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AHQ INSIDER Lake Keowee (SC) Spring 2020 Fishing Report - Updated March 18

  • by Jay

March 18

Lake Keowee is at 97.5% of full pool. Water temperatures on the south and north end of the lake are now in the upper 50s, with the mid-lake area in the mid-60s.  There is a slight stain in the backs of major creeks, but otherwise the lake is clear. 

It’s getting to be a really good time to fish on Lake Keowee, with N&C Marine/Skeeter Team member Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reporting that fish are moving quickly into a strong pre-spawn and spawning pattern (particularly mid-lake).

A variety of baits are working.  Crankbaits, like a DT6 or Shad Rap, are good along banks.  Spinnerbaits are good on windy days in particular.  Soft plastics such as a shakey head or Carolina rigs are working in 8-16 feet of water.  Some fish are chasing bait on the surface in the mid-lake area and can be caught on top water baits. 

A lot of good quality fish are being caught now so it’s a great time to be on the water!

Guide Charles Townson guided this father/ son duo this week
Guide Charles Townson guided this father/ son duo this week

March 10

Lake Keowee is at 98.8% of full pool. The difference in water temperatures on the lake is at the biggest margin of the year.  On the south end, water temperatures are still in the low to mid 50s while mid-lake temperatures are now in the low 60s.  The north end of the lake is in between these two ranges. 

As a result of temperature variance, N&C Marine/Skeeter Team member Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that there is a significant variation in fishing patterns over Lake Keowee.  Fish are still deeper and more lethargic on the south end, and so anglers need to fish slower.  Shaky head and jigs in 15-25 feet are working best. 

Mid-lake fish are more active and can be caught on a variety of moving baits as well as shakey heads and other finesse techniques.  There is some schooling activity mid-lake as well. 

Over most of the lake, fish are starting to move up on points and humps and around docks into more of a pre-spawn pattern as the water warms.  It would not be surprising to see fish on the bed mid-lake in the next week or two.  Overall, fishing is picking up and getting stronger, particularly on warmer days.

Charles Townson with a hungry Keowee spot caught yesterday morning on a finesse worm
Charles Townson with a hungry Keowee spot caught yesterday morning on a finesse worm

February 21

Lake Keowee is at 98.8% of full pool. Water temperatures have fallen in the past few days with cold rain and temperatures in the area.  On the south end of the lake, temperatures are around 55.  Mid-lake the temperature is around 60-61, and the northern end is around 57. 

With periodic cold fronts coming in, N&C Marine/Skeeter Team member Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that fishing has been up and down. Fish are wanting to move up, but then a cold front will come in and stop any movement. Overall, fish are moving into a pre-spawn pattern but the weather pattern is important each day.

Finesse baits on a shakey head or ned rig are catching fish around deeper docks and rocks in 15-20 feet, particularly on warm days which will tend to bring some fish up around dock floats and rocks.  Jerkbaits and mid-level crankbaits are also productive on windy points and humps. 

There are also fish still deep which can be targeted with a drop shots or small spoon in 45-60 feet of water.

A spotted bass caught earlier this week with Guide Charles Townson on a finesse worm fished off a rocky point
A spotted bass caught earlier this week with Guide Charles Townson on a finesse worm fished off a rocky point

February 6

Lake Keowee is at 99.0% of full pool. Water temperatures have been relatively stable over the past week, with the low to mid 50s on the southern and northern end of the lake and around 60 mid-lake. 

Even though water temperatures have not begun to raise, N&C Marine/Skeeter Team member Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that bass are slowly beginning to move from a winter pattern and fish can now be found at a variety of depths.  There are still a lot of fish out in deep water (50+ feet) which can be targeted with drop shots, damiki rigs, and spoons.  In a mid-depth pattern of 25-40 feet fish can be caught using a jerkbait or drop shot. 

Some fish are also moving more shallow, particularly on warmer afternoons, and they can be caught on a shakey head with finesse worms. Green pumpkin is a good color. 

There is a lot of rain forecast over the next couple of days and another cold front behind the rain which should keep a lot of fish in deeper water.  As the days/water begin to warm, look for fish moving up.

