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AHQ INSIDER Lake Jocassee (SC) Winter Fishing Report – Updated February 19

  • by Jay

February 19

Lake Jocassee is at 89.1% of full pool, and water temperatures are around 56 degrees.  Clarity remains very good.

The trout bite on Lake Jocassee is really starting to improve, and Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that along with tons of little fish they are starting to catch some really nice trout, too.  An 8-pound brown was caught off his boat recently, as well as a few 4- and 5-pound trout.  The best action has come trolling spoons and large minnows (which the big fish came on) in 30-50 feet of water, and the better fishing has been up the creeks and the Toxaway River.  Fish are pretty stable and it should be a while before fish start to make their way back out to the big water.

A beautiful 8-pound brown trout caught off Sam Jones' boat
A beautiful 8-pound brown trout caught off Sam Jones’ boat

With water temperatures in the mid-50s Guide Rob McComas’ (828-674-5041) preferred February bass pattern of fishing a “floating fly” is a no-go – generally temperatures have to be below 50 for it to be effective.  Instead, the fishing is way ahead of schedule for the time of year.

Typically in the dead of winter Lake Jocassee bass will be found on bluff banks, and from there they will be make their way towards points.  They use these points like underwater highways, and they will follow the “roads” out of deep water.  From there they will head back into the coves and pockets.  Usually fish move towards the banks in early to mid-April on Lake Jocassee, but last year some fish were there by the last week of March.  If temperatures continue the way they are going right now it could be much earlier!

For now fish seem to be making their way towards the points already, and on cloudy, rainy days spinnerbaits are a good option.  On sunny days jerkbaits are good.

January 15

Lake Jocassee is at 87.6% of full pool, and water temperatures range from about 56.5 degrees in the morning to 58 or 59 degrees in the afternoon.  Clarity remains very good.

There’s not a lot of change in the trout bite on Lake Jocassee, but Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that the fish seem to be grouping up in the 30-50 foot range.  31 feet has been a very good depth on recent trips, but he has caught fish down to about 55 feet.  Fish remain scattered all over the lake, and little fish are still making up the bulk of the catch.  Pulling Sutton and Apex spoons has been the best pattern.

Sam reminds anglers that the size limit for Jocassee trout is 15 inches, and you can only keep three fish per person and only one over 20 inches.  If you catch small fish that must be released handle them very carefully so that they can swim away to grow up.

With water temperatures still not that cold on Lake Jocassee Guide Rob McComas (828-674-5041) reports that it’s not yet time for some of the late winter bass patterns he likes to fish.  When water temperatures get to about 50 degrees or below, which may not happen this year, he spends a lot of time fishing a floating fly.  But for now there are two main tactics Rob likes to employ.

On the main lake he will concentrate on points about 40 feet deep where the bass will move “up” from deeper water to feed.  The main bait is a jigging spoon, and he catches mostly spotted bass this way.  In addition to the main lake pattern, Rob will spend time far up the rivers where winter fish will group up in deep holes towards the backs.  The best holes are 60-85 feet deep.  Multiples species will stack up in these holes, and Rob will drop medium minnows down to the depth where he marks fish and catch a mixed bag of spots, other bass, perch, and trout.

A beautiful winter smallmouth caught on Guide Rob McComas's boat
A beautiful winter smallmouth caught on Guide Rob McComas’s boat

December 28

Lake Jocassee is at 89% of full pool, and water temperatures throughout the water column are about 59 degrees.  Clarity remains very good down to about 12 feet.

Water temperatures are finally dropping (albeit slowly and sporadically) on Lake Jocassee, and as a result Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that fish have spread out throughout the water column from the surface down to about 60 feet.  On recent trips he has caught a bunch of small fish and they have been scattered all over the lake, including in the area where the three rivers meet as well as up the Toxaway River.  Fish are being caught on Sutton and Doctor spoons, and he has also caught fish pulling Rapala baits.  There have been some fish seen finning on and breaking the surface.

Sam reminds anglers that the size limit for Jocassee trout is 15 inches, and you can only keep three fish per person and only one over 20 inches.  If you catch small fish that must be released handle them very carefully so that they can swim away to grow up.

Guide Sam Jones with a nice Jocassee trout
Guide Sam Jones with a nice Jocassee trout

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