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AHQ INSIDER Lake Murray (SC) Spring 2020 Fishing Report - Updated March 13

  • by Jay

March 13

Lake Murray water levels are at 357.62 (full pool is 360.00), and the whole lake down to John’s Creek is heavily stained.  Because the water is dirty it is warming faster than clear water would, and surface temperatures are already into the high 50s. 

Lake Murray

We are getting into a very good period for bass fishing on Lake Murray, and veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that in his opinion based on current temperatures and the forecast we are less than 7-10 days away from the first wave of spawning activity.  Already fish are moving shallower, with their depth depending in part on water clarity. In dirtier areas up the lake most of the fish are in less than 5 feet of water, while in the cleaner water down the lake most fish are in 5-10 feet.

This is a time of year when you can do a lot of different things, and fish are feeding on schools of bait at different times in different sections of the lake.  In the lower lake first thing in the morning they are relating to herring that pulls up into the ditches overnight, and the bass will take any of a variety of baits that imitates a blueback herring.  In the upper lake they are keying on shad that will move into warm pockets in the afternoon.  Look for the presences of birds or bait flipping and throw a spinnerbait or crankbait. 

As fish move towards the spawn they will often be relating to points near spawning coves, although there are still days when they will cruise the bank or set up in pockets.  They will be relating to whatever cover they can find in those areas, be it a dock or a tree.  A worm is a good bait choice, and at this time of year a light sinker is important as Lake Murray bass seem to want a slow fall. 

When fish start to spawn some will do it in traditional protected coves, although other fish will spawn deeper on Lake Murray.  This year it will probably be more difficult to see spawning bass in the stained water. 

Finally, as temperatures hit the upper 50s and continue to rise we are not far from a buzzbait becoming effective. 

It’s easy to tell that spring is coming with the striped bass, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that fish are heading into the backs of creeks and ditches following bait as the water warms.  Brad has been finding the best action around Dreher Island and below, and fish are being caught pulling free-lines/ planer boards or even casting flukes and swimbaits at fish boiling in front of the boat.  There are still a lot of birds around. 

Generally the afternoon bite has been better when the temperatures warm and fish get more active and move shallower.  In the morning or when a cool front comes through fish are more likely to set up in the belly of the channel. 

On the crappie front, Captain Brad reports that many fish have moved mid-way into the creeks up the lake where they are being caught long-line trolling with jigs.  Longlining is also working well for fish that are further behind along the main channel, and there are also some very large fish being caught around docks and bridges.   

It is getting to be the time when you can fish for crappie however you want, and in the next week Brad expects some big fish to start spawning. 

The catfish bite remains tough on Lake Murray, but as water conditions improve Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that fish are starting to move shallower into 10-25 feet of water in both the creeks and off the main channel. While fish can be caught over the whole lake the middle section has been fishing the best, and anchoring is far-and-away the best pattern.  Expect a mixed bag of species but more channels. 

Right now fish are starting to feed up in preparation for the spawn so expect the bite to improve in the coming weeks.

February 27

Lake Murray water levels are at 357.64 (full pool is 360.00), and surface water temperatures range are around 52 degrees at the dam.  From the rivers down to Dreher Island there is red mud with trash and logs floating, and visibility is only about 6 inches at the mouth of Bear Creek.  There is some clearer water closer to the dam as well as back in some creeks. 

There is really no consistent pattern for Lake Murray bass right now, and veteran angler Captain Doug Lown reports that between cold fronts, rain, the power company pulling water, and high, muddy conditions there is not enough to stability for a good bite to develop and stay strong. The patterns are week-to-week and even day-to-day, and it is rare for anyone to catch fish very well one week and then replicate the bite the same way again the next.

Even though dirty water would normally have fish relatively shallow, cool fronts as well as pulling water has kept a lot of fish deep where some good bags have been caught. When temperatures do moderate then there have been some good bags caught shallow on crankbait and spinnerbaits. There were some fish staging on docks before this last cold front, and when temperatures moderate they should be up there again. 

The river is muddy and full of trash, and as a result Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that striped bass have moved down the lake. They have been caught back in the creeks in relatively clearer water, and they are suspended from the middle of the water column to the bottom in 35-50 feet. In addition to down lines some fish are being caught on planer boards and free-lines, and there has also been some bird activity. When gulls are diving on fish then double rigs with bucktails and spoons have been working.   

Right now there have been a lot of short fish caught. 

