Redfish: Good. Haddrell's Point reports great numbers of redfish (sometimes 100+ fish in a school) have been schooling up on the low tide flats and are eagerly taking all kinds of baits such as Gulp! jerkshads, Gulp! swimming mullet. The old stand-by baits such as mud minnows and cut mullet are also very effective this time of year. Sheepshead: Good. Haddrell's reports fish are still feeding heavily along structure in 8-20 feet of water with fiddler crabs, oysters, and barnacles being the top bait choices.
Spottail Bass: Good. It's been cold enough for fish to school and there are a few bait fish around (mullet). Find the school on the flat and you are good. Artificials and minnows are producing. Trout: Fair. Find the deep holes. DOA Shrimp and spoons will both work.
Lake Jocassee (unchanged from Jan. 5)
Trout: Fair. Fish can be caught from the surface down to 50 feet by anglers fishing trolling spoons and shiners; trolling large shiners seems to be the best way to avoid small fish. The bite should continue to improve for the next few months. Black Bass: Fair. Fishing is day to day, but good fish can be found in pockets off the main lake, and trout are mixed in with bass. Fishing under schools of bait is also a good bet. Surface activity is being reported and bass will take a lure that thrown right on their head after they show themselves. Red Eye Shad, Float-n-fly rigs and jerkbaits will all catch fish.
Largemouth and Spotted Bass: Good. The mild weather so far this winter has kept most of the fish shallower than normal. Use shakey head worms in 25 feet of water. Also some bass on Carolina rigged worms fished off main lake points in 25-30 feet of water.
Largemouth Bass: Good. The mild weather is keeping 'em shallow. Look anywhere there is wood cover. Slow moving soft plastics or jigs are working. Catfish: Fair to Good. Blues are doing well on cut bait in 30 feet of water over points, but they haven't moved into creeks yet. Some channel cats can be caught on cut herring, but they are mostly fished out. Striped and Hybrid Bass: Fair. Free lining or umbrella rigs are producing, but the fish are scattered all over from creeks to the main channel. Look for timber in 80 feet of water about 10 to 15 feet down. Crappie. Fair. Check bridge pilings at 12-15 feet over 30 feet. Mild weather has some night action with lights on.
Lake Russell (unchanged from Jan. 5)
Largemouth and Spotted Bass: Good. Catch bass mid-lake in 25-35 feet of water just off the main channel. The key is fishing near the schools of bait. Jigging spoons are the artificial lures of choice and minnows will also catch fish. 80% of the bass caught have been spotted bass, but largemouths are also mixed in as well as other species. The best fishing seems to come in the middle of the day when the sun has been on the water for several hours. Perch and crappie: Good. Lots of white perch, yellow perch and crappie caught around schools of bait in 30-35 feet of water. Fish medium minnows just off the bottom and expect a mixed bag with some bass and catfish thrown in, too.
Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good. Check the mid-lake area pulling planer boards over 20-30 feet of water.
Largemouth Bass: Fair. Catch fish mostly on deep spoons about 20 feet around channels and points. The main point is find the bait. There still may be some fish shallow around the warm discharges.
Crappie: Good. The best fishing is had up the river or at the top of the lake on the ledge of the river channel. Fish in about 18-25 feet. Largemouth Bass: Good. Captain Chris Heinning reports that the bass bite is still good on Lake Wateree due to mild air temperatures. Most fish are being caught around rocky points near deep water with crankbaits, jigs, and shakey heads. The jig bite has gotten strong with some good quality fish. Dock fishing around deeper docks with soft plastics is also a good bet. Additionally, there is a jerkbait bite in the back of some creeks.
Largemouth Bass: Fair. Alabama rigs are becoming quite popular and are showing some results. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and worms off points are also working. Crappie: Good. Odd on the lake for this time of year, but minnows are producing at 12-15 feet.
Lake Monticello (unchanged from Jan. 5)
Catfish: Good. Captain Chris Simpson reports that the big fish bite has been pretty good but should get even better in the coming weeks. Some big fish have been caught free line drifting and Santee-style drifting, but anchoring has been the most effective way to catch a trophy. 35-60 feet has been a good depth range, and some days the fish can get in a very narrow band such as 55-60 feet - and fishing at any other depth can be a waste of time. Finding schools of bait balls on your depth finder is important, but finding bait balls that are smaller and more broken up (meaning fish are feeding on them) is more important. A variety of bottom structure has been productive, including deep flats, vertical ledges and everything in between. Gizzard shad, white perch, and crappie have all been good baits.
Crappie: Fair. Fish are feeding in a winter pattern up the rivers in 8-12 feet over 15 feet. Free lining rods and fishing around docks and bridges are producing. Largemouth Bass: Fair. Fish are still shallow due to the warmer weather, but it's mostly the smaller fish. The bigger fish are at 15-18 feet especially early in the day. Use crank bait and jigs. Also check shallow around rocky points. Striper: Fair. Up the lake in the rivers area is producing. Follow the birds. Free lining is catching fish with warmer weather, but the fish are scattered.
Santee Cooper System
Catfish: Fair to good. Captain Jim Glenn reports that most days the blue catfish bite is fair to good, and fish are being caught in various depths from 4-10 feet on down to 50 feet. The concentrations may be greatest in deeper water. Both anchoring and drifting with fresh cut gizzard shad, menhaden, perch or mullet will catch fish in the right places. Striped Bass: Fair to good. Captain Jim Glenn reports that anglers are catching plenty of striped bass in both lakes, but very few 26 inch fish are being landed. Perhaps 1 in 50 is a keeper for most anglers, but the good news is that striper appear plentiful and most are robust and healthy. Fishing 35-50 feet deep with live baits including big shiners and gizzard or threadfin shad is working, and anglers are also having success trolling and chasing schooling fish on the surface with jigs, spoons and surface plugs. Shellcracker: Slow. Some caught in creek channels, but not really worth putting a line in for them.