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AHQ INSIDER Lake Murray (SC) Summer 2021 Fishing Report - Updated July 29

  • by Jay

July 29

Lake Murray water levels are still high at 358.08 (full pool is 360.00) and the Little Saluda is dingy while the Big Saluda is clear. The main lake is clear except for a green summer algae tint. Morning surface water temperatures on the big water are back up to about 84 degrees. 

The striped bass fishing is still about the same on Lake Murray, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that even though the morning bite may be a little stronger the daytime bite is also pretty good. His boat is catching fish 40-70 feet down in the lower lake on down-rods, and while at times the fish are flat on the bottom at other times they are suspended at that depth over deeper water. Basically the fish are related to the river channel right now. 

Recall that we are in the period where you can only catch five fish but you can keep those five regardless of the size. 

A good catch with Captain Brad Taylor
A good catch with Captain Brad Taylor

Even in the heat it remains a good bass bite on Lake Murray, and tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that there are still lots of suspended fish which are chasing herring. They are in about 14-17 feet of water, generally on the main lake or in the front section of creeks near the main lake. In places the fish are on cane, but in some of the best spots there is no cane and they are just related to structure. There are plenty of 4-5 pounders out there.

At times the fish are schooling and you can see them busting big herring on the surface, while at other times they just have to be called up. Flukes and topwater lures are both working. 

For the first two hours of the day there is also a good buzzbait bite around grass. Deep brush has not been very productive. 

The crappie fishing is a little slow in the summer heat, and Captain Brad reports that fish are very scattered between brush, deep bridges, deep docks or just suspended. Generally fish are in the 15-25 foot depth range, but Brad has also caught some fish up the shallower river 8 feet down over 12-13 feet. 

Fishing slowly with minnows is the best bet. 

Even though a few fish are still bedding, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the catfish spawn is mostly finished on Lake Murray and fish are starting to feed more again. The best time to fish is at night, and the best pattern is to fan-cast baits to the backs of coves and off secondary points in 1-15 feet of water where the fish have moved up to feed. Dip bait is hard to beat, but worms, cut bait, shrimp, chicken and more will all work.

If you are fishing during the day the best bet is to start early, and then as the sun comes up move out to 25-30 feet further off points and over humps.

July 21

Lake Murray water levels have jumped up about 6 inches to 357.97 (full pool is 360.00) and the rivers are getting muddy while the main lake still looks pretty good. Morning surface water temperatures on the big water have dropped to about 82 degrees. 

It may be late July but it’s still a really good bass bite on Lake Murray, and tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria (fresh off his third straight top-3 Tuesday night tournament result with his father Steve) reports that there are lots of suspended fish which are chasing herring to be caught. They are in about 14-17 feet of water, generally on the main lake or in the front section of creeks near the main lake. In places the fish are on cane, but in some of the best spots there is no cane and they are just related to structure. There are plenty of 4-5 pounders out there.

At times the fish are schooling and you can see them busting big herring on the surface, while at other times they just have to be called up. Flukes and topwater lures are both working. 

For the first two hours of the day there is a good buzzbait bite around grass, and the full moon should pull more bream up to spawn. And bass to feed on them.  

For the last week or two Andy has only caught small bass at night around green lights, and he has not been able to catch anything around deep brush. 

The striped bass fishing is still good throughout the day, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that his boat is catching fish 40-70 feet down in the lower lake on down-rods. At times the fish are flat on the bottom, and at times they are suspended at that depth over deeper water. Basically the fish are related to the river channel right now. 

Recall that we are in the period where you can only catch five fish but you can keep those five regardless of the size. 

A good day recently with Captain Brad Taylor
A good day recently with Captain Brad Taylor

The crappie fishing is a little slow in the summer heat, and Captain Brad reports that fish are very scattered between brush, deep bridges, deep docks or just suspended. However, the key is to fish the 15-25 foot depth range with small minnows and work them very slowly. 

Catfish report to follow from Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857). 

July 8

Lake Murray water levels are at 357.65 (full pool is 360.00) and the water has normal summertime color. Morning surface water temperatures are in the low to mid-80s depending on section of the lake.  

It wouldn’t make sense to lead off with anything else but striped bass in a week and on a day when Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) rates the bite as “phenomenal.” Brad says that fish have generally been biting extremely well, and today in particular the frontal conditions apparently made for a really good bite. His boat is only fishing down-lines, and they have mainly been catching fish 45-70 feet down with some fish suspended and others on the bottom. You just have to look at your graph. 

This year Brad has seen fish as deep as they have been in a few years, and just last week he caught a fish in 122 feet of water on the bottom. They have also gotten into some good schools of 25-28 inch fish in 103 feet of water. On the other end of the range there are some fish from 30 feet up to the surface, but they are mainly small.

Everywhere Brad is fishing is within sight of the dam on the lower third of the lake. 

Recall that we are in the period where you can only catch five fish but you can keep those five regardless of the size. 

A strong catch this week with Captain Brad Taylor
A strong catch this week with Captain Brad Taylor

It’s earlier than expected, but this week veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that some bass have started to show up on cane piles in the main lake or big creeks and they have even been out there schooling. Fish will take topwater lures, including both hard baits and flukes. The schooling action is mostly concentrated early and late, but you can call up fish all day long over the cane. 

At the same time Stan notes that there has also been a decent shallow bite around bank grass with a frog or buzzbait early in the area from about Dreher Island down.      

This week tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria fishing with his father Steve had a good showing in the Tuesday night tournament, finishing in second place with a three-fish limit of 12 ¼ pounds. They caught fish doing a bunch of different things, and they caught two fish on the same type of suspended spots near cane that Stan is referencing. They got one good one on a buzzbait around a bream bed before dark, and then they caught two more on green lights with a worm after it got dark.  We are in the part of the year where you sometimes have to do a bit of everything to put a limit together. 

They are still catching some crappie in the summer heat, and Captain Brad reports that the best fishing is over brush in 15-27 feet of water at the mouths of creeks.  Depending on the day fish will move up and down in the water column, and it remains almost exclusively a minnow bite where you have to fish very slowly. 

Brad also notes that they are catching a lot of white perch in 20-40 feet of water on the bottom. 

There has also been a really good channel catfish bite in 8-20 feet of water at all the shoals off the main lake. 

