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AHQ INSIDER Lake Jocassee (SC) Spring 2019 Fishing Report – Updated January 9

  • by Jay

The newest Lake Jocassee fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-lake-jocassee-sc-spring-2019-fishing-report/

January 9

Lake Jocassee is at 99.0% of full pool, and after falling to about 56 degrees water temperatures have rebounded to about 57 or 58.  Even with all the rain the lake is clear, but there is some stain in the very backs. There is lots of floating debris such as pine needles and leaves.

While numbers have not been tremendous, Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that they continue to find a very good bite for big trout.  In the last week or two lots of fish over 5 pounds have been caught, ranging up to the monster 10 ½ pound brown trout pictured below.

Fish are scattered out around the lake, and they can be caught from the dock to the dam and up the rivers.  There may be more stocker-sized fish (DNR stocked on December 20) than big ones up the rivers, but some good fish have also been caught in the rivers.

While there has been no one hot spot, the common denominator has been fishing in 25-45 feet.  Sam’s boat has been exclusively pulling spoons, but there have also been some nice fish caught on live bait.  They are also catching a lot of spotted bass and even some big yellow perch, particularly for the guys fishing live bait.

A monster brown caught around the 1st of the year on Jocassee
A monster brown caught around the 1st of the year on Jocassee

Even though it’s January, Guide Rob McComas (828-674-5041) reports that water temperatures are a little above average and the lake is fishing more like mid- to late December.  It’s a great time to catch spotted bass, and the fact that the trout guys are trolling them up is no surprise.

Perhaps the best pattern is to head into the creeks and look for deeper holes with 60-80 feet of water. Spots (as well as trout and yellow perch) will be stacked up in these areas, with most of the perch and bass related to the bottom and the trout higher in the water column.  Jigging spoons, blade baits, and live bait will all work.

Once temperatures drop a few more degrees it’s a good time to start look at steep bluff banks and thinking about fishing a floating fly.  However, temperatures need to approach the 40s for this pattern to really take off.

December 28

Lake Jocassee is at 98.8% of full pool, and water temperatures are approximately 58 degrees.

Back on the water after a month of being Santa Claus, Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that he has found an excellent trout bite.  He has caught fish about 40 feet deep trolling Apex spoons in the Roundhouse Point area on the edge of the main lake.  There have also been some very good reports on live bait, and a 10 ½ pound brown was caught this week on blueback herring fished around Laurel Fork Falls.

In one three hour period Sam caught an 18-inch fish, a 22-inch fish, and a 27-inch brown that was just under 8 pounds.  This is a great time to catch fish and particularly to try for a good one.

Guide "Santa Sam" Jones shows off a couple of nice trout caught yesterday on Jocassee
Guide “Santa Sam” Jones shows off a couple of nice trout caught yesterday on Jocassee

December 19

Lake Jocassee is at 96.6% of full pool, and water temperatures are still around 60 degrees.

The depth of Lake Jocassee means that it cools more slowly than shallower lakes in the same region, and as a result Guide Rob McComas (828-674-5041) reports that he is still catching bassin some patterns you would not expect in mid-December.

A lot of the smaller fish have grouped up in about 40 feet in the rivers, and they can be caught on drop shot rigs, spoons and medium minnows.  However, the biggest fish have been caught shallower off both main lake and river points in 20 feet or less.  He is catching them on moving baits, including spinnerbaits.  There is even some very late topwater action under the right conditions.

On his last two trips they have caught four fish over 6 pounds, and so it is an excellent time to try to land a big one!

A 7-pound Jocassee hawg caught last week with Guide Rob McComas
A 7-pound Jocassee hawg caught last week with Guide Rob McComas

No new trout report from Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) until after Christmas.

November 12

Lake Jocassee is at 98.3% of full pool, and water temperatures are around 69 degrees.

It’s that time of year again when Guide Rob McComas (828-674-5041) is back on Lake Jocassee bass fishing, and on his most recent trip he reports that fish were grouped up on points instead of laydowns where he would typically expect to find them.  The best concentration of fish has been in 18-30 feet of water, and location didn’t seem to matter very much.  He found them on the main lake as well as in the rivers and creeks.  Lots of spots as well as some smaller largemouth are being caught with this pattern on drop shots.

