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AHQ INSIDER Lake Murray (SC) 2024 Week 28 Fishing Report - Updated July 10

  • by Jay

July 10

After falling below 357.20 water levels are back to 357.68 (full pool is 360.00) and water clarity is high, especially before boat traffic gets up during the day.  Morning surface water temperatures are in the mid to upper 80s.   

The bass fishing is surprisingly good on Lake Murray, and tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that there is a little bit of everything going on right now. They finished third in a night tournament last night but caught their best fish before dark around cane in 15-25 feet, which is consistent with recent results. The fish are suspended but generally eating subsurface baits instead of topwaters. However, in the mornings there has been a pretty good schooling bite before about 9:00 in the same areas for the same fish.  Some of these bass are at the mouths of creeks but most of the best fishing for suspended fish is on the main lake.

After dark they are catching all of their fish dragging a worm around deeper brush and rock, but in the morning (again until about 9:00) there has been a good buzzbait bite around grass and in big pockets and coves. 

The striped bass fishing has been day-to-day on Lake Murray, but Captain Brad Taylor with Taylor Outdoors (803-331-1354) reports that fish are stacked up on the lower end. There are some fish as far down as 100 feet, where there is very little oxygen, but Brad is finding most of the fish off the end of ridges in 50-70 feet with some suspended and some on the bottom. The trick has been getting them to eat, and some days they will take down-rods pretty well but at other times they are having to work hard to get them to bite. 

There are plenty of striper shallower but they are mostly small fish. 

 
This week with Taylor Outdoors

Up the river the crappie bite remains strong, with Captain Brad reporting that most of the fish still holding within a few feet of the bottom in 12-14 feet because of oxygen levels. Most of the fish are around brush right now. 

Down the lake veteran tournament angler Tommy Slice of Chapin reports that fish remain in a summer pattern, and he has been catching them on brush in 30 plus feet of water (with the exception of a few fish in heavy shade at marinas or the like). Almost all of the fish are close to the river channel or at the mouths of creeks on steep drops.   The bite is early when fish are suspended over top the brush, and as the sun gets up they sink down into the brush and basically stop biting.  

Light Fish Stalker jigs on 1/64 ounce jigheads are working the best, and if you use minnows you should also downsize your presentation. 

As we get past the peak of the spawn the channel catfish are feeding better on Lake Murray again, and Captain William Attaway with Slick Willie’s Guide Service (803-924-0857)reports that fish can be caught around humps and long points in 5-25 feet of water. At night they often bite better and move shallower. While a variety of baits will work, dip baits are out-fishing everything else right now. 

June 26

With little to no rain Lake Murray water levels are down to 357.77 (full pool is 360.00) and water clarity is higher than normal.  Morning surface water temperatures are around 82 degrees on the big water and higher in the creeks. 

It’s still a strong striped bass bite on Lake Murray, and Captain Brad Taylor with Taylor Outdoors (803-331-1354) reports that every ridge and hump from Spence Island to the dam has fish on it somewhere between 70 and 40 feet. He is marking a lot of fish on the bottom in 60-70 feet, but for some reason the fish in 40 feet are biting better.  That may be because the bait is set up about 25 feet down, and that’s where the fish are going up to feed. 

Catching numbers is easier than catching size, but if you put in the effort and move around you can find better fish that are feeding. 

A good day with Taylor Outdoors

The bass fishing is turning into a grind in the summer heat, but tournament anglers Andy Wicker of Pomaria and Stan Gunter of Saluda report that the shallow bite still seems to be the best thing going. It’s unclear if all the pond grass and other aquatic vegetation will hold fish all summer, but for now there is a good buzzbait and frog bite over the grass early. During the day you can also fish it with a worm. A few fish are also starting to be caught around cane, and before long there should be more fish set up on deep brush. For some reason that bite has still not gotten very good. 

Up the river the crappie bite is pretty good, but as the water starts to stratify Captain Brad reports that they aren’t suspending any longer and most of the fish are holding within a few feet of the bottom in 12-14 feet. They can be found at that depth around bridges, deep docks, and brush. 