June 24

Lake Murray water levels are down to 357.61 (full pool is 360.00) and the water is somewhat stained after recent rains with a green algae tint. Morning surface water temperatures have dropped into the upper 70s after the rain and with cooler days and nights.    

Lake Murray bass fishing is a little tough but it’s unclear which way it’s heading, and tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that we could be getting into the period where you have to fish the deeper patterns anglers go to in the heat of the summer. On the other hand, the weather has been so screwy and at times delayed that the fish could just be getting into early summer patterns and there could be some relatively shallow patterns about to take off. It’s really hard to know, but the bottom line is that the bite is not wide open today.  

There is still some schooling activity, although weird weather has made that pattern even more sporadic over the last few days. There should also be an above-average bream bed bite with the full moon this week, and lots of fish have been spotted roaming. However, fishing in recent night tournaments the best fish Andy has caught have come off of green lights!

On the other side of the clock, veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that for about an hour in the morning you can still catch a fish on a buzzbait, Pop-R or frog around bank grass or other shallow cover. 

However, from everything he is seeing and hearing the best bite is still around deep brush in 18 plus feet of water fishing on the bottom with Carolina rigs and shakey heads. 

There is not a lot of change with the striped bass this week, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that until temperatures rise a few more degrees he does not expect a lot of flux. Most fish are still being caught on the main lake on down rods fished 40-60 feet deep. Fish are relating to points, ridges, ditches and other main lake structure, and they are mostly grouped up in the lower 1/3. The bite is about the same all day long and Brad has not seen any schooling.  

Recall that we are in the period where you can only catch five fish but you can keep those five regardless of the size. 

The crappie have also stayed pretty stable, and Captain Brad reports that the best fishing is still over brush in 15-25 feet of water at the mouths of creeks. It’s been almost exclusively a minnow bite and you have to fish very slowly. 

We are still in the midst of the catfish spawn on Lake Murray, but Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that they don’t all get in holes, around undercut boat ramps and in riprap at the same time and so some good channel cats can still be caught. Fish are from 20 feet to the banks, generally shallower at night and deeper when the sun is high.

While fish that are spawning aren’t really thinking about eating, both pre-spawn and post-spawn fish are usually gorging and if they are feeding the bait doesn’t normally make a whole lot of difference right now.  Cut herring, worms, shrimp, chicken, dip baits and more will all work. 

On the weekends you generally need to fish before the boat traffic gets bad or at night.

June 18

Lake Murray water levels are down to 357.89 (full pool is 360.00) and the water is generally relatively clear with a green algae tint. Morning surface water temperatures range from the upper 70s to the lower 80s.   

Lake Murray striped bass are getting into a pretty normal summer pattern, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that fish are mostly being caught on the main lake on down rods fished 40-60 feet deep. The cut bait bite is dwindling. Fish are relating to points, ridges, ditches and other main lake structure, and they are mostly grouped up in the lower 1/3. The bite is about the same all day long and Brad has not seen any schooling.  

Recall that we are in the period where you can only catch five fish but you can keep those five regardless of the size. 

A good one caught this week with Captain Brad Taylor
A good one caught this week with Captain Brad Taylor

Captain Brad has also had several successful crappie trips this week, and he reports that the best fishing has been over brush in 15-25 feet of water at the mouths of creeks. It’s been almost exclusively a minnow bite and you have to fish very slowly. 

There are not a lot of surprises with the bass fishing, and veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that for about an hour in the morning you can still catch a fish on a buzzbait, Pop-R or frog around bank grass or other shallow cover. Next week there could be a good bream bed bite on the full moon, but there have not been a lot of reports on that front this week. 

However, the best bite has been around deep brush in 18 plus feet of water fishing on the bottom with big worms and crankbaits. 

It usually requires the water to cool off a bit for the cane bite to kick in for suspended fish, but Stan has seen it in July and so it’s worth starting to check before too long. 

Also, tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that there are still some schooling fish although that bite is not great. 

Even though the catfish are spawning right now on Lake Murray Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that they don’t all get in holes, around undercut boat ramps and in riprap at the same time and so some good channel cats can still be caught. Fish are from 20 feet to the banks, generally shallower at night and deeper when the sun is high.

While fish that are spawning aren’t really thinking about eating, both pre-spawn and post-spawn fish are usually gorging and if they are feeding the bait doesn’t normally make a whole lot of difference right now.  Cut herring, worms, shrimp, chicken, dip baits and more will all work. 

On the weekends you generally need to fish before the boat traffic gets bad or at night.

June 9

Lake Murray water levels are at 358.12 (full pool is 360.00) and the water is generally relatively clear with a green algae tint. Morning surface water temperatures have dropped into the upper 70s.  

It’s not what you would expect at this time of year, but tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that the bass have been schooling over relatively deep water. The bite is on the main lake in the mid-lake section, and even though the fish are in 15-20 feet on offshore structure where anglers have put out cane they are not relating to the cane. A variety of topwater baits will catch them, and it’s honestly been more like a fall bite than an early summer pattern.  

Early in the morning veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that you can also catch fish on a frog or buzzbait around bank grass, and during the day there is also some action around bream beds where bass are feeding. They will take topwater lures or soft plastics. 

The deeper bite has also gotten better around brush in 15-18 feet, and fish will take both big worms and crankbaits. 

The threadfin shad spawn has really cranked up again very early in the morning, and around the docks at Riverwinds Landing Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that this morning the shad were going crazy. However, he is still mostly targeting striped bass that are in about 40 feet of water on the mid- to lower lake. The fish start out on the bottom and they will take down-lines, but once you get the schools activated they will come up to take free-lines (he keeps a couple cast out) and you can even cast swimbaits. Cut bait is also working.  While the main lake is holding fish, there are also plenty of fish still in the major creeks. 

Recall that we are in the period where you can only catch five fish.

The crappie bite has been extremely strong for the last few days, and Captain Brad reports that he has been having exceptional results over brush in 15-20 feet on the upper end of the lake. Fish are all over, however, and for the middle and lower end he suggests adding 5 feet to the depth range. Generally they are close to the bottom, but wind and cloud will sometimes pull them higher in the water column. 

Fish are at the mouths of the creeks moving to the main lake, but they have paused since the water temperature dropped several degrees.

