Lake World (803-957-6548) reports that they have never seen a fishery change so much so fast as Lake Murray did after the recent rains, and as a result of the massive inflow of water striper have scattered out and dispersed from the dam to the elbow area. Anglers are trying a bit of everything to catch fish including free-lining, fishing planer boards and down-lining to depths of about 30 feet. One angler did catch a limit of 24-29 inch fish using the big 3-ounce Ben Parker spoons still available at the store, but for a lot of anglers big catches have been elusive. With the birds starting to move in Lake World advises anglers to look for the birds to locate fish, and there are scattered reports of schooling activity early and late.
Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) concurs that striper fishing has been in flux, and he has had trouble getting on top of anything besides small fish. He has landed those fishing down lines in the mouths of creeks in about 40-50 feet of water. He has also heard of some fish schooling and heard reports of anglers catching them on free-lines, but that has not been his first-hand experience.
Brad says that while the striper got shook up for a while from all the rains, the profoundest effect on many people’s fishing will come from the destruction to the brush as a result of SCE&G being forced to open the auxiliary floodgates. In certain parts of the lake docks were destroyed and much of the brush that anglers have put in the lake was sucked out by the extreme current.
That’s not to say crappie aren’t still biting, and for anglers who have any brush left they can be caught on a pretty typical fall brush pattern. Fish are suspended 5-6 feet down over brush in 12-15 feet of water and they are very willing to eat jigs. Because of windy conditions Brad has spent more time on the upper end of the lake in the mouths of creeks and coves, but the same type of areas should be producing in other parts of the lake.
Overall, Lake Murray is at 357.33 with surface water temperatures 68.6 degrees down by the dam. Captain Brad Taylor and Captain Doug Lown both agree that the lake is in the process of turning over.
White perch: Very good. Lake World reports that the most dependable bite continues to be the white perch bite, and anglers are catching fish in the very broad range of 5-60 feet of water. The prime depth range has been 20-30 feet, however, with fish schooled up near the bottom in those depths. Jigging spoons fished vertically are tough to beat once you locate the fish.
Catfish: Fair to good. Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that the most productive pattern is still to anchor on humps and points and fan-cast stinkbaits, shrimp and herring for channel catfish. Space your baits on ledges that range from 5-30 feet. Once the lake clears some and water temperatures begin to drop the baitfish should move deeper, which should cause the catfish to move deeper as well and improve the drift bite.
Bass: Tough. One only needs to look at the results of recent tournaments on Lake Murray to get a picture of how tough the fishing is, with the best teams on the lake struggling to catch five-fish limits in an eight-hour day of fishing – and others struggling to catch one fish! Veteran Lake Murray tournament angler Captain Doug Lown reports that this is not unusual for this time of year, and around the turnover bass fishing on the lake always gets tough. The shallower upper lake is further along in this process than the deeper lower lake, but the next major cold spell should really accelerate the turnover. There are some isolated schooling fish right now, but these have generally been hard to catch and it is believed that the bass are feeding on little tiny bait. There have also been some fish around the grass in the creeks, but they have also been tough to catch. Probably the most reliable pattern has been fishing around rocks with a shakey head worm, and anglers can be assured that the fishing will improve soon.