Catch of the Week: Saltwater surprise
This week's catch of the week was sent to us by viewer Pilar Waits. The young person in this photo was quite surprised to look down and see this big guy at the end of the line.
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Saltwater fishing trends - Provided by SCNDR (freshwater below)
Charleston (Updated August 2)
Inshore water temperatures in the Charleston area are around 84-85 degrees, but despite the heat the fishing has been really good. Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) reports that it is as if the fall bite is getting off to an early start this year! With the creeks full of 3-5 inch shrimp everything is feeding up, and you don't need to look much further than these crustaceans for bait.
Numbers of redfish have been nothing short of phenomenal some days, and recently Rob caught 60 in the morning. Most of them are small in the 10-14 inch size range, but bigger fish can certainly be found mixed in – or out at the jetties. And with the creeks full of shrimp the fish are going to grow very fast. Inshore fishing around oysters either on the bottom or under a popping cork will work, and the key is a couple of feet of heavy 40-pound fluorocarbon leader. Fish are also around docks.
The trout and flounder bite has also been pretty good, usually in the same areas as the redfish. Finger mullet are also a good bait for these species, particularly flatfish. Overall trout sizes are small, but they will get bigger as things cool off.
Tarpon are around in very good numbers inshore, and there are also some jack crevalle schooling in the Charleston Harbor around Castle Pinckney. These fish can be caught on topwater lures and even the fly – hold on because they run in the 20-30 pound range.
Folly Beach Pier (843-762-9516) reports that plenty of whiting, black drum and sheepshead in the 2-3 pound range have been landed, as well as a few trout here and there.
At the nearshore reefs 3-5 miles offshore the Spanish mackerel bite has been really good, both casting and trolling with Clarks Spoons. Schools come up and go down, but when Rob is trolling he likes to use a number 1 planer to get down about 10 feet on 50-pound test line and "dig the fish up."
Little River/North Myrtle Beach (Updated July 13)
Inshore water temperatures on the North End of the Grand Strand are in the lower 80s, and water clarity is poor after the recent rain.
Despite less than ideal weather, Captain Patrick "Smiley" Kelly reports that the fishing has been pretty steady – especially on the outgoing tide. His boat has been catching redfish and black drum in the IntraCoastal Waterway around Tubbs Inlet, mainly fishing with live shrimp or finger mullet on a Carolina rig. They are fishing on the bottom in about 15 feet of water in the middle of the ICW. This is a pretty typical August pattern.
There is still a pretty good bite for trout first thing on topwater lures, and they are also catching fish on live shrimp fished underneath a popping cork. Tubbs Inlet, Little River Inlet, and the Calabash River have all been productive. On high water fishing around the grass is the best bet, and on lower tides fishing around oyster beds or drop-offs in the channel is most productive. The best bite of the day is early in lower light conditions before it gets hot.
Flounder have been caught on finger mullet in small drains off the main waterways, along with some redfish and topwater trout. Fishing finger mullet on the outgoing tide has been the best pattern.
Beaufort (Updated August 10)
Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area are in the lower 80s, and with lots of rain water is pretty muddy. There is strong population of bait-sized shrimp in the creeks, and a number of species are willing to eat the shrimp as well as prolific finger mullet right now, including migratory species like ladyfish and small jack crevalle.
The redfish bite in the Beaufort area has been pretty good, and Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that whenever there is some water in the grass the fish seem to really want to tail. On the next flood tides he predicts really good tailing action. In addition to redfish black drum and even sheepshead have been tailing, with the sheeps being the hardest to get to eat. On the fly small brown crab patterns are a good bet for all of teh tailing species, and on conventional tackle Gulp! peeler crabs fished on a weedless hook are a good bet.
There have been a fair number of redfish schooled up on the low tide flats, and on the incoming tide they can be caught around oyster bars on the edges of flats when they are first covered up. Live bait or Gulp! baits on a 1/4 ounce jighead are good options.
Outside of the flats, this time of year fish will often wander up the smaller feeder creeks but only so far as the first shell mound on either bank – where the temperature is about the same as the main river. This is a good place to fish for either redfish or trout.
Trout can also be found at the mouths of creeks early, with fish a little deeper in 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 feet. In addition to live bait they will take electric chicken paddletail grubs on a 1/4 ounce jighead.