The catfish spawn is underway on Lake Murray, but Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that from 20 feet to the banks the channel cats are still feeding pretty well. They are generally shallower at night and deeper when the sun is bright. Cut herring, worms, shrimp, and dip baits will all work. 

On the weekends you generally need to fish before the boat traffic gets bad or at night.

A surprise recent catch with Captain Brad Taylor
A surprise recent catch with Captain Brad Taylor

May 27

Lake Murray water levels are at 358.08 (full pool is 360.00) and the water is relatively clear. Surface water temperatures in the morning are around 80 degrees.

Right now the striped bass on Lake Murray are keying on spawning threadfin shad, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that can make for a bit of a tricky bite. The threadfin spawn similarly to the herring off flat areas and points in shallow water, but unlike the herring they head back to deep water right after daylight.  The striper can turn off when they leave, almost like they know a food truck has left but will eventually be coming back. 

After the early, shallow bite is over, fishing with down-rods is a good pattern when fish move off points and ledges into 30-50 feet of water. The mouths of creeks are holding some fish, but as water temperatures have shot up they have pretty much left the backs and most of the action is on the main lake. 

Probably the best bite day-in and day-out right now is coming on cut bait, and as always anglers want to cover a variety of depths with cut herring. 

When tournament anglers Andy Wicker of Pomaria and Stan Gunter of Saluda both report that the bass fishing has gotten tough you know it’s bad sign, and right now both anglers point out that tournament weights are low and about 10 pounds has been enough to get a check. This is likely a result of the fact that the herring bite is tailing off and nothing good has really replaced it yet, as it won’t be until later in the summer that fish really start to set up on cane piles. 

Probably as good as any pattern is to throw a frog or buzzbait around bank grass, and if you can find bream beds there should also be some bass hanging around that will take topwater lures or soft plastics. 

Finally, you can also throw a worm around deep brush in 15-18 feet but the fish don’t really seem to have gotten out there yet.

The sudden blast of summer heat has pushed the crappie a little deeper, but like a person who needs to bundle up when it first gets cool but then learns to get along with just a sweater Captain Brad reports that the fish should come a bit shallower again before too long. 

For now they are generally about 10-12 feet down over brush and docks in 15-20 feet of water, and they have pulled out towards the main channel. However, in a week or two they should push back to some of their shallower haunts. 

A good catch of striper and crappie on the dock at Riverwinds Landing
A good catch of striper and crappie on the dock at Riverwinds Landing

The spawn should be getting very close, but for now it’s still a wide open shallow bite for catfish on Lake Murray.  Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that from 20 feet to the banks the channel cats are feeding well, but they are generally shallower at night and deeper when the sun is bright. Cut herring, worms, shrimp, and dip baits will all work. 

On the weekends you generally need to fish before the boat traffic gets bad or at night.

May 19

Lake Murray water levels are at 358.06 (full pool is 360.00) and the water is clearing again after last week’s rains. Surface water temperatures in the morning are around 72-73 degrees. 

There are already some early signs of striped bass moving deeper on Lake Murray, and this week Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) has had a couple of days where he found fish out 40-50 plus feet deep. However, the more consistent bite is still pulling free-lines and planer boards down to about 20 feet. The fish are very scattered, with some in 12-15 feet of water and some over water as deep as 80 feet.  Brad has been finding the best action in the creeks, where even though there are a ton of small fish more of the good ones also seem to be. 

The big picture is that right now water temperatures have not gotten super warm and so most of the fish are roaming all over the lake in relatively shallow water. However, very soon almost everything will be coming on down-lines. 

The bass fishing is in a bit of a transition stage, and tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that there are still some herring fish that can be caught on points with flukes, Spooks and Sebilles, but that bite has been a little sporadic. That’s not unexpected, and it could be that the spawn is winding down or it could just be that the action is a little off. Every year is different and some are better than others.

Later this month there should get to be a bream bed bite, and fishing shakey heads, Senkos and topwater lures should work. There are also lots of post-spawn fry guarders around docks.

Finally, there are fish being caught running the bank with a buzzbait. 

Oh yeah - and they'll eat live herring, too!
Oh yeah - and they'll eat live herring, too!

The crappie bite has been very good, and Captain Brad reports that the fish are feeding well around shallow brush and deeper docks in the 12-15 foot range. Fish have been suspended 4-8 feet down. Jigs have been working the best although minnows will also catch fish. 

It’s still a wide open shallow bite for catfish on Lake Murray, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that from 20 feet to the banks the channel cats are really feeding in this pre-spawn period – even as a few early fish should also be getting ready to spawn. Since water temperatures are still moderate the bite should stay hot for a week or more. In addition to cut herring, worms, and shrimp, the dip bait bite has come on with water temperatures in the 70s. 

On the weekends you generally need to fish before the boat traffic gets bad because then the fish won’t feed as well. Night is another good time to fish. 

May 6

Lake Murray water levels are at 358.10 (full pool is 360.00) and water temperatures are in the lower 70s. Even after recent rains clarity is still good. 

It’s been an exceptional week for striped bass on Lake Murray, and Monday Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that he had what will be one of his four or five best days of the year. They caught a ton of fish in the 8-10 pound range. When they find a wad of fish really piled up then flipping free-lines has been the preferred technique, but in general pulling free-lines and planer boards has been the best pattern. The creeks and main lake have both been fishing about the same, and around 20 feet has been the preferred depth. 

A ton of fish can be caught on down-lines, but the keeper ratio is lower this way. Some fish have also been caught on cut bait on shoals above Dreher Island. 

Just the like the striper the bass fishing is really good right now on Lake Murray, and tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that it’s pretty much all about the herring spawn. There are some straggler fish on beds, but most fish are post-spawn and feeding up on spawning bluebacks. It’s wide open on main lake points, and it’s that time of the year where the bite continues all day. Of course sunny, windy days are the best. 

The usual baits are working right now, including flukes, Spooks, Sammys and swimbaits. 

A winning fish from the Big Bass Tour this weekend
A winning fish from the Big Bass Tour this weekend

It has not gotten warm enough for crappie to get out on deeper brush right now, but Captain Brad reports that the fish are starting to feed up pretty well again around shallow brush and deeper docks in the 10-12 foot range. Those depths are for the upper lake, and in the clearer water down the lake you need to add a few feet. The best bite has been on minnows. 