Captain Brad reports that the crappie bite continues to be tough up the lake with all the current, as crappie do not want to be in swift-moving, muddy water. The better fishing has been found in creeks down the lake tight-lining or long-line trolling with jigs in the creek runs. Fish are in 10-25 feet of water.

The catfish bite remains very tough on Lake Murray due to all the muddy water, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that it may be several weeks until conditions really improve. When the water settles out then the best bet should be anchoring on long humps and points close to the river channel. Herring, white perch and bream will all work.

February 18

Lake Murray water levels have stabilized at about 357.12 (full pool is 360.00), and surface water temperatures range from about 53 on the lower lake to the upper-40s up the lake. The lake ranges from muddy to stained. 

Despite the muddy conditions this weekend a good number of striped bass were caught up the river on Lake Murray, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that free-lines and planer boards accounted for most of the catch. Nearly all of the fish were good quality keepers. 

However, the bulk of the fish are still in places like Bear Creek, Beaverdam, and any of the ditches towards Ballentine. 18-mile creek has been full of fish. Most of these fish are just off the bottom in about 40 feet of water, and they can be caught best on down-lines. As conditions improve the patterns will change. 

While there have been a few good bags caught in recent tournaments, B.A.S.S. angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that overall bass fishing is tough on Murray. Since the water got dirty the shallow bite has been decidedly better than the deep bite, which was good about ten days ago before the flooding, but nothing is great. The best pattern has been fishing crankbaits, jigs and spinnerbaits back in the creeks around shallow points and rock.  Further up the lake is a mud hole and so overall the mid-lake section has been fishing the best. 

Reid McGinn and Andy Wicker with a nice bag in the CBC last week
Reid McGinn and Andy Wicker with a nice bag caught in the CBC last week

Until about a week ago Captain Brad reports that the crappie bite was getting good, but then the flooding of the last week really slowed it down. Just yesterday the current in the Big Saluda seemed to ease enough that a little fish activity could be spotted, but still the majority of the action has been on the Little Saluda side. 

The best pattern has been tight-lining at the mouths of major creeks along the main channel, fishing 8-12 feet down over 18-20 feet of water.  Jig and minnows are both working, and the best pattern may be fishing bright-colored jigheads tipped with plain minnows.

There have also been some big fish caught down in Hollow Creek and Horse Creek, although numbers are a little low.

January 29

Lake Murray water levels are up to 356.45 (full pool is 360.00), and surface water temperatures range from the lower 50s on the lower lake to the mid to upper-40s up the lake. Up the lake is muddy but the water clears as you come down. 

It’s not where you expect striped bass to be in the winter on Lake Murray, but Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that there are a lot of big fish in the lower pool between the dam and Spence Island.  The muddy water has pushed them down the lake, and a healthy population of herring that stay in the area give them a preferred food source. There are large numbers of gulls there as well, and when they come up schooling it is fairly easy to locate the fish. You can catch them about any way you want, from casting lures to pulling free-lines and planer boards to dropping down-lines at the fish.

There are also some fish up the rivers, and as the mud settles out that bite should be getting better. When you can see fish then casting double rigs is the best bet, and at other times you can pull free-lines and planer boards.

In last CATT tournament veteran bass fisherman Captain Doug Lown reports that he and his tournament partner weighed five fish caught on five different baits for 21 pounds and second place. However, one commonality is that most of the fish are in 10 feet of water or less right now, even though they are adjacent to deep water. Although temperatures dropped 10-15 degrees with the cold snap last week, they are starting to work their ways back towards areas where they will eventually spawn. Secondary, rocky points are often the most productive right now.

There are a number of variables affecting how the fish are setting up from day to day, including water temperature, lake level, current and visibility. These determine whether fish are suspended or not, which mostly dictates the choice of bait. When fish are suspended Alabama rigs and jerkbaits have been fishing well, and when they are not jigs, crankbaits and shakey heads are effective. 

In addition to fish starting to head in the direction of eventual spawning areas, they are also looking for the warmest water where they can feed. 

Perhaps the best bite going is for crappie, and Captain Brad reports that the action has gotten really good out over the river runs. It’s hard to believe but we are only about 6 weeks out from spawning fish and the bite is already picking up.

The best action has come tight-lining or trolling jigs or jigs tipped with minnows, and most of the fish have been about 8-12 feet down over 24 feet. Using sonar it is pretty easy to locate where the fish are located.

