Thurmond Lake was hit by “gullywashers” of rain Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon, but it continues to fall. The last report showed the lake level to be nearly 11 feet below the normal pool of 330 feet.
The farthest the lake has fallen since that area of the Savannah River was flooded in 1952 was 33.54 feet below full pool (296.46) in February 1956. The late Tommy Shaw, operator of Little River Sportsman Camp, remembered being able to walk beneath Little River Bridge. Shaw hired a photographer to take a plane ride and photograph the lake from that bridge up toward Raysville Marina. After the lake returned to normal, Shaw used landmarks on the photos to pinpoint areas that looked “fishy” and became known as one of the best bass fishermen of this area.
I was a high school junior in ’52 when I joined Coleman Harris and his sons, Don and Doug, around what is now called West Dam on Oct. 7, 1952, the official first day the lake opened to the public. We waded into the water and caught lots of bream and tiny bass.
The Georgia Game and Fish Department (now DNR) stocked the lake with white bass on July 16, 1953. But the fish didn’t take hold until threadfin shad were stocked as a forage fish and then the white bass population soared. Capt. Tommy Dudley reports catching several white bass recently.
Because the lake is falling, boaters and fishermen are urged to stay alert for shoals and trees. There is a line of iron-hard treetops extending from just above the former Little River Marina westward to opposite the unnamed cove before reaching Cliett Creek and Mistletoe State Park and others as one rides toward Raysville. Some of the tops are just barely showing above the surface and in the past have claimed the lower units of several outboard boats.
• The FLW bass fishing tour has disqualified John Hoyle, of Rutherfordton, N.C., and banned him from further participation. One of the fish he brought to the weigh-in of a tournament on Lake Wylie was discovered to have an 11-ounce weight in its gullet, tournament officials said. He had placed third in the event and forfeited a $1,082 prize.
Raysville Marina (Leon Buffington and Doug Pentecost), (706) 595-5582 – Jesse Dawson caught 20 crappies, 15 shellcrackers and eight catfish, all on night crawlers. Johnny and Margaret York, along with William Hawkins, caught 63 crappies on minnows. Clifford Crowe caught two catfish, one weighing 6 pounds, 3 ounces; a 1¼-pound shellcracker and seven others. Debbie and Jay Percival caught nine crappies, two bream, and one catfish on minnows and worms.
Capt. David Willard, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, fulltime professional guide specializing in hybrids, striped bass and trophy largemouth bass. Boat phone: (706) 214-0236. (803) 637-6379 (www.crockettrocketstriperfishing.com) – Water temperature is in the upper 80s, the lake is clear and continuing to fall. I really enjoyed fishing this week. My groups caught some nice fish and it was all family fishing which makes it more fun for me. They caught hybrids in the 3- to 5-pound class, stripers up to 12 pounds, white perch and largemouth. Steve Johnson brought his 13-year-old, Phillip. The latter loves to fish and had a lot of fishing stories for me and some photos of the largemouths he’d caught. They had a great time, with he and his dad competing with dueling stripers, seeing who could catch the largest. Phillip won by a good pound. Mickey Hudnall, his wife, Emory, daughter Lynette and son Brandon, live in Cleveland, Ohio. They have purchased a house on the lake and plan to spend a lot of time here. The Rev. Buddy Myers brought his grandsons and had a great morning catching hybrids and white perch. We’re hitting the fish early (5 a.m.) and hammering them hard at daylight in the 30-foot range on live herring. Hot spots are Bass Alley and Parksville all the way to the boat ramp and across on the Georgia Flats on the 30-foot humps. I get there early, the fish are stacked up and then they start to scatter. We’re seeing some breaking fish, which ought to increase in the coming weeks.
William Sasser’s Guide Service, (Capt. William Sasser, Capt. Mark Crawford, Capt. Bradd Sasser, Capt. Andrew Tubbs, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed, full time professional guides specializing in crappies, hybrids and striped bass). (706) 589-5468 (William), (706) 373-8347 (Mark), (Bradd) (706) 267-4313, (Andrew) (803) 507-5083 – William: Nice catches and limits of hybrids and stripers are being caught early in the morning by downlining live herring. Good-sized hybrids ranging from 3 to 7 pounds are coming from 50- to 60-foot deep trenches in mid lake around the Georgia Flats and the channel side of Horseshoe Island. Larger stripers in the 6- to 12-pound range are being caught on the bottom 60 to 80 feet deep in the main channels of Georgia’s Little River and Keg Creek on the lower end of the lake.
