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AHQ INSIDER Lake Wateree (SC) Fall Fishing Report – Updated December 2

  • by Jay

December 2

Lake Wateree is at 98.1% of full pool, and water temperatures continue to range widely from the upper 50s to mid-60s.

Bass are acting peculiar on Lake Wateree, and CATT owner Brett Collins and tournament angler Dearal Rodgers both concur that the fish just aren’t in the grass.  Dearal says that the only way he has been able to catch fish has been around docks, but they have generally been smaller bass.  They caught a bunch of 14-inch fish his last time out but just couldn’t find the big ones.

Brett and his partner did find the big ones – at least relatively speaking – in the last Wateree Open tournament on Saturday.  They finished in first place with 14.59 pounds, and Brett says they also couldn’t find anything in the grass.  Even though water levels were high and there was good water around the grass the fish just weren’t in it, and they found everything off main lake points in 2-6 feet of water.  They caught all their fish flipping a jig.

Mark Richardson and Brett Collins with the winning bag Saturday
Mark Richardson and Brett Collins with the winning bag Saturday

November 30

Lake Wateree is at 98.0% of full pool, and water temperatures range all the way from the upper 50s to mid-60s.

Lake Wateree crappie are making their annual move up the lake, according to veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt.  The majority of the fish are now concentrated on the upper end of the river near Wateree Creek, and they are basically holding along the edge of river channel.  Fish are suspended 12-18 feet down over 18-22 feet of water – as the season progresses they should get tighter to the bottom.  The best pattern for catching them is tight-lining jigs tipped with minnows.

A few fish are also still being caught on brush along the edge of the river channel.

Bass and catfish news to follow.

November 4

Lake Wateree is at 98.4% of full pool, and water temperatures remain in the lower 70s.

Veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that crappie are still on brush from one of the lake to the other, but the fish have moved a bit shallower.  They are catching good numbers of fish 8-10 feet deep over 14-15 feet of water on Fish Stalker Jigs in Ugly Green color.  The crappie are still out on the main lake, although they have moved closer to the edges, and there doesn’t seem to be much going on up the creeks.  Some fish are also being caught around piers and bridges.  There continues to be a pretty good bite around Wateree Creek for anglers tight-lining minnows over the main river channel.  These fish have also moved a bit shallower and they can be caught 12-14 feet down over 14-18 feet of water.

No new bass report this week with Dearal Rodgers on Table Rock fishing the Costa FLW Championship.

October 18

Lake Wateree is up slightly to 98.2% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the 70-73 degree range.  Below Beaver Creek water conditions are still pretty clear, but above that it is fairly stained.

It had been two weeks since tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden had been on Lake Wateree because of the recent storm, and when he got back on the lake this past weekend he found that water temperatures had dropped almost 10 degrees from the last time he had been on the water.  Ordinarily at this time of year Dearal says that might make you think that bass would be in the back of creeks, but at the same time that temperatures started to drop Duke Power pulled the lake way down in anticipation of hurricane-related flooding.  Since there wasn’t a lot of flooding north of Wateree the lake didn’t come back up as fast as it could have, and water levels are still below where they were at the end of September.

As a result of all this Dearal and his fishing partner in the Wateree Open Saturday (his son Fisher) decided to stay out on the main lake, a decision that paid off with a second place finish.  Perhaps because of the dropping temperatures they found a much improved bite and had a good day fishing, putting fish in the boat on topwater lures, crankbaits, jigs and worms – as well as one fish on a buzzbait.  It was basically a day when any shallow water bait seemed to catch fish, and the winners apparently threw a spinnerbait.  All the fish they caught were in five feet or less, and in addition to grass for the first time in a while Dearal caught some fish on Wateree docks.  Overall the bite was clearly improved but the fish don’t seem to have ventured very far back in the creeks yet.

Dearal and Fisher Rodgers with their best fish caught Saturday
Dearal and Fisher Rodgers with their best fish caught Saturday

Veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that the crappie bite is basically unchanged, and until temperatures drop well down into the 60s he doesn’t expect them to get off the mid-depth brush pattern.  Then more fish will start to move up the river, although as noted before some good fish are already being caught around Wateree Creek.

October 13

Lake Wateree is up almost two feet since last weekend to 97.8% of full pool.

Like most people the hurricane kept tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden off Lake Wateree last weekend, but the weekend before that in the Tri-State he found the same tough bass bite that has been typical on Lake Wateree recently.  While they caught a couple of good ones for 12 pounds, the rest of the fish were very small.  Again fish were randomly scattered in the shallows and bites were few and far between.