For bigger fish Rob suggests concentrating on shallow water.  On calm, clear days he will continue to fish topwater lures like Spooks on into December, and when there is some wind and clouds/ rain you can sometimes land some fish out of the trees on a spinnerbait.  Anglers should also be vigilant for very occasional schooling activity and cast quickly.

The laydown bite should pick up very soon.

Guide Rob McComas shows off a Jocassee hawg caught on his last trip
Guide Rob McComas shows off a Jocassee hawg caught on his last trip

The trout fishing is still really tough on Lake Jocassee, and Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that with water temperatures the same all the way down to 80 feet fish are still very deep.  You can see them on the graph along with a ton of bait – which may actually be the problem.  The fish are acting like they have full bellies already.  This cold, rainy weather should improve things if it drops water temperatures.

October 19

Lake Jocassee is at 92.0% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the mid to upper-70s with normal clarity.

The trout bite is experiencing a typical seasonal slowdown on Lake Jocassee, and Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that frankly the fishing is pretty poor.  They are marking a ton of fish and bait, but the trout are just not eating very well.

Sam’s boat is still picking up a fish here and there, and the ones they are catching are scattered out between 60-120 feet.  There appears to be a thermocline at about 100 feet.  They have tried the dam and the rivers, but the best action has been in the channel in the Whitewater area.  A mix of fish including some spotted bass have come from that area.  They are also picking up some catfish.

Some spotted bass caught this October with Sam Jones
Some spotted bass caught this October with Sam Jones

September 18

Lake Jocassee is at 93.4% of full pool, and water temperatures range from 80-84 with normal clarity.

It can be difficult to get year-round bass information on Lake Jocassee, but angler Beau Wilder of Charlotte has been on the lake this September and reports that largemouth, spots and smallmouth have all been caught in 20-30 feet of water on soft plastics.  He has had the best luck with drop shot rigs with a morning dawn Roboworm. Most of the fish are in the 2-3 pound range, but they also caught the 9.5 pound monster pictured below on a 3/16 ounce Spot Remover with a green pumpkin Trick Worm.  Fish are related to bait, and instead of following a specific break line they are watching the electronics closely and really slowing down around the bait schools.

Some fish have also been biting topwater lures up the rivers in areas with running water.

Charlotte Harvey shows off a Jocassee monster caught this September
Charlotte Harvey shows off a Jocassee monster caught this September

The trout bite continues to get tougher on Lake Jocassee, but Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that they are still catching some fish.  There may still be trout at the dam, but perhaps because there is so much bait in the area they have been harder to catch.  The better bite has been at the mouth of the rivers, and they are still catching fish trolling spoons in 80-110 feet of water.  Remember that come October 1 the minimum size limits will apply again.

August 23

Lake Jocassee is at 99.0% of full pool, and water temperatures range from 80-82 with normal (very high) clarity.

The trout bite has slowed a bit on Lake Jocassee, but even though they are not wearing them out they are still catching mostly rainbows here and there.  Guide Sam Jones(864-280-9056) reports that fish have gone even deeper, and they are now catching them in 90-120 feet.  Most of their success has been around the dam, although they are catching some fish where the rivers intersect (although still in the big water).  Sutton spoons have been working the best, and when they have fished live bait they mainly seem to pick up very small catfish.

The best bite seems to be in the morning, and fishing has seemed to shut down around 11:00. However, there is not a red hot bite at dawn.

A beautiful rainbow caught on Sam Jones' boat on a Sutton spoon in 116 feet
A beautiful rainbow caught on Sam Jones’ boat on a Sutton spoon in 116 feet

August 3

Lake Jocassee is at 99.2% of full pool, and water temperatures range from 80-82 with normal (very high) clarity.

The trout bite is still pretty good on Lake Jocassee, although Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that fish have definitely moved deeper with the summer heat.  They are catching fish in 80-100 feet with almost all of the action in the dam area.  The best bite is throughout the morning.

Fish are mostly coming on spoons, and most of the fish are in the 2-4 pound range.

Young anglers not scared off by the rain today
Young anglers not scared off by the rain today

July 2

Lake Jocassee is at 99.4% of full pool, and water temperatures are around 82 degrees with normal (high) clarity.

