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AHQ INSIDER Lake Wateree (SC) Spring 2021 Fishing Report – Updated April 29

  • by Jay

April 29

Lake Wateree is at 96.6% of full pool and water temperatures are in the mid to upper 60s. 

The bass fishing on Lake Wateree has been really good recently, and tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that while there should be some fish still spawning most anglers are focusing on the shad spawn around shallow grass, docks and grass. You can fish spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, square-bills and more in shad colors. 

In the morning there has also been a good topwater bite more generally, and right now it pretty much seems like if you fish shallow you will catch fish.  

Fisher Rodgers with a really nice one caught this week
Fisher Rodgers with a really nice one caught this week

At the same time, tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that the crappie bite has been a little tough on Lake Wateree recently. Certainly they are still catching some fish, but for the past few days fish have not eaten very well.   

The spawn is over and fish are roaming all over the place, except they have basically moved out of shallow water to deeper areas. They are just kind of floating around 4-12 feet down and have not really made their way out to brush yet. Most of the fish have been in 18-20 feet of water, and Will has seen very few shallower than 15 feet. They are in the mouths of creeks and coves, and making their way to the main lake.

Fish can be caught long-line trolling, and Will is chasing them with LiveScope technology. Fish Stalker jigs in Mountain Dew and Glimmer Blue have been working well, and some people are having success with plain minnows. However, fish are not especially hungry and the bite is usually sporadic at best.  

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that the bite is very good in the upper lake when there is some water movement.  Cut shad anchored in 8-20 feet is producing lots of eating size blues from 4-6 pounds as well as occasional fish up to 20 plus pounds.

April 16

Lake Wateree is at 96.6% of full pool and there is color throughout the whole lake but it is not muddy. Water temperatures were about 65 degrees this morning. 

After a spring where water levels were extremely high it’s ironic that low water levels are throwing a bit of a wrench into the Wateree bass fishing, but that is exactly what tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports is going on right now. It’s hard to fish some of his usual stuff.

As of earlier this week there were still plenty of fish staging for the spawn, and even though most of the fish are relatively shallow right now Dearal classifies them as staging based on how they are set up. When they are grouped up on the edge of a cove he considers them staging, and this Monday they caught eight females from 2-5 pounds in three to five feet of water off one dock at the entrance to a cove.  For staging fish Dearal likes a jig or shakey head around docks, and in between the docks he will throw a spinnerbait or crankbait.  There are some fish on the main lake but he is finding more in coves and pockets. 

Of course some fish are on beds but there are also some post-spawn fish around, and Dearal generally catches them one of two ways. First they can be suspended around docks where they will take soft plastics. The second is that they are feeding on shad spawning, which he has not yet seen but should be about to get underway around grass, dock floats, or anything else on the top of the water. Spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and frogs will all work. 

As we head into the Great Falls Shriner Club Crappie Tournament this weekend it’s a bit of a transition period for crappie, and tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that fish are biting but they are scattered all over.  The spawn is almost totally finished and some of the better fish are hanging out on the bottom recovering, while most of the active feeders are higher in the water column. 

There are still some good ones in the creeks that can be caught in 8-16 feet of water, but these numbers will dwindle as more fish head out to main lake points over the whole lake at the same depths.  Long-line trolling is one popular technique, and some people are targeting them looking at LiveScope and casting at individual fish. 

There are also a few better fish starting to gather on structure. 

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that the bite is very good in the Cedar Creek area. His boat is anchoring baits on ledges and rock structure in 8-20 feet of water when there is some current. All cut baits are working well and the 4-12 pound fish are especially active.

April 2

Lake Wateree is at 99.9% of full pool but clarity on the lower end still looks surprisingly normal for water levels this high. Morning surface water temperatures were about 61 today. 

This morning on Lake Wateree
This morning on Lake Wateree

Just yesterday water levels were so high that water was spilling over the Wateree dam, but today water levels have dropped just below full.  However, despite quickly dropping water levels and temperatures, today tournament bass angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden found a pretty good bite on the lake. Even though surface temperatures had dropped a couple of degrees in the last two days they still found a lot of fish on the banks. It was relatively easy to get bites fishing over the grass. 

