Reel in the big fish with one of our handpicked fishing reels. Shop by brand or reel type.

Shop our collection of fishing rods to find the one that best matches your needs.

AHQ INSIDER Santee Cooper (SC) Fall 2019 Fishing Report – Updated August 21

  • by Jay

The newest Santee Cooper fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-santee-cooper-sc-fall-2019-fishing-report/

August 21

Santee Cooper water levels are at 74.92 in Lake Marion (full pool is 76.8) and 74.83 in Lake Moultrie (full pool is 75.5).  Morning surface temperatures are in the mid- to upper 80s and without much rain clarity is good.

There continue to be some nice catfish caught on Santee in the heat of summer, and Captain Stevie English (843-709-8138) reports that he has discovered a strong night-time bite drifting in 40-45 feet of water.  The first time he fished this pattern he caught multiple fish in the 25-30+ pound range, and it has continued to produce.

During the day he has had the best luck drifting in 15-25 feet of water.

Overall the night bite has been better than the daytime bite, and at night there are also some good fish being caught anchoring shallow.

There is also a decent amount of fishing activity in the canal, where anglers are mostly anchor fishing. They are catching plenty of small fish in the canal on stinkbait.

A nice catch on Captain Stevie English's boat
A nice catch on Captain Stevie English’s boat

While the big bassseem to be in hiding on the Santee lakes, Captain Brett Mitchell (803-379-7029) reports that there are still pretty good numbers to be had.  The best fishing is in the 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. window, and his boat is catching 10-12 fish per day.

The best pattern is still fishing topwater lures like frogs or buzzbaits shallow anwhere there is shade, cover or weed.

Once the sun gets up the predominant pattern is pitching soft plastics to any type of cover with shade in 3 feet or more.  There are also some fish around deeper cover, but Brett has found very few fish much deeper than 12 feet.  Brush piles, stumps and stump beds out to 12 feet have all fished about the same, with Carolina rigs and Texas rigs the best way to fish the deeper stuff.

In the lake they are mainly catching small bream,but Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports that in the canals some very nice bluegill have been biting.  They are fishing on the bottom on the sides of the canal in about 12-15 feet of water.

On the crappiefront, Steve reports that they are starting to catch more fish in the upper lake.  They are in 14-20 feet of water and the bite is definitely improving as we move towards September, which happens every year.  Minnows are working best.

July 29

Santee Cooper water levels are at 75.44 in Lake Marion (full pool is 76.8) and 75.34 in Lake Moultrie (full pool is 75.5).  Surface temperatures are around 84, and the lake is fairly clear.

The biggest change this week has been with the catfish, and Captain Stevie English (843-709-8138) reports that a deep drifting bite has come on at night.  Saturday night he got six fish over 25 pounds drifting in deep water.  There has also been a good shallow bite at night anchoring in 3-10 feet of water around trees.

During the day fish are a little smaller, but drifting in 8-15 feet remains the best pattern.

The canal has started producing more big fish to go with still very strong numbers.

A nice catfish caught with Captain Stevie English
A nice catfish caught with Captain Stevie English

There’s not a lot of change in the basspattern on the Santee lakes, and Captain Brett Mitchell (803-379-7029) reports that on most morning or afternoon trips they are still getting a nice one four to five pounds or more.

Between daylight and 7 a.m., and then again between 7 p.m. and dark, there is a good topwater bite.  Fish anywhere there is shade, cover or weed, with frogs, buzzbaits, or your favorite surface lure.

Once the sun gets up the predominant pattern is pitching soft plastics to any type of cover with shade in 3 feet or more.  There are also some fish around deeper cover, but Brett has found very few fish much deeper than 12 feet.  Brush piles, stumps and stump beds out to 12 feet have all fished about the same, with Carolina rigs and Texas rigs the best way to fish the deeper stuff.

The breamfishing remains good on Santee Cooper, withCaptain Steve English (843-729-4044) reporting that yesterday his boat caught a nice haul of fish off beds.  Fish continue to move into the shallows around bedding moon phases. When that happens the fish on the brush get smaller, but then they move back out to brush again after the new or full moon once bedding activity slows down.

Crappiefishing remains fairly good, and Steve reports that they are catching a few fish 15-25 feet down over brush, and then some shallower 8-10 feet down over brush.  Fish are really scattered and it seems like they are seeking out the choice brush regardless of depth.  Minnows are working best.

July 22

Santee Cooper water levels are down to 75.27 in Lake Marion (full pool is 76.8) and 75.51 in Lake Moultrie (full pool is 75.5).  Surface temperatures are in the upper 80s, and clarity is relatively high.

Even though it’s the heat of summer some good basscontinue to be caught on the Santee lakes, and Captain Brett Mitchell (803-379-7029) reports that on most morning or afternoon trips they get a nice one four to five pounds or more.  Last night they caught a 6-pounder, good for the win in the Sunday Showdown Series.

Between daylight and 7 a.m., and then again between 7 p.m. and dark, there is a good topwater bite.  Fish anywhere there is shade, cover or weed, with frogs, buzzbaits, or your favorite surface lure.

Once the sun gets up the predominant pattern is pitching soft plastics to any type of cover with shade in 3 feet or more.  There are also some fish around deeper cover, but Brett has found very few fish much deeper than 12 feet.  Brush piles, stumps and stump beds out 12 feet have all fished about the same, with Carolina rigs and Texas rigs the best way to fish the deeper stuff.

The winning bag from last night's tournament
The winning bag from last night’s tournament

The breamfishing remains good on Santee Cooper, withCaptain Steve English (843-729-4044) reporting that fish continue to move into the shallows around bedding moon phases.  When that happens the fish on the brush get smaller, but then they move back out to brush again after the new or full moon once bedding activity slows down.