A nice crappie caught last winter with Captain Brad Taylor
A nice crappie caught last winter with Captain Brad Taylor

The catfish bite remains very tough on Lake Murray due to all the muddy water, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that it may be several weeks until conditions really improve.  When the water settles out then the best bet should be anchoring on long humps and points close to the river channel, as in February fish should be starting to head shallower into 25-30 feet of water.  Herring, white perch and bream will all work.

January 15

Lake Murray water levels are at 355.34 (full pool is 360.00), and surface water temperatures are in the mid-50s. There is lots of mud and current moving down the lake.

These are confusing times for bass and even more for bass fishermen on Lake Murray, and veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that right now they are catching all of the fish they are getting in less than ten feet of water, with some well less than that. The bait that had been really deep has now moved up shallower, and the good fishing that was taking place in deep water has died off. Usually this time of year when fish leave deep water they are not going back, but with highs in the 40s predicted for next week it’s anyone’s guess how the bass will respond. Further complicating things a few shallow spots are holding fish, but other similar spots are not. Finding the right areas can be difficult. 

Generally Doug advises that while fish are relatively shallow they want deep water close by, and you need to be fishing close to at least 20 feet of water. Fish are also out next to the channels, and most fish are at the mouths of creeks or out towards the main lake.  The best fishing has been early with lures like crankbaits when fish are feeding on bait, and after about 10 or 11 the fishing slows down and anglers need to fish jigs or a shakey head. 

Doug also notes that the lake has a lot of current right now, and since bass do not want to sit in cold current they are seeking out protected areas.

An influx of muddy water has made for less than ideal striped bass fishing, but Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that there have been some fish caught up the rivers pulling free lines and planer boards over the channel. However, the better fishing has been down the lake in less dirty water on both sides of Dreher Island. Here the fish are holding in about 30-40 feet of water, and down-lines, free-lines and planer boards are all catching fish. There have also been some fish caught on cut bait off the side of shallow points.

Fishing related to bird activity has been slow since the gulls are visual feeders.

Captain Brad reports that a few crappie have been caught up the rivers tight-lining over the main channel, but that bite slowed way down when conditions got muddy. When the water clears up again he looks for anglers to do well tight-lining again with jigs and minnows 8-15 feet down over the main channel.

The catfish bite has gotten very tough on Lake Murray, even though Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) did catch a big 45-pound fish his last time out. It was accompanied by only one small channel cat, and he has found that fish are scattered all over the place. Fish have been few and far between on electronics.

While that might suggest that drifting would be the best pattern, fish are so sluggish that that the better bet is to anchor down in areas where you find fish and try to wait them out until they take a bait. While there is no obvious pattern most of the fish seem to be in 20-60 feet of water.

A 45-pound monster caught this week with Captain William Attaway
A 45-pound monster caught this week with Captain William Attaway

 

December 24

Lake Murray water levels are up to 356.22 (full pool is 360.00), and surface water temperatures are in the low to mid-50s.  As of yesterday the lake was muddy from the river down to Buffalo Creek and it is only getting more stained. 

Striped bass fishing on Lake Murray has been tough, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that in the recent Midlands Striper Club tournament and in general catching good ones has not been easy. With the rain over the last couple of days it has only gotten harder.

With so much mud up the lake the best reports have been coming from below Buffalo Creek down to about the Gap. The best pattern has been to fish below the mud line with free-lines and planers boards and keep your eyes out for gulls, loons or any other signs of activity. Cover water until you find out what is working as overall the conditions are not very good right now. 

A nice striper caught with Captain Brad Taylor
A nice striper caught with Captain Brad Taylor

Captain Brad reports that crappie fishing has gotten tough with the influx of dirty water, but when there is enough time for the mud to settle out then fishing should improve again. Fish will be caught tight-lining at the mouths of creeks about 8-12 feet down off the bottom in 15-18 feet of water on jigs and minnows.  There are also some scattered fish off deeper docks and bridges.

The influx of dirty water has pushed Lake Murray bass towards the banks, and B.A.S.S. angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that probably the best way to catch them in these conditions is fishing a crankbait shallow. The midlake area is fishing the best right now.   There has also been a pretty good jigging spoon bite out in clearer water about 25 feet deep, and a jig has also been working well. It has been hard to catch numbers out deep but there have been some good ones biting. 

On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the mud is not good for catfish on Lake Murray, and when the water gets heavily stained they can be really hard to get to bite.  Besides looking for areas with some cleaner water, there may not be any very good pattern right now.  And unfortunately it takes longer for the mud to clear in cold conditions.

December 13

Lake Murray water levels are at 355.45 (full pool is 360.00), and surface water temperatures are in the mid to upper-50s. The lake was fairly clear before the rains of the last 24 hours.