Some fish are spawning, lots are pre-spawn, and there are probably even a few post-spawn fish. Today they caught everything on spinnerbaits. 

Pat Whaley with a good one caught this morning
Pat Whaley with a good one caught this morning

It’s uncertain exactly what this cold front will do to the crappie, but as of mid-week tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that the fish had mostly gone to the banks. About three-quarters of the fish that had been suspended out in the creeks had disappeared and headed to shallow cover. Shallow, spawning fish can be found around most any shallow cover but they have an affinity for pea gravel banks and shallow limbs where they can rub their eggs out. 

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that fish should still be in a transition to the upper lake.  Next week will be fishing the upper end below the Cedar Creek dam for big blues.  More information to follow.

March 19

Lake Wateree is at 97.4% of full pool and morning surface water temperatures are in the upper 50s. Before this week’s rain the water was clearing but wind and rain are dirtying it up again.     

One year we may get a spring where the water temperatures smoothly and gradually transition warmer, but this is not that year!  Tournament bass angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that recently water temperatures warmed up and then cooled back down, and as a result it seems to have set the fish back. He found some better females up shallow before the last tournament, but by the time the cool front arrived they could only find males and the bigger ones were not up there. The fish they did catch were relatively near spawning pockets but on docks. Rocks and grass were not holding fish. 

The jig bite has not been on recently, and Dearal has had to recent to a Senko to catch fish. A few also came on crankbait. 

More consistent weather after this weekend should bring more fish shallow.

Dearal Rodgers with a 7-pounder caught one day too early this week
Dearal Rodgers with a 7-pounder caught one day too early this week

The wind is blowing so bad that it’s hard to get out on Lake Wateree, but tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that the crappie are in all the creeks from one end of the lake to the other as well as off points on the main lake. There are also some males that have moved up shallow on the banks, and a very few females could also be spawning. 

For fish that can’t be caught with a jig/ minnow under a cork around the banks, trolling in the creek runs 6-12 feet down over 12-22 feet of water is the best bet.  Jigs, jigs tipped with minnows and plain minnows are all catching fish. It’s a good bet to present them all and let the fish tell you what they want on a particular day. 

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that fish are in a transition to the upper lake and the shallows are starting to produce well. There are also some fish being caught on ledges in the 15-20 foot range in Wateree Creek and above. 

Gizzard shad are hard to come by but white perch are working very well. 

March 10

Lake Wateree is at 97.3% of full pool and morning surface water temperatures are in the low to mid-50s. The water is clearing.   

Last weekend they expected the bass fishing to bust open on Lake Wateree, and certainly there were some fish caught in the CATT and Wateree Open tournaments, but tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that they weren’t able to find the better fish up shallow and moving around in the creeks yet. Instead he and his tournament partner fished on the main lake with crankbaits around rock to catch a decent limit.   

However, after a week of 70-degree temperatures there is little doubt that by this weekend fish will be solidly in the pre-spawn stage and in the morning females should be ganged up around points, rocks, docks, grass, and other shallow cover close to spawning areas. In the afternoon Dearal expects the groups to break up and for the fish to move around. A lot of different baits will catch fish right now, including crankbaits, jigs, and spinnerbaits.

The crappie are just a little ahead of the bass, and this week tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that fish are being caught pretty much everywhere including the mouths of creeks, inside creeks and coves, and even in the backs. The majority of the fish are in 8-10 feet of water or less, and some have come up in 3-4 feet of water to warm themselves. Both long-line trolling and tight-lining are working, and jigs, jigs tipped with minnows and plain minnows are all catching fish. It’s a good bet to present them all and let the fish tell you what they want on a particular day. 

Will Hinson with two more good ones
Will Hinson with two more good ones

The shallow bite should turn on very soon for catfish on Lake Wateree, but Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that he is still finding better action anchored in the middle of the creek or in the main channel in 15-31 feet of water. Cut gizzard shad still seems to be the best bait and they remain easy to net in the creeks.

March 5

Lake Wateree is way down to 97.0% of full pool and morning surface water temperatures are in the low to mid-50s. The water is clearing some but still pretty muddy.

