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AHQ INSIDER Lake Greenwood (SC) Spring 2020 Fishing Report – Updated May 14

  • by Jay

May 14

Lake Greenwood is at 439.02 (full pool is 440.0) and water temperatures are in the upper 60s.  

The bass spawn is essentially over on Lake Greenwood, but tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that most fish remain shallow. In the morning there is still a shad spawn bite in certain areas, and for the first couple of hours each day you will see shad flickering on the surface around points, riprap, and boat dock floats. Topwater lures and 3-bladed spinnerbaits can be effective.

There is also a shallow topwater bite early around docks. You can also run the banks with a floating worm or a Pop-R, and the sea walls can be particularly productive for the first two or three hours until the shade disappears. 

While the bulk of the action is still shallow, there are also starting to be some deeper fish caught on an early summer pattern. They are being caught around brush piles in 15-18 feet of water on Ole Monster worms, crankbaits and jigs. Some of the better sacks may be coming this way.

In a recent tournament there was a nice 19-pound sack at the top, but below that weights dropped off to 9 pounds.

Stan with a nice one caught this week
Stan with a nice one caught this week

May 1

Lake Greenwood is at 439.14 (full pool is 440.0), and muddy water is starting to move down the lake again – although the upper end is still relatively clear. Water temperatures are in the mid- to upper 60s.   

Even though the bass spawn has been really heavy on Lake Keowee for the last couple of weeks, tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that it is winding down now with less and less fish on beds each day. The action is becoming a post-spawn deal, and lots of post-spawn fish are targeting spawning shad in the mornings. Points, riprap, and boat dock floats will attract spawning shad, and for the first couple of hours each day you will see shad flickering on the surface and bass feeding around them. Topwater lures and 3-bladed spinnerbaits are very effective.

Not all the fish will get on spawning shad, and in the mornings you can also run the banks with a floating worm or a Pop-R. The sea walls can be particularly productive for the first two or three hours until the shade disappears. 

After the early bite goes away then dragging worms off points can produce, and you can also fish docks with jigs, shakey heads or Senkos. Fish are also starting to hold around shallower brush – later in the spring they will move to the deeper stuff.

For now the mid-lake is fishing best.

April 15

Lake Greenwood is almost full at 439.71 (full pool is 440.0) and, once again, more mud is moving down the lake. For now the lower lake is clearer than the upper end.  

With all the up-and-down weather conditions this spring, tournament bass angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that it now appears that this will be a highly extended spawning season. Fish are bedding right now, and there should be at least one more major wave of spawning action on the next moon cycle. There are plenty of pre-spawn and post-spawn fish.

Still, pretty much all of the fish on the lake are shallow.  In addition to docks and spawning coves more and more fish are now starting to relate to points – especially as they get into the post-spawn phase. Shakey heads and jigs will continue to work for post-spawn fish around docks. 

One factor improving the point bite is that very soon the shad spawn should start around points, riprap, and boat dock floats. For the first couple of hours each day you will see shad flickering on the surface and bass feeding around them. Topwater lures and 3-bladed spinnerbaits are very effective. After the sun gets up bass will often stay in the same areas and be caught deeper on Carolina rigs and shakey heads.

April 2

Lake Greenwood water levels are back down to 438.21 (full pool is 440.0) and water temperatures are up to the mid-60s. Up the lake is muddy again and the mud line is moving down. 

A few days later water conditions have changed on Lake Greenwood, but veteran tournament bass angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that overall fish remain largely pre-spawn. There are also decent numbers of fish already on beds, but the April full moon is expected to be the biggest spawn of the year.

Most fish are shallow in or close to areas where they will spawn, but the challenge facing fishermen now is that visibility has fallen off and so anglers need to adapt to the muddy water. Spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits are the best baits, but if you can find some cleaner water a floating worm or topwater lures will also work. 

