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AHQ INSIDER Lake Monticello (SC) Spring 2021 Fishing Report – Updated April 29

  • by Jay

April 29

Lake Monticello surface water temperatures are in the upper 60s and lake is clear. Water levels fluctuate daily. 

The bass spawn is basically in the rear-view mirror on Lake Monticello, but instead of the fish being in a post-spawn funk tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that the bite is very strong right now. Fish are feeding up on about all the points, but secondary points in the 5-foot range have been the best. The fish will take both worms and moving baits.  

The topwater bite is still good, but as it has gotten hot it is now more of an early morning thing. 

On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that like the bass the fish are relatively shallow now.  They will be found from the bank out to 30 feet around long points and underwater humps.  During the day they may move into the deeper end of the range since the water is so clear on Monticello, but fish will still run up shallow at times and so the best approach is usually to fish a lot of rods and fan-cast baits at a variety of depths.  White perch and bream are the preferred baits right now, but herring and gizzard shad will also work.

April 16

Lake Monticello surface water temperatures are in the upper 60s. Water levels fluctuate daily.   

While there are a few bass still on beds on Lake Monticello, overall the spawn is winding down and tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that many of the fish seem to be starting to make their way out of the backs. While you can still bed fish in pockets or fish for immediately pre-spawn or post-spawn fish cruising in the shallows, the bite is moving towards points and humps in less than 15 feet of water. In fact, the very last wave of fish will spawn on top of these humps. Note that fish will generally come back in the same way they went out, and so the same areas that produced during the pre-spawn should work again. Both secondary points close to spawning pockets as well as main lake points will hold fish. 

You can a fish Carolina rig or other worm with success, and medium and deep-diving crankbaits will also work. This is also the brief period where topwater baits can work all day long before they become more of a morning pattern. 

The catfish bite continues to improve on Lake Monticello as temperatures warm, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that fish continue to move shallower.  Just this week a friend of William’s caught a 50-pound fish and so some big ones are starting to move around and feed.   

The best bet is to anchor on humps or long points from 10 to 35 feet, and it’s important to put out rods at different depths along the structure to see how deep fish are holding on a particular day.  A variety of cut baits are working.  The free-line drifting bite is close but not quite there yet.

A bigger-than-it-looks fish caught this week on Lake Monticello
A bigger-than-it-looks fish caught this week on Lake Monticello

April 2

Lake Monticello surface water temperatures are back into the lower 60s. Water levels fluctuate daily.   

It’s unclear just how much or for how long the cold front will affect the fishing, but earlier this week tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that the shallow bite on Lake Monticello was wide open. Going down the bank and throwing at visible cover with a shakey head or floating worm was working really well.  There are already a lot of fish on beds, but it still seems like there are more pre-spawn fish than post-spawn bass. 

As the spawn progresses fish that leave beds will linger in the same spawning pockets where they did their business, but ultimately they will follow the same route out that they followed in. They will set up on the same secondary points in 5-15 feet of water where they staged and Carolina rigs will again work well.

If it has not already started very soon there should be a good topwater bite on buzzbaits or Pop-Rs in the vicinity of spawning pockets or off points. 

The catfish continue to move shallower on Lake Monticello, andCaptain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that fish can now be caught from 5-35 feet of water. For bigger fish you want to anchor fresh cut fish at a variety of depths, while to catch numbers of catfish anchoring worms or shrimp in the shallows back in coves will work.  You could also pick up a big one this way. 

It probably won’t be until later in May when the free-line drifting bite takes off.

March 19

Lake Monticello surface water temperatures are in the upper 50s, with some warmer water on the south end, and clarity is good. Water levels fluctuate daily.   

The cool, windy weather this week has kept the spring bass spawn from progressing much further forward, and Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that fish are still mixed between those that are staging, fish roaming around in the shallows, and those that are already on beds. 

Staging fish on Monticello usually set up on secondary points in 5-15 feet of water, and since Lake Monticello doesn’t have creeks they are on areas just outside of spawning pockets or even points between two pockets. Crankbaits or worms fished on Carolina rigs or Texas rigs are good for these fish.

For shallow fish that are actually in spawning pockets a number of baits will all work, but Andy is usually mainly fishing soft plastics. On Monticello floating worms, shakey heads and Senkos are all good for shallow fish. Sight-fishing for fish that are actually spawning Andy pretty much sticks to Senkos on the lake. 