Edisto Island (Updated August 2)
Captain Ron Davis Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that Edisto Island-area inshore water temperatures are around 84 degrees, and the creeks are full of shrimp making it easy for fishermen to get bait. Days are already about 30 minutes shorter than at their peak length, and when water temperatures drop to about 80 the fall bite should begin.
The redfish action has been strong, and on the oyster flats the fish are feeding well when you can find the schools. Live shrimp fished about 18 inches under a cork have been the ticket. The creek bite has been excellent with lots of undersized fish in the 10-14 inch range, and there have also been a good number of slot and over-slot sized fish. Creek reds are in their usual areas in the deep bends with structure. Shrimp will catch redfish but also get tons of bites from smaller fish, and so small 2 1/2 to 3 inch finger mullet are probably the best bet.
Trout numbers have been excellent but sizes are a little down, with only one out of every six or seven trout keeper-sized for most fishermen during the day. At daylight there is a pretty good topwater bite with some keepers mixed in between 6 and 7 a.m., but as the day progresses the better fish become more and more scarce. They are just not comfortable in the shallows when the sun is up right now, and in the heat trout either go deep or into swift moving, heavily oxygenated water. They also feed at night.
Ron predicts that this will be the best fall for trout fishing in 10 years, and after a number of mild winters the numbers of fish are definitely around. Around the end of August or beginning of September when water temperatures dip into the 80s the fishing should really take off.
Fishing for sheepshead remains good around docks that have 6-10 feet of water at low tide. The best fishing is at the lower part of the tide cycle and with so many small bait stealers around using fiddler crabs is a must.
The size limit for flounder was recently changed to 15 inches, and even with this new limit on most trips Ron says they have been catching at least one good keeper as a by-catch. Small finger muller in the 2 1/2 to 3 inch range fished around oysters flats and in the creeks are the best bet.
For some reason numbers of black drum are way down this year, and they are not catching nearly as many juvenile fish in the 14-25 inch range.
Tarpon have arrived around the Deveaux Banks, the South Edisto Bar, and the Bluefish Bar, and while you have to weed through sharks (with about five sharks caught for every one silver king) there are some big fish to be caught. The best bet is to put out three rods behind the boat with a crab on the bottom, live/cut mullet or menhaden on the bottom, and then one fish under a float rig (on big 8/0 circle hooks). It's not uncommon to see tarpon rolling in the morning but they can be hard to catch then.
Probably the best game in town is the Spanish mackerel, and on any day that is navigable in an 18-20 foot boat anglers can head out to about 30 feet of water off the beaches and find them schooling everywhere. Numbers and sizes are better than in previous years, and even though the later afternoon is choppiest that is when there is usually the best bite. Trolling Clarks spoons or casting Hopkins or Crippled Herring Spoons is a good bet; the 1/2 ounce size is best for casting.
Bluefish and ladyfish are mixed in with the Spanish mackerel, and there are also plenty of oversized red drum in the 30-40 inch range around on the nearshore reefs. 1-2 ounce bucktail jigs with white curly tail Gulp! trailers are hard to beat. Right now there are a lot of billfish and particularly sailfish offshore, but it's not a good time for meatfish. At the full moon in August there should be a good run of wahoo with 4-5 fish days average and 9-10 fish days not unheard of.
Greater Murrells Inlet (Updated June 21)
Perry's Bait and Tackle in Murrells Inlet (843-651-2895) reports that they are still getting some good catches of flounder along the South Grand Strand, but they are receiving really strong reports on redfish and black drum. Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) says that he is catching both species on pieces of shrimp fished over shell bottoms where there is some current. The shells can be live or dead, but the key is just not having a mud or sand bottom. The tide hasn't mattered much, and it will take some patience to weed through the pinfish but after a few minutes the drum show up and seem to run off the bait stealers.
Trout fishing has also been pretty good inshore, with plenty of 15-16 inch fish being caught on live shrimp and smaller live finger mullet.
At the jetties sheepshead fishing has been strong, and off the beaches there have been a lot of sharks, bluefish, ribbonfish, ladyfish and croakers caught. Before the storms pompano were doing well, but they have slowed down since the rain started.