As more and more fish spawn and then move into the post-spawn phase, a typical progression is for them to move out to docks to recover and then onto points. Some will also stay shallow where they can be caught on topwater lures like a Torpedo or Devil’s Horse. When fish move out to docks and points jigs, worms and spinnerbaits are all good choices. 

Before too long the shad spawn will start around boat docks and riprap and bass will key on this.

A nice family catch last week on Lake Greenwood
A nice family catch last week on Lake Greenwood

March 27

Lake Greenwood water levels have shot up to 439.45 (full pool is 440.0) and water temperatures are in the lower 60s. The lake had cleared a good bit before the recent round of rain, but after rising two feet in as many days the whole lake is getting muddy again. 

Things change fast in the spring in the South, and veteran tournament bass angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that fishing has been day-to-day.  There were some good catches late last week and on Saturday, then after cool, windy weather blew through Sunday weights plummeted in the ABA tournament. And now what was becoming a relatively clear lake is getting muddy again.

Generally fish are pre-spawn with some are already on the beds, and that means anglers should look shallow. This next full moon should have a huge number of fish spawning. A floating worm and topwater lures such as Bang-O-Lures and buzzbaits were working well, but to throw those anglers will now need to search out the cleanest water on the lower end. Main lake spawning pockets may not get as muddy as those back in the creeks.

In much of the lake spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits may be the best bet now that it is getting muddy again. 

The grass pockets across from the state park continue to be a good place to look.

A nice one caught this week on Lake Greenwood
A nice one caught this week on Lake Greenwood

March 13

Lake Greenwood water levels are at 438.03 (full pool is 440.0) and surface water temperatures are in the upper 50s.  The lake is still muddy although it is beginning to clear. 

The lower end of Lake Greenwood

Even though the water is muddy it’s warming, and veteran tournament bass angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that fishing is finally improving.  Bass are starting to move up into shallower water and make their way in the direction of the backs, even though we are still a little ways off from the spawn.  Right now fish can be found in main lake pockets or pockets in the main part of creeks, and they are also around rocky points.  They are not yet in flat areas in the backs but they are heading that way. 

There have been some nice fish caught on spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits around the eel grass near the state park, and for right now 4-5 feet is the best depth range to look in.

February 27

Lake Greenwood water levels are at 438.61 (full pool is 440.0) and surface water temperatures are in the lower 50s.  The lake is still muddy from one end to the other, and even the water coming out of the dam is red muddy. 

Lake Greenwood is still as muddy as veteran tournament bass angler Stan Gunter of Saluda has ever seen it, and in these conditions he continues to advise going as shallow as possible where there is a little better light penetration.  Out in the deep water bass are essentially blind and confused, even with their lateral line.  Fish will still be related to some type of shallow cover, as it gives them something to orient towards.

There aren’t many fish being caught, and in recent tournaments zeros have been more common than limits.  The best baits are still spinnerbaits or Chatterbaits, unless you want to flip very shallow cover. 

As we move into March if the water clears fish will start to stage for the pre-spawn around points and brushpiles, which could be shallow or deep.  They will also be at the mouths of creeks near spawning locations.  Jigs, heavy spinnerbaits, or worms will all work.  Stan finds that on Greenwood typically there are plenty of fish that can be caught early in the pre-spawn running the banks, but often the better ones hold out a little bit deeper.  Jerkbaits or medium-running crankbaits can work well for these fish.

February 14

Lake Greenwood water levels are at 437.15 (full pool is 440.0) and surface water temperatures are in the lower 50s. From one end to the other the lake is as orange and muddy as it ever gets.

It looks like horrendous bass fishing conditions on Lake Greenwood, and veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that right now the lake is so thick with red mud that it looks like you could walk across the water and leave tracks!  The flood gates are still running, and the best advice is probably to go somewhere else to fish.

With that said, there have been some times where the lake did not look much different than this when Stan has found a better-than-expected bite. In those circumstances the key was fishing very shallow with a fire tiger crankbait. The best such bite he remembers was in March when it was a little warmer.  