It’s still a wide open shallow bite for catfish on Lake Murray, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that from 20 feet to the banks the channel cats are really feeding in this pre-spawn period – even as a few early fish should also be getting ready to spawn. The bite should stay hot for a couple more weeks. In addition to cut herring, worms, and shrimp, the dip bait bite is starting to get good as water temperatures heat up. 

On the weekends you generally need to fish before the boat traffic gets bad because then the fish won’t feed as well. Night is another good time to fish. 

April 27

Lake Murray water levels are up to 358.15 (full pool is 360.00) and water temperatures are in the upper 60s. 

The striped bass bite has not been quite what one expects in late April recently, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that the fish are not really up on the points chasing spawning herring the way they often are. That could change with the hot weather this week, but right now it seems like the fish backed off just a little.  There are tons of fish being caught on down lines, but they majority of these are short fish. It’s not unusual right now to catch 40 or more fish but for less than a quarter of them to be keepers. 

One of the best patterns for catching better fish right now is to fish free lines and planer boards and just cover a ton of water all over the place. The other pattern which can generate less but bigger bites is to fish cut bait on the main lake. Set up in places where you can cover a broad range of depths. 

A happy angler caught this striped bass with Captain Brad Taylor
A happy angler caught this striped bass with Captain Brad Taylor

While the bass seem to be keying on the spawning herring a little better than the striper, the bass bite is also not exactly what you would usually expect for the end of April. Veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that in the Major League Fishing event on Murray this past weekend a lot of the anglers were actually bed fishing, and there were other prominent patterns besides targeting herring such as fishing the bank grass with a frog or buzzbait. Usually at this time of year it is close to “all about the herring” in big tournaments. You can also catch fish around docks on a shakey head.

At the same time, by Stan’s estimation the herring bite is about to really get good, and he expects the action to be strong around points, humps and shoals on the main lake and the bigger creeks. Topwater lures such as flukes, Spooks and a Sammy should work, although last year they actually did better with a Red Eye Shad, Carolina rig and shakey head. Stan expects this bite to stay good for a while. 

By this weekend tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria also expects the herring bite to be wide open, and he expects it to last for much of the next month. There should also be some fish that are related to bream before long. 

The crappie fishing is improving right now, and Captain Brad reports that fish are starting to get out of a post-spawn slump and feeding up around docks, bridges, and even some brush.  Particularly up the lake he is finding them in about 10-15 feet of water, generally fishing about 6 feet down with small minnows and casting jigs.  In the clearer water on the lower end you may need to fish a little deeper.

April 16

Lake Murray water levels are up to 358.04 (full pool is 360.00). The lake is fairly clear but starting to get a green tint due to algae growth. Water temperatures have dropped but are in the mid to upper 60s. 

It’s many people’s favorite time of the year to fish on Lake Murray, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that the blueback herring are up spawning and the striped bass are all over the points most of the day. Brad is fishing a lot on the lower end of the lake, but this is going on in creeks all over the lake. First thing some anglers are casting lures at the points, but the predominant pattern for most people is pulling planer boards.   

There is also some good cut bait action in areas where anglers can cover a broad range of depths. 

It’s a little bit different story with the bass, and both tournament anglers Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports and Stan Gunter of Saluda report that it’s something of an in-between stage on Murray. This is probably due to the spawn, and there are still both pre-spawn and post-spawn fish on Murray as well fish on beds. The bass are just starting to gang up on the herring points, generally as they come off of beds. 

Another strong pattern has been fishing weighted swimbaits around docks. 

There are a lot of different things going on with the crappie on Lake Murray, and Captain Brad reports that there a few fish around docks, a few fish around the banks spawning that can be caught on a jig and cork, and a few around bridges. Most of the fish are spawning and post-spawn, but a few are still coming up. 

Right now it can be hard to get some of the post-spawn fish to bite, but as they recover from the spawn they should get back on brush and start to feed. Others will feed on fry around docks in the coming weeks. 

It’s a wide open shallow bite for catfish on Lake Murray, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that from 20 feet to the banks the channel cats are really feeding in this pre-spawn period. In addition to cut herring, worms and shrimp the dip bait bite is starting to get good as water temperatures heat up. Even though the majority of fish will spawn in May and June, some will spawn in April. Channels will go first, then blues, then flatheads.

On the weekends you generally need to fish before the boat traffic gets bad because then the fish won’t feed as well. Night is another good time to fish. 

A nice channel caught with Captain William Attaway
A nice channel caught with Captain William Attaway

April 2

Lake Murray water levels have dropped several inches in the last 24 hours to 357.99 (full pool is 360.00). The lower lake is clear while the mid-lake has a healthy stain. Water temperatures have dropped abruptly in the last 24 hours and they were 57 at Dreher Island this morning.  At the dam they have held about 58 all day. 

At blast-off this morning in the benefit bass tournament for the Little Mountain Fire Department veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that the air temperature was 30 degrees, and while he’s not sure what the wind chill is at 70 miles per hour he knows it was cold!  As would be expected the fishing suffered from the cold blast, but Stan and his tournament partner Chris Vickery managed 16.23 pounds to finish 5th out of 78 teams. 19 pounds won and it was obvious the cold front had put a hurting on the bite. 

Earlier in the week a lot of fish were on beds, and one competitor said he had marked 30 fish on beds but only a few were still there today.   Stan did not catch a single fish off a bed. Instead they found the fish pulled out just a little to 4-6 feet of water, and first thing they were set up on rocky points. Later in the day they caught them around the floats of floating docks with a weighted swimbait.   They also fished an Alabama rig today.  They caught fish in the mid-lake, tried the lower lake with no success, and then went back to the mid-lake and resumed catching them. 

Stan with a good one caught in the cold
Stan with a good one caught in the cold

The striped bass are doing what they are supposed to do in April, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that the fish are in the back of creeks and starting to set up on shallow points. He is catching them casting plugs and flukes at the points, and they are also catching them pulling free-lines and planer boards. They are only catching small fish on down-lines. 

It’s still textbook spring crappie fishing on Lake Murray, and Captain Brad reports that it’s easy to catch fish with a cork and jig (or minnow) all over the banks. There is also another wave of fish that will spawn after this one, and they are still suspended in the creek channels and can be caught trolling. Docks are also still holding fish as is select brush. 

