Lake Monticello water temperatures are in the high 70s to low 80s.
As predicted by tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria in last week’s report, fish are finally starting to move towards some of their summer haunts on Lake Monticello. The last few times Andy has been out he has found some pretty good fish stacked up around his favorite offshore structure, and this bite should only get better well into June.
The depth will vary from week to week, but bass will be found around deeper humps and points. Some days they are grouped up better in 20-30 feet of water, but on the last trip out Andy found them in 35-45 feet of water. These fish are primarily eating white perch (Monticello has a very large perch population) and threadfin shad, and these fish will be on the bottom. Accordingly, he likes to fish big, deep-diving crankbaits and to cast and vertically jig big spoons once fish set up deep.
Even though the predominant pattern is fishing deep water, there are still some fish up shallow and on his last trip Andy caught some good fish on a fluke although they were smaller. This bite will decline at least during the day, but throughout the summer there should continue to be a shallow bite for about the first 45 minutes or hour of the morning. Some good fish can be found up shallow that will take a Pop-R, a small buzzbait or other surface lure. Lake Monticello has a good amount of riprap and that is one of the better shallow areas to target – until the sun gets up.
Catfish: Inconsistent. Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that the blue catfish bite on Lake Monticello can be very good when it’s on right now, but it can be very slow on days when the fish aren’t feeding. The quality of the bite can change in as little as 24 hours. On a Saturday trip they caught a bunch of aggressive fish up to the mid-20s with lots of 5-10 pound fish, but two days later on Monday they only found small fish willing to bite. Overall the most aggressive fish have been in 30-45 feet of water on humps, points and ridges. Small pieces of cut bait (herring, white perch, etc.) have still been working best.
Similarly, the free-line bite for numbers of fish has also been inconsistent. On good warm days after the sun heats up the water for a few hours it can start to pull some fish up towards the top, and then pulling cut bait in mid-depths can be productive. However, recent cold snaps and night-time lows in the high 40s and 50s have kept more fish deep and slowed that bite.