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AHQ INSIDER Lake Monticello (SC) Fall 2020 Fishing Report – Updated October 9

  • by Jay

October 9
Lake Monticello water temperatures are in the lower 70s and the water is typically clear. Lake levels normally fluctuate daily.

Fishing an Alabama rig in the 15-foot range is still a good way to catch basson Lake Monticello, but with water temperatures a few degrees cooler than usual B.A.S.S. angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that he will be switching over to fishing a spoon more going forward.

In the summer and winter on Lake Monticello Andy will generally be fishing way points and checking particular spots, but the fall spoon bite is one time when he will be more interested in following bait than looking for particular spots. Loons can tip you off to where the bait is holding, but he will also spend a lot of time idling around and graphing to see where the mega clouds of bait can be found. The bass can sometimes be so tight to the bottom that you can’t see them, but the bait will be visible. 

Channels, points, and steep drop-offs can all hold fish, and 25-40 feet is the most likely depth range. 30-35 feet is usually the key zone. At times fish will get up off the bottom when they are actively feeding, but sometimes they will hold tight to the lake bed.

The fall big fishcatfish bite is getting started on Lake Monticello, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that anchoring in 40-60 feet of water around long points and humps is the best pattern. A drift bite should be getting started soon, but for now fish seem to want anchored baits more. White perch and gizzard shad are the best baits.

The free-line drifting bite is winding down for the season.

A big blue caught recently with Captain Chris Simpson, who has also caught more than his share of fall Lake Monticello monsters
A big blue caught recently with Captain Chris Simpson, who has also caught more than his share of fall Lake Monticello monsters

September 18

Lake Monticello water temperatures are in the low-80s, and the water is typically clear. Lake levels normally fluctuate daily.

It’s getting to be a better and better time to bassfish on Lake Monticello, and FLW angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that the shallow topwater bite should be improving each time the water temperatures drop. The storm yesterday should really help the bite for this weekend, and early in the morning around the banks lures like walking baits or Whopper Ploppers should produce. 

Still, Monticello is a lake where the best numbers are usually out deep. Right now they are starting to school up in deeper water in 15 plus feet, and Andy advises that without a doubt the best way to catch them in the fall is with an Alabama rig. This is a type of fishing that relies on using your electronics and often searching as much as casting. 

There’s not a lot of change in thecatfish bite on Lake Monticello, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that means that the best thing going is still fishing for numbers of fish using the free-line drifting method. Small pieces of herring drifted in the top of the water column over deep water will catch fish of a variety of sizes, mostly in the 1-5-10 pound range, but with the chance at the occasional bigger one.

The big fish bite is still pretty tough, but you can fish on deep humps or long points in 40 to 70 feet by anchoring lines at different depths along the structure to see how deep fish are holding on a particular day. Until temperatures drop a few more degrees big fish won’t bite much during the day, but if you want to improve your chances of catching a good one fishing from midnight until about 9 a.m. may be the best window. 

During the day a lot of the bigger fish may be suspended 40-60 feet down, and so one alternative pattern is to fish with down-lines as if you are after striper.  It can be a hit-or-miss pattern but some good ones can be caught this way.

A good haul with Captain William Attaway
A good haul with Captain William Attaway

August 27

Lake Monticello water temperatures are in the mid-80s, and the water is typically clear. Lake levels normally fluctuate daily.

As expected seasonal cooling has improved the bass bite on Lake Monticello, and FLW angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that in particular the shallow topwater bite has come on first thing in the morning. Some nice smallmouth are being caught. 

During the heat of the day the most consistent fishing is still in 10-15 feet of water, and fish are generally related to any significant piece of cover be it a brush pile, isolated piece of wood, rock pile, or stump. Use your electronics to identify the best cover.

The best bite is still coming by down-sizing to the smallest, most finesse-oriented baits. Roboworms on a drop shot will work as well as anything.

The catfish bite is still in a summer pattern on Lake Monticello, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that means that the best thing going is still fishing for numbers of fish using the free-line drifting method.  It has been a bite more consistent the past few weeks.  Small pieces of herring drifted in the top of the water column over deep water will catch fish of a variety of sizes, mostly in the 1-5-10 pound range, but with the chance at the occasional bigger one.

The big fish bite is still pretty tough, but you can fish on deep humps or long points in 40 to 70 feet by anchoring lines at different depths along the structure to see how deep fish are holding on a particular day. The big fish just aren’t biting much during the day, but if you want to improve your chances of catching a good one fishing from midnight until about 9 a.m. may be the best window. 

During the day a lot of the bigger fish may be suspended in 40-60 feet of water, and so one alternative pattern is to fish with down-lines as if you are after striper.  It can be a hit-or-miss pattern but some good ones are being caught this way.

July 30

Lake Monticello water temperatures are in the upper 80s and higher, and clarity is typically good. Water levels fluctuate daily. 

The deep summer bassbite did what it usually does this summer on Lake Monticello, starting off hot and then slowing down. Now we are at the next stage, and B.A.S.S. angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that the deep schools are pretty much broken up, as fish have moved shallow and scattered out. The most consistent fishing is now in 10-15 feet of water. Fish are related to any significant piece of cover, be it a brush pile, isolated piece of wood, rock pile, or stump. Use your electronics to identify the best cover.

