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AHQ INSIDER Lake Murray (SC) Winter 2017/18 Fishing Report – Updated December 21

  • by Jay

The newest Lake Murray fishing report can be found at:

December 21

Lake Murray water levels are at 354.70 (full pool is 360.00), and water temperatures are in the low to mid-50s.  Clarity is normal.

Last week Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reported that the striped bass fishing on Lake Murray had gotten really good up the rivers, but this week if anything he says it has gotten even better!  With an extremely cold weekend, then a really warm start to the week, then a really wet day yesterday, you have to be open-minded and willing to adjust to what the fish are doing.  Brad says the key is to watch the birds, and they will tell you where the bait is.  Once you figure out what depth the bait is in it is just a matter of time until you find the fish.  Some days they are out shallow, and some days they are deeper.

Because of the dynamics of guide trips Brad’s boat is mainly fishing live bait on free-lines or down-lines, but anglers throwing double rigs are actually catching more fish.

On the catfish front, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that fish are still biting well but they are starting to move into the main river channel.  His boat is catching a mix of channels and blues drifting in 45-55 feet with cut shad, herring, perch and shrimp.

Captain Brad reports that the crappie bite is still really tough.

While bass can certainly be caught other ways, for now the best big fish pattern seems to be the one described below.

December 18

In the Lake Murray CATT Fall Final this Saturday, tournament anglers Steve and Andy Wicker of Pomaria busted a monster sack.  It weighed 27.74 lbs and was anchored by an 8.40 lb Lake Murray behemoth.

Steve and Andy fished from one end of the lake to the other, but all of their weight came off of three spots.  They were fishing around brush in about 30 ft. of water and used a combination of jigs and spoons.

The pair loves fishing in the winter because the fish group up well, and when you activate them you can get healthy very fast.  On Lake Monticello you can catch ten or fifteen fish before the school cools off,  but on Murray the bass are so educated that catching three is good.  Andy and Steve caught their three of their biggest, including the 8+ pounder, in a matter of minutes. (In fact, they thought the big one was a catfish until it came to the surface!) A lot of the day they could see the schools on the depth finder but they were shut down.

Water temperatures ranged from 47 to 53 degrees, and visibility was normal for Lake Murray – 2-4 feet on the upper end and 5-10 feet on the lower end.

Thanks to Andy and Steve for sharing their winning secrets and good luck to Andy on the FLW tour next year!

Andy and Steve Wicker show off their four biggest Saturday
Andy and Steve Wicker show off their four biggest Saturday

December 14

Lake Murray water levels are at 354.66 (full pool is 360.00), and water temperatures are in the mid-50s.

Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that striped bass fishing on Lake Murray has gotten really good, with by far the hottest action up the rivers where anglers are having great success throwing at fish where they can see birds, bait and fish boiling.  Earlier in the day fish remain a little deeper, and on warm afternoons they move into shallower water to feed.  The most success has come on double rigs with bucktails and ice flies, but fish can also be caught pulling bait.  Fish are feeding on threadfin right now and so smaller live bait has been the best bet.

A good Murray striper catch on Captain Brad Taylor's boat
A good Murray striper catch on Captain Brad Taylor’s boat

Captain Ron Davis of Edisto Island spends a lot of time on Lake Murray at this time of year, and he advises that when fish are shallow like they have been recently anglers might have better luck throwing smaller bucktails or lighter Alabama rigs rather than something that sinks too fast.  When fish are very shallow throwing the conventional rigs often means that you are fishing underneath the fish.

Catfishare still biting well, and Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that the bite is good in 30-50 feet on herring, shad and perch.  There are very occasional off days but overall the fishing has been strong.

On the crappie front, Captain Brad reports that fishing has been tough at best.  A few fish have been caught tight-lining way up the rivers 10-12 feet down in 12-15 feet of water, and there have also been a handful of fish caught around deep docks and bridges.

The Lake Murray Fall CATT Final will be this Saturday, and more bass information will be forthcoming after that.  Everyone seems to be concentrating on rocks with baits like crankbaits, jigs and Alabama rigs.

December 1

Lake Murray water levels are down to 354.56 (full pool is 360.00), and water temperatures are in the lower 60s down the lake but in the mid-50s up the lake.

It’s been a weird fall for bass fishing on Lake Murray, and veteran tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that fishing is pretty tough.  15-16 pounds is a really strong tournament bag right now.

All fall fish never really got into a good shallow pattern, and now it seems as if they have skipped over the fall pattern and gone straight into a winter bite.  The best bet for catching bass seems to be fishing around rocky 45-degree banks with a shakey head, no shallower than 6-10 feet of water.  More often 10-20 feet is a better depth range.

The Alabama rig is just starting to catch some fish, but only in certain places.  And unlike last year docks have just not been very productive.  The low water doesn’t help, but they don’t seem to even be around deeper docks.

In striped bass news, Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that the bulk of the keepers are being caught way up the Big and Little Saluda Rivers.  That’s not to say they can’t be caught in some other areas, but the best pattern has been pulling live bait on free lines and planer boards as well as throwing double rigs up the rivers.  There are really good numbers of fish up there.  Early in the morning fish are out over the channel in 20-something feet of water, and when the afternoon warms the bays they move into 8-10 feet.  The bite has overall been better later in the day.

When the water temperature really cooled down crappiegot extremely finicky, and Brad reports that they were biting very light.  However, things are beginning to level out now and anglers are catching some fish trolling jigs and minnows.  Most of the fish are being caught adjacent to the channel, and if you can find any kind of cover it is concentrating fish.  Fish are very scattered but 12-15 feet has been the best depth range.

No change on the catfish front.