More normal conditions on Wateree this week
More normal conditions on Wateree this week

Water levels on Lake Wateree are genuinely down this week, and tournament bass angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that because of the combination of a lot of factors he expects the fishing to really be good this weekend. Fish are solidly in the pre-spawn stage, and in the morning females should be ganged up around points, rocks, docks, grass, and other shallow cover close to spawning areas. In the afternoon he expects the groups to break up and for the fish to move around. Cooler weather could push them deeper and make them suspend, but this time of year they won’t stay out for very long. 

A lot of different baits will catch fish right now, including crankbaits, jigs, and spinnerbaits. 

While the crappie are not yet up against the banks on Lake Wateree, tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that they have gotten into pre-spawn mode and are starting to move shallower into the creeks and coves across the lake. He is finding them suspended 8-12 feet down over 15-25 feet of water. Will is mostly casting to them with LiveScope technology, but tight-lining or long-line trolling will both work.  Will has been using plain jigs but jigs tipped with minnows will also catch fish.

The shallow bite still does not seem to have turned on for catfish on Lake Wateree, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that he is still finding better action anchored in the middle of the creek or in the main channel in 15-31 feet of water.  Cut gizzard shad still seems to be the best bait and they remain easy to net in the creeks.

February 26

Lake Wateree is down to 99.7% of full pool and morning surface water temperatures range from about 51-52 on the main channel to 54 in the backs of creeks. The water is muddy. 

The backside of the Lake Wateree Dam earlier this week
The backside of the Lake Wateree Dam earlier this week

After peaking at several feet above full pool with water rushing over the dam, tournament bass angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that the lake is now “merely” full and people are finally able to get out on the lake again. Still, high muddy water at this time of year usually makes for tough fishing on Lake Wateree, although it will be interesting to see what happens in the first CATT this weekend.

While there has been some warm weather Dearal doesn’t think a couple of warm days will be enough to totally change the bite, and he still suggests sticking to steep, rocky banks on or near the main lake. Docks, grass points and brush could also hold some fish, but again he would stay close to main water. The most catchable fish are likely to be in less that 6-10 feet and red crankbaits with a subtle wobble or jigs should be good choices. A slow moving spinnerbait could also be good. 

It’s still tough conditions for crappie on Lake Wateree, but tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that the best fishing has come tight-lining in coves off the main lake on the lower end around Clearwater or Colonel Creek.  Fish are getting out of the current, and they have been suspended 15-18 feet down over 25-30 feet of water.

On warm days this weekend the fish may well start to go shallow, and as the shallows warm faster than deeper water some could even be caught very shallow in only a few feet of water. Very shallow tight-lining out of the front of the boat is probably the best way to approach these fish. 

The fish don’t always read the same books and articles that we do, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that with all this muddy water the catfish should have gone shallow.  However, as on Lake Wylie he has found a shallow bite almost non-existent and yesterday they only caught a couple of small blues near the banks.  Moving back towards deeper water they caught some decent 2-8 pound catfish anchored in the middle of the creek, but it wasn’t until they got back to the main channel and set up in 15-31 feet that they found some better blues in the teenage class.  Cut gizzard shad seems to be the best bait and right now they are easy to net in the creeks.  Overall Rodger rate the bite fair to good.

February 18

Lake Wateree has shot up to 101.7% of full pool and water temperatures remain in the upper 40s. Once again the lake is very muddy even before today’s rain. 

While he would love to give an on-the-water fishing report, tournament bass angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that last weekend the CATT Trail had to cancel its tournament because of very low water levels, while this weekend he feels almost certain they will have to cancel because of extremely high water! The lake is already well over full pool with water pouring over the dam and is expected to crest at 103.  

When it’s finally fishable again he still advises sticking to steep, rocky banks on or near the main lake. Slow moving baits fished close to the bottom are still the best bet, including jigs and spinnerbaits. 

There haven’t been a lot of breaks in the weather, but when he has had a chance to fish tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that the crappie have been exactly where they “should” be with all the mud and current running through the lake. He has found the fish on the lower end from about Colonel Creek to the dam, and with water temperatures still very cold they have been out on the main lake.  Fish have been suspended about 8-12 feet down over 30-34 feet of water. 

While you could probably fish for them by trolling, Will has been chasing them with his LiveScope and casting at them with jigs. 

