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South Carolina Fishing Report

Lakes & Reservoirs

Lake Marion Sponsored by
Date 15-Jan-17
Water Condition
Water Temperature  

Conditions : Lake Marion: Tournament angler Steve Harmon reports that bass fishing has been pretty good recently on Santee Cooper, and while he isn’t catching (or really pursuing) the 8-10 pound fish that will be needed to win tournaments in a month or two he has been finding good numbers of healthy, strong-fighting 1 ½ - 5 pound fish that are hungry. With water levels a bit down the best pattern for getting your line pulled has been to focus on relatively shallow creeks and ditches in 4-8 feet of water. Bass are pushing bait up the channels to areas in that depth range, and fish can be caught on crankbaits that dive to about 2 feet off the bottom. Steve is changing the size of his crankbait depending on how deep he is fishing to keep the bait about that depth off the bottom. Spinnerbaits fished a foot or two off the bottom are also working well. Steve speculates that the better fish may be out deeper, and with the lake a bit down some of the places he usually considers “deep” are shallower than usual right now. He expects the lake to continue coming up.

Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) advises that both the crappie and bream can still be caught around deep brush in the 28-45 foot range, and out on the water today his boat is concentrating on fishing 20-30 feet down. The bite has been better in the lower lake than the upper; typically at this time of year he finds that in the upper lake fish just stack up in the river channel where they can be seen on a graph but are hard to catch.

Steve has not been up shallow to see if some fish have moved up, but with the warm weather predicted that is certainly possible.

On the catfish front, Captain Jim Glenn (843-825-4239) reports that big fish still had not turned on, but he was optimistic that a cold front might improve that bite. His boat recently caught 30 plus total blue catfish in the 1-15 pound range drifting with cut mullet in 35-45 feet of water, and other boats seem to have had similar results recently. Even with large pieces of bait smaller blues still dominated the creel, with a decent number of 8-10 pounders. Big concentrations of bait are beginning to show up in 40 plus feet of water.

Reported by: SCDNR

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About: - Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie are part of the Santee Cooper lake system.  The two lake combine for over 170,000 surface arces and are joined by the 6.5 mile Diversion Canal. At this time the lakes hold a world record Channel Catfish (58 Ibs) and a Warmouth weighing 2.2 Ibs was caught in a creek a few miles from lake Marion. These lakes held the record for striped bass until 1977, its weight was 55 Ibs. State records held are: Largemouth Bass (16.2 Ibs), Black Crappie (5 Ibs), Chain (Jack) (6.4 Ibs), Channel Catfish (58 Ib.), Arkansas Blue (109.4 Ibs)

The Santee Cooper Lakes vary from shallow swamps and blackwater ponds to vast open water with a multitude of underwater structures. Lake Marion was not completely cleared, as a result, fishermen will find there are thousands upon thousands of stumps, standing dead tree trunks and live cypress trees. Lake Moultrie is more open and is 14 miles across at its widest point.

These lakes do not ice over during the winter and there is no closed season for fishing season. Weather permitting, fishermen can fish year round.

  • Bream
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Striped Bass

Misc Info: -

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