While he has mostly been fishing up the river, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the same catfish pattern is taking place across the lake where fish are setting up in 5-20 feet of water as they start to get into a pre-spawn feeding mode. The cooler weather may push them towards the deeper end of that range, but once they get intent on moving shallower they won’t go far. Cut gizzard shad and white perch are working the best. 

Even though the majority of fish will spawn in May and June, some will spawn in April.  Channels will go first, then blues, then flatheads. 

March 25

Lake Murray water levels are at 357.86 (full pool is 360.00). Up the lake the water has a little color to it but the lower end is clear. Morning surface water temperatures are in the process of shooting up from the upper 50s to 60s. 

It’s a time of year and a week where things are changing really fast, and out on the water right now veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that he expected to see a ton of bass up shallow. There have been reports of buck bass all over beds, but so far he has not seen as many better fish up shallow as he expected. One good fish came off a bed but the numbers don’t seem to be there quite yet. 

With that set, as water temperatures shoot upwards it’s hard to imagine that by this weekend bass will not be all over the banks. Stan recommends spinnerbaits, floating worms, and Bang O’ Lures, and he also likes a swimbait around docks. We are already in the period where bass at all three stages of the spawn can be found.

Very soon there is every reason to think that the herring spawn will get started in the creeks, and the last few years he has caught some pre-spawn fish on the herring points. With the water temperatures rising so fast right now that is likely to happen again this year. 

Consistent with that report, Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that in the morning he has been casting at points for striped bass and in addition to striper they have caught some largemouth this way. That’s not because the herring spawn has started yet, but the fish seem to know it’s coming and are setting up accordingly. 

Overall the best way to catch fish is pulling free-lines and planer boards, and there seem to be more fish in the creeks right now than on the main lake. There are also some fish being caught on cut bait, but for that pattern to get really good the water temperatures probably need to get out of the 50s (which is imminent).   The best way to fish cut bait is to anchor in 15-18 feet of water near humps and ridges off of the channel where you can throw baits at both shallower and deeper water.

A good day on Lake Murray with Captain Brad Taylor
A good day on Lake Murray with Captain Brad Taylor

Textbook spring crappie fishing is here, and Captain Brad reports that right now you can catch the fish about however you want. There are a bunch of fish spawning right now, and you can beat the banks and catch them around most any shallow cover. You can also troll jigs for pre-spawn (and soon post-spawn) fish. Some fish are still set up on mid-depth brush but those numbers are diminishing. 

On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the bite is starting to change and the creeks in the mid-lake are beginning to fish the best. Fish are in about 10-25 feet of water but moving shallower. Cut herring is the best bait. 

March 19

Lake Murray water levels are up to 358.04 (full pool is 360.00). The water is stained and there is lots of debris floating after recent rains. Morning surface water temperatures range from about 53 at the dam to 60 in creeks on the north side. 

Things have changed quickly on Lake Murray, and tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that by last weekend there were already a bunch of bass spawning on Lake Murray. Cool, rainy and windy weather does not seem to have brought another major wave of bass onto beds this week, but there are still a lot of fish up – particularly on the north side of the lake which warms faster. These fish can be found in spawning pockets and they will take soft plastics such as a shakey head worm or weightless soft stick worm. 

There are still a few fish deep, but there are more pre-spawn fish roaming around pockets or just outside of them or staged up around docks. Alabama rigs and jigs are both good options. 

Water temperatures have risen on Lake Murray, and as a result Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that the striped bass have moved into the creeks. They can be found all over the lake, and the key to catching fish is to cover a ton of water. Brad is pulling planer boards and free lines from the surface to 10-12 feet down over a variety of depths.  

Some guys are also starting to catch a few fish on cut bait over humps and ridges off of the channel. They are anchored in 15-18 feet in areas where they can throw at both shallower and deeper water.

Up the lake there has been some really good trolling for crappie in 8-15 feet of water, and Captain Brad reports that fish are set up in the mouths of creeks. Most of the fish are staging before the spawn, but there are also a few that have already spawned. 

In the middle and lower lake fish can be found in a variety of different areas. There were some males that had moved up very shallow to prepare for the spawn before the cool snap pushed them back out, and they will be around shallow brush, docks and other cover again very soon. There are also very good numbers of fish that have set up over brush in 15-18 feet of water. 

Both minnows and jigs will work for hungry spring crappie. Vary baits to see what they want on a given day.

The author with a couple of good males 
The author with a couple of good males

On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the bite is starting to change and the creeks in the mid-lake are beginning to fish the best. Fish are in about 25-30 feet of water, and cut herring is working the best. 

However, there are also some reports of channels being caught in 5-10 feet of water on cut bait in some particular spots. 

March 9

Lake Murray water levels are up to 357.74 (full pool is 360.00). The water is stained but not muddy, with good color for spring fishing. Morning surface water temperatures range from about 52 to 55 degrees but are rising fast.  

This weekend two of our regular bass correspondents placed well in tournaments on Lake Murray, and on Saturday Guide Brad Fowler and his tournament partner Brock Taylor finished in fourth place in the Palmetto Boat Center event with a 23.08 pound sack (27.52 won). Brad and Brock caught one fish deep that they weighed, but it appeared that most of the fish had already moved up and so they had to as well.

The fish weren’t on the bank, though, and they caught the other four fish that they weighed cranking rocks in 5-10 feet of water in both the creek and the main channel. The fish were sitting on the edge of areas where they will move up to spawn.

On Sunday tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda fished the Roger Farr Benefit Bass Tournament with his son Meredith Havird, and they were honored to win and be part of a 102-boat event that raised more than $40,000! They had 23.5 pounds and fished a very similar pattern to Brad and Brock. The fish were setting up on steep rocky banks at the corners of spawning pockets, with most of the fish in 6-8 foot range. They caught them on an Alabama rig, Chatterbait, and spinnerbait, but their big 6.68 pound fish came on a jig. While they had expected docks to fish well based on recent reports, and they fished them hard, they only caught a couple of fish off them. 

It was clear last weekend that fish were close to going into spawning pockets and doing their business, and this week Stan expects them to get very shallow. 