Will Hinson with two of the fish he caught casting
Will Hinson with two of the fish he caught casting

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that the best bet is still to anchor gizzard shad on deep ledges earlier in the day. You can fish this way at the mouths of creeks or on drops in the main river channel. 

Then, in the afternoon look for active fish in only a few feet of water.  When picking a shallow spot to anchor lines look for areas with bird activity. 

February 4

Lake Wateree is back up to 96.2% of full pool and water temperatures remain in the upper 40s. The lake is already pretty muddy, from one end to the other, with more rain on the way.   

The water coming up a bit is a good thing for bass fishing on Lake Wateree, but tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that is about the only positive. In the cold, muddy conditions fishing is extremely difficult. The best bet is still to stick to steep, rocky banks on or near the main lake. Slow moving baits fished close to the bottom are still the best bet, including jigs and spinnerbaits. 

Check out the newLake Wateree Catch ’Em Kits with lures hand-picked for each season by Dearal.

Not at a lot of people are chasing crappie right now on Lake Wateree, but tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports the best bet is still to get out of the muddiest, swiftest water up the river and try to fish more protected pockets on the lower end.  Tight-line minnows and jigs in black or other dark colors, perhaps with some chartreuse, in 16-24 feet on the bottom. 

It may be a couple of weeks but when the water starts to warm anglers will want to look in the middle part of coves and creeks and tight-line in 12-22 feet of water. 

On the catfish front, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that other species are more affected by the mud – while catfish keep right on eating!  The best bet is still to anchor gizzard shad on deep ledges earlier in the day. You can fish this way at the mouths of creek or on drops in the main river channel. 

Then, when the afternoon sun warms the water look for active fish in only a few feet of water.  When picking a shallow spot to anchor lines look for areas with bird activity. 

January 20

Lake Wateree is at 94.4% of full pool and water temperatures are in the upper 40s and lower 50s. The lake remains pretty muddy. 

It’s still tough fishing conditions on Lake Wateree, and tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that most people seem to agree that it’s hard to catch bass right now on the lake. Cold, muddy water makes for a slow bite, and because the water levels are also low Dearal advises sticking to steep, rocky banks on or near the main lake. Slow moving baits fished close to the bottom are still the best bet, including jigs and spinnerbaits. 

Check out the new Lake Wateree Catch ’Em Kits with lures hand-picked for each season by Dearal.

There’s not a lot of change in the crappie patterns, and tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that fish are still trying to escape the worst current and dirty water by moving to pockets on the lower end. The best way to catch them is tight-lining minnows and jigs in 16-24 feet on the bottom. Black and other dark colors, perhaps with a flash of chartreuse, are the best bets. 

Will Hinson shows off a nice Florida crappie he caught this week
Will Hinson shows off a nice Florida crappie he caught this week

In catfish news, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that the best bet is still to anchor gizzard shad on deep ledges earlier in the day.  You can fish this way at the mouths of creek or on drops in the main river channel. 

Then, when the afternoon sun warms the water look for active fish in only a few feet of water.   When picking a shallow spot to anchor lines look for areas with bird activity.

January 13

Lake Wateree is down to 94.1% of full pool and water temperatures are in the upper 40s and lower 50s. The lake is muddy. 

Anyone looking for an excuse not to go fishing on Lake Wateree right now has a pretty good one – the lake is muddy, conditions are rainy, and it’s cold. Apparently a lot of people are using that excuse, and tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that there is little fishing activity right now.

Still, with cold, muddy water being pulled hard through lake not much has changed with the crappie, and they are still trying to escape the worst current and dirty water by moving to pockets on the lower end. The best way to catch them is tight-lining minnows and jigs in 16-24 feet on the bottom. Black and other dark colors, perhaps with a flash of chartreuse, are the best bets. 

If and when the flow settles down then try the same pattern around the state park at the same depths as fish make their way back up. 

Even though conditions are really tough for bassfishing right now, tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden does reports that there have been a few fish caught on slow moving baits fished close to the bottom. The best bet is to fish steep, shallow rocky areas that are close to deep water, and the best reports recently have come on a spinnerbait and a jig. 

Check out the new Lake Wateree Catch ’Em Kits with lures hand-picked for each season by Dearal.

In catfish news, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that the best bet is still to anchor gizzard shad on deep ledges earlier in the day.  You can fish this way at the mouths of creek or on drops in the main river channel. 