Nearshore Perry's reports weakfish, gulf flounder and spadefish at the 3-Mile and 10-Mile reefs, although Captain J. says that at times it's been a little tough to catch spadefish with so much of their natural bait (small jellyfish) around.
Captain J. is having a lot of success trolling 16-18 miles offshore in 30-60 feet of water for king mackerel. Pulling live menhaden and cigar minnows over live bottom areas has been producing a good number of smaller 10-12 pound fish, while the artificial reefs have barracuda which often don't mix well with kings. Perry's has gotten good king reports at Belkie Bear.
Georgetown Landing Marina (843-546-1776) reports that they have had some bottom fish hit the docks, and the trolling trips have produced some spotty dolphin fishing. Blackfin tuna are in their traditional areas – the trick is just getting them to bite!
Hilton Head (Updated August 10)
Inshore water temperatures in the Hilton Head area are in the low to mid-80s, and with a ton of rain the water is pretty stained. There is lots of bait shrimp around when the water is out of grass and there also shrimp being caught in deep holes.
It may not be a good news if you are looking for dinner tonight, but for anyone who has an eye on the future Captain Dan "Fishin' Coach" Utley (843-368-2126) has great news. Since about July 4th the area has been absolutely filled with fat redfish in the 11-14 inch range, and with catches of 30-40 small reds – or more – per trip it has been hard to keep a bait in the water long enough to get a big one. Coach says that this is obviously a great sign for the future, and as early as November plenty of these fish should be in the slot. Numbers like this have not been seen in several years.
Overall, the best pattern for catching redfish has been to fish the main waterways on the outgoing tide after the water falls out of the grass almost down to low water. Some good fish can be caught around shell rakes and areas that drain the grass.
Coach is also continuing to catch fish in some of the bigger creeks in bends where there are downed trees, riprap or other structure and 8-15 feet of water. Live shrimp fished on a slip cork rig have been working well and also picking up some bonus 15-20 inch black drum.
On the trout front there has been so much rain that fishing has been a little spotty. Coach has caught a few fish around high tide near marsh islands where there are oyster beds and glass minnows being chased near the surface. Mud minnows under a rattling cork have been working well.
Numbers of tarpon have been low but that should pick up.
Southern Grand Strand (Updated August 2)
Water temperatures in the Murrells Inlet area are around 83 degrees, and clarity varies.
Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports that this week they have had northeastern winds that have made for muddy conditions, and as a result he has been fishing for black drum. Drum have super sensitive senses of smell, and so fishing for them is almost like targeting catfish. Captain J. puts out several rods with cut shrimp on the bottom, and then waits for the drum to arrive. You have to feed the pinfish at first, but once the drum move in they will run off the pinfish. If after 20 or 30 minutes you are still just catching pinfish then you need to move on to the next spot.
Some of the spots they fish are in 10-14 feet, and some are in only 5 feet or less. The incoming tide has been good recently, but the real key is the right kind of bottom.
Some old, laid down shell that has growth, crabs, and other critters feeding in it is ideal. Live oyster shells are not as good.
The redfish fishing has not been great, but there have definitely been some fish caught recently. They will eat live mullet, but probably the most common way Captain J. has been catching them recently is while he is black drum fishing. In Murrells Inlet there is a lot of boat traffic and so the reds don't get super shallow, and 5-6 feet around the same shells the drum are frequenting is a great place to look for them.
Trout fishing has been pretty good, and the key has been floating live shrimp around grass edges, little rips or off the ends of points. Suspended jerkbaits have also been working. Unlike drum trout are not as particular about the bottom structure – they just want a good ambush point that has some current flowing around it and where bait is disoriented.
A few flounder have been picked up but that bite is slowing down.
In the surf whiting, pompano and bluefish are around.
Just offshore there are a bunch of Spanish mackerel right now, and once you locate them you can troll or throw lures. King mackerel fishing has been very good, and while you have to weed through lots of small fish there are also some good ones around. Either trolling dead cigar minnows, or fishing spoons on planer boards, will catch fish, and fishing over live bottom areas (best) or near reefs can both work.
Freshwater fishing trends
Lake Russell (Updated August 10)
Lake Russell water levels are at 473.88 (full pool is 475.00) and water temperatures are in the low to mid-80s.