Dearal Rodgers with a couple of good ones caught recently on Lake Wateree
Dearal Rodgers with a couple of good ones caught recently on Lake Wateree

Even though bass fishing is tough, veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that the crappie bite is still very hot.  He wasn’t on the lake last weekend, either, but the weekend before that he found a strong crappie bite.  He again found fish around mid-lake brush piles from June Creek down to Colonel Creek, and the fish were laying flat on the bottom in 14-16 feet of water.  That seems to be a good pattern from one end of the lake to the other.  There have also been strong reports of fish being caught around Wateree Creek tight-lining minnows.

September 28

Lake Wateree is at 98.3% of full pool, and water temperatures remain approximately 81 degrees.  Clarity remains the same.

In the CATT tournament last weekend on Lake Wateree Greg Sigmon and Jeff Knight bested the competition with a very respectable 15.16 pounds, especially considering the conditions.  About half the field didn’t weigh a fish.

Greg Sigmon and Jeff Knight show off the winning fish
Greg Sigmon and Jeff Knight show off the winning fish

Tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden, who finished third with tournament partner Trent McLoughlin with 13.06 including the big fish at 4.50, reports that Wateree is still just fishing very tough.  They had very few keeper bites and found fish in random shallow places – then would go another couple of hours without getting bit.  Dearal discovered that there were a lot of small shad around the banks which seemed to have some little fish eating them, while off the banks there were some bigger shad that may have had better bass around them.  These fish were suspended, however, and harder to catch.

Covering shallow water in the main lake was still the name of the game, and they threw a bunch of different baits.  With fish finicky Dearal thinks it might be a good time to throw finesse-type baits such as shakey head worms or small spinnerbaits.  They still did not find a deep bite.

On the crappie front, veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that the pattern is still virtually identical.  On Sunday they caught 40 very nice fish off the same mid-lake brushpiles they have been fishing for a couple of weeks, including a bunch of fish over a pound, a couple over 1 ½ and a 2-pounder that pulled off at the boat.

September 23

Lake Wateree is at 98.1% of full pool, and Wateree temperatures are approximately 80-81 degrees.  The lake is clearer than usual, with clarity good over most of the lake and a little stain in the very upper part of Wateree.

Unfortunately for bass fishermen tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that Wateree is still fishing very tough, and getting a bite is just difficult.  Dearal still finds a deep bite almost non-existent, and yesterday he managed to pick up a few fish in inches of water out to 6 feet.  Fish can be found around a variety of shallow cover, and Dearal caught one fish on a dock, one on grass, one around rocks, etc.  Bass seemed to be a little bit suspended, and they were chasing shad a bit.  While there are some signs that they are starting to move slightly back into the creeks, Dearal feels more comfortable staying in the front 1/3 of the creeks or the main lake.  While there could be fish further back in the creeks water temperatures may not have gotten right yet.

A mix of baits are worth trying, and Dearal suggests flipping some type of crawfish around the grass, a jig at pretty much any cover, or throwing a spinnerbait or buzzbait.  One fish also came on a topwater popper, but no lure seems to be wearing the fish out.

Veteran tournament Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that crappieare still on the same brush pattern at the same depth.

September 12

Lake Wateree is at 97.9% of full pool, and water temperatures are down to the low 80s.  Clarity is very good for Wateree.

Water temperatures are finally starting to drop on Lake Wateree, but the bass fishing is still really tough.  In the TBF tournament this weekend on Wateree limits were very, very rare, and about 10 pounds a day was good enough for the win.  This is similar to results in recent CATT and Wateree Open tournaments, where 10-13 pounds has been enough for a top finish.

Tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that with weights like that obviously nothing is hot, but there are a few patterns producing fish.  Anglers are getting sporadic bites fishing topwaters like buzzbaits or walking baits early, and there have also been a few fish running up shad schools around creek channels, pockets and at the mouths of creeks.  A few fish are also being caught in the grass, and while most of them are small occasional better fish are mixed in.  Most everything is happening on the main lake right now, and a significant deep bite is just not taking place.

Even though bass fishing is tough, crappie fishing is actually starting to get pretty darned good.  Veteran tournament Will Hinson of Cassatt fished a tournament Saturday and reported that that in a half day of fishing his boat caught more than 150 fish.  The fish have left their deepest summer haunts and they have moved up a bit, but they are still in the middle of the lake along the river ledges.  Will found fish in about 14-17 feet of water hanging very close to the bottom around brush, stumps and logs.  He concentrated on the area between June and Rochelle Creeks where anglers can follow the old river channel and find stumps and logs on top of the ledge.  Fish Stalker Jigs in Army Green, Ugly Green, Pearl White and Robin Egg worked well.

Will Hinson with a hefty fish
Will Hinson with a hefty fish

Catfish news to follow.

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