The best bite is coming by down-sizing to the smallest, most finesse-oriented baits. Roboworms on a drop shot will work as well as anything.

There is also a small window early and late where you can catch fish on topwater lures but this is not a pattern that will catch a lot of fish. 

On thecatfish front,Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that conditions are perfect for free-line drifting to catch numbers of generally smaller catfish on Lake Monticello – but that doesn’t mean they will bite every single day. They are still fish and this is still Lake Monticello, and so there are no guarantees!

Overall the free-line drift fishing has been pretty good, and even when they are not biting well fish are being marked in the right places over deep water.  If the wind is blowing then William will just drift, and if not he will use the trolling motor. He may also use the trolling motor to vary speed. 

He usually positions 6 or 8 rods off the back or side of the boat either weightless or, depending on conditions, with split shot to get down 5-15 feet. A couple of rods may have planer boards to get away from the boat. He will use small pieces of bait the size of your thumb from the last joint to the tip to simulate a mussel. Herring, white perch, or even chicken thighs will all work.

You could certainly pick up some big fish on the free-line drift, but the best pattern for big fish remains anchoring larger baits off humps and long points. Fish are shallower in the morning and at night when you can look in 20 feet or less, while during the day they will be in 50-60+ feet of water. Fan-casting and covering a range is almost always preferable.

White perch and bream are the go-to baits right now, but herring and gizzard shad will also work. Extreme patience is almost always required when targeting big cats on Monticello and so be willing to let the baits soak up to two hours.

July 1

Lake Monticello water temperatures are in the mid-80s, and clarity is typically good. Water levels fluctuate daily. 

The bass are doing exactly what is expected on Lake Monticello at the beginning of July, and B.A.S.S. angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that while fish are still out on the offshore structure it has gotten harder to catch them. They are still around depth changes including humps, drops, long tapering points and ridges in 20-40 feet, but moving baits like spoons and crankbaits are just not as productive. Fish are now less aggressive and so more finesse presentations such as drop shots or big shakey heads will work better. There are also some fish on brush in 10-30 feet where Ole Monster worms are a good option. 

As we get closer to August then fish are likely to move shallower into 10-15 feet as the deep water quality drops off. 

There is still a small window around dawn when fish can be caught off points on Pop-Rs, Whopper Ploppers, or buzzbaits. 

On thecatfish front,Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the big catfish are around long points and deep water humps.  While fish are generally deep, they can be found anywhere from 15-50+ feet of water and so anchoring and covering a wide range of depths is the best bet. White perch and bream are the preferred baits right now, but herring and gizzard shad will also work. Extreme patience is also required when targeting big cats on Monticello and so be willing to let the baits soak up to two hours. Note that fish will also move shallower at night.

Water temperatures have finally gotten where they need to be for free-line drifting, and this is now an excellent way to catch numbers of generally smaller catfish on Lake Monticello. If the wind is blowing then William will just drift, and if not he will use the trolling motor. He may also use the trolling motor to vary speed. 

He usually positions 6 or 8 rods off the back or side of the boat either weightless or, depending on conditions, with split shot to get down 5-15 feet.  A couple of rods may have planer boards to get away from the boat.  He will use small pieces of bait the size of your thumb from the last joint to the tip to simulate a mussel.  Herring, white perch, or even chicken thighs will all work.

June 18

Lake Monticello water temperatures are in the low 80s, and even with recent rains water clarity remains fairly normal.

The bass are doing what they are supposed to do on Lake Monticello in June, and B.A.S.S. angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that fish have gotten out on the deep offshore structure where they head in the summer. Fish will be found around depth changes including humps, drops, long tapering points and ridges. The ideal depth is 20-30 feet. Moving baits like spoons and crankbaits are working the best right now, but big worms will also catch fish. While the fish do feed in windows it is unpredictable when they will eat and so there is no reliable time to focus fishing efforts.     

While the morning topwater bite has faded there are still some fish that can be caught in a small window around dawn off points on Pop-Rs, Whopper Ploppers or buzzbaits. You can also still catch some fish in 5-15 feet on a worm, but at this point they are going to be around brush or some other type of cover. 

Brad Rutherford and Andy Wicker with a nice bag caught after dark
Brad Rutherford and Andy Wicker with a nice bag caught after dark

On the catfish front,Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the big catfish have moved deeper again and the key now is anchoring out on long points and deep water humps. While fish are generally deep, they can be found anywhere from 15-50+ feet of water and so covering a wide range of depths is the best bet. White perch and bream are the preferred baits right now, but herring and gizzard shad will also work. Extreme patience is also required when targeting big cats on Monticello and so be willing to let the baits soak up to two hours. Note that fish will also move shallower at night.

Water temperatures are still a degree or two shy of where they need to be, but already the free-line drifting action for numbers of generally smaller catfish on Lake Monticello is picking up. If the wind is blowing then William will just drift, and if not he will use the trolling motor. He may also use the trolling motor to vary speed. 

He usually positions 6 or 8 rods off the back or side of the boat either weightless or, depending on conditions, with split shot to get down 5-15 feet. A couple of rods may have planer boards to get away from the boat. He will use small pieces of bait the size of your thumb from the last joint to the tip to simulate a mussel. Herring, white perch, or even chicken thighs will all work.

 

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