Please note that the newest Lake Wateree fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-lake-wateree-sc-winter-fishing-report/
Lake Wateree is at 98.3% of full pool, and water temperatures are all the way up to 55 degrees. Up the lake is pretty muddy, with better clarity down the lake.
It’s not unusual for Lake Wateree bass to be found in the shallows, but because of much warmer than typical conditions more bass seem to be shallow right now than is common in January. Tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that he has found the best bite in 3-8 or 10 feet of water, and he is finding fish around rocks, brush and docks. The best action is on the main lake. Typically at this time of year on Wateree he tries to avoid the wind, but right now the wind seems to be moving the warm water around and whichever side the wind is blowing towards has more active fish. Shad Raps, jigs and shakey head worms are all catching fish.
If the bass are not doing what they typically do in January, veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt advises that the crappie are in exactly the same boat. While there are still some crappie up the river, the bite in the Wateree Creek area has really slowed down because of the muddy conditions. Duke Power doesn’t seem to be running a lot of water through the area, and so the mud (and sluggish bite) just seems to have settled in.
Between the mud up-lake and warm water temperatures crappie are starting to make their way shallower in Beaver Creek, Singleton Creek and Dutchman’s Creek. While the fish could high-tail it out of there if conditions cool off again, for now they are following bait that is following the warmer water. Some good fish are biting, and Monday Will caught 9 fish over 1 ½ pounds. The best pattern has been tight-lining about 1 foot off the bottom in 12-18 feet of water in the creeks.
While the best fish seem to be moving up, there are also still some fish out in deeper water in 28-30 feet. These fish are spread across the river channel, from the top to bottom of the lake, but they are concentrated around drops and ledges as opposed to open water.
Jigs tipped with minnows have been the best bet, with Fish Stalker jigs in Ugly Green and Monkey Milk (a new pearl white color with a purple haze like minnows and black pepper flakes). Skipper’s Moon Jigs in chartreuse, black and pink have also been working.
Lake Wateree is at 98.3% of full pool, and water temperatures range from the upper 40s to lower 50s.
Bass fishing is a little tough on Lake Wateree, but tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden says that fish are getting into a pretty typical winter pattern. While a lot of fish are holding out deeper, the most catchable fish move up shallow into about 5 feet of water to feed. They can be can be found around 45 degree banks as well as rocky banks with deep water nearby, and most fish are in the main lake or the front part of creeks. Again, rock is a good bet. Jigs, crankbaits and even Carolina rigs have been catching some fish.
While bass may be a little finicky, veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt advises that this a really good time to catch crappie on Wateree. Sizes are strong, with most fish being caught in the ¾ to 2 pound range. Crappie can be found from Dutchman’s and Singleton Creek up to Wateree Creek and the old river run, with most fish along the river channel. There are also some fish at the mouth of Taylors Creek where the channel swings inwards. Fishing about 18-22 feet deep in 18-26 feet of water has been the best pattern, and tight-lining has been the most productive technique. A lot of anglers are simply tight-lining plain hooks and minnows, while Will is having the best success with Fish Stalker jigs in Ugly Green or Midnight colors tipped with minnows and Skipper moon jigs in orange or chartreuse also tipped with minnows.