Down the lake veteran tournament angler Tommy Slice of Chapin reports that fish are in a summer pattern, and he has been catching them on brush in 30 plus feet of water (with the exception of a few fish in heavy shade at marinas or the like). By now almost all of the fish are close to the river channel or at the mouths of creeks on steep drops.   The bite is early when fish are suspended over top the brush, and as the sun gets up they sink down into the brush and basically stop biting.  

Light Fish Stalker jigs on 1/64 ounce jigheads are working the best, and if you use minnows you should also downsize your presentation. 

There are still plenty of juvenile catfish feeding on Lake Murray, and a few late pre-spawn fish, but Captain William Attaway with Slick Willie’s Guide Service (803-924-0857)reports that the spawn is so heavy right now that the bite has really slowed down. The author can confirm, as he has had to work very hard to pick up a just a few channels of any size. 

The best place to fish is still shallow from the bank out to about ten feet, and cut herring, dip baits, and worms will all catch fish. Cut bream and other, tougher baits are getting far less bites from picky fish.     

June 12

Lake Murray water levels are at 358.19 (full pool is 360.00) and water clarity is pretty normal.  Morning surface water temperatures are in the upper 70s to low 80s.

It’s a pretty outstanding striped bass bite right now on Lake Murray, and Captain Brad Taylor with Taylor Outdoors (803-331-1354) reports that on down rods they are catching fish suspended in 30-40 feet of water all over the lake. Fish are scattered out, with some of them in creeks and others on the main lake. And while Captain Brad is mostly catching fish in ditches near points, Captain Andrew Bowdler is catching them off points. It seems right now that fish are almost everywhere and if you sit in an area they will eventually come through. 

There are also a few fish being caught on cut bait, and Brad is catching some good ones that way looking for a bigger bite under the big schools. But that bite may be dwindling a little. 

The crappie bite is also pretty outstanding, and Captain Brad reports that it’s about the optimum water temperature for catching fish on brush. Up the lake he is catching them in 14-20 feet of water suspended over top the brush. The best brush has been in the channels or right off of them. He has also found a lot of fish around bridges when rain forced them to fish under them. 

Brad notes that there seems to be an incredible crop of little crappie up the lake, too. Perhaps the current and muddy water this winter gave them a break from the striper. 

Caught this week with Taylor Outdoors

Down the lake veteran tournament angler Tommy Slice of Chapin reports that fish are in a summer pattern, and he has been catching them on brush in 30 plus feet of water. The bite is early when fish are suspended over top the brush, and as the sun gets up they sink down into the brush and basically stop biting.  The best brush is on or beside steep drop-offs at the mouths of major creeks where they fall off into the main lake. 

Light Fish Stalker jigs on 1/64 ounce jigheads are working the best, and if you use minnows you should also downsize your presentation. 

While there should be a good offshore suspended bass bite for the first few weeks of June (before it gets very hot and slows down), tournament anglers Andy Wicker of Pomaria and Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that right now the shallow bite seems to be the best thing going. Fish are being caught around bream beds and grass, with frogs, Whopper Ploppers and buzzbaits all working. 

There is also something of a deeper bite off points, and undoubtedly some fish are setting up on cane piles. Right now jerkbaits seem to be the best way to target them. 

Also, don’t give up on fishing big worms, jigs and crankbaits like 6XDs and DT-16s around brush piles in 15-18 feet.

Certainly not all the catfish on Lake Murray spawn at the same time, but what from Captain William Attaway with Slick Willie’s Guide Service (803-924-0857)is seeing substantial numbers of blues, channels and even flatheads (noodlers continue to grab them up the rivers) are spawning right now. That can make for a slower bite, but with some fish still either pre-spawn or post-spawn there are still fish to be caught – particularly channels with Lake Murray’s very large population. The best place to fish is shallow from the bank out to about ten feet, and cut herring, dip baits, and worms will all catch fish.   