An aggressive spot caught deep on a jigging spoon with Guide Charles Townson this week
An aggressive spot caught deep on a jigging spoon with Guide Charles Townson this week

January 29

Lake Keowee is at 98.8% of full pool. Water temperatures on the lower end are now in the mid-50s, the mid-lake region is in the upper 50s to low 60s, and the northern end is in the mid to upper 50s. 

Water temperatures have fallen quite a bit over the last week, and N&C Marine/Skeeter Team member Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that as a result bass fishing has gotten much tougher. Fish that had moved up some now appear to have moved back deeper with the drop in temperature. 

Some fish can still be caught on shakey heads with finesse worms in 15-25 feet around rocky points and steep drops.  Small swimbaits fished very slowly will also catch some fish in 30-50 feet of water in the creek channels.  

Deeper fish can be targeted with drop shots or spoons in 65-80 feet of water.  Many of the deeper fish are tight to the bottom so look for any piece of structure that might hold a fish.

A cold weather spotted bass caught in 73 feet yesterday by Todd Anderson with Guide Charles Townson
A cold weather spotted bass caught in 73 feet yesterday by Todd Anderson with Guide Charles Townson

January 17

Lake Keowee is at 98.1% of full pool. With the very warm weather we have had recently water temperatures have actually climbed about 2 degrees on Keowee.  On the southern and northern ends of the lake temperatures are in the upper 50s, and in the mid-lake area they are around 61 degrees. 

Colder weather is coming, but for now N&C Marine/Skeeter Team member Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that bass can be caught a variety of ways on Lake Keowee.  Swimbaits fished in 25-35 feet of water are working on a jighead, and shakey heads and other finesse worms are getting good results around docks and points in 15 feet of water. 

Fishing for deep fish on a drop shot or small spoon in the 65-75 feet depth range is another approach, and this pattern may be about to get even stronger. With much cooler temperatures predicted for the next few days fish may move a little deeper.

The last view this threadfin shad ever saw - on Lake Keowee with Guide Charles Townson
The last view this threadfin shad ever saw - on Lake Keowee with Guide Charles Townson

January 4

Lake Keowee is at 97.7% of full pool. Water temperatures on the lower end of the lake are around 57 degrees, the mid-lake area is about 62, and the northern end is running roughly 60 degrees.

Bass are following baitfish (threadfin shad) and getting into their winter pattern, which N&C Marine/Skeeter Teammember Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports means the action is more on the main lake and not as much in the creeks.  Look for fish in the 60-80 foot depth range. 

Finding bait in a channel, off a deep point, etc. in that depth range will typically result in a group of spotted bass being nearby.  These fish can be targeted with a 3/4 or 1 ounce jigging spoon in white or chrome colors or a drop shot rig.  Look for fish that are "glued" to the bottom.  Hooking a fish here will often lead to a school exploding off the bottom chasing your bait.  While most fish are on the bottom, there are also some suspended fish chasing bait in the same depths so keep a sharp eye on your electronics.

For more detail about winter bass fishing on Lake Keowee check out this article.

Keowee fish caught Wednesday on a trip with Guide Charles Townson
Keowee fish caught Wednesday on a trip with Guide Charles Townson

December 28

Lake Keowee is at 99.0% of full pool. Water temperatures on the lower end of the lake are around 58, the northern end of the lake is at 60, and the mid-lake area is at 64 degrees.  Water clarity is normal (very clear).

Bass are still biting on Lake Keowee, but N&C Marine/Skeeter Team member Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that fishing has slowed down on Keowee as water temperatures have continued to drop.  A good limit right now is anything over ten pounds.

Fish that were generally in the creeks are moving more out to the main lake in deeper water, particularly on the southern end of the lake.  Some of these fish are suspended and chasing bait so keep an eye open for any birds (loons/gulls) that are diving on bait.  A lot of fish are also stuck right on the bottom now in deeper water and off steep drops near creek channels.  A jigging spoon or drop shot is the best option for these fish. 

There is some sporadic schooling on the north end of the lake so have a topwater bait ready to throw at any surface activity.

A spotted bass caught yesterday with Guide Charles Townson in 74 feet on a spoon
A spotted bass caught yesterday with Guide Charles Townson in 74 feet on a spoon

December 5

Lake Keowee is at 99.2% of full pool. Surface water temperatures continue to slowly fall on Keowee with the south and north ends now in the low 60s and the mid-lake area still in the mid-60s. Water clarity is normal (very clear).