Bass fishing has gotten pretty tough on Lake Murray, and veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that there are several different patterns going but nothing very good. A few fish have been caught shallow on crankbaits, a few have been caught up the rivers, and there has been some action on Alabama rigs – but there is no one pattern that is reliable. There are a lot of reports of fish biting short and not really taking lures. One problem may be that this time of year bass are focused on bait, and for now the bait is very deep.  Bass may just not be set up very well to be caught.

In the cooler months bass are looking to conserve energy, and they want access to deep water. Steep, 45 degree banks provide them the ability to move up and down the water column quickly and easily, and so these are the best places to look right now. Channel swings and points that drop off sharply are good, especially if there is some rock on them. Depth depends on the day, and drop shots and shakey heads can be good baits. If there is some wind a crankbait or an Alabama rig can be a good choice. 

Perhaps because the bait is so deep there have not been good reports on a jigging spoon.  

Likely as a result of the warm weather, Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that striped basshave been more spread out than is typical. They are in small groups of fish and are just not schooled up very well. As temperatures drop the action should improve.

For now anglers need to be very open-minded to catch fish, and using free-lines and planer boards they need to be willing to cover a ton of water. Go very shallow, pull baits over deep water, and zig and zag across the channel until you figure out where fish are holding. While there have been a bunch of small fish caught up the rivers, the better catchable concentrations of all sizes still seem to be the up the lake. Down the lake there are just too many places for fish to hide.  

The best schooling has come in the evenings. 

Captain Brad reports that crappiehave been caught tight-lining in the rivers, and the best action has been at the mouths of larger creeks up that way. Start out in about 15 feet of water and vary depths until you find the fish. 

While the big ones are roaming, there are some small fish that can be caught on docks and bridges.

On the catfishfront, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the bite has gotten slower although they are still catching fish. When temperatures drop he expects the action to pick up again.

For now anchoring has been the best way to catch fish, especially around points and long points close to the river channel.  Fan-cast bream and white perch at a variety of depths.  Herring will also work, but they will pick up a bunch of small fish.

November 21

Lake Murray water levels are at 355.96 (full pool is 360.00), and surface water temperatures range from the lower 60s to the mid-50s. Up the lake the water has turned over and had time to return to normal color, while on the lower lake the combination of rain and turnover has it very murky. 

Water temperatures are still mild, and B.A.S.S. angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that there continues to be a pretty good bass bite shallow. Fish are scattered throughout the lake, and when fish are like that you can throw about anything in the tackle box at them. Alabama rigs, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jigs, and shakey heads have been catching fish, and as of a couple of days ago there were still some bass being caught on topwaters.
There is also a deeper spoon bite just starting in 25-35 feet of water, but that will get better as more fish leave the shallows. 

Striped basshave gotten into a pretty reliable late fall/ early winter pattern, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that the best catches are taking place from Rocky Creek up. Both of the rivers have turned on, and anglers are fishing under the birds with double rigs with a bucktail and an ice fly. They are also pulling free-lines and planer boards.

There are still good numbers of fish that can be caught on down-lines but they are generally smaller. 

Captain Brad reports that crappiehave not totally turned on yet, and up the lake they are still out in the main river channel and have not really committed to the creeks. This should happen once water temperatures drop a few more degrees and bait moves in. 

Fish have been caught both trolling and tight-lining in open water, and there have also been a few fish caught off bridges and brush. The best depth range has been from about halfway to the bottom to the bottom in 18-20 feet of water.

On the catfishfront, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the bite continues to be strong. The best pattern is anchoring in the river channel with cut bream or white perch. Blues are making up a better and better part of the catch.

 

 

 

October 25

Lake Murray water levels are down to 355.75 (full pool is 360.00), and surface water temperatures have fallen into the lower 70s.  Up the lake the water has turned over, in the mid-lake there are some signs of turnover, and the lower lake has not yet turned over. 

It would not be accurate to say that the Lake Murray bass bite is strong right now, but veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that it is a lot better than it was a few weeks ago. In the most recent CATT tournament about 20 pounds won, and there were several sacks in the teens before weights really dropped off.

As temperatures drop fish are moving shallower, and they are being caught on baits fished up in the water column around the lower lake grass. Crankbaits and floating worms have both been producing, but fish do not want to come up for a topwater lure and it is impossible to fish on the bottom.

There have been a lot of big fish seen cruising around the banks, but as is typical when they first come shallow they are very hard to get to bite.  

