S CAROLINA: Piedmont Area – Lake Russell, Lake Thurmond Fishing

Lake Russell

Catfish: Fair.
Guide Wendell Wilson reports that the catfish bite should be taking off very soon. Try fishing cut herring around shallow riprap, especially once the herring start to spawn.

Black Bass: Very good.
Guide Wendell Wilson reports that spotted bass can be caught just off the bank fishing sandy, sloping shallows in the clear water areas of the lake like English Creek and the creeks off the Savannah River. Casting and reeling a Scrounger head rigged with a fluke has been productive for these fish. Wendell jokes that there are so many spots in Russell that they have to take turns coming to the bank, and a lot fish are still out in 15-20 feet of water. Here they can be caught by anglers who would rather fish live bait on a 1/16 ounce jighead tipped with a medium minnow. In the clear water areas using these techniques the catch has been about one percent largemouth, but if you are looking for largemouth head up to Beaverdam or the Rocky River and throw a spinnerbait in the stained water. While crappie fishing Wendell is catching a lot of bass as a bycatch of crappie on a live minnow around shallow blowdowns, including some nice 2 to 3 pound fish. Largemouth don’t seem to be on the beds yet but they are certainly shallow, and this week they should flood the banks.

Crappie: Very good.
Guide Wendell Wilson reports that the first wave of big female spawners has already come and gone, but the big dark males are still shallow guarding the nests. These fish can run up to 1.5 pounds or more. Fishing minnows under a float on a 12 foot jigging pole around shallow brush has been most effective. The big males should stay up for another week or so, and then the next wave of smaller females should come up.

Striped bass: Fair.
Guide Wendell Wilson hasn’t spend much time pursuing striper but he did hear of a 45 pounder caught near the dam on live herring. Troll free lines with the biggest herring you can find on the lower end of the lake, and don’t be afraid to pull the baits out over shallow and deep water. Fishing shallow you will pick up a lot of bass, and the striper will often suspend over deep water.

Lake Thurmond

Striped and Hybrid Bass: Very good.
Captain William Sasser reports that early in the morning he is still fishing for hybrids out in the front of the dam with down lined live herring fished about 20 feet deep. The strongest bite, though, has been anchoring before daylight near shallow points and casting live baits into 4 feet of water or less. There is still a strong largemouth by-catch fishing off points. At the top of Lake Russell Guide Wendell Wilson reports that the hybrid run up the Broad River and below the Russell Dam is starting. The fish come up the river to spawn, and in the Broad they can be caught around the shoals on cut bait. Up the Savannah River there is more action fishing live bait below the dam.

Crappie: Good to very good.
Captain William Sasser reports that he is fishing in creek channels around brush pulling jigs about 8 feet down over 15 feet of water.

Black bass: Good.
Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that the blueback herring spawn is in full swing and it’s time to go fishing! The bass spawn is mostly over, with some males still guarding fry, but fish are stacking up on main lake points to feed on spawning bluebacks. Flukes, swimbaits, Sebilles, and mop jigs will all catch fish. Right now fish are not showing themselves and feeding on the surface, but that may change soon and the Spook bite should come on. Shellcracker: Fair to good. Captain William Sasser reports that shellcracker are starting to come up shallow to bed, and in the next few weeks the bite should be on fire.

South Carolina
Dept of Natural Resources

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