May 29

Lake Murray water levels are at 358.10 (full pool is 360.00) and water clarity is pretty normal.  Morning surface water temperatures have hit about 80 degrees.

A lot has changed in a week on Lake Murray, and tournament anglers Andy Wicker of Pomaria and Stan Gunter of Saluda report that by now there is no question that the herring and shad spawns are winding down. Certainly there are some remnants first thing on shallow points where fish can be caught on topwater lures, but it doesn’t last long and is only in some very specific spots. The south side of the lake seems to have the best late bait spawn action. But overall, as the herring move offshore and roam around the lake the bass that are following them become very hard to catching swimming in open water. 

There are still a couple of shallow patterns left, and early in the morning frogs, buzzbaits or poppers can still catch fish around grass and riprap. There are also still some fry guarders around docks that will take a weightless Senko or shaky head. 

But the offshore bite may be the place to look, and big worms, jigs and crankbaits like 6XDs and DT-16s fished around brush piles in 15-18 feet are getting productive. 

While you can still catch striped bass pulling planer boards, Captain Brad Taylor with Taylor Outdoors (803-331-1354) reports that most of those fish are short and for him it’s now pretty much exclusively a down-rod bite. He is fishing ditches on the main lake within sight of the dam where fish are settling on the bottom in 40-50 feet of water. There are also some fish at the same depth in the creeks, and Crystal Lake in particular has been hot recently. 

While Captain Brad has seen cut bait fishermen he can’t speak to whether they are catching them. 

After leaning on the striper this morning Captain Brad’s boat turned its attention to the crappie, and they continue to find fish around brush piles off the side of the main river channels up the lake in about 15 feet of water. There are also good reports from deeper docks in the same areas.

Down the lake veteran tournament angler Tommy Slice of Chapin reports that fish have really moved into a summer pattern, and he has been catching them on brush in 28-35 feet of water. The best brush is on or beside steep drop-offs at the mouths of major creeks where they fall off into the main lake, and usually the fish are suspended right over the brush although as the sun gets over them or they get pressured they will sink down into it. They will also move up and down the drops depending on time of day and food source. 

Light Fish Stalker jigs on 1/64 ounce jigheads are working the best, and if you use minnows you should also downsize your presentation. 

The big catfish action was slow last week with boat traffic and the full moon, although Captain William Attaway with Slick Willie’s Guide Service (803-924-0857)reports that noodlers have actually been grabbing some big spawning flatheads up the rivers. The channels should also be getting close to spawning, and for right now they should be shallow from the bank out to about ten feet. Cut herring, dip baits, and worms will all work for channels. 

May 22

Lake Murray water levels are up to 358.14 (full pool is 360.00) and water clarity is pretty normal.  Morning surface water temperatures are still only in the low to mid-70s.

Tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria whacked the bass this weekend in a two-day ABA tournament, weighing almost 42 pounds of fish and finishing just behind first place. On the water he saw that the herring (and sometimes threadfin shad) spawn is still wide open, and he had fish coughing up 7-inch herring in his live well. At first he thought some of them were gizzard shad!  The first day there were so many boats out that he couldn’t get on a single mid-lake point, where the best action seemed to be, but eventually got on a point down the lake and camped out. Every 20-30 minutes fish would blow up and he caught them on a big walking bait.  He also weighed one big fry guarder that he caught on a drop shot.  

Sunday was still all about herring fishing, but without as many boats and the wind up he could run around to more points. He caught them the same way. While it should be based on the calendar, right now Andy has a hard time saying the herring spawn is winding down. 

While there could be some fish caught around grass on a frog or buzzbait, the best secondary pattern Andy found was fishing for fry guarders around docks. They will take a weightless Senko or shaky head. 

The striped bass are still on main points, but Captain Brad Taylor with Taylor Outdoors (803-331-1354) reports that while you can still catch fish on free-lines and planer boards he has mostly switched over to down-rods. He is mainly fishing on the main lake within sight of the dam, and the best action has come in 40-something feet of water on the bottom. There is also still a pretty good cut bait bite although Captain Brad has not been fishing this way. 