Johnny Mayer and Chris Epting with 20+ pounds!

As expected in the fall striped bassare moving up the rivers, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that there is a mix of keepers and short fish up the lake. 

Pulling free-lines and planer boards has been working the best, but when you see fish blowing up on bait you can catch them casting. However, they don’t seem to want to come up to take a topwater lure like a Spook but they will take something subsurface like a fluke. There is some very sporadic schooling activity.

From the Buffalo Creek area down to Dreher Island there are also lots of good fish on the side of the channel in the high-30s to mid-40s. These fish are sometimes suspended at this depth and sometimes on the bottom, perfect for fishing down-lines.

Captain Brad reports that crappieare solidly in a fall pattern, and they are basically moving back and forth in the channel between the mouths of creeks, ledges, and channel turns. They will use brush as a stopping point while they follow schools of bait, and with the lake drawn down fish are pulled out even more than usual. 

Brush in 15-20 feet of water at the mouth of the creek channels is a good place to look, and up the river fish are also thick around deeper docks and bridges. There are also anglers tight-lining up and down the channel around the bridge at Big Man’s.

Both jigs and minnows are working.

On the catfishfront, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the bite has significantly improved in the last few weeks. The best fishing is in the creeks and rivers up the lake, and there has also been a group of fish around Wessinger Island. The best pattern is drifting or anchoring in 30-40 feet of water with cut bait, as the dip bait bite is done for the year. Blues are just starting to join the catch. 

 

 

October 3

Lake Murray water levels are down to 356.30 (full pool is 360.00), and surface water temperatures in the morning have risen back into the low to mid-80s. Clarity is normal.

There’s not much good to say about the fishing for Lake Murray bass, and veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that until we get a break in the weather that is unlikely to change. It only took 12 pounds to win the last tournament, and very few anglers were able to put a limit in the boat. 

There are signs that fish are feeding heavily at night as the morning bite is only a very short window, but when temperatures cool fish should start to relate to grass in the 6-10 foot range and actually feed. 

For now probably the best way to catch a decent fish is working the banks with a buzzbait early in the morning. Probably the best way to get several bites is to head up the rivers and fish flats and pockets with some cover. 

Mostly though, for things to really improve some cooling is needed.

Striped basscontinue to be in the top of the water column on Lake Murray, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that they are roaming a few feet below the surface, and from time to time they show themselves on top.

When fish aren’t on top and willing to chase lures, both free lines and shallow down lines are still working. Fish are in the main lake and the creeks, but the further back in creeks you go the smaller they get. There are significant numbers of good fish at the mouths of creeks from Shull Island to Buffalo Creek.

Captain Brad reports that there are good numbers of crappieganging up in creeks around large schools of threadfin shad and small fry. They can be from the mouth of the creek to the belly of the creeks, and a good depth range to prospect is 8-12 feet down over 15-20 feet of water. The bridges at the top of the lake are also producing.

Both jigs and minnows are working.

On the catfishfront, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the catfish are still very scattered but they are getting a few.  The best fishing is in the river channel, creek channels, or in flats off the river. Most of the fish that are being caught are still coming in 20-35 feet of water, and right now most of the fish are channels. Cut bait is the best option for drifting or anchoring.

 

September 19

Lake Murray water levels are down to 356.86 (full pool is 360.00), and surface water temperatures in the morning have cooled into the lower 80s. Clarity is normal.

It’s anyone’s guess how long it will last this time, but as he expected Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that the small drop in the temperature has set the striped bass back to schooling again. They are roaming a few feet below the surface, and from time to time they show themselves on top.

When fish aren’t on top and willing to chase lures, both free lines and shallow down lines are working. Fish are in the main lake and the creeks, but the further back in creeks you go the smaller they get. There are significant numbers of good fish at the mouths of creeks. 

Captain Brad reports that the crappiefishing has gotten good up the rivers around the bridges, and catch rates are really improving. They are also loaded up at the mouths of creeks in the upper lake over brush. Fish are in big schools, and they are mostly 5-10 feet down in 15-20 feet. Jigs and minnows will both work.

There’s not a lot of change in the pattern for Lake Murray bass, and FLW angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that earlier this week he was on the water and still found a really tough bite. Fish were not loaded up on offshore spots, and even mid-week they had to really work to get bit.

However, Andy believes that with the cold front that came through yesterday the bite should be on the verge of really taking off, and the next week could be really good. Fish should group up around the offshore spots where anglers have put cane piles and they should eat a fluke or topwater lure. 

