Lake Russell is at 474.15 and surface water temperatures have shot from the low 40s to the mid- to upper-50s in just over a week. Lake Russell is now 60 degrees in the warmest places and about 55 on the main channel.
Crappie: Excellent. Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) reports that crappie fishing is on fire and fish are up shallow. Water temperatures went up so fast that fish went straight from 35 feet of water to the bank, and they never went the through the typical transitional period where they stage in 20 feet of water. The two best patterns are trolling 1/16 ounce curly tail grubs in 10-15 feet of water way up the creeks, or casting curly tail grubs under a bobber along sandy, shallow banks. Fish are getting very close to spawning.
Bass: Fair. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that in the BFL event on Lake Russell yesterday 17 pounds was the winning weight, but second place was in the 14-pound range and so fishing is still a little tough. Basically Wendell believes there are two main patterns for bass, with one group of fish (predominately largemouth) mixed in with the crappie up the creeks in the muddier water. They will hit small/ medium-running crankbaits and spinnerbaits. The other major pattern is that spotted bass are starting to move up onto the sides of points in about 20 feet of water. Anglers can target them with drop shots, or brown jigs if they are trying to target bigger fish. Overall bass are in pre-spawn mode, and although a few fish remain out deep every day more and more fish come up shallow. Think about the areas they will be spawning and fish spots leading to those areas. Finally, a possible third pattern is to fish small pockets on the main lake with something like a jerkbait as some largemouth have moved up into those main lake pockets.
Striped bass: Fair. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that the best bet is pulling free-lined live herring across main points around the mouth of Beaverdam or in the middle section of the Rocky River. Stay in 20-50 feet of water.
Catfish: Slow to fair. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that catfishing is just starting to come on. Try fishing cut herring or nightcrawlers on the bottom in 5-10 feet of water off points.
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DHEC Fish Advisory: Only one meal per week of largemouth or spotted bass.