Trout: Fair. Captain Steve Pietrykowski reports that trout fishing is coming out of the late fall/ early winter doldrums and getting better. For now the best pattern is slowly trolling spoons or live bait 15-40 feet deep, with the best fish coming on live bait.
Black Bass: Fair. Captain Pat Bennett advises that the best winter action is found fishing over deep water for suspended fish. Look for bait schools on your graph, and then lower down a jigging spoon or drop shot rig.
Largemouth and Spotted Bass: Good. Guide Brad Fowler reports that bass fishing remains very strong on Lake Keowee, particularly for numbers of fish, and catching 20-plus fish on a trip is fairly common with tight winter schools. The most productive pattern at this time of year is typically deep drop-shotting in 50-70 feet of water, with some fish deeper and others slightly shallower. Because of the absence of deep cover on Keowee fish are related to depth changes, including channels, the sides of humps, underwater roadbeds, and the sides of humps. A variety of plastic worm colors will work, and the key is the technique of dropping the rig to the bottom, tightening the line and then slightly jiggling the worm with the bait still on the bottom.
Black Bass: Fair. Guide Brad Fowler reports that fish can be caught deep using traditional winter fishing techniques. In 25-40 feet of water bass are relating to channel swings, drops or any structure proximate to very deep water and they will take shakey head worms, drop shot rigs, spoons and jigs.
Striped and Hybrid Bass: Slow to fair. Captain Bill Plumley reports that striper fish has been on the slow side, but a few fish have been caught in both the Seneca and the Tugaloo jigging spoons in 30-50 feet of water.
Catfish: Slow to fair. Captain Bill Plumley reports that blue catfishing is a little on the slow side, too, but fish can be caught scattered all over the lake in 15-35 feet of water. Cats could be found on a main lake point or well up a creek. A variety of cut baits will work.
Crappie: Slow to fair. Captain Bill Plumley reports that crappie have been caught about 20-30 feet deep over brush along the edge of the channel.
Black Bass: Good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that bass fishing remains strong on Lake Russell, and the most significant change is that the big schools of bait have generally moved out to the main channel in 50-60 feet of water. Some schools can still be found in 30 or so feet of water in the creeks, but the main action has moved.
White perch: Good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that big schools of white perch can also be found around the same schools of baitfish that the spotted bass are relating to, and they will take spoons or minnows. Some yellow perch are also mixed in with the white perch.
Striped bass: Fair to good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports there have been some awesome striper catches of late. Gulls have descended on Lake Russell and will point anglers to the striper, but the general technique is trolling free lines and planer boards with big live bait and covering a lot of water.
Crappie: Fair. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that crappie have returned as a significant by-catch when bass and perch fishing, and they will be caught on minnows mixed in with the spots and perch.
Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good. Captain William Sasser reports the best fishing has been at the mouths of the creeks, not in the backs, and his boat is catching fish by presenting live herring on a combination of free lines, planer boards 20 or so feet out from the boat, and down lines.
Crappie: Good. Captain William Sasser reports that his boat is catching crappie pulling jigs about 10 feet down in 15-20 feet of water in the South Carolina Little River and Buffalo Creek.
Black bass: Fair. Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that fish are cruising fairly shallow in 4-8 feet of water. They can be found in the backs of pockets and ditches just off the main lake and caught on shallow running crankbaits and mop-type jigs.
Catfish: Good to very good. Captain Rodger Taylor reports this is blue catfish time on Lake Wylie, and over the past few years anglers have learned to target the middle to lower end of the lake focusing in the riverbed, at the mouths of deep creeks and on adjacent deepwater flats. The best baits include gizzard shad and small pieces of cut fish (the size of a quarter coin).
Largemouth Bass: Fair. FLW Professional and Guide Matt Arey reports that fish are in a typical early winter pattern and the bite should get better and better unless temperatures increase and disrupt things. Fishing grubs such as Yamamato single tail grubs behind a ¼ or 3/16 ounce jighead around channel swings, points and at the mouths of creeks is producing.
Lake Greenwood: (unchanged from Jan. 3)
Catfish: Good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that drifting cut herring, shad and shrimp in 15 to 25 feet of water near the Reedy and Saluda River channels is working well for channel cats. Crappie: Fair. Sportsman’s Friend reports that crappie are still feeding pretty well. The best fishing has come around bridge pilings in 12-15 feet of water using minnows.
Largemouth Bass: Slow. Sportsman’s Friend reports that starting in mid-November an inch or two of water has been pulled from the lake each day, and perhaps as a result of dropping water levels as well as seasonal factors the fishing remains tough. Some fish are being caught on shakey head worms fished on the bottom in 8-15 feet of water, and there is still sporadic schooling activity with a mix of bass, small stripers and white perch feeding on top.
Lake Monticello: (unchanged from Jan. 3)
Catfish: Good. Anchoring on main lake humps and points with steep ledges is most effective for putting big blue catfish in the boat; being patient and staying in one spot for a while can really pay off. Cut gizzard shad, big threadfin shad, and white perch seem to be the best baits.
Lake Wateree: (unchanged from Jan. 3)
Crappie: Very good. Will Hinson of the Southern Crappie Tournament Trail reports that a lot of crappie in the 1 – 1 1/2 pound range are being caught right now, and most fish are concentrated on the upper end of the lake from Wateree Creek on up. Fish are in the channel, and most are being found about a foot off the bottom in 18-24 feet of water. The best technique is tight-lining very slow with both jigs and minnows. A few fish are still in brush, and these fish are at the bottom of the brush.
Largemouth Bass: Fair. Captain Chris Heinning reports the largemouth bass bite has slowed with winter setting in. Concentrate on rocky points and banks. Crankbaits, shakeyhead worms, and jig and trailers slowly worked are producing the best. Concentrate in 6-12 feet of water; however try shallower on warming trends and deeper during a cold trend.
Crappie: Fair to good. Captain Brad Taylor reports that crappie are moving into a typical winter pattern. Up both the Big and Little Saluda rivers fish can be caught pulling jigs and jigs tipped with minnows 10-12 feet deep in 20-22 feet of water.
Catfish: Fair to good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that the drift bite has been good and both blues and channel catfish have been feeding well. Cut herring bas been the best bait, and striper are also being picked up.
Striped bass: Captain Brad Taylor reports that striper are schooling and anglers are catching them on bucktails and ice flies. Fishermen are also having success pulling free lines.
Black bass: Slow. Veteran angler Captain Doug Lown reports that bass fishing is tough on Lake Murray right now. Most days the best bite has been early in the morning, and after the sun comes up it can be difficult to get anything.
Santee Cooper System
Striped Bass: Good. Captain Jim Glenn reports that striper fishing is good in both lakes, with striper concentrated in and around large schools of baitfish.
Bream and White Perch: Good. Captain Steve English reports that bream and white perch are feeding well in the canal, with fish being caught in 25-28 feet of water on the bottom on worms and nightcrawlers.
Catfish: Fair. Captain Jim Glenn reports that, like striper, blue catfish will also be found in and around concentrations of bait. Fish can be caught at anchor as well as slow drifting.
Crappie: Slow to fair. Captain Steve English reports that on pretty days crappie can be caught shallow in the creeks in 6-12 feet of water.
Largemouth bass: Slow. Captain Jim Glenn reports that largemouth bass fishing is slow most days, which is expected when water temperatures in the low 50s or lower, particularly in the upper part of the Santee Cooper system.