Enjoying productive days on the lake were Jimmy Beasley, Bill Burley, Dustin Lott, Vernon Davis, Jimmy Beasley Jr., and Buck Powell, all of Evans; Mike Tarity, Dennis Hack and Jim Moranski, all of Augusta; Wayne Dill, Athens, Ga., and Jennifer Dill, Augusta; Xander Davis, Augusta; Crosse Davis, Augusta; Heather Hardy, Grovetown; Mark Knight, Grovetown; Cody Adkins, Harlem; Daniel Adkins, Harlem, and Joe and Jacob Sroda, Evans; Tim Gress, Cole Gress, Dalton Gress and Melanie Gress, all of Appling, Ga., and Ashley Godfrey, Hartsville, S.C.; Stephen Vance, Columbia, and Galen Sexton, Aiken; Andy Pye, Kathy Pye, Drew Pye, Andrew Pye, Zachary Pye, Tim Savage and Oscar Mendoza, all of North Augusta; Trey McDaniel,. Ronnie Johnson and Tyler Johnson, all of Vidalia, Ga.; Scotty Rider, Newnan, Ga.; David Lyon, Newnan; Trevor Pitts, Covington, Ga., and Kenny Scott, Covington.
Capt. Tommy Dudley, U.S. Coast Guard-licensed professional guide specializing in stripers and hybrids. (706) 833-4807 – I’m watching the rain fall, with lots of thunder rumbling in the distance. The lake is dropping daily. Fishing is still pretty good. We’re catching a mix – either 2, 6 or 10 pounds and not much in between. We’re catching a surprising amount of white bass as well as good quality fish. I’m catching them in the 25 to 35 feet on the sides of the deep drops in the river channel. I’m still fishing out of Plum Branch Yacht Club and that area of the lake. The white perch are still aggravating. The wind has been very important. I’ve been fishing primary creek junctions where the wind is blowing into the areas. The Wieman party visiting from Ohio for its annual two-day trip. They caught a great bunch of stripers to 10 pounds, hybrids to 6 pounds, and largemouths, white perch, yellow perch and catfish.
Check out my Web site: www.acestriperguide.com.
Carter and Hunter Morris, licensed professional guides specializing in fly fishing for rainbow, brook and brown trout. (706) 833-1083 (www.flyfishingnorthgeorgia.com) (facebook.com/flyfishingnorthgeorgia) – Hunter: With most of north Georgia’s private trophy trout streams closed for the summer, the Toccoa River tailwater has been where we’re running most of our trips, and the fishing has been very good. Trout have been feeding heavily from about 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. But they’ve also been surprisingly active at intermittent points during the day, although these feeding cycles have been hard to predict. We’ve had the most luck on pheasant tail nymphs and rainbow warriors throughout the morning and afternoon. But the evenings have been the most fun to fish, with a majority of trout taken on dry flies such as big yellow Stimulators and size 18 to 20 Blue-Winged Olives.
BEAUFORT, S.C. & VICINITY
Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – The Fripp Island Marina Fireworks Tournament will be held today and Saturday. A captain’s meeting and registration will be held today from 6 to 7 p.m., with a Lowcountry cookout. The fishing day starts Saturday at 6 a.m., with check-ins starting at 4 and weigh-ins starting at 6 p.m. Prizes and awards including a 90 percent payout for first and second largest kingfish, dolphin, wahoo and Spanish mackerel. For more information, call (843) 838-1517.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – Water temperatures are staying in the mid 80s and that means it’s billfish time in the Gulf Stream. We’ve been seeing billfish like white marlin and blue marlin gulping air from the vicinity of the artificial reefs all the way to the Stream. Spanish mackerel schools are on the increase. Remember, if you’re bottom fishing and catch a black sea bass, use your ruler and make sure it has a tail length of 13 inches. If so, that’s a keeper. Anything even a fraction below that length is a throw-back.