Additionally, there are a lot of striper feeding on bait first thing in the weed beds along the bank edges. First thing you can catch them. 

A good day at the office with Captain Brad Taylor

Up the rivers the crappie are still on brush in 12-14 feet, and Brad reports that the fishing has gotten more consistent.   They are also starting to get on deeper docks and bridges in the main rivers again.

Down the lake veteran tournament angler Tommy Slice of Chapin reports that fish are moving to deeper brush or heavily shaded marina docks, and the best action is about to be in 25-30 feet. Light Fish Stalker jigs on 1/64 ounce jigheads are working the best, and if you use minnows you should also downsize your presentation. 

The catfish bite can still be very good, and Captain William Attaway with Slick Willie’s Guide Service (803-924-0857)reports that they continue to catch some big fish in the mid-20s to mid-30s. Most of the big blues are in the middle to upper lake in about 10 feet of water around points and the mouths of creeks, but as the spawn begins things will/ are slowing down. 

All over the lake channel cats can be caught in 5-20 feet of water around points or depth changes marked by DNR buoys. Cut bait will catch everything while dip baits are getting better and better for channels as the water warms. 

May 15

Lake Murray water levels are at 358.02 (full pool is 360.00) and water clarity is dirty up the rivers.  Morning surface water temperatures have fallen into the upper 60s or low 70s after rain and cool nights.   

The Elite Series bass fishermen and especially Patrick Walters out a hurting on the fish this week on Lake Murray, and tournament anglers Andy Wicker of Pomaria and Stan Gunter of Saluda both report that in the end the herring spawn was better than expected. Most of the fish caught were feeding on herring, and while a majority of the fish were caught around Dreher Island during the event a good bite even developed down the lake. Still they are not easy to catch, and it seems as much an issue of the fish being educated as pressured. Most of the time they have to be chasing bait to get bites, and you have to throw on them the second they are up. In addition to the usual topwater baits, flukes and swimbaits, Walters reported that he did call a few fish up with Carolina rigs or jigs when they were not schooling. 

While the shallow bait spawn should continue to produce a little longer, there is also a decent frog bite around bream beds, shaded areas, and grass. 

Its’s a peak period for striped bass fishing on Lake Murray, and Captain Brad Taylor with Taylor Outdoors (803-331-1354) reports that basically every major point from Buffalo Creek to the dam has fish on it.  Most of the fish are in 20-40 feet of water, and while Captain Brad is catching the most fish (and best quality) on free-lines and planer boards he has also caught some fish on down-rods. And with cut bait fishing also good we are in that May window where you can fish about however you want.

Brad notes that from cleaning fish he sees that they are eating a diet heavy in threadfin shad right now, and when you see fish schooling they are usually on threadfin.  He also expects striper to come shallow one more time when there is another major herring spawn on the next full moon.  

Up the rivers the crappie fishing is best described as day-to-day, and when the main channel got blown out all the fish left the Big Saluda. Still Brad has been catching good numbers of fish in the Little Saluda on brush in 12-14 feet of water, but very soon they should get back on the deep docks and bridges in the main river. 

Down the lake veteran tournament angler Tommy Slice of Chapin reports that fish are moving to deeper brush or heavily shaded marina docks, mostly in about 25 feet of water by now. Light Fish Stalker jigs on 1/64 ounce jigheads are working the best, and if you use minnows you should also downsize your presentation. 

The catfish bite can still be very good, and Captain William Attaway with Slick Willie’s Guide Service (803-924-0857)reports that they continue to catch some big fish in the mid-20s to mid-30s. Most of the big blues are in the middle to upper lake in about 10 feet of water around points and the mouths of creeks, but when the spawn starts the action could slow down. That may have already begun. It could be an aberration (or just that they were feeding at night), but on Captain William’s last trip it already seemed like the fish were showing signs of feeding less as the spawn approaches.

All over the lake channel cats can be caught in 5-20 feet of water around points or depth changes marked by DNR buoys. Cut bait will catch everything while dip baits are getting better and better for channels as the water warms. 