The trout bite remains strong on Lake Jocassee, and Guide Sam Jones(864-280-9056) reports that although catches are a bit slower than two weeks ago they are still really good.  They are catching a bunch of fish to go along with some big ones, like this 21-inch, 5 pound brown caught this morning.

The best action is still in 50-80 feet of water, and Sam’s boat is fishing in the big water as well as at the mouths of the rivers.  Pulling Apex and Sutton spoons has been the best pattern, but the guys with bait (available starting at 8:00 a.m. at Jocassee Outdoor Center) are also doing well. The bite has been pretty steady through the morning, and today’s big brown came at 11:00.

A beautiful Lake Jocassee brown trout caught today on Sam Jones' boat
A beautiful Lake Jocassee brown trout caught today on Sam Jones’ boat

June 19

Lake Jocassee is at 98.7% of full pool, and water temperatures are around 80 degrees with normal (high) clarity.

It’s a very hot trout bite on Lake Jocassee, and Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that they have been wearing the fish out on approaching a daily basis.  Most of the fish have been in the 2-4 pound range, with a healthy mix of both rainbows and brown trout.

The best action has come trolling in 50-70 feet around the dam, and Sam’s boat has had very little luck up the rivers.  Pulling Apex and Sutton spoons has been the best pattern.  The bite has been best in the morning, and it slows down in the heat of the day.

They have also picked up the occasional big spotted bass trolling deep.

A typical morning catch on Lake Jocassee
A typical morning catch on Lake Jocassee this past week

May 22

Lake Jocassee is at 98.4% of full pool, and water temperatures have jumped to about 71 in the morning and the mid-70s on warm afternoons.

Troutfishing remains pretty good on Lake Jocassee, and Guide Sam Jones(864-280-9056) reports that overall sizes have improved.  They are catching some big fish like the 6 ½ pound brown pictured below, and it is now rare to catch a sub-keeper fish.  The smaller ones have grown to 15-16 inches. On June 1 the size limit will go away for the season.

Action at the dam has really picked up, with the best bite early, and first thing you have a good shot at some rainbows and then later the chance at a big brown.  The best pattern remains trolling hardware in 30-60 feet, as the fish have still not gone really deep.

A good morning on Guide Sam Jones' boat
A good morning on Guide Sam Jones’ boat

May 10

Lake Jocassee is at 98.0% of full pool, and water temperatures range from the mid- to upper-60s in the morning to lower 70s in the afternoon.

Troutfishing continues to improve on Lake Jocassee, and Guide Sam Jones(864-280-9056) reports that they are catching lots of 14-16 inchers as well as some good fish up to 5 ½ or 6 pounds.  Fish are still fairly scattered, and they haven’t really zeroed in on any particular depth yet – although 20-40 feet remains the most productive.  Some fish have also been caught deeper.  The fishing is starting to improve at the dam, but overall fish are still scattered.

A nice fish caught this week on Sam Jones' boat
A nice fish caught this week on Sam Jones’ boat

April 27

Lake Jocassee is at 97.9% of full pool, and water temperatures range from the upper 50s to lower 60s in the main lake.

Troutfishing continues to get better and better on Lake Jocassee, and Guide Sam Jones(864-280-9056) reports that on most trips he is now getting good numbers of fish.  On a recent trip his boat caught a 6 ½ pounder and a 4 ½ pounder, and this weekend there were two fish in the 9-10 pound range caught.  There are also lots of 14-16 inch fish being landed.  In the recent tournament a 7-pounder was weighed, to go with a bunch of recently stocked fished.

Overall the fish haven’t really set up at the dam yet, and most of the action is coming in the main river channels between 20-70 feet deep.  But the majority of the fish are in 20-40 feet, where they should be at this time of year.  Most of the fish are still coming trolling hardware, but the tournament winner was caught on bait.  The best trolling speed continues to be a little faster than usual (but normal for spring) at about 2 miles per hour.

The 4 1/2 and 6 1/2 caught recently on Sam Jones' boat
The 4 1/2 and 6 1/2 caught recently on Sam Jones’ boat

April 11

Lake Jocassee is at 96.1% of full pool, and water temperatures range from about 55-59 degrees in the main lake.  Clarity is normal.

