Santee Cooper System
Santee Cooper water levels are at 75.20 in Lake Marion (full pool is 76.8) and 75.10 in Lake Moultrie (full pool is 75.5). Surface temperatures are in the lower 80s.
After a really slow late summer, Captain Steve English reports the crappie bite is finally improving. In the upper lake they are catching some fish on brushpiles fishing about 10-18 feet deep over 17-25 feet of water. The bite in the lower lake has been slower but they are catching a few fish there, too.
Bream are being caught in both lakes around the same brush the crappie are on, but they have generally been small.
The catfish action has slowed down in the late summer, and although numbers have dropped way off they are still catching some big fish at night. The best action has been in 25-30 feet.
Lake Wateree is at 97.6 percent of full pool, and water temperatures have dropped 7-8 degrees in the last week into the lower 80s.
FLW angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that he still isn't finding much of an offshore bite, and running over a ton of places that usually hold fish they could only find bass on a couple of them. And those fish were reluctant to bite. And with the topwater bite tough, the grass bite hard to get going, and the offshore bite non-existent there is little to do besides "fish and hope." The fish Dearal has found have been in about 8-10 feet around brush, but even those have been few and far between. Throwing a worm has been the best bet.
If you just want to get your line pulled on Lake Wateree the better bet is to go after crappie, and veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt says that with the cooler weather the bite has picked up. Fish are still mostly in the main lake on brush but they have moved shallower into the 14-18 foot range. Early in the morning they are suspending above the brush, but as the sun comes up they are sinking towards the bottom. In the middle of the day the best bet is fishing 1 1/2 - 2 feet off the bottom.
The best part of the lake has been the middle of the lake up to the river run, probably because the shallower water above Colonel Creek has cooled off faster. You can go as far back in the creeks as the bridges but not much beyond that; again, the backs of creeks are too warm. Some fish have been caught around bridges. Both minnows and Fish Stalker jigs in Ugly Green, Army Green, yellow and pearl white are working well.
Lake Murray water levels are at 356.57 (full pool is 360.00), and water temperatures have dropped into the lower 80s. Clarity is still good.
The shallow bite is still off, but as the fall progresses expect more fish to be caught on buzzbaits around the bank. In the Oakley Big Bass Tournament September 23-24 expect some of the better fish to be caught this way.
In striped bass news, Captain Brad Taylor reports that with cooling water temperatures the pattern has started to change a little. The bulk of the fish are still being caught on down rods fishing live herring, but the depth range is now 40-80 feet. The shallower end of that range has more small fish. There is also some schooling on the lower end, and locating these fish is simply a matter of keeping your eyes open.
In catfish news, Captain William Attaway reports that 30 feet continues to be 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.