The shallow bite for catfish should continue to improve once temperatures start to rise again, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that anchoring on long points that run out into the lake or in the backs of coves is the best pattern.  Anchor baits in 10-25 feet at a variety of depths, but be willing to look both shallower and deeper.  Cut bream, gizzard shad and white perch will all work.

March 10

Lake Monticello surface water temperatures are in the mid to upper 50s, with some warmer water on the south end, and the lake has basically cleared. Water levels fluctuate daily.   

The bass on Lake Monticello are following a very normal spring trajectory, and Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that warm weather this week has pushed everything forward. The deep bite has basically become nonexistent, more fish are staging, there are more fish roaming around in the shallows and there are also some early fish on beds. 

Staging fish on Monticello usually set up on secondary points in 5-15 feet of water, and since Lake Monticello doesn’t have creeks they are on areas just outside of spawning pockets or even points between two pockets. Crankbaits or worms fished on Carolina rigs or Texas rigs are good for these fish.

For shallow fish that are actually in spawning pockets a number of baits will all work, but Andy is usually mainly fishing soft plastics. On Monticello floating worms, shakey heads and Senkos are all good for shallow fish. Sight-fishing for fish that are actually spawning Andy pretty much sticks to Senkos on the lake. 

The shallow bite for catfish is also picking up, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that anchoring on long points that run out into the lake or in the backs of coves is the best pattern.  Anchor baits in 10-25 feet at a variety of depths, but be willing to look both shallower and deeper.  Cut bream, gizzard shad and white perch will all work.

March 5

Lake Monticello surface water temperatures are in the mid to upper 50s, with some warmer water on the south end, and the lake has basically cleared. Water levels fluctuate daily.   

As the spring progresses tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that the number of bass that can be caught out deep on Alabama rigs in 20-30 feet is dwindling daily, and most of the fish are starting to stage on secondary points in 5-15 feet of water. Since Lake Monticello doesn’t have creeks they are on areas just outside of spawning pockets or even points inside of two pockets. Crankbaits or worms fished on Carolina rigs or Texas rigs are all working. 

However, while Andy does not believe that any fish are actually spawning there is a first wave of fish that has moved very shallow and can be caught on floating worms or shakey heads in spawning pockets. More buck bass may be up there right now but any day the females could arrive. 

Things are finally starting to change with the catfish, and as we get into March Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the best bet for catching fish is now to anchor on long points that run out into the lake, or in the backs of coves.  Anchor baits in 10-25 feet at a variety of depths, but on sunny days be open to fishing even deeper.  Cut bream, gizzard shad and white perch will all work.

February 26

Lake Monticello surface water temperatures have shot up to about 57 degrees, and on the lower end there has been some water as warm as 62. The lake is pretty stained, probably as a result of muddy water being pumped in from the river. 

Because of the unique dynamics of the lake water temperatures are running warmer on Lake Monticello than other South Carolina lakes, and tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that as would be expected bass patterns are starting to change. There are still a few fish that can be caught out deep on Alabama rigs in 20-30 feet, but better numbers of fish are starting to stage on secondary points in 10-15 feet of water. Lake Monticello doesn’t have creeks but they will be found in areas just outside of spawning pockets or even points inside of two pockets.  Crankbaits or worms fished on Carolina rigs or Texas rigs are all working. 

Any time now there should also be some fish that will move very shallow and start to look for spawning locations. When this happens you can beat the bank with a floating worm or a shakey head. 

Hunter Enlow with a couple of nice Lake Monticello bass
Hunter Enlow with a couple of nice Lake Monticello bass

Thecatfish patterns change more slowly than the bass patterns, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that there are still a lot of deep fish in 60-65 feet of water on ledges.

The best pattern is to put out a bunch of baits in areas where you mark fish and then wait.  Perch and gizzard shad are out-fishing everything else.

February 18

Lake Monticello surface water temperatures are still around 50 degrees or just below, and the water is relatively clear considering all the rain. Lake levels normally fluctuate daily.

The weather is still cold and dreary and so there’s not much change in the patterns on Lake Monticello, and tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports there are a couple of different ways to catch bass right now. 

One productive pattern is to fish from the bank out to 10-15 feet of water with a shallow running crankbait. The best bet is just to go down the bank and target rocky areas. Even though the fish are shallow they want access to deep water, so steeper areas are ideal, but they will not necessarily be on points. The main lake instead of pockets is the best area to run this pattern, and Carolina rigs will also work. 

The other productive pattern is to fish the tail end of the deeper bite with a spoon or Alabama rig. Deep fish are still highly oriented to bait schools, and with the bass often hunkered very close to the bottom you may not be able to mark the fish – only bait. Be prepared to spend as much time looking for fish as actually fishing if you opt to go deep. 

