to fish the same secondary points where bass came in when they were pre-spawn, because they will usually go out the same way. Bigger baits fished on the bottom such as Carolina rigs, big Texas rigs and larger shakey head worms will all catch fish.
Catfish are starting to get into a spring pattern on Lake Monticello, and Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that with recent warming fish are being caught anchoring in 5-25 feet around humps, points and in the backs of coves. Mussel beds are also producing some fish. There are still some fish to be caught out deeper, but the shallow fish seem to be more aggressive – at least for now. Cut gizzard shad and white perch are still working.
Lake Monticello water temperatures still range from the upper-50s to mid-60s depending on area of the lake, with the lower end warmer because of proximity to the cooling station. Lake levels always fluctuate daily.
Considering the temperatures it’s not surprising that Lake Monticello bass are moving shallow, and Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that there are a lot of buck bass around the banks. Some of these fish are already making beds and some are just thinking about it, but soft plastics are a good way to catch them. Fishing a Texas-rigged worm, a shakey head or a floating worm in spawning pockets should generate lots of bites from fish up to 3 pounds or so.
Another group of fish is staging for the spawn, and this group should include more of the big female bass. They will be off points leading into spawning pockets, and could be out to about 15 feet of water. Andy wouldn’t advise fishing deeper than about 15 feet right now. Alabama rigs and Carolina rigs are a good way to target these fish.
On the catfish front Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that there is not a whole lot of change in the last few weeks, and many catfish remain scattered out in 45-70 feet of water. However, with continued warm temperatures more and more fish are moving into the shallows. Fishing around mussel beds will become a stronger and stronger pattern as temperatures rise. Cut gizzard shad and white perch continue to be the best big fish baits.