Then, when the afternoon sun warms the water look for active fish in only a few feet of water.  When picking a shallow spot to anchor lines look for areas with bird activity. 

January 7

Lake Wateree is back up to 96.2% of full pool and water temperatures are down to the lower 50s. While the lower end is decent the upper end is muddy. 

A couple of weeks ago Wateree was so low that it was hard to get a boat in, but now tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that high and muddy conditions up the lake are changing things. There may still be some crappie on the upper end of Lake Wateree, but more fish seem to be escaping the mud and current by coming down the lake. Will is fishing pockets on the lower end where the water is cleaner, and he is tight-lining minnows and jigs in 16-24 feet on the bottom. 

The majority of the bass tournament activity is in a lull on Lake Wateree, and the upper end is muddy, but tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that water conditions around Clearwater Cove are decent. Fishing rock is the key, and he suggests fishing crankbaits, jigs, Carolina rigs and shakey heads. While there may be greater numbers of fish deeper, the most catchable fish are also likely to be relatively shallow. 

Check out the new Lake Wateree Catch ’Em Kits with lures hand-picked for each season by Dearal.

In catfish news, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that the best bet is to anchor gizzard shad on deep ledges earlier in the day. However, when the afternoon sun warms the water then active fish can be caught surprisingly shallow in only a few feet of water.  When picking a shallow spot to anchor lines look for areas with bird activity. 

Jeff Taylor with another big Catawba chain blue cat!
Jeff Taylor with another big Catawba chain blue cat!

December 20

Lake Wateree is down to 94.4% of full pool and water temperatures are in the lower 50s.  

With water levels extremely low there has been limiting fishing activity on Lake Wateree, and tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that Dutchman’s is one of the better (few) places to put in right now. But if you can get out there after crappie then the fish are from the state park up along the river channel, and they are mostly suspended 18-24 feet down over 24-26 feet of water. Tight-lining ugly green, yellow, pink and chartreuse jigs tipped with minnows has been the best pattern. 

  Will Hinson with two more good ones...
Will Hinson with two more good ones...

There has also been limited bass fishing activity on Lake Wateree, but tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that there is a decent bite fishing rocky main lake points and steep banks. Crankbaits, jigs, Carolina rigs and shakey heads are all working. With the lake so low most anglers will find some of their spots out of water. 

In catfish news, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that there is still good fishing for blue catfish and channel cats on the drift from the state park to Clearwater Cove. Some large blues are also being taken between the islands just south of Colonel Creek in 25 to 44 feet of water.  Gizzard shad is the bait of choice if you can get it.

Also, look for striped bass action in the same areas as the blue cats.  Down-lining live shad or bass minnows 15 to 18 feet down should bring them to the boat.  When there is surface activity then you can cast bucktails at the fish.

November 24

Lake Wateree is at 99.2% of full pool and water temperatures are in the lower 60s.  From dam to dam the lake is dirty/ muddy. 

It seems a while ago that we were reporting that dropping water levels were making it hard to get a boat in on Lake Wateree, but last week tournament bass angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that the CATT tournament had to be cancelled because of extremely high water.  While the levels have come down the lake is still high and muddy, and as a result most of the catchable fish are probably in less than 5 – and certainly less than 10 – feet of water. Even though water levels are now high when they got so low most of the fish pulled out of the back of creeks, and so Dearal suggests fishing the front section of creeks or the main lake. They could be in the back of some short pockets off the main lake, however.

In the muddy conditions big spinnerbaits, bulky jigs, Chatterbaits, and Rattle Traps are all good options. While fish are generally related to bait schools at this time of year, in the dirty water they could also be tight to rock or around grass. Right now those are probably better cover than wood and docks. 

Water conditions are just starting to settle out, but tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that ripping current, mud and water over the dam put the crappie on the move last week. They started their seasonal migration up the river a little early this year, and now most of the fish are from the state park to the upper dam.

The best pattern has been tight-lining in 18-20 feet on the river channel tight to the bottom, and they should stay here for a little while.  Orange or chartreuse jigs tipped with minnows have been working the best.