Crappiefishing has been good but not great, and Steve reports that they are catching a few fish 15-25 feet down over brush, and then some shallower 8-10 feet down over brush. Fish are really scattered and it seems like they are seeking out the choice brush regardless of depth. Minnows are working best.

On the catfishfront, Captain Stevie English (843-709-8138) reports that there has not been much of a deep bite recently, and drifting 8-12 feet during the day and anchoring 8-10 feet at night has been the primary pattern. He is also doing some daytime anchoring in the upper lake around timber.  There are lots of small catfish being caught in the canal on dip baits.

Overall there are more big fish being caught at night, but better numbers during the day.

June 25

Santee Cooper water levels are at 76.06 in Lake Marion (full pool is 76.8) and 75.59 in Lake Moultrie (full pool is 75.5).  Surface temperatures are in the mid-80s, and the upper end of the system is still dingy while the lower pond is clear.

The breamfishing remains good on Santee Cooper, andCaptain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports that they continue to catch strong numbers of fish off of beds.  In his last trip they caught 30 or 40 nice bluegill.  They are also still picking up crappieoff the same brush as at last report, with a couple of nice fish off each brush pile.

Captain Steve English guided Rodney Beard to this nice 15-ounce bluegill
Captain Steve English guided Rodney Beard to this nice 15-ounce bluegill

On the catfishfront, Captain Stevie English (843-709-8138) and Captain Jim Glenn (843-825-4239) reports that fish are still on the same anchored pattern from the last report.

There is no change from the last report in the basspattern, with Captain Brett Mitchell(803-379-7029) reporting that the best bite is still to fish topwaters early and then trees with soft plastics.

June 21

Santee Cooper water levels are at 75.74 in Lake Marion (full pool is 76.8) and 75.22 in Lake Moultrie (full pool is 75.5).  Surface temperatures are in the low to mid-80s, and the upper end of the system is fairly muddy because of a lot of water coming in.

The return of summer heat and changing water levels has slowed down bass fishing a little, but Captain Brett Mitchell (803-379-7029) reports that they are still picking up some good fish on topwater lures in the morning.  After that fish can be caught on worms around trees.

Until the water stabilizes a little Brett doesn’t expect the bite to improve too much, as for right now fish don’t know whether to go deep or shallow.

Crappie fishing has been good recently, and Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports that fish are still on mid-depth brush 10-15 feet down in the 20-30 foot range.  The bite is better than it has been the last two years.

Spawning activity for bream peaks around the new and full moons, but the mayfly hatch has also added another variable that has the bream aggressive and feeding.  Overall the bite has been good, and fish can be found feeding around shallow beds, deeper beds, and areas where the mayflies are hatching in 12-15 feet of water.  While the shellcracker spawn started earlier in the year they are still finding both shellcracker and of course bluegill beds.  Crickets are hard to beat.

Captain Jim Glenn "guided" Captain Bill Plumley to this nice Santee system shellcracker
Captain Jim Glenn “guided” Captain Bill Plumley to this nice Santee system shellcracker

On the catfishfront, Captain Stevie English (843-709-8138) reports that they are still catching fish in 10-15 feet of water during the day. At night they are anchoring in shallow water in 5-10 feet of water and catching them on cut herring.  The day bite remains a bit stronger although rising water temperatures may change that soon.

While there are not a lot of reports of big fish being caught in the canal, channels have been biting well on stinkbait there.

Captain Jim Glenn (843-825-4239) adds that there appears to be a strong population of catfish in the lakes right now, but there could be a slowdown in the bite now that the spawn is underway.  Of course not all the fish will spawn at the same time, and so in a system as big as Santee you should certainly be able to find feeding fish if you move around.

June 6

Santee Cooper water levels are at 75.48 in Lake Marion (full pool is 76.8) and 75.34 in Lake Moultrie (full pool is 75.5).  Surface temperatures are in the low to mid-80s, and the lake remains relatively clear.

There’s not a lot of change with the bass, but Captain Brett Mitchell (803-379-7029) reports that the bite is still pretty good. On his last morning trip they caught about ten fish, including a couple of 6-pounders and some in the 4 pound range.

The tail end of the shad spawn is still going on in the mornings, and Brett has seen shad around both grass and trees.  Fish are also feeding on spawning bream, a pattern that will last well into the summer.  The action is still shallow in 1-4 feet of water.

The morning has been by far the strongest time to fish, with buzzbaits, Pop-Rs, Spooks or about any other lure you prefer working.  After the morning it turns into a slower soft plastic bite.

Brett Mitchell fights a good Santee bass last week
Brett Mitchell fights a good Santee bass last week

Crappie fishing has been pretty good albeit a little inconsistent, but on good days Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports that they have caught 40+ fish.  Fish are still on brush that is not terribly deep, and fishing 10-16 feet down over 20-28 feet of water is still a good range.

There has been a good breambite shallow, and bluegill have been caught in 2-5 feet of water around shallow grass, besides trees and along edges.  Crickets under a float will work as well as anything, and in the grass they are using Bream Busters to get in the right areas.

On the catfishfront, Captain Stevie English (843-709-8138) reports that the daytime fishing has actually been a little better than the nighttime action, with 10-15 feet both at anchor and drifting working well.  At night the fish are shallower, but right now he is switching some of his night trips back to days.

The canal bite has also turned on, with most people drifting but some also anchoring.

Captain Jim Glenn (843-825-4239) reports that the blue catfish bite has held up pretty well, and he is exclusively drifting with shad in 10-20 feet of water.  There has also been some really good anchor fishing for eating-sized channel catfish with dip baits in 4-6 feet of water early and late.

Search