Still, perhaps the best big fish pattern is to work the banks with a buzzbait or Whopper Plopper early and late.  

On the catfishfront, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the catfish are still very scattered but they are getting a few. The best fishing is in the river channel, creek channels, or in flats off the river. Most of the fish that are being caught are still coming in 20-35 feet of water, and right now most of the fish are channels. Cut bait is the best option for drifting or anchoring.

 

September 13

Lake Murray water levels are at 357.02 (full pool is 360.00), and surface water temperatures in the morning are back into the mid-80s. Clarity is normal.

In the cooler weather around the storm Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that striped bass schooled pretty well for a day or two, and then they went right back to the same pattern they have been in and fishing got a little tough. Some cool weather is needed to jump-start the bite again, although in Brad’s estimation the absolute temperatures are not the problem – the fact that it is moving in the wrong direction is. 

For right now fish remain in limbo between summer and fall patterns, but they are roaming across the lake from Shull Island down about 15-25 feet below the surface. Both free lines and shallow down lines are working. Fish are in the main lake and the creeks, but the further back in creeks you go the smaller the fish get. There are significant numbers of good fish at the mouths of creeks. 

Overall, any significant rain or cooling should set the fish back to schooling as they again seem ready to make the transition.

Just like the striper crappieare still related to bait that has pulled up relatively shallow, and Captain Brad reports that fish are roaming around the bridges up the lake following threadfin shad. While crappie won’t generally show themselves on the surface like bass or striper, if you see threadfin on the surface you are in the right area. 

Water quality is not great deeper and so most of the fish up the lake are within 6-8 feet of the surface, but they can be a little hard to catch. They don’t seem to want to chase baits being trolled, so casting or tight-lining with live bait has been the best pattern. 

The end of summer is usually a grind for bass fishing on Lake Murray, and FLW angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that this year is no exception. The best fish still seem to be coming running a buzzbait or Whopper Plopper around the banks early and late, and some good fish are being caught first thing around brush or lighted docks still holding fish that spent the night there. 

The best daytime pattern is looking for suspended fish that will come up to eat a fluke or topwater around offshore spots, but the action is not very widespread and fish are only on a few random spots. There are also deeper fish that can be caught around grass during the day.  

On the catfishfront, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that fishing is still a little slow but the best action has been in the river channel, creek channels, or in flats off the river. Most of the fish that are being caught are still coming in 20-35 feet of water, and right now most of the fish are channels. Cut bait is the best option for drifting or anchoring.  

 

 

September 5

Lake Murray water levels are at 357.62 (full pool is 360.00), and surface water temperatures in the morning have generally cooled into the lower 80s. Clarity is normal.

While schooling action has not been as widespread for striped bass as it was a week or two ago, Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that fish are still pretty shallow. Any time now he expects the schooling action to bust open again, and it could be that storm conditions today set it off. 

For right now fish are in limbo between summer and fall patterns, but they are roaming across the lake from Shull Island down about 15-25 feet below the surface. Both free lines and shallow down lines are working. Fish are in the main lake and the creeks, but the further back in creeks you go the smaller the fish get. There are significant numbers of good fish at the mouths of creeks. 

Overall, any significant rain or cooling should set the fish back to schooling as they seem ready to make the transition.

Just like the striper crappieare related to bait that has pulled up relatively shallow right now, and Captain Brad reports that fish are roaming around the bridges up the lake following threadfin shad. While crappie won’t generally show themselves on the surface like bass or striper, if you see threadfin on the surface you are in the right area. 

Water quality is not great deeper and so most of the fish up the lake are within 6-8 feet of the surface, but they can be a little hard to catch. They don’t seem to want to chase baits being trolling, so casting or tight-lining with live bait has been the best pattern. 

The end of summer is usually a grind for bass fishing on Lake Murray, and FLW angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that this year is no exception. The best fish seem to be coming running a buzzbait or Whopper Plopper around the banks early and late, and some good fish are being caught first thing around brush or lighted docks still holding fish that spent the night there.  

The best daytime pattern is looking for suspended fish that will come up to eat a fluke or topwater around offshore spots, but the action is not very widespread and fish are only on a few random spots. There are also deeper fish that can be caught around grass during the day.  

On the catfishfront, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that fishing has been a little slow but the best action has been in the river channel, creek channels, or in flats off the river. Most of the fish that are being caught are coming in 20-35 feet of water, and right now most of the fish are channels. Cut bait is the best option for drifting or anchoring.

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