A few weeks ago Lake World (803-957-6548) reported that they had never seen a fishery change as much as quickly as Lake Murray striper fishing did after the October floods, and with another significant round of rain it should be no surprise that they have seen another first. Guide Richard Hall at Lake World says that with the recent rains striper have pushed up the lake and they can now be found from the mid-lake to the dam – he says it is the fastest fall movement of the fish that he has ever seen.
There is still a little bit of down-lining in 30 feet of water, but pulling planer boards and free-lines over shallow water has been the most popular technique. Birds have also arrived, with more coming each day, and some anglers are chasing birds and schooling fish with Lit’l Fishies, Bucktails and surface lures. Schooling activity is sporadic but the best action is generally early, late and on cloudy days.
Overall, Lake Murray is at 356.98 with surface water temperatures 65.8 degrees down by the dam. It appears that the fall turnover is complete, with water temperatures and dissolved oxygen levels very similar from top to bottom.
White perch: Very good. In what sounds like a broken record Lake World reports that the most dependable bite continues to be the white perch bite, with white perch fishing dominating pretty much everything else. Right now perch are stacked up in 15-50 feet of water and jigging spoons, worms and minnows fished just off the bottom will load the boat.
Shellcracker: Fair to good. Lake World reports that large numbers of shellcracker are not being caught right now, but some very nice ones are being boated. Fish in 6-12 feet of water with worms on the bottom.
Catfish: Fair. Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that the drift bite had gotten pretty consistent up until the heavy rains came in and muddied the lake up again. It generally takes about a week for the water to settle back down and the fish to get back to normal, and so in the next few days fish should be caught drifting over flats and humps near the river channels in the 20-40 foot range. Cut herring, gizzard shad, and white perch are all working well.
Bass: Fair. With a couple of significant bass tournaments coming up this weekend it’s a good thing that the bite has picked up a little bit, and veteran Lake Murray tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that bass fishing has improved marginally in the last few days. A lot of people are struggling to catch limits but after a very tough bite around the turnover at least anglers are getting some bites again. A 15-18 pound sack would be very strong right now. With the recent rains the water is muddy in places and has significant color to it over most if not all of the lake, with the lower lake the least stained, and water temperatures are a few degrees above normal even with the recent rains. As is customary on Lake Murray first thing in the morning anglers should be looking for a bite around bait, and after that they need to fish around some sort of cover. That can translate to a “rocks and docks” pattern, with bait around rocks first thing and then docks once the sun gets up – although anglers may have to fish 20 good docks to get one bite. Shakey head worms are working as well as anything right now.
Tournament angler Andy Wicker, who will be fishing the “Mr. Lake Murray” tournament this weekend, says that for him Lake Murray bass fishing is all about the bait right now. With the fresh water / mud coming into the lake the bait is in random places and the lake is acting funny, so he does not predict that there will be a lot of big weights caught this weekend.
Crappie: Fair. Conditions have changed since the most recent round of rain, but before that tournament angler Will Hinson reports that pretty good numbers of crappie were being caught although bigger fish were a bit scarce. Deeper brush off the main lake was producing, with some fish as deep as 42 feet but concentrations in 25-28 feet.
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