As should be expected with seasonal changes underway, Santee Cooper catfish are starting to move into shallow water in greater numbers. Captain Jim Glenn (843-825-4239) points out that blue catfish will move shallow at times even in the dead of winter, and he has caught fish in 6 feet of water on 18 degree mornings. However, he says that they seem to stay shallow longer as the end of February and then March roll around, and on a recent jon boat scouting trip he caught a 28 and a 42-pound fish in the shallows.
While fish can be found in the shallows, and Jim will continue to prospect in 4-10 feet of water, widespread and consistent success should not be expected in the shallows yet. The drift bite in 28-34 feet of water has been pretty fair recently, with good numbers of 2-13 pound blues and small channel catfish also being caught on cut shad.
On the striped bass front seasonal changes are also underway, and fish are beginning to be caught in the river and flats out of Pack’s Landing. A 21-pound fish was caught in the last few days, a sign that the spring striper run has begun. Most anglers will be using cut herring fished right off the banks, and Pack’s is carrying herring. Pack’s also reports a couple of 60-plus pound blue catfish caught in the last week.
Water levels remain one inch below full pool in the lower lake at 75.5, and about six inches below full pool in the upper lake at 76.2. Lake Marion is heavily stained with Moultrie a bit clearer.