Largemouth bass can be caught on Lake Jocassee in January and February, but Guide Rob McComas (828-674-5041) says that he typically spends relatively little time targeting them at this time of year. When Rob is able to target smallmouth he likes to go after them, and the winter months are the most consistent smallmouth bass season on Jocassee. For the next month or two Rob says that he will chiefly be targeting brown fish on the lake.
Pursuing smallmouth in January and February means fishing off steep points and bluff walls, and that can mean fishing in the main lake or in the rivers. The Whitewater River has some good steep points and bluff walls, and he will be fishing anywhere that has the structure he is looking for. The bait of choice for Rob is a float n fly rig, and he is usually fishing it 12-20 feet deep. It is best fished very, very slowly and fish will come up from water 40 feet deep or more to take the bait. Rob finds that the colder the better for the rig. In addition to float n fly rigs he also uses some jigging spoons as well as blade baits.
In addition to smallmouth bass some spotted bass fall prey to Rob’s winter techniques, and some largemouth are definitely mixed in. However, the largest catch is smallmouth, and Rob says it can be very exciting when he gets to watch a smallmouth rise slowly through the water column to take a float n fly.
Overall, Lake Jocassee water levels are at 98.3% of full pool.
Trout: Good. Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that anglers are catching a lot of stocker-sized fish on Lake Jocassee right now, and there are also some good fish mixed in with the catch. Because it has taken a long time for the water temperatures to cool down – and even after the latest cold snap that dropped temperatures about four degrees they are still unseasonably warm – fish are still relatively deep. There has not been a lot of surface activity, and fish are as deep as 60 feet with the most activity in the 30-foot range. Fish can be caught most everywhere, from the big water to the rivers and particularly up the Toxaway in the area where the three rivers meet. Live bait has been a distant second place to hardware, with #5, #6, and #7 Rapalas in both broken back and regular minnow versions catching a lot of fish. The usual spoons including Sutton, Doctor and Apex spoons are also producing.
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