There’s finally some good news on the Lake Jocassee troutfront, and Guide Sam Jones(864-280-9056) reports that they have been catching a lot of fish in the 14-16 inch range – including a bunch of really frustrating 14 ½ – 14 ¾ inch, fat 2-pound fish just under the legal limit.  It’s clear that these fish are eating really well and they have very healthy weight for their size.  There have also been some very good ones mixed in, with an 8-pounder pulled out of the lake recently.

The best pattern is trolling spoons, but as is typical in the spring the fish want them pulled a bit faster in the 2-2.5 mile per hour range instead of the more typical 1.5 – 1.75 mph range.  The fish also seem to have moved a bit shallower, and while there are still some fish coming out of the 75-foot range (including the 8-pounder) the 30-50 foot zone has better numbers.

Before long the large minnow bite should pick up.

A couple of healthy trout caught recently with Guide Sam Jones
A couple of healthy trout caught recently with Guide Sam Jones

March 30

Lake Jocassee is at 97.7% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the mid-50s.  Clarity is normal.

The Lake Jocassee trout have not turned on yet, and Guide Sam Jones reports that his boat is still catching mainly small fish.  They seem to be moving a bit deeper, and the better fish seem to be in the 30-70 foot range with some already caught in 75 feet. Trolling spoons has been working best.

A big one caught with Sam Jones about this time last year
A big one caught with Sam Jones about this time last year

March 15

Lake Jocassee is at 95.7% of full pool, and water temperatures are around 53 degrees.  Clarity is normal.

Lake Jocassee warms and cools slowly, and so even with up-and-down temperatures over the last month there’s not a lot of change in the trout fishing pattern.  Guide Sam Jones reports that his boat has been catching fish trolling spoons 25-50 feet deep, but recently the catch has mainly been small trout.

February 23

Lake Jocassee remains at 99.4% of full pool, and water temperatures range from the low to mid-50s (water temperatures rise slowly in this deep, clear lake).  Clarity is normal and the backs are clearer than last week.

There’s still not a lot of change in Lake Jocassee trout fishing, but Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that some good fish as well as some smaller ones continue to be caught.  The best pattern is still trolling spoons in 30-55 feet of water, with the dam area producing best.

No new bass report from Guide Rob McComas (828-674-5041, who still recommends fishing the float-n-fly rig to target smallmouth in 15-20 feet of water.

February 16

Lake Jocassee is way up to 99.4% of full pool, and water temperatures range from about 52-53 degrees.  As always, the big water is very clear but in the backs of the rivers there is a very light stain – stained for Jocassee.

Lake Jocassee bass fishing is changing, and even though Guide Rob McComas (828-674-5041) is still mainly fishing the float-n-fly rig for smallmouth (described January 18) the fish have moved.  Usually they are coming up deep to feed along steep bluff walls, but with the rain and rising water the fish have moved up.  Rob was finding them in 15-20 feet of water.  The bite has not been easy, but in the afternoon he has found some nice groups of smallmouth willing to feed.

Guide Rob McComas is finding some nice smallmouth willing to feed on Jocassee
Guide Rob McComas is finding some nice smallmouth willing to feed on Jocassee

There’s still not a lot of change in Lake Jocassee trout fishing, but Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that in the most recent tournament some good fish up to 6.5 pounds were caught to go with a good number of 3 pounders.  Overall the fishing is still a little off from where it usually is this time of year, but it’s getting more normal.

The best pattern is still trolling spoons in 30-55 feet of water, with the dam area producing best.  This year trout seem to have stayed a little deeper than usual, for reasons that are unclear, and so the surface bite pulling plugs has never really materialized.

February 9

Lake Jocassee is at 97.0% of full pool, and water temperatures are up to about 52 degrees.  Water clarity remains normal (very high).

There’s not a lot of change in Lake Jocassee trout fishing, and Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that they are still catching some decent fish trolling spoons in 30-55 feet of water.  His boat is mostly still concentrating on the dam area, where the biggest fish have come recently, but they have also fished up the rivers too.  Trout up to about four pounds have been caught in the last week.

A nice late January Jocassee trout caught on Sam Jones' boat
A nice late January Jocassee trout caught on Sam Jones’ boat

No new report from Guide Rob McComas (828-674-5041).

February 1

Lake Jocassee is at 95.0% of full pool, and water temperatures are around 48 or 49 degrees.  Water clarity remains normal (very high).