May 9

Lake Murray water levels are at 358.21 (full pool is 360.00) and water clarity is normal.  Morning surface water temperatures are in the mid-70s. 

The striped bass bite remains good on Lake Murray, and Captain Brad Taylor with Taylor Outdoors (803-331-1354) reports that they are catching fish on main lake points and at the front of creeks pulling free lines and planer boards in 15-60 feet of water. This week there has also been lots of schooling, literally all over the place from shallow to deep. While some of the fish are eating herring, Captain Brad actually thinks more of the action may be on threadfin shad right now. There is also starting to be a good down-rod bite, but right now anglers are mostly catching short fish that way. 

Fish can be found all over the lake, from the lower end to mid-lake around Dreher Island to the rivers. However, the gar are so bad up there that Brad is avoiding the rivers. 

Overall, it seems that the striper are on the deeper side of points while bass are on the shallower side. However, they are also picking up some bass pulling bait over deeper water.

That’s important because this week with the Elite Series in town the bass are the main event on Lake Murray, and tournament anglers Andy Wicker of Pomaria and Stan Gunter of Saluda both report that there is still a good herring spawn taking place in certain areas of the lake. It’s not as wide open as it was, but there are still isolated areas (particularly in the mid-lake) where the herring bite is very good. However, Stan reports that it can be hard to catch fish around herring when they aren’t actively blowing up on bait and chasing it. You also have to hit them on the head most of the time. When they are active the usual flukes, Spooks and Sebilles will work, but results are inconsistent with a shaky head or jig when they aren’t up. 

There are also still a few fish on beds, and there is a decent frog bite around grass. 

The crappie are stacking up on bridges and brush up the rivers, and Captain Brad reports that the best depth range is about 18 feet right now. In Bear Creek and the surrounding area veteran tournament angler Tommy Slice of Chapin reports that fish are being caught in 20-25 feet of water, and by now 95% of them are on brush or heavily shaded marina docks. Light Fish Stalker jigs on 1/64 ounce jigheads are working the best, and if you use minnows you should also downsize your presentation. 

The catfish bite can still be very good, and Captain William Attaway with Slick Willie’s Guide Service (803-924-0857)reports that they continue to catch big fish in the mid-20s to mid-30s. Most of the big blues are in the middle to upper lake in about 10 feet of water around points and the mouths of creeks, but with the water warming they are getting very close to spawning and the bite may slow down. There are still some fish out in the main channel.  

All over the lake channels can be caught in 5-20 feet of water around points or depth changes marked by DNR buoys. Cut bait will catch everything while dip baits are getting better and better for channels as the water warms. 

May 1

Lake Murray water levels are at 358.03 (full pool is 360.00) and water clarity is normal.  Morning surface water temperatures are around 68-70 degrees. 

As the full moon has faded into the rearview mirror Captain Brad Taylor with Taylor Outdoors (803-331-1354) reports that the herring have started holding a little deeper, and as a result they are now catching striped bass in deeper water.   Still pretty much every point in the lake has fish on it, but they are more likely to catch them pulling free-lines or planers boards out to 25 feet instead of 4-6. They are also still catching fish on topwater lures. There are also a ton of fish further off the points in about 40 feet that can be caught on down-rods, but there is such a mix of sizes you will go through a ton of bait.  The Ballentine area has been good right now. 

It's a different story with the bass, and tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that right now the herring spawn bite is about as good as it gets. Even when there isn’t much wind the fish are frequently staying up shallow all day, and the pattern is basically as simple as running points on the main lake and in the creeks with flukes and topwater lures. If and when the shallow bite slows down then fish don’t leave and you can catch them with shaky heads or finesse jigs off the same points but deeper.

While most people are concentrating on herring fish, you can also target the tail end of the spawn for bed fish. There is also a pretty good frog and buzzbait bite around grass and in pockets, and with more bream getting up shallow to spawn that will only get better.   