Late fall fishing remains good on Keowee, and N&C Marine/Skeeter Team member Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that the patterns are pretty stable. Right now a lot of fish are in the 35-50 foot range, and they can be targeted with a drop shot or small spoon.  A small profile bait is preferred with either of these approaches as the shad being eaten are generally small in size.  White and silver colors are working best.  Shallower fish can be targeted with a shaky head or similar finesse bait on rocky points and around docks.

This big spotted bass was caught by Bates Kennedy in 45' of water on a recent trip with Charles Townson

November 27

Lake Keowee is at 98.3% of full pool. Surface water temperatures continue to slowly fall on Keowee and now range from about 62 on the lower and upper ends of the lake to around 66 mid-lake near the power plant.  Water clarity is normal (very clear).

As temperatures continue to drop N&C Marine/Skeeter Team member Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that fishing remains very good on the lake with a lot of spotted bass being caught in the 35-50 foot range using drop-shots or small spoons.  Trolling deep diving crankbaits is another technique working right now. 

Some fish can also be caught shallow on rocky banks and around docks using shaky heads.  For numbers of fish, the best pattern is finding creeks holding bait and targeting those fish with shad imitations on a drop-shot.  

Charles Townson guided this young client to this fish yesterday in 45 feet 

 

November 22

Lake Keowee is at 98.8% of full pool. Surface water temperatures have fallen into the mid-60s with the exception of the area around the power plant where they remain in the low 70s. Water clarity is normal (very clear).

As temperatures continue to drop N&C Marine/Skeeter Team member Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that fishing remains very good targeting spotted bass in 40 to 50 feet of water with drop shots or small jigging spoons.  Look for bait in creek channels and long-running coves.  Finding bait in these areas is a high probability location for a school of spotted bass. 

Keep your eyes open for any fish chasing bait in the backs of creeks around dusk.

 

November 14

Lake Keowee is at 98.7% of full pool.  Surface water temperatures are now in the mid-to upper 60s and should continue to fall quickly with this week’s cold weather. Water clarity is normal (very clear).

While bassfishing is strong for numbers of fish right now, N&C Marine/Skeeter Team member Guide Charles Townson(864-324-2065) reports that last week's Skeeter Challenge showed that big fish are hard to come by. The good news is that most boats posted consistent limits. 

Targeting groups of fish in 40-50 feet of water with drop shots or small spoons is an excellent way to catch spotted bass with an occasional largemouth mixed in.  Look for any area holding bait and spotted bass should be nearby.  Wind-blown points and shorelines can also be productive with a spinnerbait or jerkbait. 

 

October 25

Lake Keowee is at 97.0% of full pool.  Morning surface water temperatures are now in the mid-70s over most of the lake, but still around 80 degrees at the power plant.  Water clarity is normal (very clear).

Falling water temperatures have Lake Keowee basson the move, and N&C Marine/Skeeter Team member Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that fishing is good and should remain that way for the next few weeks. 

There is a strong early bite on points with crankbaits and spinnerbaits if it is windy. After the sun comes up, shakey heads and soft plastics in 10-15 feet of water are working well. Keep your eyes open for any fish chasing bait on the surface. Another good technique is a drop shot in 30-40 feet of water off main lake and secondary points. 

 

October 17

Lake Keowee is at 97.4% of full pool.  Morning surface water temperatures are now 80 degrees on the north and south ends and in the mid-80s around the power plant.  Water clarity is normal (very clear).

With some fall cooling finally taking place, N&C Marine/Skeeter Team member Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that fishing is improving. In particular, the morning bite on points and humps is much stronger this week.  Throw small crankbaits such as a square bill or DT6 early.  If it’s windy, a spinnerbait is also a good choice on wind-blown banks and points. 

As the sun comes up, move out deeper with a crankbait, shakey head or Ned rig.  A good depth is 10-15 feet for this bite.  There are also some deeper fish around bait which can be targeted with a drop shot or small spoon. 

Some schooling activity is present, but that bite is still slower than it should be.  Look for schooling fish in the late afternoon as that seems to be the best time right now for that activity.  Much cooler weather on the way should drop the water temperatures more quickly and fishing should continue to improve over the coming weeks.