On the bass front, Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that fishing is still good off the ends of humps and points in 25-35 feet of water. He is primarily catching fish on drop shots, but live herring are tough to beat. He is picking up some occasional largemouth but the catch is pretty spot-heavy. If you want to increase your odds of tangling with a kicker largemouth maybe start out early in the creeks throwing a buzzbait around the banks.
The catfish bite is still red hot in 15-25 feet of water.
Lake Thurmond (Updated August 10)
Lake Thurmond water levels are up to 323.41 (full pool is 330.00). Surface temperatures are around 87 degrees. Clarity is very good.
In bass fishing news, Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that there has been a pretty decent bass bite for the heat of summer. First thing in the morning anglers have been able to pick up some decent fish throwing a buzzbait around the banks, and there has also been some schooling activity for the first few hours of the day. If there is some wind that bite may last longer, but usually it is over by about 9 or 10. The bass are generally hanging around relatively shallow water that is close to deep, long points that come out from the bank.
After the sun gets up anglers can still bit on humps in 12-24 feet of water. Throwing a Carolina rig with a heavy weight and a green pumpkin Zoom U-Tale worm is a good bet.
The better striper and hybrids are pretty all much all grouped together in deep water on the lower lake of Lake Thurmond. Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that most of the action is within two or three miles of the dam, and first thing in the morning he is getting bit on the bottom in 60 feet of water. As the sun gets up fish stay at about the 60-foot depth range but they will move deeper and suspend in 100 or so feet of water. Clearly the oxygen system installed in the lake is working. In addition to down-lining 60 feet deep for big fish, you can catch tons of smaller striper about 30 feet deep off points. However, most of these fish are in the 1-2 pound range.
On the catfish front, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that the bite has been good with a mixed bag of blues, channels and flatheads along with some bonus hybrids and striper. Anchoring on points and humps and fan-casting cut herring is catching blues and channels, while live bream and white perch are catching flatheads. During the day target 20-40 feet and at night focus on 5-15 feet. Numbers of fish are being caught during the day but most of the bigger fish are coming at night. If you are focusing on numbers of fish moving every 30-45 minutes is the best way to target aggressive fish, but if you want to catch big ones mark them on your graph and sit on them for at least an hour and a half. Patience can pay off in a big way.
All indications are that the crappie bite remains good, but a lot more attention is being paid to the striper by fishermen.
Lake Wylie (Updated July 14)
Lake Wylie is at 97.4 percent of full pool, and although clarity is basically good with some afternoon storms there are areas of the lake that are stained. Clarity will vary from day to day and is also very location dependent.
It's not the best time of the year to catch trophy catfish on Lake Wylie, but Captain Rodger Taylor (803-517-7828) reports that there is no doubt that some good fish can still be caught in this post-spawn phase. His boat has recently caught a good number of blues up to the mid-teens, as well as flatheads up to about 20 pounds.
It's also not the most comfortable period of the year to fish if you don't pick your times, and so Rodger suggests targeting fish either early or late. One option is to fish from about daylight until 10:30 and then call it a day, and the other choice is to fish in the evening from about 7:30 p.m. until 12:30 or 1 a.m.
It's hard to pattern the fish right now until you are on the water, and so it's important to be flexible. On some trips Rodger has found a much better bite drifting, and at times he has had better results anchored. At night he has had the most success anchored around mid-lake humps where fish would be coming off of flats close to the channel. Most of the bites have come in 6-12 feet of water. In contrast, one morning he found a good bite drifting right up the middle of the river in deeper water. Conditions and preferences vary from day to day, and so flexibility is very important.
Gizzard shad from Wateree have been the best bait.
On the bass front, guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that there is not a lot of change in the pattern – but the fishing has gotten tougher. Dragging a big worm or football jig through the offshore community holes is still the best thing going, although you can also fish shallow. However, if you fish shallower you are probably only going to see 6 or 7 bites all day and they are not necessarily any better quality than the deeper fish.
Lake Greenwood (Updated August 10)
Lake Greenwood water temperatures are in the mid-80s, and water levels are at 438.70 (full pool is 440.0).
Veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter is pleased to report that bass fishing on Lake Greenwood has improved, with more and bigger fish being caught recently – particularly in night tournaments. The pattern remains about the same, with anglers fishing deep around brush in 15-18 feet of water. They are mostly throwing Texas-rigged worms, some big crankbaits, and with the lake's growing spotted bass population anglers are sure to get takers on drop-shotted worms. Throwing shakey head worms around docks is also generating some bites, particularly deeper docks in 10 feet or so of water.
Early in the morning there is some very isolated topwater activity, and throwing baits around sea walls or the last of the bream beds is getting some action. There is no schooling activity to speak of.
On the catfish front, Captain Chris Simpson reports that from what he hears there is little change in the channel cat bite. However, reports indicate that the night time flathead bite has been good. Live bream and white perch fan-casted on humps and points in the 5-20 foot range, combined with some patience, give you a chance at hooking a large flathead or two.
Lake Monticello (Updated August 10)
Lake Monticello water temperatures have dropped slightly into the 80s. Lake levels generally fluctuate daily.
It's unclear why, but the bass bite on Lake Monticello has taken a nosedive. Tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria and his brother have won the last couple of Thursday night tournament with between 9 and a little over 10 pounds, and second place has ranged from 3-6 pounds. The offshore pattern has pretty much fallen apart, even though the fish still appear to be down there, and they have only picked up a few fish on big crankbaits. The fish they have been catching are mainly coming from dragging a worm slowly through the brush.
While the bass bite has gotten tough on Lake Monticello, the free-lining catfish bite continues to be really good. Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that in addition to numbers of fish they are catching some really good ones free-lining pieces of cut herring, and on a recent trip he caught seven fish in the 12-15 pound range as well as a 20-pound fish. The depth varies from day to day but the best results have come recently over 100-plus feet of water, with the baits generally running 5-15 feet down. The hottest action has been close to the discharge where William speculates that the fish are eating cut bait that gets churned back up. Look for the big fish bite to come on once temperatures cool off.
Lake Murray (Updated August 9)
Lake Murray water levels are at 357.16 (full pool is 360.00), and water temperatures have dropped into the lower to mid-80s. Clarity is pretty good although the rain may reduce it.
Striped bass are doing what they usually do on Lake Murray in the summer, and Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that the fish are now 80-100 feet deep, with 80 feet the magic depth most days. They are grouped up in the lower pool and being caught on down-lines, although there has also been some schooling activity in the same areas. Most of the schoolies are small. The fishing has slowed a bit recently and anglers need to be more patient.
In catfish news, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that with the catfish spawn almost completely finished, if not finished, you need to look a little deeper to catch fish and get further out in the creek channel. 30 feet is a good depth range to target during the day, while at night 15-25 feet is a good range. Fish will be found off long points and humps, and fishing the deeper side of channel buoys on the lake is a good bet. Dip baits are hard to beat although the herring bite has also been picking up.
While there are other species in Lake Murray, much of the fishing world's attention will be focused on its largemouth bass this week. In the lead-up to the Forrest Wood Cup Captain Doug Lown of Newberry and tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria both report that they expect the suspended bite to play a part this week. This isn't usually a pattern that gets strong until the early fall until the lake turns over, but this year some really nice sacks have been caught over mid-depth and deep water on topwater/ barely subsurface lures. Fish are keying on bait schools, and there is also some schooling activity. Andy expects most of the weight to be caught in deep water, with some big ones caught up shallow first thing.
Most predictions are that the weights will be better than last time the FLW came to town.
Reports of some 20-pound sacks being caught in recent weeks do nothing to dampen that optimism.
Lake Wateree (Updated August 10)
Lake Wateree is at 97.6 percent of full pool and before the recent rain clarity was very good for Wateree. Water temperatures were still in the upper 80s as of two days ago.
Bass fishing on Lake Wateree is still really tough, and FLW angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that the few fish being caught are generally coming in the morning. The prime locations are rocky points and grass, and around rocky points either walking or popping topwater bites have had the best success. Around grass either throwing a frog or flipping a jig, worm or creature bait has worked best. The cloudy weather this week could improve the fishing for the FLW Junior World Championships taking place on Lake Wateree in conjunction with the Forrest Wood Cup on Murray.
The crappie pattern is essentially unchanged according to veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt. Fish are still on brush in 15-20 feet, although dropping water temperatures could shake things up a bit if the change is significant.