It should be some time until the lake clears, especially with recent rains in the Upstate as well as more predicted. When it does finally start to settle out Stan advises heading to the backs of creeks or up the river, which should be the first areas to clear.  

In the dirty water Stan advises throwing as shallow as you possibly can, as fish will be so shallow that you can practically throw a bait on the bank and expect fish to eat it when you first pull it into the water. They can not see, and so to orient themselves they will head to the banks and also try to get near some piece of cover.  The best baits are likely to be spinnerbaits or Chatterbaits, or you may want to flip very shallow cover.

The cleanest, clearest water on the lower end of Lake Greenwood!
The cleanest, clearest water on the lower end of Lake Greenwood!

January 31

Lake Greenwood water levels are down to 434.54 (full pool is 440.0) and surface water temperatures range from about 47-51. The lake is muddy. 

It’s still pretty tough bass fishing conditions on Lake Greenwood, and veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that cold, muddy water is doing nothing to help the bite.   A fresh round of rain today should make things even dirtier.  Still, low visibility is pushing fish relatively shallow and they are looking for something to hold against to orient themselves. Bass will be around shallow laydowns, pieces of wood, rocks, docks, etc. Stan advises staying on the main lake, and the best baits right now are shallow-running crankbaits, Rattle Traps, Chatterbaits, and the like.  Brightly colored lures that are visible and make a lot of vibration are the best bet.

While an Alabama rig had been catching some fish in the clearer water at the lower end of the lake, the whole lake is dirty now. Until the rain today the upper end was actually cleaner than the middle and lower lake.

Stan Gunter with a nice one caught this week
Stan Gunter with a nice one caught this week

January 17

Lake Greenwood water levels are up to 437.44 (full pool is 440.0) and surface water temperatures are in the upper 50s. The lake ranges from muddy to stained.

Atypical water conditions are making for some tough bass fishing conditions on Lake Greenwood, and veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that water temperatures should be 49 degrees instead of 58 or 59. The lake is also very dirty, with the conditions above the state park muddy. Below the state park the water has a lot of color already, and will get worse. Water levels have also risen almost three feet in as many days.

In these conditions anglers need to be fishing shallow in less than five feet in the cleanest water they can find. Fish are looking for something to hold against to orient themselves, and so they will be around shallow laydowns, pieces of wood, rocks, docks, etc. Stan advises staying on the main lake. 

Brightly colored lures that are visible and make a lot of vibration are the best bet, such as Chatterbaits, spinnerbaits with Colorado blades, or crankbaits in fire tiger color.  At the extreme lower end of the lake an Alabama rig with bright baits can also be effective.

December 24

Lake Greenwood water levels are up to 437.02 (full pool is 440.0) and surface water temperatures have dropped into the lower 50s. With the influx of dirty water the lake is becoming stained to muddy.

Although the dirty water coming into the lake is sure to shake things up, veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that the bass patterns reported below still generally hold. Deep fish can be caught on a jigging spoon, and there is still schooling activity. 

While a shallow cranking bite could also turn on, the only confirmed change since December 20 is that the Alabama rig bite has gotten much better.  Fish have been caught on A-rigs around bridges and train trestles, and they also continue to be caught around docks, points and other cover.  The winter Alabama rig bite is on Greenwood is starting to get as good as expected.

December 20

Lake Greenwood water levels are at 435.96 (full pool is 440.0) and surface water temperatures are in the low to mid-50s. 

The bass fishing has gotten much better on Lake Greenwood, and veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that this is one of those times when you have several different patterns to choose from.

Alabama rigs usually feature prominently in an angler’s winter arsenal on Lake Greenwood, and right now you can go down the bank and cast in 6-10 feet of water. Fish are around main lake docks, pockets, points and rock.

There is also a deep bite in 18-20 feet, and fish can be found around rocks, drops and ledges in that range. They could also be on brush. A jigging spoon is probably the best way to target these fish.  

