Don't let low lake level stop you from fishing at Thurmond Lake

Thurmond Lake keeps going down, but it’s no reason to get bent out of shape (mentally) and stop going fishing.


“Yes,” you say, “but where can we launch our boats?”

Thirteen of the 31 boat ramps made available by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers remain open. A list of those can be found on the tournament schedule elsewhere on this page. The main problem is that many of the courtesy docks are high and dry, forcing one to beach his boat after launching.

For those who own bass boats or jon boats, there’s no problem climbing in and out. For those of us who own runabouts with wrap-around windshields, there might be a problem climbing in and out, depending upon our age and agility. (Personally, I haven’t had a problem, as long as I take it slow. I am 77, but still sort of agile, sort of.)

I kept my boat for a short time (until the county started charging us taxes) in Raysville Marina. I remember the lake going down 18 feet below normal. I had to use my power trim to tilt up my motor to get out of my dock. Point is, I’ve never let low water levels keep me from enjoying myself. It’s just a fact of life for those who fish Thurmond.


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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 ( – Water temperature is in the low 60s, the lake is clear and continuing to drop. The fish are all mixed. It’s been hard to find a school of stripers off by themselves. There are tons of bait fish right now. Sometimes we’ll mark a school of bait and find just one fish on it. We’re having some great catches, but we have to be more patient than normal as we can be jigging white perch, have six rods out with live bait and start catching stripers or maybe largemouth or maybe flathead catfish or even yellow perch. The Place family, of Cumming, Ga., filled up a cooler with fish including striped bass up to 8 pounds.

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 – The late fall-early winter striper and hybrid bite is on. Just be sure to pay close attention to the area you’re running your boat in, Shallow humps and tree tops are emerging as the lake falls. Hybrids and stripers are coming from different creek channels on the upper end of the lake around Bennefield and Hawe creeks and in Georgia Little River around Grays, Lloyds and Rousseau creeks. Majority of the fish are being caught on live herring pulled behind planer boards in the back shallows of the creeks. Some hybrids are still being caught on live bait fished on downlines in 35 to 40 feet of water. Crappie fishing also has started kicking in with some nice slabs being caught on live small shiners fished over the tree tops in Grays Creek, the Raysville area and South Carolina Little River. Among folks who enjoyed their outings with us recently were Short and Fred Millard, of Evans, who caught twin 11-pound stripers, among other fish. Jason Cunningham, of Augusta, fished with us on Lake Russell and caught stripers weighing 23 and 10 pounds and nine spotted bass. Others who landed hybrids, striped bass, white perch and largemouth bass included Augusta’s Curtis Williams, Marvin Brown and Tommy Jones; Greg and Betty James, Kat Smalley, of Martinez; Willie Turner, Waynesboro, Ga.; Amber Penke, Jimmy Pendleton, Luke Pendleton and Marion White, all of Evans; Ken Boyd, North Augusta, and Jessica Counts, of Grovetown, and Steve Counts, of Atlanta.

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Clarks Hill Herring Hut, (Capt. Bradd Sasser) (864) 333-2000 – River fishing keeps on getting better. Yellow perch, bream and crappies are all being caught along the Georgia shoreline, using small shiners and hybrid pink worms. Jimmy Spencer, of Plum Branch, S.C., caught a 38-pound flathead catfish on cut herring on Mosley Creek. William Lott, of Edgefield, S.C., caught a trio of stripers in the 8- to 12-pound class on live herring pulled behind planer boards in Cherokee Creek.



Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland, (706) 722-8263 – Military personnel, senior citizens, you can fish for half-price. If you’re handicapped, you can fish for free. Anyone fishing on Mondays and Tuesdays can fish for half-price. Contact the bait and tackle shop for details.

Brickyard report: Jay and Brittany Robinson caught 120-plus crappies on minnows and jigs in the Ditch. Johnnie Carer caught 85 catfish on worms and liver in the Ditch. Brandon and Adam Hutto caught 108 crappies in the Expressway Pond on minnows and jigs. Ricky Douglas and Josh Bagley caught 48 crappies, three bass and eight catfish on minnows in the Cornell Pond. James Gustoff and Gene Kirby caught 43 crappies and four catfish on minnows in the Membership Pond. Walter Craft caught six bass on plastic worms in the Farm Pond. Jimmy Louche and Joe Davis caught 32 crappies and six catfish in the White Elephant Pond on minnows. Cliff Mills and Skeet Rogers caught 16 crappies and four catfish in the King Pond on worms and minnows. Cecil Lang caught five carp, two mudfish and six catfish on cut bait and dough balls in the Ditch. Sammy Slaughter caught 86 crappies, two bass and four catfish on minnows in the Expressway Pond. Mel Langston and Gary Edge caught 17 crappies in the Membership Pond on minnows.

Lock and dam: Jimmy Davis caught two stripers, one over 20 pounds, on live herring. Tyrone Biggs caught nine catfish on cut bait. Sammy Johnson caught 22 bream and 13 catfish on worms and liver. Skip Peters caught 28 shellcrackers, four bream and eight catfish on worms and crickets.




Ralph Goodison, Fripp Island, (843) 838-2530 – Inshore fishing continues to be red hot, with the bite excellent for redfish and spotted sea trout. The 15th annual Kids’ Fishing Tournament attracted 186 entrants 4 to 15 years of age to Fripp Island Marina on the weekend after Thanksgiving. All participants received prizes and T-shirts.



Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 ( P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – The spotted sea trout bite is great, especially for slow-trolled plastic grubs on lead-head jigs. The candy corn-colored paddle jigs are hot right now. The artificial reefs are producing a varied catch of bottom-dwellers. Schools of little tunny have been spotted off the Wassaw Sea Buoy (W2).