Santee Cooper System (Updated August 10)
Santee Cooper water levels are at 75.24 in Lake Marion (full pool is 76.8) and 75.20 in Lake Moultrie (full pool is 75.5). Surface temperatures have dropped to around 82 degree.
Guides continue to report mixed results fishing for catfish on the Santee Cooper lakes, but recently Captain Jim Glenn (843-825-4239) has had some good results drifting in 8-20 feet with cut bait. This isn't usually a season associated with monster fish, but Jim has been getting solid numbers of nice 4-12 pound blues and channels as well as some better fish like this 23-pound blue.
Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports that they have not been pulling water in the canal and so the bite has slowed down there.
Around the full moon there was some very good action for bream up shallow, and Steve's boat caught a bunch of nice bluegill. They were catching 50 an hour when the bite was at its peak. Now that the full moon has passed the better fish have left the shallows and set back up on the brush piles.
Crappie fishing remains slow and after some tough trips Steve says he doesn't plan to target them again until the first week in September.
Lake Jocassee (Updated August 12)
Lake Jocassee is at 93.8 percent of full pool, and surface water temperatures range between 81 and 84 degrees. Clarity is normal (very clear).
There is not too much change in the trout pattern on Lake Jocassee, but Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that fish have finally hit the 100-foot mark. They are now catching fish in 80-110 feet of water, mostly at the dam and in the main river channels. His boat continues to mainly fish Sutton and Apex spoons.
Lake Keowee (Updated August 7)
Lake Keowee is at 97.1 percent of full pool and water temperatures range from 86 on the lower end, to the upper 80s mid-lake, to the lower 80s on the northern end – a recent drop of about two degrees. Clarity is very good, although water levels are fluctuating with the lake typically at its lowest on Monday and Tuesday and higher by the weekend. Duke Energy is releasing water into Hartwell each Monday via the spillway as some work is underway at the power plant, according to the Duke Energy website.
The bass pattern on Lake Keowee remains pretty similar, but veteran Lake Keowee fisherman Charles Townson of the Keowee Anglers reports that fish continue to be caught. A five-fish limit of 12 pounds continues to be a good showing in night tournaments.
Fish can be caught early on crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits (if windy), and topwaters on points and humps. This bite ends as the sun comes up.
After that, most fish are being caught deeper on shakey heads and drop shot rigs.
Fish are schooling over deeper water at times when bait is present. There is no consistent structure or depth as schooling activity is dependent on bait being present.
Lake Hartwell (Updated August 10)
Lake Hartwell water levels are at 652.90 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures are around 84 degrees first thing in the morning. Even though there has been a good bit of rain, the dry ground has soaked it up and clarity is good.
The striped and hybrid bass bite remains about the same on Lake Hartwell, and Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) reports that the fish are from about where the Savannah River begins down the lake. A thermocline has set up about 25-30 feet down, and most of the fish are being caught a little below that in 35-45 feet of water. In addition to down-line fishing there has been a little schooling in the mornings, and some fish are also being caught trolling lead core line with about 10-15 colors out. Some fish are also still being picked up on big spoons.
Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) concurs in his assessment of where the fish are located, and he says it's not hard to find them by riding the channel until you spot the schools. However, they are biting a little funny and some days they will bite and other days they simply will not – even on days with identical weather. When they do bite there have been some really nice fish, though. Chip is also seeing the same thermocline, and the fish he is catching are 30-50 feet down just below that. He is finding them mostly in 60-150 feet of water.
In bass news, Guide Brad Fowler reports that the same basic summer patterns are still in play – offshore topwater fishing, fishing deep for offshore fish, and running the banks for shallow fish. The lake is down about a foot, which has really hurt the shallow bite, and the best action right now is drop-shot fishing offshore. Spotted bass are biting very well on this pattern with just a few largemouth mixed in.
The catfish bite remains good, with channels eating about anything in 5-40 feet. Blues are out in the deep timber, but you have a shot of catching them in 25-30 feet of water at night. Flatheads can be caught at night on live perch or bream around brush.
The crappie bite remains a little slow. A few have still been caught at night over brush in 18-20 feet of water, and some fish are also still being caught under bridges at night.