Perhaps the most exciting way to target bass right now is chasing schooling fish, which are mixed in with striped bass.  This is a particularly strong bite for catching spotted bass, but there are some largemouth out there as well.  Action is most commonly found over deep water, but there are also some fish on top in only 10-15 feet of water.  Look for the birds to locate fish.  Fish are on small shad and so small swimbaits and bucktails are working well.<

Stan Gunter with a nice Greenwood bass
Stan Gunter with a nice Greenwood bass

November 25

Lake Greenwood water levels are at 437.39 (full pool is 440.0) and surface water temperatures are around 60. Up the lake is a little dirty while down the lake is relatively clear.  

It’s still not easy bassfishing conditions on Lake Greenwood, but veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that there are productive patterns both shallow and deep. On the shallower side if you head to the backs of creeks there are some fish that will take a crankbait or spinnerbait fished around docks, and it is also getting to the time where you can throw an Alabama rig. This bite is best in the middle part of the lake.

There has also been something of a deep jigging spoon bite, with some fish being caught in 25-35 feet. As water temperatures drop this bite should improve and there should also be some good action on drop shot rigs fished deep.

Stan with a good one caught recently

 

October 29

Lake Greenwood water levels are at 437.16 (full pool is 440.0) and surface water temperatures are down to the lower 70s.

Water temperatures have dropped but are still warmer than typical for this time of year, and veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that bassfishing remains a little tough. The best fishing is still in pockets and flats on the main lake, and it just has not gotten cool enough for the creeks to have really come on. 

Stan says that as good a pattern as anything is to fish a buzzbait all day long, paying particular attention to docks and walkways. You can also fish a jig or shakey head around main lake docks, and casting a square-billed crankbait is also a good option. 

 

September 30

Lake Greenwood water levels are at 437.77 (full pool is 440.0) and surface water temperatures in the morning are in the mid-80s. With no rain the water is clear for Greenwood.

It’s still hot, but veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that bassfishing is starting to pick up on Lake Greenwood. There are not a lot of very large fish being caught on Greenwood right now, but numbers have been pretty good.

The deep bite is basically dead, but in main lake pockets and in the front part of creeks from the lower end up to the Seaboard Trestle fish can be caught in 6 feet of water or less on Pop-Rs and buzzbaits early. After that fishing a shakey head around docks is the best pattern.  

Rocky banks will also hold fish, and a suspended jerkbait or a methiolate floating worm should work.  

 

September 20

Lake Greenwood water levels are at 438.23 (full pool is 440.0) and surface water temperatures in the morning are in the low 80s.

It remains tough conditions for bassfishing on Lake Greenwood, but veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that with a bit more cool weather it should get much better. However, now that the temperatures have started to cool a little he advises abandoning the offshore holes unless you want to catch a bunch of small spotted bass.

From now on most of the best fishing will be in 6 feet of water or less, and Stan advises starting at the mouths of creeks and working your way back until you figure out where the fish are holding. Buzzbaits and Whopper Ploppers will catch fish early, and around docks during the day worms, jigs, or shakey heads are the best bet. 

Rocky banks will also hold fish, and a suspended jerkbait or a methiolate floating worm should work.  

 

September 5

Lake Greenwood water levels are at 438.84 (full pool is 440.0) and surface water temperatures in the morning are in the low to mid-80s.

It’s pretty tough conditions for bassfishing on Lake Greenwood, and veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that in particular the deep fish are not biting well. He advises concentrating on less than 6 feet of water, but since there has not yet been significant cooling focusing on the mouths of creeks or main lake pockets. Fish are not way in the backs yet.

The best bite is still early and late, and fishing a buzzbait or methiolate floating worm at those times around docks or shallow cover is the most likely way to catch fish. During the day you can try fishing a small crankbait, jig or Senko around deeper docks, or fishing a crankbait, jig or shakey head off rocky points. 

If there is significant rain and temperatures drop a few degrees better fall fishing should arrive.

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