• Freshwater Fishing

    Summer and fall drought conditions have left a lot of mountain streams at lower levels, but fishing hasn’t suffered.

    Dry weather is a variable

    Western North Carolina and South Carolina’s Upstate had the driest summer and fall on record, seasons marked by scores of wildfires, closures of state parks, burning bans and water restrictions.

    January 19 at 9:00am
    When the temperature drops and shuts down stripers, big blue catfish become a great option on Lakes Marion and Moultrie.

    Forage is key to January

    January’s unpredictable weather, along with cold water temperatures, is a given, and it makes targeting a single species of fish on the Santee Cooper lakes risky in terms of enjoying good action — but fast action and quality fish are available. A key is to allow the weather and water conditions to dictate what’s best at any given time. 

    January 16 at 9:00am
    Lake Wylie often produces chunky white perch up to 2 pounds, but most are far smaller.

    A vote for white perch

    Plenty of fishermen in North Carolina and South Carolina haven’t been exactly excited about the proliferation of white perch, morone americana, in many reservoirs, Anglers targeting catfish love them for cut bait, but many bemoan the loss of white bass fisheries that are common where white perch have taken over.

    January 15 at 7:00am
    Cold weather forces guide Wendell Wilson to downsize his baits to get bites from Lake Russell stripers.

    When it’s tough, think small for huge fish

    During January, the water temperature at Lake Russell typically dips close to its lowest level of the year. When it does — and the big striper bite slows ­— guides Wendell Wilson and Jerry Kotal have found that thinking small can yield big results.

    January 15 at 7:00am
    Heavy tackle is required to battle the big stripers that swim in Lake Russell’s 26,650 acres.

    Beef up bass tackle for big stripers

    Guide Jerry Kotal ‘s affinity for black bass fishing bleeds over to his striper fishing, at times with excellent success.

    January 15 at 7:00am
    A 2-fish creel limit and restrictions on taking more than one big fish per day are regulations aimed at further developing Lake Russell as a trophy striper fishery.

    Russell: a true trophy fishery

    Guide Wendell Wilson said the potential to catch trophy stripers at Lake Russell exists year-round, although winter is prime time.

    “Plenty of huge stripers are also caught in the spring and summer below Hartwell Dam in the upper end of the lake,” he said. “The fact is, this is likely the best lake in South Carolina for trophy stripers.”

    January 15 at 7:00am
    Freddie Sinclair’s depth finder can show four different views at one time, which helps locate baitfish and crappie.

    New electronics are major aids for crappie fishermen

    Guide Freddie Sinclair has had the same fishing platform, an 18-foot bass boat, for years, but he recently purchased newer electronics because detecting crappies beneath the lake’s surface is a key to his success, especially during winter.

    January 15 at 7:00am
    Lake Wylie has plenty of 1- to 2-pound crappie, and they attract plenty of fishermen, even during the winter.

    Wylie winter wonderland - Christmas and New Year’s Day brings on great crappie fishing on Lake Wylie

    Santa Claus didn’t plan to pay a personal visit to every crappie fisherman in North Carolina and South Carolina at Christmas, but they still got a really nice present: Lake Wylie.

    January 01 at 7:00am
    Take a trip to South Carolina’s Lake Richard Russell this month for trophy stripers.

    Hustle to Russell - If it’s cold, it’s a hot time for stripers on South Carolina’s Lake Russell

    There’s a time and place for everything, things to think about for just about any endeavor, including the search for trophy fish. For anglers looking to target trophy striped bass, the time is now, and the place is most certainly South Carolina’s Lake Richard Russell.

    January 01 at 7:00am
    Leave the remote on the couch and head for North Carolina’s Jordan Lake for great winter crappie fishing.

    Cold-hot slabs - January means cold weather, hot crappie fishing on North Carolina’s Jordan Lake

    Crappie fishermen who live in North Carolina are too far from Lake Grenada, Miss., or Reelfoot Lake in western Tennessee to regularly visit those hot spots.

    But they do have Jordan Lake —and it doesn’t make much difference when you visit this 14,000-acre impoundment of the Haw River and New Hope Creek. It is, by most accounts North Carolina’s best fishery for black crappie in terms of size and numbers of fish.

    January 01 at 7:00am

    Cover

    It isn't spring yet, but crappie fishing will be on fire at Lake Wylie and Jordan Lake this month. Also, don't pass up the chance to catch trophy stripers at South Carolina's Lake Richard Russell.

    January 01 at 7:00am

    Cover

    It isn't spring yet, but crappie fishing will be on fire at Lake Wylie and Jordan Lake this month. Also, don't pass up the chance to catch trophy stripers at South Carolina's Lake Richard Russell.

    January 01 at 7:00am
    Guide Preston Harden seines the water around and under docks and bridges for Hartwell’s winter crappie .

    Lake Hartwell crappie bite is a delicate one

    When winter sets in and water temperatures drop below 48 degrees in South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell, stripers, hybrids and black bass pretty much shut down, with a few exceptions. When that happens, according to guide Preston Harden of Commerce, Ga., it’s time to shift gears and go crappie fishing.

    December 21, 2016 at 4:05pm
    Crappie follow baitfish into deep water at Shearon Harris Lake once the water temperature drops into the 40s.

    Work Shearon Harris Lake depths for best winter crappie fishing

    Guide Greg Griffin of Holly Springs, N.C., can count on two things in January: falling water temperatures and a consistent, deep-water bite for slab crappie on Shearon Harris Lake.

    December 21, 2016 at 4:00pm
    Guide Rodger Taylor catches some of his biggest blue catfish of the year at Lake Wateree during the winter.

    Winter Wateree means great action on blue catfish

    Winter is a great time for catching blue catfish on South Carolina’s Lake Wateree, and it’s an excellent time for targeting trophy fish, according to guide Rodger Taylor of Rock Hill, S.C.

    December 21, 2016 at 2:50pm
    Guide Gus Gustafson catches Lake Norman’s winter crappie by fishing vertically around deep brush, bridge pilings and covered boat houses.

    Lake Norman slabs are deep

    Quality crappie can be caught in bitter, cold weather at Lake Norman with the use of visual aids.

    “The fish will be in 25 feet of water or deeper,” said guide Gus Gustafson. “The most-effective way to find them and catch them is with side-scan and down-scan electronic units. Without these visual aids, opportunities are limited.”

    December 21, 2016 at 2:43pm