There’s not a lot of change in Lake Jocassee trout fishing, and Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that they continue to pick up some pretty good fish.  The pattern is basically unchanged, with trolling spoons in 30-50 feet of water the best way to get bit.  Interestingly, a pretty nice striper was caught trolling in the same depth recently.

Guide Rob McComas (828-674-5041) hasn’t been able to spend a lot of time on Jocassee in the last week or two, but the bass pattern also seems about the same.  Fishing the float-n-fly rig for smallmouth is still the best pattern right now.

A healthy brown fish caught with Guide Rob McComas on Jocassee
A healthy bass caught with Guide Rob McComas on Jocassee

January 18

Lake Jocassee is at 93.7% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the low 50s.  Visibility remains normal (very high).

2018 is off to a good start for Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056), and on his first trip of the year they caught some very nice fish up to about 5 pounds.  The best action has been trolling Sutton and Apex spoons in 30-50 feet of water, and they have been catching them in the big water near the dam.

Aaron from Hawaii with a beautiful 21 inch brown trout
Aaron from Hawaii with a beautiful 21 inch brown trout off Sam Jones’ boat

On the bass front, Guide Rob McComas (828-674-5041) reports that this is the most consistent time of the year to catch smallmouth bass on Jocassee.  For the next month or two Rob says that he will chiefly be targeting brown fish on the lake.

Pursuing smallmouth in January and February means fishing off steep points and bluff walls, and that can mean fishing in the main lake or in the rivers.  The Whitewater River has some good steep points and bluff walls, and he will be fishing anywhere that has the structure he is looking for.  The bait of choice for Rob is a float-n-fly rig, and he is usually fishing it 12-20 feet deep.  It is best fished very, very slowly and fish will come up from water 40 feet deep or more to take the bait.  Rob finds that the colder the better for the rig.  In addition to float n fly rigs he also uses some jigging spoons as well as blade baits.

In addition to smallmouth bass some spotted bass fall prey to Rob’s winter techniques, and some largemouth are definitely mixed in.  However, the largest catch is smallmouth, and Rob says it can be very exciting when he gets to watch a smallmouth rise slowly through the water column to take a float-n-fly.

December 14

Lake Jocassee is at 91.3% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the low 60s.  Clarity remains normal (very high).

With water temperatures still pretty warm Lake Jocassee trout fishing is still a bit tough, although Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that some fish are starting to be caught.  In the recent tournament only two fish were weighed, and a 3 ½ pounder won, but as temperatures start to dip some good fishing is right around the corner.  It’s about to get good.

Fish can be found in relatively shallow water, and the best action has been in about 16-40 feet.  People are trolling lures and drifting live bait, and there have also been some fish caught by bass anglers casting lures.  Fish can be found to about halfway up the rivers.  The trout have not gotten super shallow yet, but when water temperatures get below 60 a lot more will be found on the surface and very shallow.

Also of note, DNR has already completed their stocking.  More fish were stocked than last year, and some larger fish over 15 inches were also included.

On the bass front, Guide Rob McComas (828-674-5041) reports that even though water temperatures are a little warm right now he thinks the best pattern is to fish a jigging spoon in the creek and river channels in 40-80 feet of water.  Adjust the depth according to where you are marking fish and bait.  Additionally, fish can be found off points in 25-45 feet of water.  Don’t blind fish a point unless you are marking fish.

Bass can also be caught slowly hopping a jig down a chunk rock bank.

A nice early winter bass caught with Guide Rob McComas
A nice early winter bass caught on Jocassee with Guide Rob McComas

November 30

Lake Jocassee is at 88.7% of full pool, and water temperatures are around 65-66 degrees.  Clarity remains normal (very high).

While there is no reason to think that the spotted bass fishing has slowed down, Guide Rob McComas (828-674-5041) reports that the largemouth bass fishing has been unusually tough this fall.  He looks forward to November on Jocassee all year, but it just hasn’t materialized this month.  With water temperatures still atypically warm he is optimistic that December will shape up to fish like November usually does.

In trout news, Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that the lake is still fishing tough.  It will be interesting to see what is caught in the upcoming Jocassee Outdoor Center trout to see if things are beginning to turn around.

Rob McComas shows off a nice October bass caught this fall on Jocassee

Rob McComas shows off a nice October bass caught this fall on Jocassee

 

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