Posted 5/7/17

Santee Cooper System (3/27)

Santee Cooper water levels are at 74.69 in Lake Marion (full pool is 76.8) and Lake Moultrie (full pool is 75.5). Water conditions are extremely clear for Santee, and temperatures range from about 60-65 depending on …

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Lake Wateree is at 98.1 percent of full pool, and while water levels are fairly high the clarity is decent for Lake Wateree. It's not overly muddy.

Bass on Lake Wateree are definitely in the post-spawn period right now, and tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that fish are in a pretty typical late spring pattern for Wateree. They can be found around shoreline cover such as grass, stumps, laydowns and docks, and in the morning throwing a buzzbait or spinnerbait is the best bet. Once the sun gets up flipping around docks or grass is the best pattern. As is normally the case at this time of year on Lake Wateree, probably because post-spawn fish are suspended, flipping soft plastics such as lizards, craws, or a 1/8 ounce shakey head worm is working better than jigs. Once it starts to get hot jigs usually come back into their own once fish relate more to the bottom.

It's been a good season on Lake Wateree, but veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that the crappie spawn is finally over and done with. While there are a very few straggler fish left in the creeks, generally they are moving out to main lake brush in 15-21 feet of water. Early they are suspended just above the brush, but as the sun comes up they sink down into it. Some people are catching fish tight-lining minnows over brush, but Will has had the best success jigging Fish Stalker jigs on single rod.

Santee Cooper water levels are at 75.41 in Lake Marion (full pool is 76.8) and 75.35 in Lake Moultrie (full pool is 75.5). Water temperatures are in the upper 70s, and particularly Lake Marion is muddy – while the lower lake is a little better.

While there haven't been a ton of changes in the catfish action on the Santee Cooper lakes, Captain Jim Glenn (843-825-4239) reports that the big fish bite has slowed somewhat during the day. They are still catching lots of 2-6 pounders, with the occasional 12-14 pound fish mixed in, mostly drifting. The big fish reports that have come in have been at both ends of the depth range. Some big fish have been caught in less than 15 feet of water, while some have been in over 38 feet. It's fair to say the bigger fish are scattered out.

Overall the very small fish that were deep earlier in the year have moved shallower, and they can be caught most consistently in the 6-15 foot range now. That may be related to the location of the mussels they are feeding on.

Captain Steve English's (843-729-4044) boat advises that bream fishing has been a little off this spring, and there aren't the numbers of shallow spawning fish that are usually caught. On the brush the fish are pretty small. The slow bite may be related to the very stained conditions.

Crappie fishing has also been a little slow, and while Steve's boat is still having the occasional 20- or 30-fish day overall numbers are down. The fish they are catching are about 8-16 feet deep over brush in 14-30 feet of water.

There are still some bass being caught shallow, but there are not the numbers of super-shallow fish that were showing up a few weeks ago. Post-spawn fish are starting to head out to deeper water.