Stan Gunter and Meredith Havird with the winning bag Sunday
Stan Gunter and Meredith Havird with the winning bag Sunday

Water temperatures have still not shot up on Lake Murray, and as a result Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that the striped bass have not really moved into the creeks yet and right now more fish have still been found out on the main lake. There are some fish being caught up the rivers on free-lines and planer boards, but the bigger schools have been in the mid-lake area. Some guys are catching them casting lures like a bass fisherman at points and drops, but free-lines and planer boards are also working. 

With this week of weather by the weekend fish should be in the creeks as the creeks will warm faster than the main lake. They should still be more oriented to free-lines and planer boards.

Up the lake the crappie are doing something similar to the striper, and Captain Brad reports that he is catching them at the mouths of creeks on the main channel as the fish have not yet committed to going in.  Trolling and tight-lining have both been working about the same, and the past couple of days most fish have been suspended about 10-14 feet down. 

Below the rivers there are more fish that have moved into the creeks, and Hollow Creek in particular has had some good numbers. Fish are related to cover a little bit deeper than up the rivers, but on warm afternoons they will move up shallower around docks and other cover.  Look for a hard push to the banks by this weekend. 

On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the bite is starting to change and the creeks in the mid-lake are starting to fish the best.  Fish are in about 25-30 feet of water, and cut herring is working the best.

March 4

Lake Murray water levels are at 357.55 (full pool is 360.00). The Little Saluda is muddy, the Big Saluda is clear, and the water has fairly normal clarity as you move down the lake. Morning surface water temperatures range from about 51-55 degrees.

It’s the time of year when you can catch bass from deep to shallow, and veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that there have been good fish caught from 20 feet to 2 feet in the last few days. However, the best numbers of fish are starting to stage in 3-6 feet of water around points and cover which is adjacent to their spawning coves. Fish are still pretty far away from getting on the beds, but that doesn’t mean they are far away from the areas where they will ultimately spawn. 

The Alabama rig bite is about to play out but it is still catching some, but spinnerbaits, jigs and crankbaits are all working. Stan also notes that right now fish will be in the warmest areas.

The striped bass bite has been pretty good over the last week on Lake Murray, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that while he is catching a few fish up the rivers he is finding the best action from Buffalo Creek down. There are a lot of fish in Hollow Creek and even some schooling activity.

When fish are schooling Brad’s boat is casting into the birds, but overall the best action has been coming pulling free-lines and planer boards. Most of the fish are suspended 12-15 feet down over deep water, and the striper are generally concentrated at the mouths of creeks or over the channel. As the water is warming everything is rising.

Fish have not really moved into the creeks because they are basically the same temperatures as the main channel, but once we get a few days without rain and the creeks are able to warm fish will head into them. 

The crappie bite has been pretty good up the rivers, and Captain Brad reports that they have been catching some very nice fish trolling jigs tipped with minnows. It seems that most of the fish up the lake are setting up at the mouths of creeks and even moving into the creeks. While fish are still in the pre-spawn stage, they are generally suspended into about 12-15 feet of water near areas where they will eventually spawn. 

Down the lake on warm afternoons some fish are starting to move onto docks in less than 10 feet of water, and there are also still plenty of fish suspended in the creek channels or out over mid-depth brush. But fish down the lake are certainly starting to eye the bank as well. 

The author with a good one caught off a shallow dock
The author with a good one caught off a shallow dock

On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the muddy water up the Little Saluda is still the best area to target. Anchor cut bait off the main channel or in the creeks in that area, and expect the fish to be fairly shallow. They will be moving around and so try to put out baits at a range of depths.

In the lower lake the catfish bite has not really come on yet. 

February 24

Lake Murray water levels are up to 357.37 (full pool is 360.00) and, while the water is muddy up the lake and there is some color in the mid-lake, as water temperatures rise it is settling fast. Water temperatures range from about 50-52 degrees. 

There have been some big bass sacks headlining recent tournaments on Lake Murray, and Hampton Anderson and Tyson Alveras weighed 23.25 pounds this past Saturday in the CATT – including a big fish of 7.68 pounds. However, overall the fishing has been pretty tough for most people and weights drop off below the top.  But that could be about to change. 

The deep bite may have been better for some time now, but veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that as the weather warms this week there is little doubt that fish will start to move up into 10 feet of water or less. He suggests throwing Alabama rigs, spinnerbaits and crankbaits such as Shad Raps that dive 5-8 feet in fairly shallow water but not yet way back. Look for pre-spawn fish around the edges of flats where depths start to move up or on the corners of pockets.  Boat ramps can also hold fish. 

Hampton Anderson and Tyson Alveras with a good bag Saturday
Hampton Anderson and Tyson Alveras with a good bag Saturday

With better conditions for striped bass fishing it’s been more pleasant to fish, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that the last couple of days they have caught a bunch of fish from about Buffalo Creek to Hollow Creek up and down the river channel. Right now the mid-lake area seems to be fishing the best.

They have been fishing free-lines for fish suspended near the top of the water column over 80-90 feet, but Brad has also seen fish in the 20-40 foot range in the same areas that will take down-lines. For now fish are more at the mouths of creeks but in the next week they should start to move in. 

For right now a few guys are catching some crappie tight-lining and trolling up the rivers, but Captain Brad reports that with the water warming up it is about to really turn on. Fish are about to go into pre-spawn mode and transition into the creeks. 

Most of the creeks up the rivers have some type of big flat inside the mouth, and for now the fish are set up at the mouths and just inside on the big, deep flats. In the rivers the fish are generally in about 15-16 feet of water, while further down the lake around Buffalo Creek they are in the 20-foot range. Soon there could also be some good fishing down the lake as the best years in the lower lake are when the water has some color.

Mixing jigs and jigs tipped with minnows until you see what the fish want is the best approach.

There’s not a lot of change with the catfish, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the muddy water up both the Big and Little Saluda is still the best area to target. Anchor cut bait off the main channels or in the creeks in that area, and expect the fish to be fairly shallow. They will be moving around and so try to put out baits at a range of depths.

February 18

Lake Murray water levels are up to 356.94 (full pool is 360.00) and the upper end of the lake and the backs of many creeks have gotten very muddy, with the mud line expected to reach down towards Dreher Island by the weekend.  Water temperatures have dipped into the 40s.  

Saturday veteran tournament bass angler Chris Epting of Chapin fished in some of the toughest conditions he has ever experienced, but it was all worth it in the end as a 24-06 bag put more than $6500 in his pocket and a second BFL winners’ trophy on his shelf.  Still, when we caught up yesterday Chris said he had “paid the price” and he was only just thawing out!