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.

Andy also notes that an Alabama rig can work shallow, too. 

Thecatfish patterns are also about the same, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that there are still a lot of deep fish in 60-65 feet of water on ledges.

The best pattern is to put out a bunch of baits in areas where you mark fish and then wait. Perch and gizzard shad are out-fishing everything else. 

It shouldn’t be long until fish move into the shallows, especially with warm weather predicted for next week, but for right now the deep bite is still best.

February 5

Lake Monticello morning surface water temperatures are still around 50 degrees or just below, and the water is overall clear. Lake levels normally fluctuate daily.

It’s a transition time on Lake Monticello, and there are a couple of different ways to catch bass right now.  B.A.S.S. angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that one productive pattern is to fish from the bank out to 10/ 15 feet of water with a shallow running crankbait. The best bet is just to go down the bank and target rocky areas. Even though the fish are shallow they want access to deep water, so steeper areas are ideal, but they will not necessarily be on points. The main lake instead of pockets is the best area to run this pattern, and Carolina rigs will also work. 

The other productive pattern is to fish the tail end of the deeper bite with a spoon or Alabama rig. Deep fish are still highly oriented to bait schools, and with the bass often hunkered very close to the bottom you may not be able to mark the fish – only bait. Be prepared to spend as much time looking for fish as actually fishing if you opt to go deep. 

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.

Andy also notes that an Alabama rig can work shallow, too.  

Check out the newLake Monticello Catch ’Em Kits with lures hand-picked for each season by Andy.

The last time he was out on the water a couple of day ago on Lake Monticello Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that he marked a ton of fish. They took some convincing to get to bite, but in 60-65 feet they were stacked up on ledges.

The best pattern is to put out bunch of baits in areas where you mark fish and then wait. Perch and gizzard shad are out-fishing everything else. 

It won’t be long until fish move into the shallows, but for right now the deep bite is still best. 

January 21

Lake Monticello morning surface water temperatures are still around 50 degrees or just below, and the water is overall clear. Lake levels normally fluctuate daily.

For right now the bass fishing patterns remain about the same on Lake Monticello, if a bit shallower, and tournament bass angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that the best bet is fishing spoons around bait schools in 30-35 feet of water. Alabama rigs are also catching some good fish right now. Anglers should look around bait near channels, points, and steep drop-offs, but Andy still notes that on Monticello he never seems to catch much except for perch and catfish in areas where the birds are diving. 

You can also fish a drop-shot when the bass seem finicky. 

However, starting about anytime now – and almost always by the first of February – fish should move up to about the 10-foot range and stage on drops and points. They could be found from about 5-15 feet and they will be caught on Alabama rigs and Carolina rigs. 

Check out the new Lake Monticello Catch ’Em Kits with lures hand-picked for each season by Andy.

This is still a time when the catfishcannot be counted on to bite well every day on Lake Monticello, but Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that overall this is a pretty good time to catch blues on the lake. Still, don’t expect to catch a ton of fish every time you go out.

Right now the fish are holding pretty tight to ledges, and anchoring in 45-plus feet of water and putting out a bunch of baits at a range of depths is the best pattern.  Perch and gizzard shad are out-fishing everything else.

A nice mess of blue cats caught with Captain William Attaway
A nice mess of blue cats caught with Captain William Attaway

January 14

Lake Monticello morning surface water temperatures are right around 50 degrees rising to the low to mid-50s on sunny afternoons, and the water is typically clear although there is some dingy water near the dam where they are pulling water. Lake levels normally fluctuate daily.

While not everyone caught fish, tournament bass angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that in the CATT tournament this past Saturday on Lake Monticello the winning team hit a 21-pound bag (including an 8.11 pound hawg!). There was also an 18-pound sack as well as a limit pushing 15 pounds. However, weights dropped below that. 

While Andy still believes the best pattern is fishing spoons around bait schools in 35-45 feet of water, Alabama rigs are also catching some good fish right now. Anglers should look around bait near channels, points, and steep drop-offs, but Andy still notes that on Monticello he never seems to catch much except for perch and catfish in areas where the birds are diving. 

You can also fish a drop-shot when the bass seem finicky. 

Check out the new Lake Monticello Catch ’Em Kits with lures hand-picked for each season by Andy.

The winter is another time when the catfishcannot be counted on to bite well every day on Lake Monticello, but Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that generally this is a pretty good time to catch blues on the lake. However, don’t expect to catch a ton every time you go out.