In catfish news, Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that there is good fishing for blue catfish and channel cats on the drift from the state park to Clearwater Cove. Some large blues are also being taken between the islands just south of Colonel Creek in 25 to 44 feet of water. Gizzard shad is the bait of choice if you can get it. 

Also, look for striped bass action in the same areas as the blue cats. Down-lining live shad or bass minnows 15 to 18 feet down should bring them to the boat. Soft plastics and buck tails cast to surface schools should also begin to work soon.

Jeff Taylor with a big Wateree catfish
Jeff Taylor with a big Wateree catfish

November 12

Lake Wateree is way down to 94.8% of full pool and water temperatures are around 66 degrees. Before the rain clarity was normal.

Dropping water levels have made it harder to get a boat in on Lake Wateree, but tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that the crappie fishing is good if you can get on the water. The fish are scattered from one end of the lake to the other, but they have moved shallower onto main lake brush in 8-15 feet of water. There are also some fish chasing shad on the main lake, also in the 8-15 foot range, and long-line trolling has been the best way to target them.

Fish Stalker jigs in Mountain Dew, Blue Dew and glimmer blue have been working the best. 

The bass fishing has gotten pretty tough on Lake Wateree, and tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that low water levels have not pulled fish out of the creeks where they are chasing shad but they have made it harder to fish some of the better cover. In the last CATT tournament there were multiple teams that did not catch a fish, and 14 pounds was good enough for the win. Anglers are hoping for better conditions for the championship this weekend.

Square-billed crankbait should still work in areas with bait, but Dearal has found the most bites with a frog fished around grass even though the water is low. 

It remains a pretty good time to catch catfish on Wateree, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that the best bet right now is to drift several particular areas in the down-lake areas where most of the bait can be found. One is the flat adjacent to June Creek that is about 21 feet deep, and you can also work the humps in 32-34 feet that are beside Beaver Creek. Another good section is the area below Colonel Creek with three islands that features a lot of bottom changes in 28-40 feet. This area is especially strong if you have a southeast wind. 

Gizzard shad is the best bait.

October 23

Lake Wateree is at 96.8% of full pool and water temperatures are in the lower 70s. The lake has gotten a little dirtier and the upper end is heavily stained. 

Without significant changes in conditions on Lake Wateree the crappie remain in a similar pattern, and tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that they are chiefly on the main lake suspended just over brush in 12-22 feet of water. They can be found from one end of the lake to the other. One-rod jigging with Fish Stalker jigs in glimmer blue (monkey milk), Mountain Dew and yellow with black flakes is working the best. 

Fish are eating shad, but even though shad can be found everywhere the crappie usually stay out of the creeks in the fall. 

Will Hinson with a very happy camper!
Will Hinson with a very happy camper!

The shallow bass bite remains pretty good on Lake Wateree, and tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that fish are mostly in the creeks where they are chasing shad. The schooling action has been good at times, and when they are not schooling you can catch fish on square-billed crankbaits fished around the banks. The key is to make sure you are fishing in areas where there are schools of bait.

Even though water levels are relatively low, there are also still some fish that are in the grass. A frog is working well, and when the sun comes out you can flip a craw to them.  Swim jigs will also work. 

It’s a good but not great time to catch catfish on Wateree, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that the best bet right now is to drift several particular areas in the down-lake areas where most of the bait can be found. One is the flat adjacent to June Creek that is about 21 feet deep, and you can also work the humps in 32-34 feet that are beside Beaver Creek. Another good section is the area below Colonel Creek with three islands that features a lot of bottom changes in 28-40 feet. This area is especially strong if you have a southeast wind. 

Gizzard shad is the best bait. 

October 9

Lake Wateree is at 96.7% of full pool and water temperatures are around 72 degrees. The upper lake is dingy while down towards the dam it just has a little color.

The shallow bass bite has gotten pretty good on Lake Wateree, and tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that fish have moved into the creeks where they are chasing shad. The schooling action has been good at times, and when they are not schooling you can catch fish on square-billed crankbaits fished around the grass.  The key is to make sure you are fishing in areas where there are schools of bait.

Even though water levels are down, there are also still some fish that are in the grass. A frog is working well, and when the sun comes out you can flip a craw to them.  The word has gotten out about swim jigs so bass are used to see them now, but they will also work. 

