While striped bass fishing on Clarks Hill continues to be strong, there is little doubt that fish are on the move. Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that fish are starting to make their way up the lake for the winter, and they are also starting to move into the creeks. William reports catching fish at the mouths of major tributaries, and while they are not way back in the creeks and long coves they aren’t really in the main lake, either.
The fish are deep because much of the bait (mostly blueback herring) has moved deep, and William reports catching most of his fish right on the bottom in about 60 feet of water on down-lined herring. His boat is catching even more catfish this way, including channels, blues and flatheads.
There are also hybrid bass and some mixed in striper being caught on planer boards in the backs of coves. One good area for this type of fishing has been mid-lake around the 378 bridge. While there have not been a lot of big fish on the surface, William speculates that DNR must have done a major stocking this year because the lake is covered with small 8-inch hybrids and striper.
Overall, Clarks Hill is at 327.78 and fishing for bass, crappie and perch is also strong.
Black bass: Good. Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that there has been tons of largemouth bass schooling activity recently, with fish staying up all day as long as there is wind blowing. Certainly look for fish on the surface, but it’s not necessary to see them in order to catch fish. Instead you can fish points that are being directly hit by the wind, although if points aren’t being windblown it’s probably not worth fishing them. Buckeye suggests keeping your boat in about 18 feet of water and casting into 10-12 feet. JWill swimbait heads rigged with a Swimmin’ Fluke or regular fluke, Sammys and Su-Spin blades rigged with flukes will all catch fish. When fish are feeding actively they don’t seem to be too picky as far as colors, but pearl is a favorite.
Many anglers are primarily targeting schooling fish right now, but a secondary pattern is to throw a buzzbait around the grass. This is not a numbers pattern but can generate some big bites. You can also fish points with a jig or worm in about 10-12 feet of water. Buckeye notes that water temperatures are still holding right around 70 degrees, and bait doesn’t seem to have begun a significant migration into the creeks – that usually happens at about 65 degrees.
Perch: Good. Captain William Sasser reports that the perch bite is so strong that customers are booking trips to target them primarily, and they are catching some very good numbers of fish. The best pattern is to fish the middle of coves on the bottom in 50 feet of water, and minnows, small jigs and jigging spoons will all catch fish.
Crappie: Fair to good. Captain William Sasser reports that crappie can be found in the backs of coves 15-20 feet down over tree tops in about 30 feet of water. Look for brush at the ideal depth located in creek beds.
DHEC Fish Advisory: Only one meal per week of largemouth bass.