Lake Wateree is at 97.4% of full pool, and water temperatures are in the 63-65 degree range. Water conditions are pretty normal for Lake Wateree with a decent amount of stain and water pretty dirty way up the lake.
The guys who are on the big fish on Lake Wateree continue to be on the top of them, and for the second time in three weeks that means that the team of Joey Bramlett and Barry Holloman weighed in 26 plus pounds (26.73) in the Lake Wateree CATT. And this one was the big one, the CATT Spring Final on Lake Wateree, worth almost $3,500.00! Bramlett and Holloman get the championship money as well as the bragging rights for the second straight year. As with the last CATT no one was within 6 pounds of the winning team, and while there were a cluster of bags in the 20-pound range weights continued to be significantly down from last year at the same – when the top 10 all had more weight than second place this year. Perhaps the fall flooding that washed out a lot of the grass on Lake Wateree is suppressing tournament weights.
While there were some good weights at the top temperatures haven’t pushed the spawn forward as much as would be expected, and cool, windy weather has fish unsure which way to turn. Overall fish at all three stages of the spawn can still be found on Lake Wateree, with the full moon next week as well as warm 80 degree temperatures expected to bring a massive wave of fish up to bed.
Spawning fish can be found in coves and pockets, and pre-spawn and post-spawn fish are both relating heavily to points – particularly points with cover on them. Rocks, docks and grass are all good cover.
Spinnerbaits and jigs have both been catching pre-spawn fish on Lake Wateree, and once more fish move into a post-spawn stage and water temperatures warm a little look for buzzbaits, Pop-Rs and floating worms to work well. Once the shad spawn gets started fish will be found around rocky banks and docks where shad are spawning.
Catfish: Very good to excellent. Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that right now is still the hot pre-spawn fishing period, and while fish can be caught in other areas of the lake the vast majority of the fish seem to have moved upstream into the upper 1/3 of the lake. Feeding fish are setting up on ledges in 6-25 feet of water, and they are eating cut threadfin shad as well as white perch. Fish seem to use the channel as a highway, and active fish move up onto the sides of the channel where it drops off to feed. Anchoring cut threadfin shad (gizzard shad have been a little hard to locate) has been the best pattern.
Striped Bass: Good. After a couple of off-years striper seem to be making a good run up the lake this year. Particularly early in the morning striper are eating in the same areas as the catfish and good numbers of 4-7 pound fish continue to be caught on cut shad.
Crappie: Good. Tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt, SC reports that Lake Wateree crappie have mostly completed the spawn over the last two weeks, although there are still a lot of males up shallow. Since not all the crappie spawn at the same time there are still a few females in the shallow spawning, but Will estimates that well over 75% of the fish have completed the spawn. The backs of all the major creeks are filled with fish and anglers are catching crappie either tight-lining with straight minnows or long-line trolling with jigs. The fish are about 4-5 feet deep in 8-11 feet of water so baits should be presented at that depth. The next stage is that the fish will pull out to brush in 15-18 feet of water.