As water temperatures drop the crappie are on the move, and tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that they are starting to make their way towards shallower structure.  The fish are still on the main lake, but they are suspended just over brush in 12-22 feet of water. They can be found from one end of the lake to the other. One-rod jigging with Fish Stalker jigs in glimmer blue (monkey milk), Mountain Dew and yellow with black flakes is working the best. 

Fish are eating shad, but even though shad can be found everywhere the crappie usually stay out of the creeks in the fall. 

Another good day on Wateree this week with Will Hinson
Another good day on Wateree this week with Will Hinson

The catfish bite remains pretty good on Wateree, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that in the morning you can do well anchoring around mussel beds in 6-15 feet of water when there is not too much wind or wave activity. The better pattern is often drifting, however, and right now Rodger says the best drift is from June Creek to the islands below Colonel Creek. If you want to catch a big fish then the best bet is to anchor on a ledge and wait them out. 

Cut shad has been working the best.

September 24

Lake Wateree is back up to 96.6% of full pool while temperatures have dropped to the upper 70s or low 80s. The upper end is already muddy and the water is coming down. 

They dropped the lake in anticipation of extremely large amounts of rain, and while there was not as much water as feared tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that up-and-down water levels did affect the bass.  Dropping water kept them from getting in the very backs of the creeks, and the front to middle section of the creeks still continue to produce the best. There has been some schooling activity out in the middle of the creeks, and at other times square-billed crankbaits and topwater lures have been working closer to the banks. 

Soft plastics have also been catching some fish around docks, grass, stick-ups and shade. 

Overall it’s not yet an easy fall bite but hopefully that is coming. 

There’s not much change with the crappie this week, and tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that pretty much every brush pile along the main channel or at the mouth of creeks still has fish – but the crappie have still not really moved into the creeks yet. 

The bigger fish are along the river in brush that is in 18-25 feet of water, while the fish that have moved into shallower brush in 10-18 feet at the mouths of the creeks are generally smaller. Both groups of fish are holding about a foot over the brush.  

One pole jigging with Fish Stalker jigs in Mountain Dew and Blue Dew has been working the best.

Will Hinson with a couple of nice Wateree crappie caught last week
Will Hinson with a couple of nice Wateree crappie caught last week

The catfish bite remains pretty good on Wateree, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that in the morning you can do well anchoring around mussel beds in 6-15 feet of water when there is not too much wind or wave activity. The better pattern is often drifting, however, and right now Rodger says the best drift is from June Creek to the islands below Colonel Creek. If you want to catch a big fish then the best bet is to anchor on a ledge and wait them out. 

Cut shad has been working the best.

September 16

Lake Wateree is down to 95.3% of full pool and morning surface water temperatures are around 82-83 degrees. It’s dingy up the lake but from June Creek to the dam is clear for Wateree. 

Bass fishing continues to improve on Lake Wateree as temperatures drop, and  tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that fish are just starting to move into the creeks following the shad. A lot of the time these fish will come up to the surface in the middle of the creeks, but if they are not on top then fishing the bank with square-billed crankbaits or topwater lures is a good bet. There are probably still some fish out on the main lake but Dearal has not been targeting them. 

Fishers Rodgers with a good one
Fishers Rodgers with a good one

It’s gotten a lot easier to find crappie in the last couple of weeks, and tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that pretty much every brush pile along the main channel or at the mouth of creeks has fish. The crappie have not really moved into the creeks yet. 

The bigger fish are along the river in brush that is in 18-25 feet of water, while the fish that have moved into shallower brush in 10-18 feet at the mouths of the creeks are generally smaller. Both groups of fish are holding about a foot over the brush.  

One pole jigging with Fish Stalker jigs in Mountain Dew and Blue Dew has been working the best and catching 60-70 fish in a few hours is not unusual.

The catfish bite remains pretty good on Wateree, and Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that in the morning you can do well anchoring around mussel beds in 6-15 feet of water when there is not too much wind or wave activity. When the wind gets up the best option is to drift for scattered fish in 15-25 feet from the state park to Colonel Creek. Another good drift is from Rochelle to June Creek in about 18-21 feet of water. If you want to catch big fish then the best bet is to anchor on a ledge and wait them out. 

Cut shad has been working the best.

 

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