The crappie are stacking up on bridges and brush up the rivers, and Captain Brad reports that even bass fishermen are catching them on jerkbaits about bridges right now! The best depth range is about 18 feet, and Brad reports that coming off the spawn fish often will actually start out deeper and then move shallower again to feed once they recover. Down the lake veteran tournament angler Tommy Slice of Chapin reports that there have been good catches on brush in the 15-22 foot range, with 18 feet again a magic depth in creeks like Bear Creek. 

The catfish bite is fantastic some days, and Captain William Attaway with Slick Willie’s Guide Service (803-924-0857)reports that one days in the upper lake he caught well over 200 pounds of blues including big fish of 36, 32, 28 and 26 pounds. The next day they only caught one big blue but the channels were on fire, and so it seems like the bite overall is pretty reliable but the big blues can’t be counted on to feed every day. The best pattern is drifting or anchoring cut shad in about 10 feet of water around points and in the mouths of creeks, while down the lake the bite is pretty reliable around points or depth changes as marked by DNR buoys. 

Caught Sunday with Captain William Attaway

April 25

Lake Murray water levels are at 358.01 (full pool is 360.00) and water clarity is normal.  Morning surface water temperatures are around 66-68 degrees on the main lake. 

The striped bass fishing on Lake Murray is about as good as it gets, and Captain Brad Taylor with Taylor Outdoors (803-331-1354) reports that basically all of the points inside of creeks are loaded with spawning herring and you can catch fish shallow about any way you want to. Releasing multiple limits right now is easy.  

Pulling free-lines and planer boards, blind casting curly tail grubs and pencil poppers, and looking for schooling fish will all put striped bass in the boat. Captain Brad has been fishing the lower end on the Chapin side, but fish are up everywhere. And water temperatures have now gotten to the point where he doesn’t foresee the bait (or striper) turning back around until its spawn winds down. 

With all that bait up there it’s no surprise that the bass are in the same areas, and Brad reports that yesterday they released five bass over 4 pounds. 

That’s consistent with the report from veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda, who reports that the herring spawn bite is very good. The one caveat he adds is that when there is no wind it can slow down after the sun gets up, and then you need to find another way to catch fish. But topwater lures, swimbaits, flukes, and more have all been working early and on windy days.   

When bass aren’t feeding on top then you can generally find them a little deeper in the same areas with shaky head worms and jigs, and you can also still look for bedding fish.  There is a good wave up right now with the full moon.  

As for the crappie, the consensus from Captain Brad and veteran tournament angler Tommy Slice of Chapin is that remains a transition period as fish recover from the spawn. However, this week the action is starting to pick up a little over brush in 12-15 feet of water at the mouths of creeks on the upper end.  On the lower end fish are starting to set up in 20-25 feet of water on structure. Minnows have been working well for the author in the Ballentine area, but fish are finicky and light-line and a generally down-sized presentation have been essential. 

The catfish bite is getting really good as the spawn approaches, and Captain William Attaway with Slick Willie’s Guide Service (803-924-0857)reports that there have been big blue cats in the 40- plus pound range as well as large flatheads caught on the upper end around secondary points and creeks in less than 20 feet of water. For these fish perch, gizzard shad and bream are all working. For channel catfish it’s as simple as fishing from the bank out to about 18-22 feet, and fish can be found around points, secondary points and humps (marked by DNR buoys) in all the creeks and off the whole main lake. The same baits will work, for more bites dip baits are hard to beat as the water warms. Herring is also good although less durable.  

April 19

Lake Murray water levels are right around 358 (full pool is 360.00) and the water is clearer than it has been most of the spring.  Morning surface water temperatures are around 68 degrees on the main lake. 

It’s a pretty exciting time for striped bass fishing on Lake Murray, and Captain Brad Taylor with Taylor Outdoors (803-331-1354) reports that you can catch fish about any way you want to right now. Brad is catching some fish off points on the main lake that are feeding on spawning threadfin herring, but in the lower lake the herring spawn is wide open around the banks. Overall the best pattern seems to be pulling planer boards in about the 14-20 foot range off points both on the main lake and inside the mouths of major creeks and covering water.  

