For the last week or two Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports that his boat has been catching some crappie in the shallows, and when this pattern first started that meant that there were a couple of shallow spots where they could find fish. Naturally these were some of the first places to warm, and Steve said they first started catching fish in Bells Creek, Crystal Lake, the Duck Pond in the lower lake and the Hathchery area. The shallow bite was mostly confined to early in the day and late in the afternoon, and during the day anglers needed to do something different. These areas are still strong, but others are being added daily.
When fish first started to come shallow it was exclusively male fish, but progressively greater numbers of females have moved up. Water temperatures are already in the mid- to high-50s in places, and by late afternoon surface temperatures are hitting 60 and will get even higher later in the week. This will mean more and more fish shallow.
Fish haven’t been right on the bank so far, although that is coming, and right now shallow fish are in 4-8 feet of water. Shallow spider rigging, casting jigs, and fishing minnows under floats have all been working, with Steve’s boat getting the most shallow bites casting jigs.
While fish are certainly in the process of moving, that doesn’t mean there aren’t fish still deep. In fact, yesterday Steve’s boats caught a 3 pound, 6 ounce fish over deeper brush. They were fishing 20 feet down in about 35 feet of water. At least for the time being look for some good fish to continue to be caught deep.
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.