Savannah River (downstream of New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam)
Flows in the Savannah River below Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam are heavily influenced by releases from Clarks Hill (Strom Thurmond) Dam. Fishing is usually best when river levels drop within 5-6 feet on the USGS flow gauge at Clyo. Check local forecasts for river stage information. Many anglers find that numerous oxbow lakes along the river provide excellent fishing opportunities.
Largemouth Bass The largemouth bass population continues to be healthy in this system. Drought conditions have contributed to slightly slower growth rates over the last few years, but good numbers of large fish remain in the river. Fishing should be good this spring as water temperatures rise. Look for bites to improve in February as fish prepare to spawn.
Technique - Artificial lures (plastic worms, etc.) are productive around creek mouths. Oxbows are also excellent areas when flooded.
Target - Large numbers of fish can be found in the upper estuary during the fall and around structure in slower moving waters throughout the river system for the majority of the year.
Catfish Fishing for catfish is excellent in the Savannah. White catfish make up the majority, but channel cats tend to be a bit larger.
Technique - Typical catfish bait (worms, cut-bait, etc.) fished near the bottom of the river in relatively deep holes will produce good results. Target deep swift-flowing water along the last third of an outside bend. During the day, try fishing outside bends. At night, fish shallow bars and flats where bait fish congregate.
Target - Catfish are well-distributed throughout the river, however larger numbers of white catfish are typically found in the upper estuary (Interstate 95 crossing).
Bream Bluegill and redear sunfish are abundant. Redbreast and other sunfish also are present, but not as plentiful.
Technique - Crickets and worms fished under a bobber are effective live bait techniques. For artificial lures, consider small beetle spins, rooster tails and popping bugs.
Target - Bluegill are plentiful in backwaters and slower moving sections of the main channel and redear sunfish are often found over submerged sandbars.
Striped Bass Since 2005, stripers greater than 27 inches have been open to harvest (daily limit: 2). The number of striped bass and the number of legal-size fish have rebounded thanks to the stocking program that begain in the 90s. Twenty pounders are common, and the occassional 40 to 50-pound fish is reported.
Technique - Live bait, particularly blueback herring, are highly productive when fished in a free-lined fashion. Artificial baits, including bucktails, topwaters and large jigs, are also very effective when fished around structure (i.e. bridge pilings, submerged trees, water diverters, etc.).
Target - Striped bass seasonally migrate upstream and downstream. Fish tend to be concentrated in areas slightly below the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam from April through June. These fish also become concentrated in estuarine areas near Savannah from November through March.