Up and down water conditions have played havoc on the Lake Wateree crappie, but in some tough conditions last week veteran tournament angler Will Hinson won the South Carolina Crappie Association tournament on Wateree with 7 fish that weighed 12-11. Their big fish weighed 1.92 pounds. Despite an impressive bag Will reports that conditions have been pretty tough, and high, muddy water pushed the fish shallower and down the lake. Fortunately things are starting to settle out.
While fish were in the river in an early winter pattern only a few weeks ago, recently the better action has come in the middle part of the lake down to Colonel Creek and the dam area. Will believes the fish have been there simply because the water is a shade cleaner. Anglers need to concentrate on mouths of creeks, pockets off the main lake and the main lake, and stay away from the backs of creeks and up the river. With the muddy conditions fish have also avoided the bottom, and Will has found fish 15-18 feet down over 18-20 feet of water as well as in 11-15 feet around shallow brush near the banks. Tight-lining with Fish Stalker 2-inch Slab Tail Jigs in Ugly Green, Black, and Yellow/Black Flake has been the best pattern.
Will notes that once the water settles out fish will move back up the river – assuming there is not another massive round of rain. This could happen very fast, and water temperature will also dictate the pattern. Right now the water is unseasonably warm.
Overall, Lake Wateree is at 96.7% of full pool.
Bass: Slow to fair. Tournament angler Dearal Rodgers (803-223-1117) reports that high, muddy water conditions have disrupted the usual fall patterns on Lake Wateree, and pinpointing the shad and in turn the bass has been difficult. While a few big bags have been managed in tournaments on Lake Wateree recently a lot of people have been struggling to catch fish. Overall Dearal believes that fish seem to be relating to the bank and also avoiding the backs of creeks, and he has hardly found any fish more than half-way back in the creeks. He has been having the best success fishing a worm and has found the jig bite slower than usual, and he has also heard reports of good fishing on a crankbait.
Catfish: No new report. Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that at this time of year he likes to start out anchoring early – wind permitting – by fan-casting multiple baits near the river channel drop from about 10-12 feet on out to 20-25 feet of water. He finds this is a pretty good way to pick up a good fish, particularly mid-lake around June Creek. Once the sun comes up and some wind develops he will usually switch to drifting the lower 2/3 of the lake from Dutchmans all the way to Colonel Creek. The 20-30 foot range is often most productive. White perch will work but gizzard shad are hard to beat for the next several months.
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