There are also huge rafts of birds still on the lake, and each morning you can catch schooling fish under them at daylight. Some days they are mostly keepers, and then other mornings it will be little fish – but the action is fast when you find it. 

You can also down-rod fish in about 35 feet in the middle of deeper coves, although for Brad this has been a pattern where most of the fish are just under the slot. 

Finally, the cut bait bite has been really good anchoring in about 15-20 feet of water and throwing both deeper and shallower. 

There are also a ton of different ways to approach the bass, and veteran angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that the upcoming full moon should see another massive wave of spawning fish. There are also pre-spawn and post-spawn fish around the herring points that can be caught on the usual suspects of flukes, swimbaits and topwater lures, but Stan has actually found the best action around bank grass. Floating worms, frogs and Senkos have all been working well. And of course docks are holding a lot of fish, especially in the clear lower lake. 

As for the crappie, the consensus from Captain Brad and veteran tournament angler Tommy Slice of Chapin is that it’s a bit of a transition period as most fish recover from the spawn. However, a decent number of crappie are starting to show up on 15-20 foot deep brush and docks again.

More to follow.

April 11

Lake Murray water levels are at 357.98 (full pool is 360.00) and the water had mostly cleared – before this round of rain.  Morning surface water temperatures are around 61 degrees in the front section of creeks. 

Cooler temperatures have delayed things a bit on Lake Murray, and Captain Brad Taylor with Taylor Outdoors (803-331-1354) reports that the herring that were starting to spawn seem to have backed out a bit. They are finding some really nice striped bass on main lake flats and humps in about 10 feet of water or less, but the biggest schools of fish seem to be inside creeks on the lower end. While they have caught a few fish on the Lexington side, the north side which warms faster has been more productive. 

The best depth range day-in and day-out has been about 25-30 feet of water, but they are also catching some fish as shallow as 12-15 feet. Planer boards have been working well but they are also catching fish casting under diving birds with swimbaits or topwater lures! 

In case you missed it, check out this informational video from Taylor Outdoors about line set-up for planer boards. 

The night bite around lights has been good this week, too!

There are several different patterns going on for Lake Murray bass, and tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that with a mix of pre-spawn, spawning and post-spawn fish you can fish a bunch of different shallow water techniques. For fish that aren’t yet locked onto a bed throwing a shaky head or Senko around pockets and docks is a good bet, and then of course you can use traditional sight-fishing techniques for bed fish. These are mainly on the lower end right now. There is also a sporadic, early herring spawn going on which means topwater baits, flukes and swimbaits for mainly post-spawn fish – and this should get much better by the weekend and into next week with the 80-degree weather coming. 

That’s all consistent with the report from veteran angler Stan Gunter of Saluda, who adds that there are more pre-spawn fish right now than usual with the periodic cool fronts. For both pre-spawn and post-spawn fish Stan has actually found a really good frog bite around grass.   

The consensus is that the crappie are much further along in their spawn now, and veteran tournament angler Tommy Slice of Chapin reports that at least 75% of the fish and an even higher percentage of the more mature crappie have already spawned. On the lower end it may be even more.  

While there are obviously a few fish that can be caught around the banks, particularly further up the lake where there is a bigger populations of crappie, a lot of post-spawn fish are around relatively shallow brush, stumps and shade recovering from the spawn near the bottom.  Early and late they can be found in 10 feet of water or less, while during the middle of the day they are more likely to be found in 15-20 feet of water. 

Captain Brad adds that some fish are starting to return to bridges and deep docks. 

The catfish bite has definitely picked up in the last two weeks, and Captain William Attaway with Slick Willie’s Guide Service (803-924-0857)reports that channel catfish can be caught all over the lakes in 5-25 feet of water as they get into pre-spawn feeding mode. About any bait will work but cut shad and herring have both been very good. There are also some good blue cats being caught up the rivers on the main channel either drifting or anchoring with big gizzard shad. This bite should only get better. 

 

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