Right now the fish are holding pretty tight to ledges, and anchoring in 45-plus feet of water and putting out a bunch of baits at a range of depths is the best pattern. Perch and gizzard shad are out-fishing everything else. 

Captain William Attaway with a "ghost" catfish caught this week on Monticello
Captain William Attaway with a "ghost" catfish caught this week on Monticello

January 8

Lake Monticello water temperatures are in the lower 50s, and the water is typically clear. Lake levels normally fluctuate daily.

For reasons that are unclear Lake Monticello always fishes a little differently than other lakes, and tournament bass angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that recently out on the lake he has seen tons of birds feeding around bait. However, he never catches bass around the birds and this year has been no exception.  Instead, he has caught a bunch of perch (catfish can also be found near the birds.)

However, that doesn’t mean the bass were not around bait and he found some good fish around bait schools in 35-45 feet of water. The bait and fish were within 5-10 feet of the bottom, and they wanted a spoon. An Alabama rig would probably also work but he has not fished it recently, and when the fish seem a little finicky right now Andy is turning to a drop shot. Channels, points, and steep drop-offs all remain good places to look.

Check out the new Lake Monticello Catch ’Em Kits with lures hand-picked for each season by Andy.

Andy has also marked a lot of crappie recently but they seem very lethargic. 

The catfish remain a little fickle on Lake Monticello, but Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that they are still catching some nice fish anchoring off deep points if you are patient.  Gizzard shad and white perch are the baits of choice right now.

December 20

Lake Monticello water temperatures are in the mid-50s, and the water is typically clear. Lake levels normally fluctuate daily.

The bass remain in a pretty consistent pattern on Lake Monticello, and B.A.S.S. angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that basically if he is on the lake right now he will be fishing a spoon or Alabama rig. Part the way through January that pattern will change, but for now the bite remains very stable.

The fish are still highly oriented to bait schools, and with the bass often hunkered very close to the bottom you may not be able to mark them. Besides marking bait on your electronics, birds can also tip you off to where the bait is holding. Be prepared to spend as much time looking for fish as actually fishing. 

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. 

The catfish bite has slowed a bit on Lake Monticello, but Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that they have been catching some nice fish anchoring in 40-55 feet of water.  Early or late fish may go shallower, as shallow as 25-30 feet.  Humps, ledges and long points will all hold catfish, and gizzard shad and white perch are the bait of choice right now.

November 24

Lake Monticello water temperatures are in the mid to upper 60s, and the water is typically clear but a bit stained around the banks. Lake levels normally fluctuate daily.

Warmer temperatures still have the bass a little behind schedule on Lake Monticello, and B.A.S.S. angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that even though it is late November he still suggests starting off the day running the banks with a buzzbait and a Spook.

After that is time to switch over to a spoon and an Alabama rig, as the spoon bite is about to peak. Until it gets really cold Andy will be following bait more than looking for particular spots, and this is one reason the Alabama rig fished deep can be a good complement to the spoon. Loons are just arriving and will tip you off to where the bait is holding, but Andy also spends 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.  But most importantly remember that right now fish are on the move.  

The catfish bite continues to improve on Lake Monticello, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that this is the very best time of the year to catch a big fish. Anchoring or drifting in 40-55 feet is the best way to catch a big fish, and long points and humps close to deep water and timber are the best places to target. 

White perch and bream are the best baits right now.

A monster catfish caught with Captain William Attaway
A monster catfish caught this weekend with Captain William Attaway

November 12

Lake Monticello water temperatures are in the upper 60s, and the water is typically clear although muddy around the banks with recent rains and win. Lake levels normally fluctuate daily.

Warmer temperatures have the bassa little behind schedule on Lake Monticello, and B.A.S.S. angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that even though in mid-November he has usually settled into fishing a spoon and Alabama rig on Lake Monticello this year there is still a decent shallow topwater bite. That should last until temperatures get into the lower 60s. 

The deeper bite is also getting started, and from now until winter sets in Andy will be following bait more than looking for particular spots. This is one reason the Alabama rig fished deep can be a good complement to the spoon. Loons are just arriving and will tip you off to where the bait is holding, but Andy also spends 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.  But most importantly remember that right now fish are on the move.  

Thecatfish bite continues to improve on Lake Monticello, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that this is the very best time of the year to catch a big fish. Anchoring or drifting in 40-55 feet is the best way to catch a big fish, and long points and humps close to deep water and timber are the best places to target. 

White perch and bream are the best baits right now.

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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