Lake Keowee bass have been spawning hard for 2-3 weeks, and because of this Guide Brad Fowler of Pendleton, SC says that fish at a number of different stages of the spawn can be caught right now.
For fish that are actively spawning or cruising around in the shallows looking for places to bed, soft plastics are hard to beat. Spot Removers, Senkos, floating worms or finesse worms will work well – you want something that you can work slowly as these fish preoccupied with bedding aren’t looking to chase anything.
Another group of fish have basically already wrapped up the spawn, and they have in turn slid out to secondary points. They are feeding on shad, and while some of these shad could be spawning it seems like more of them have just gotten run up into the shallows by bass. This bite is best early in the day, and fish will take spinnerbaits, swimbaits and topwater lures. In the warmer mid-lake area there are more post-spawn fish – it is always worth keeping in mind the warmwater discharge as the “hot hole” puts different groups of fish at different stages of the spawn.
Another, albeit smaller, group of fish is still in a pre-spawn/ staging pattern, and in the coming weeks they will continue to trickle in towards the banks. These fish are coming in on the same migration route that post-spawn fish are leaving, and so around secondary points they are crossing paths with fish that have wrapped up bedding activity. They may be a little deeper and they will take worms fished on a drop shot or a Carolina rig. After they come up their first move will be towards steeper banks, and then they will move into the mouths of spawning flats and then onto the backs.
“Because it’s Lake Keowee” there are always some deep fish in the 30-40 foot range, but Brad says that right now they are fairly few and far between.
Brad’s tournament partner Brock Taylor concurs about the stage that the fish are in, and he believes that with such heavy spawning activity right now next week there should be a lot of post-spawn fish that are coming off the bed. This is particularly true because of the full moon that just happened last week.
After the spawn Brock looks for fish to stay relatively shallow until water temperatures are in the mid- to upper-70s, and while it is lesser known than on the Savannah Chain lakes Brock notes that there is a blueback herring spawn on Lake Keowee (in addition to the threadfin shad spawn). Jerkbaits and shallow running crankbaits that get down to the 4-5 foot range will catch bass feeding on these fish; Brock says that at least right now it’s a little too cool for a strong topwater bite.