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AHQ INSIDER Lake Murray (SC) Fall Fishing Report – Updated October 5

  • by Jay

The newest Lake Murray fishing report, updated October 20, can be found at:

October 5

Lake Murray water levels are down to 354.63 and dropping (full pool is 360.00), and water temperatures are around the mid- to upper-70s.  Clarity has been good.

In striped bass news, Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that as temperatures rebounded fish moved back out to deeper water and pulled out of the creeks, and he has found the most fish 30-50 feet down in about 50 feet of water at the mouth of creeks.  Down-lines have been the best way to target them.  There has been some isolated schooling action but it’s not like it was.

Crappiecan also be found at the mouth of creeks, with the best numbers in the middle part of the lake where the fish are following the big schools of threadfin shad.  Fish can be caught 12-15 feet down in about 15-20 feet of water, with brush, docks, or most any cover in that depth range holding them.

Bassremain in a transition period, and overall the bite has still been a little tough.  When temperatures cool a few more degrees fishing should get more predictable.  Good numbers can be caught throwing a buzzbait around the bank, but getting better fish has been a challenge.

September 15

Lake Murray water levels have stabilized around 355.18 (full pool is 360.00), and water temperatures have fallen into the mid-70s.  Overall the lake is pretty clear, but there are some areas where the wind has really stirred up the silt and stained it.  The river is pretty dirty.

Bassare in a transition period, and veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that with days getting shorter as well as weather changes bait seems to be starting to move into the creeks in a typical fall move.  Fish are transitioning out of their summer pattern and getting shallower.  They are in different places that 4-6 weeks ago around the time that the FLW Championship was here, and Doug says that a lot of fish are in the last places they go before transitioning to the bank.  Instead of being in 18-20 feet of water now they are more likely to be found in 8-13 feet.  While fish can still be caught in some of the same places as during the Cup, they are more likely to be smaller ones.  But until the lake turns over fish will be chasing bait/ suspending and so throwing something like a Pop-R that can cover water is a good bet.

While fish are headed towards the bank, many are holding in the middle of bays and pockets as where a drain runs back into a cove.  Others are relating to subtle underwater points.  Instead of positioning your boat where you can cast onto the bank try staying two casts off of it.  Dropping water levels before the storm is another reason fish have been hesitant to get close to the bank.

The Oakley Big Bass Tournament is next weekend, and for the last couple of years most of the big fish have been caught shallow on buzzbaits.  If you like fishing this way try throwing a small buzzbait or a floating worm in about 3-6 feet of water slightly off the bank.

On the striped bass side, Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that from Burton Point to Dreher Island there has been a lot of schooling activity.  Fish seem to be related to the channel, and it seems as if their positioning has a lot to do with bait migrations.  Since SCE&G stopped pulling water to lower the lake before the storm it seems like fish have started heading back into the creeks, after briefly backing up when they were pulling last week.  There are still some fish in the extreme lower pool.

While fish can be caught in 30-40 feet on down-lines or on free-lines, right now it seems that the best fish are being caught schooling.  While it’s a random bite and fish could come up in the morning, mid-day or evening, if you stick with it in areas where bait is present they will come up.

A nice Lake Murray striper caught recently on Brad Taylor's boat
A nice Lake Murray striper caught recently on Brad Taylor’s boat

On the crappie front, Brad says that fish are starting to bite over 15-20 foot brush at the mouths of creeks.

Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports no change in the catfishbite.

September 1

Lake Murray water levels are at 356.57 (full pool is 360.00), and water temperatures have dropped into the lower 80s.  Clarity is still good.

After an extremely successful Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray in the middle part of the month, many people thought that bass fishing on Lake Murray in August was no longer bass fishing on Lake Murray in August.  They watched a parade of anglers rotate through offshore spots, often loaded up with cane piles, and throw topwater baits including pencil poppers, Spooks, flukes and more to draw up suspended bass or target actively busting fish.  Anglers new to this technique who followed the action online, or who followed in a boat and were actually able to mark waypoints, thought they would also be able to match the 20-pound sacks caught during the event.

In the weeks following the tournament it has become apparent that, while the offshore suspended pattern has now gone mainstream, Lake Murray in August is still tough.  The FLW anglers (and locals fishing around the same time) hit a really good week for a variety of reasons, but weights have dropped significantly since then.  Some of the best anglers on the lake fished a roughly 50-boat benefit tournament last Saturday, and only about 20 anglers weighed in.  The winning anglers were Andrew Allen and Chris Vickery from Greenwood, and they won the event with a weight in the 17s.  They caught five fish all day on three cane piles, showing that the pattern is certainly still there, but don’t expect to catch 20 pounds every time you do it.

One other pattern is about to come online.  The shallow bite is still off, but as the fall progresses expect more fish to be caught on buzzbaits around the bank.  In the Oakley Big Bass Tournament September 23-24 expect some of the better fish to be caught this way.

In striped bass news, Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that with cooling water temperatures the pattern has started to change a little.  The bulk of the fish are still being caught on down rods fishing live herring, but the depth range is now 40-80 feet.  The shallower end of that range has more small fish.  There is also some schooling on the lower end, and locating these fish is simply a matter of keeping your eyes open.  These same fish are also being caught on free-lines fished out over open water when they are not busting on the surface.  Right now the bulk of the better fish are in the main water between Shull Island and the dam, and as you start to go back in the creeks you can locate plenty of smaller ones.  Before long bigger fish will start to go into the creeks following threadfin shad schools.

A nice late summer Murray striper caught on Captain William Attaway's boat
A nice late summer Murray striper caught on Captain William Attaway’s boat

On the crappie front, Brad reports that with cooling temperatures fish should be starting to turn back on.  Like the striper they will be pushing back into creeks to eat small threadfin shad, and that means right now you should look in the mouths of creeks up the lake around brush.  10 feet down over about 15-20 feet is a good place to start.  Fish will also be found around deeper docks in the 15-foot range.

In catfishnews, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that 30 feet continues to be a good depth range to target during the day, while at night 15-25 feet is a good range.  Fish will be found off long points and humps, and fishing the deeper side of channel buoys on the lake is a good bet.  Dip baits are hard to beat although the herring bite has also been picking up.