 

October 5

Lake Keowee is down to 98.5% of full pool and water temperatures remain stubbornly high at 86 over most of the lake and still around 90 mid-lake.  Water clarity is normal (very clear).

It’s been hot all week, but N&C Marine/Skeeter Team member Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that the topwater bite is on the verge of getting very good as the water begins to cool with more seasonable weather forecast.  There is a fair to good morning bite on points and humps with crankbaits and small swimbaits or flukes.  These fish can also be caught on a topwater, popper or Sammy for the first hour or so after daylight. 

After that, look for any schooling fish off points adjacent to deep water.  There are still a lot of fish out suspended over deep water as well.  Look for these and target with a drop shot or small jigging spoon.  Fall is coming!

 

September 25

Lake Keowee is down to 96.7% of full pool and water temperatures have remained steady over the past week.   Even though the days are getting shorter, the hot weather is holding the morning surface water temperatures at about 84 on the south and north ends and around 90 mid-lake.  Water clarity is normal (very clear).

Continuing a trend that started last week, N&C Marine/Skeeter Team member Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that despite the heat the bass fishing is starting to improve as we move toward fall weather. The morning bite is slowly getting stronger on shallow, rocky points and humps early.  Small crankbaits, flukes, topwaters, and small swimbaits can be used.  Some fish can be caught shallow throughout the day on frogs. 

The topwater bite is improving so look for any schooling fish off points and humps.  These fish can be caught with a walking bait, or a drop shot when they are not schooling.  A good depth is 20 to 40 feet. 

There are some deeper fish still in 35-50 feet and they can be targeted with a drop shot or small spoon.  Look for areas holding bait and the spotted bass are typically close by.

 

 

September 20

Lake Keowee is at 98.1% of full pool and water temperatures remain persistently high due to the continued hot weather.  Around the power plant, temperatures are still averaging about 90 degrees.  On the lower and upper ends of the lake, mid-80s are consistently found.  Water clarity is normal (very clear).

Even though the morning bass bite remains slow on Lake Keowee, N&C Marine/Skeeter Team member Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that it is showing some signs of beginning to pick up.  Lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits (if windy), and topwater baits fished early on rocky points are the best bet. 

After the sun gets up, look for fish either in the 15-25 foot range with a shaky head or look for deeper fish in 35-50 feet with a drop shot or small spoon.  Keep an eye out for bait and any schooling fish at all times.  

 

 

September 14

Lake Keowee is at 97.9% of full pool, and water temperatures remain high with the recent warm weather.  They range from about 86 on the lower and upper ends to around 90 still in the mid-lake area around the Hot Hole.  Water clarity is normal (very clear).

The bass bite remains tough on Lake Keowee, but N&C Marine/Skeeter Team member Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that a few fish are being caught early on topwaters such as a Sammy or Mikey Jr.  The best bite is in areas where fish are schooling.  While they are on top, a walking bait like a Sammy or an Evergreen JT 95 is a good choice.  The best colors are chrome or blue back herring patterns. 

When they are not on the surface look for fish with electronics and use a drop shot or small spoon when found.  The best depths are 35 to 50 feet with small bait presentations.  If there is no bait present in an area or no surface activity, keep moving until you find bait. 

Keep your eyes open for any schooling at all times - even over very deep water.  The top water bite will continue to improve in the coming weeks when we get some cooling temperatures.  

Charles also reports that his trips are now running the all-new 2020 Skeeter FXR Limited Edition Boat, pictured below.

 

September 9

Lake Keowee is at 98.2% of full pool, and water temperatures are still in the mid-80s over most of the lake with upper 80s and low 90s around the power plant. Water clarity is normal (very clear).

There’s not a lot of change in the bass bite on Lake Keowee, as Guide Charles Townson (864-324-2065) reports that continued very warm weather is keeping the water temperatures high.  The early morning bite is best with small crankbaits and topwater baits on points, humps, and shoals.  After the sun comes up, look for deeper fish in the 30-50 foot range with a drop shot or small spoon. 

Schooling activity should continue to improve over the next few weeks, but there are already some good fish like the one below being caught. Any area holding bait can result in fish schooling, generally over deep water or around points near deep water.  Finding those areas can make for a good morning using topwater baits such as a Sammy in clear or chrome shades.

 

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