While 80% of the boats appeared to be fishing shallow, Chris was sitting out in deep water fishing rocky points. His boat was usually in 25 or so feet, but he was casting into 15+ feet. He caught and weighed fish on a jig, a big shakey head worm, and an Alabama rig. Whenever Chris would pull one or two fish out of a deep school it would bust the schools up, and so he wouldn’t spend too long on one spot until it was ready again. He found very good numbers out deep both Friday in practice and on Saturday.   

It’s unclear what rising lake levels and muddy water are going to do to the fish for this weekend, but dirty conditions could push them to the bank. However, to this point he has just not found the shallow bite as reliable, even though other anglers have been catching some fish on crankbaits. 

Chris Epting and Thomas Pennell, III after a long, successful day on the water
Chris Epting and Thomas Pennell, III after a long, successful day on the water

Our regular Murray correspondent tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria also had a good bag in the BFL with 18-4 to finish in 6th place, and he was also fishing deep. However, like Chris he believes more people seemed to be running the banks – as bass fishermen like to do!  

It obviously hasn’t been pleasant conditions for catching striped bass either, but Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that there have actually been some good catches up the rivers on free-lines when you can find clean pockets of water. However, with even more rain today those are getting increasingly rare!

There are also some big schools of fish in the mid-lake, especially from Hollow Creek down. Bear Creek is holding a lot of fish right now, but in most areas there are lots of little fish in these schools that you have to weed through.  Most of the fish are being caught on down rods fished close to the bottom in about 40-50 feet of water in ditches. 

The crappie fishing was really starting to pick up last week before this latest round of weather knocked them on the head, but Captain Brad points out that we are now on the clock where within the next 3-4 weeks it is almost certain that the first major batch of fish will begin to spawn. Up the Big Saluda and the Little Saluda there have been some good catches tight-lining in the channel in about 12-15 feet of water, and all over the lake there are also a lot of fish starting to stage in creek channels. They can also be found running LiveScope over brush, but this is the time of year where are tons of fish just sitting out in the channel suspended over nothing and waiting. Right now having a minnow on the hook, even if there is also a jig, is key. 

There are also still a lot of white perch being caught on Murray, and Brad reports that Buffalo Creek in particular is holding a lot of fish in the ditches. They are generally in about 30-40 feet just off the bottom, but the key is marking the bait and then fishing at that depth. They usually sit just a bit shallower than the striper.

Double rigs with minnows are very effective. 

About the only fish that gravitates to the mud is the catfish, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the chocolate milk up both the Big and Little Saluda is the best area to target. Anchor cut bait off the main channels or in the creeks in that area, and expect the fish to be fairly shallow. They will be moving around and so try to put out baits at a range of depths. 

February 4

Lake Murray water levels are at 354.46 (full pool is 360.00).  Most of the lake is fairly clear and conditions are even decent up the rivers, where it is not muddy but the water has some color. Water temperatures range from the mid-40s up the rivers to 50 near the dam. 

Water temperatures are about the same from the top to the bottom of the water column, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that a lot of striped bass are still being caught on down rods fished in 25-40 feet of water on the river channel from Buffalo Creek down. 

There is also some schooling action in pockets off of the river, where you can catch fish on double rigs and bucktails. There is a little of this going on in the Little River area, but the better action is from Buffalo Creek to Dreher Island.

Predictably considering the water temperature distribution, it continues to be that time of year where bass are mixed between deep and shallow. However, tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that overall the deep bite seems to be a bit more consistent right now – although some of the better tournament bags are coming shallow. 

On the shallow side you can catch fish on crankbaits as long as you are fishing rocky areas that have some wind blowing on them.  On the deep side jigs are working the best in 10-20 feet of water, and you can also catch fish on jigging spoons even though the schools are more broken up. 

He agrees about the patterns, but veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda points out that a lot of teams are struggling and overall the fishing is pretty tough right now. In addition to the other deep baits sometimes a shakey head has been working, and some of the best reports have been on deep brush in about 20 feet. 

In addition to the crankbait a jerkbait has also been decent shallow. 

Check out the new Lake Murray Catch ’Em Kits with lures hand-picked for each season byAndy andStan.

Most of the crappie action on Lake Murray is taking place up the rivers right now, and Captain Brad reports that the right now the Little Saluda is fishing better than the Big. Fish are being caught tight-lining in the mouths of creeks along the channel, with most holding fairly close to the bottom in 12-18 feet. On sunny afternoons they will sometimes pull a little shallower. 

With the water really cold minnows or jigs tipped with minnows are working best, and you need to fish very slowly and sometimes essentially irritate the fish into biting. 

A good day recently with Captain Brad Taylor
A good day recently with Captain Brad Taylor

Areas that have some dirty water are still mostly like to hold catfish, although Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the bite has been a little tough lately. With the spring around the corner the fishing should improve soon, especially as fish start to move around and start some very early scouting for eventual spawning areas. 

The best bet right now is to look in the creeks and coves in areas that have some dirty inflow.  Channel and blue catfish will be set up in 10-25 feet, with more blues on the upper end of the lake.  Anchoring with cut herring is the best way to catch them.

January 20

Lake Murray water levels are at 354.40 (full pool is 360.00). While much of the lake is fairly clear, portions of the Little Saluda are stained (while the Big Saluda is good) and there is some colored water from where the rivers come together to about Rocky Creek. Water temperatures range from the 40s up the rivers to the low 50s near the dam. 

Over the last few days Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that the bulk of the better striped bass have been caught on down rods fished in 25-40 feet of water on the river channel from about Dreher Island up to Buffalo Creek. You can also catch some fish on double rigs and bucktails, but since the bait has gone deeper instead of using the birds to find them you need to mark fish and then cast. There have also been a lot of striper located in the area where the rivers fork off, and there are almost certainly some fish that can be caught in the lower lake back in the creeks although Brad has not fished there.   

It continues to be that time of year where bass are mixed between deep and shallow, and tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that it’s a day-to-day variation in which is fishing better. On the shallow side you can catch fish on crankbaits as long as you are fishing rocky areas that have some wind blowing on them.

