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AHQ INSIDER Lake Murray (SC) Summer Fishing Report – Updated August 4

  • by Jay

August 4

Lake Murray water levels are down to 356.18 (full pool is 360.00) and water temperatures are in the upper 80s.  Clarity is above average.

Striped bass on Lake Murray have gotten into a true summer pattern, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that he is catching fish 50-80 feet deep.  Most of the fish are in the lower pool below the bombing range, and if you float around in that area and watch your electronics you will eventually find fish.  As well as a lot of other fishermen!

Brad says that the bulk of the fish are over the river channel, and at times fish can also be found around humps.  While it is mostly a morning bite, Brad has found fish willing to bite at other times as well.

A free-line pattern is almost non-existent, and while Brad has seen a few bass schooling he has not seen any striper.  There are doubtless some smaller striper in the creeks but the big fish are bunched up in the main pool.

A nice haul of striper caught this week on Captain Brad Taylor's boat
A nice haul of striper caught this week on Captain Brad Taylor’s boat

The crappie pattern remains pretty similar, although it has slowed down a bit.  Fish can still be caught over 18-25 foot brush, fishing from 12 feet deep down to the bottom.  Minnows are about the only way to get them to bite.

Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports little change with the catfish, and as is typical at this time of year night-time fishing continues to outperform the day bite.  Anchoring and fan-casting in 10-25 feet of water around humps and points is the best bet, with cut herring, dip baits, shrimp and more all catching fish.

Bass fishing report to follow.

July 6

Lake Murray water levels are down to 356.79 and surface temperatures are in the upper 80s – and rising.  The USGS reports surface temperatures at the dam are around 86 degrees.

Captain Doug Lown reports that despite the heat bass fishing has still been pretty good on Lake Murray.  Fish can be found shallow, in mid-depths and very deep, and Doug received a reliable report from a striper guide this week that he had gotten into a school of largemouth 50 feet down over 100 feet of water.  Bass can adapt to a variety of different temperatures and they need to eat, so it’s fair to say that can be found in a range of areas.

As far as catchable fish there is certainly a shallow pattern, and early in the morning throwing a buzzbait around the banks has been pretty good.  Buzzbaits and other topwaters will generally be effective for the first couple of hours when there is some shade, as well as in the late afternoon and evening when the same conditions exist.  There are certainly some resident fish that will be caught way back in creeks, but generally Doug says that the greatest concentrations of fish are point-related and close to the main lake.

There is also another group of fish in 6-10 feet of water, and worms are working pretty well for these fish.  There are also some fish out on deep brush in 15-25 feet of water.

While there is a lot of bait over deeper water and in the channels, it is generally hard to target these fish.  Targeting fish that are relating to shallower structure is more straight-forward, and when temperatures eventually cool and the bulk of the bait moves shallower towards points then it will be easier to run a “bait” pattern.

Regardless of the pattern you are fishing right now, early to mid-morning and then late-afternoon to evening has been better than the heat of the day.

Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that the striper bite continues to be good, but in the past couple of weeks the free-line bite has declined as fish moved deeper.  You can still catch some small fish early on free-lines off shallow points, but these fish are mainly smaller.

Striper have moved deeper into the 55-70 foot range, and they are falling prey to herring fished on down-lines.  The fish are basically following bait schools that are moving along the main channel, and Brad says that most of the fish are from Shull Island down.  A good rule of thumb is that you need to be able to see the dam.  The morning is the easiest time to catch fish, and Brad has not seen any schooling activity recently.

The crappie pattern is essentially unchanged from a couple of weeks ago, and Brad says that catches continue to be phenomenal for this time of year around mid-depth brush and deeper docks.

A nice crappie caught this week on Captain Brad Taylor's boat
A nice crappie caught this week on Captain Brad Taylor’s boat

As far as catfish Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that the depth range and pattern remains about the same, and he is still catching a lot of fish anchoring and fan-casting a variety of baits.  However, 10 feet is about as shallow as he is catching channels (as opposed to 5-10 previously) now.  The other significant change is that the night bite has gotten significantly better than the daytime fishing.

June 19

Lake Murray water levels are down to 357.27 and surface temperatures dropped into the low 80s after a cool weekend.  Surface temperatures at the dam are down to the high 70s.

Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that the striper bite has been strong in the past week – which can easily be fact-checked by checking his Facebook page!  Early in the morning anglers can fish free-lines, but the fish that have been caught this way have mostly been on the smaller side.  The predominant pattern has been fishing down-lined blueback herring in 40-60 feet of water on the lower end of the lake, and this has generated the biggest fish as well as the best numbers.

While it’s not a predominant pattern, there is certainly some schooling activity going on – although Brad says it’s been taking place at random times of day and in random areas.  Be sure to have a casting plug ready!

A big one caught Saturday on Captain Brad Taylor's boat
A big one caught Saturday on Captain Brad Taylor’s boat

Crappiefishing is also strong on Lake Murray, and above Dreher Island Brad continues to catch some good numbers of crappie around 18-25 foot brush as well as deep-water docks.  Fish have generally been about 14-15 feet down.  A few have been caught on jigs, but minnows are working better right now.

An impressive haul of crappie caught with Captain Brad Taylor last week
An impressive haul of crappie caught with Captain Brad Taylor last week

Brad reports that early in the morning largemouth bass are being caught on topwater lures fished off shallower points, but once the sun gets up a couple hours into the day anglers need to move out to the deeper part of the structure in 10-15 feet of water and fish the bottom with shakey head worms and other soft plastics.  Brush has also been holding some fish.  While it’s not a numbers pattern some good fish have been caught first thing on buzzbaits.

Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that this is the time of year when catfishanglers on Lake Murray can easily fill up coolers with channel catfish.  The key has been anchoring on points and humps and fan-casting out dip (stink) baits, cut herring, and shrimp in 5-25 feet of water.  Channels are voracious feeders in the warmer months and they can be found all over the lake, and solid numbers of 2-12 pound channel cats are being caught.

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