Until the fish have all moved up shallow to spawn there will continue to be a deep bite, but with schools starting to break up this period is less about jigging spoons than November, December and early January and more about jigs. In particular the brush bite is getting better in 10-20 feet on jigs. You can also still catch fish on a spoon but you are more likely to be targeting single fish than earlier in the season.   

Finally, fishing an Alabama rig in 5-20 feet around docks and deep points is still a good pattern.

The mid-lake is probably fishing best right now. 

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

Andy with a 7-pounder caught Saturday on Murray
Andy with a 7-pounder caught Saturday on Murray

In the last couple of days the crappie fishing has picked up on Lake Murray, and Captain Brad reports that the fish he is catching or hearing about are all being caught up the lake on the Little Saluda side way up the river. Anglers are tight-lining over the channel in about 20 feet of water, and the depth where fish are suspended varies from day to day and so you just have to search. With the water really cold minnows or jigs tipped with minnows are working best, and you need to fish very slowly and sometimes essentially irritate the fish into biting. 

Areas that still have some dirty water are mostly like to hold catfish, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the best bet right now is to look in the creeks and coves in areas that have some mud.  Channel and blue catfish will be set up in 10-25 feet, with more blues on the upper end of the lake.  Anchoring with cut herring is the best way to catch them.

January 13

Lake Murray water levels are at 354.53 (full pool is 360.00). Even though the river is starting to clear there is essentially a mud line that runs down to about Buffalo Creek. Water temperatures range from the upper 40s to lower 50s. 

The river is a little clearer than last week, and as a result Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that a few striped bass have been caught in the Big Saluda in the past couple of days. However, he is doing the bulk of his fishing in the area between Dreher Island and Buffalo Creek where most of the birds are located. Although the mud line is around Buffalo the creek itself is pretty clear, and so they are also catching a lot of fish there.

The main pattern is casting at birds with double rigged fluke and ice flies, but they are also catching some fish on down rods in the same area. The bait is pretty deep and so they are fish herring down about 40 feet. 

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

Captain Brad notes that the white perch action remains really good, and generally the fish are in the same areas as the striper – but a little away from them. You can jig them up with a spoon, but dropping down a Kentucky rig with a bell weight and minnows on hooks off the main leader is hard to beat. 

Most of the fish are in about 30 feet of water, but you will not necessarily mark them until the school is activated because they are holding so close to the bottom. The best bet is to look for bait schools close to the bottom (where perch prefer to hold) in the belly of a ditch at the magic depth of 30 feet. 

For the same reasons that striper fishermen are focusing a little down the lake, veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that the best bass fishing right now is from the mid-lake down. He’s noticing a few different patterns right now, and people continue to catch them both shallow and deep. Deeper jerkbaits and Alabama rigs have been good off deep points, but you can also run the banks and catch fish with a square-billed crankbait. However, if you want to focus on shallow stuff you should stick to main lake pockets and the front section of creeks as fish are not way back.

While there’s no disagreement that there is a shallow and deep bite right now, in his estimation tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria believes that the deep bite is a little better than the shallow bite right now. Some good fish have been caught on jigging spoons.  

However, if you do want to fish shallow then steep banks are a bonus but the real key is rocky areas with some wind blowing on them. When there is some wind blowing the crankbait bite can continue all day.

With the water a little colder as well as dirtier up the lake Andy is also focusing on the mid-lake down. 

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

There have not been a lot of reports on crappie down the lake, and Captain Brad reports that right now the fish he is catching have been in the rivers where the fish have a little less of a case of lockjaw than a week ago. The key has been tight-lining very close to cover, be it stumps, brush or something else. Fishing in 12-15 feet very close to the bottom is the key.

Unlike some other species the catfish don’t mind the mud, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the best bet is to do what the catfish are doing and follow the dirty water back into the creeks and coves.  Channel and blue catfish will be set up in 10-25 feet, with more blues on the upper end of the lake.  Anchoring with cut herring is the best way to catch them.

January 5

Lake Murray water levels rose after the rains but have now started to drop again to 354.84 (full pool is 360.00). Up the rivers the water is orange muddy but it gets clearer as you go down the lake. Surface water temperatures range from the mid-50s in the lower lake to the high 40s up the river.   

Tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that some people have found a really tough bass bite on Lake Murray, but a few people are making it look easy! Jimmy Vining won the Next Level Bass Anglers tournament this past weekend with a very impressive 24.34 pound bag, and there were two other bags over 18 pounds before weights dropped off.

Overall the fish still seem to be scattered between shallow and deep, but even though there are less fish up shallow they seem to be a little more catchable. Crankbaits and jerkbaits are both working. 

There are also some fish being caught out deep, and veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that they are catching bass in 17-18 feet around rocks piles on a jigging spoon and shakey heads. 

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

Basketball orange conditions up the lake have pushed the striped bass down the lake, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that he is heading to the mid-lake and tucking into creeks to get out of the mud. There are probably some fish in the extreme lower lake too.

The fish also seem to have moved a bit deeper into the 30-40 foot range where most of the bait is located, and he is catching them on down rods and weighed free lines. When there is bird activity you can also throw bucktails and ice flies under the birds.  

Happy young anglers caught this one with Captain Brad Taylor
Happy young anglers caught this one with Captain Brad Taylor

The white perch action remains really good, and in particular Buffalo Creek has been outstanding where there is a lot of bait in the back. You can jig them up with a spoon, but dropping down a Kentucky rig with a bell weight and minnows on hooks off the main leader is hard to beat. 

Most of the fish are in about 30 feet of water, but you will not necessarily mark them until the school is activated because they are holding so close to the bottom. The best bet is to look for bait schools close to the bottom (where perch prefer to hold) in the belly of a ditch at the magic depth of 30 feet. Again, look in Buffalo Creek this week.

Muddy conditions have messed up the crappie fishing up the rivers, and Captain Brad reports that when the water is cold and muddy the fish get glued to some piece of structure and virtually refuse to feed. He has found the better fishing now to be from Rocky Creek down to about Dreher Island, and the most consistent pattern has been casting jigs for fish suspended around deep docks with 18-20 feet of water. This pattern can probably also be replicated further down the lake.

There are also some fish on brush, but it has been so erratic that you sometimes have to check 20 or 30 brush piles before catching 10-15 fish off one. 

Catfish report to follow from Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857).

 

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