The drought is not a Thurmond Lake thing, a regional thing, or even a state thing. It has had a national impact, so until a tropical system or sustained rainfall lasting several days come along, our lake is not going to rise back to normal magically. So count your blessings that even with the low water, you can still launch your boats and catch fish.
We are multi-blessed living in the Augusta area. The Savannah River below Thurmond Dam is loaded with fish of many species, including yellow perch will are now on their spawning run. The river below the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam is not devoid of fish species, either.
Many anglers prefer pond fishing to either river or lake and Merry Land Brickyard Ponds are located off Molly Pond Road within a few minutes’ drive. There is a public boat ramp behind Riverside Elementary School off Hardy-McManus Road (off Furys Ferry Road) that leads into Bettys Branch and the river. It’s perfect for small outboards and the branch is loaded with panfish and perch. Columbia County created a neat park with picnic areas and other amenities. Try it – you’ll like it!
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 mid 50s, the lake is clear and continuing to drop. Fishing is good. We’re catching some nice fish in between the high wind days. We had some great weather during the Christmas holidays and caught fish in the Parksvillle and Shriver creek areas. Several of my parties from up north were in the local areas for the holidays. Some came as far away as Chicago. They had a blast catching Christmas stripers in South Carolina before having to return to blizzard conditions. Our fish were caught on live herring or were jigged up with Berry’s Flex-It Spoons (¾ ounce).
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 lake is starting to inch its way up and winter fishing is as good as it gets right now. Groups of hybrids are beginning to pop up all over the lake, chasing schools of shad. Watch for the sea gulls since they’re giving away the fishes’ locations. Stripers and hybrids are being caught pulling live herring and gizzard shad about 20 feet deep behind planer boards and slowly trolling through the schools. Jigging spoons into the schools also will catch hybrids and an occasional striper. Larger stripers are being caught up toward Little River, S.C., or out Georgia’s Little River by pulling planer boards and gizzard shad in the mouths of creeks or right off the points at the creek mouths. Key places include Hawe, Shriver and Wells creeks off the Savannah River arm of the lake and Lloyd and Germany off Georgia’s Little River. Slab-sized crappies are being caught on small shiners over tree tops 20 feet down around Fishing Creek on the upper end of the lake below Russell Dam and around Raysville on the other end. Having a great time pulling in fish this week were Angela Little and Ellen Drew, Aiken; Chris Smith, Roxanne Smith, Randall Redmond, William Hayes, Evans, and Kevin Posey and Kyle Posey, Clarks Hill, S.C. Check out our Facebook page for up-to-date pictures.
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) – The Toccoa River continues to fish really well on both the tailwater and delayed harvest sections. We learned last week that severe weather is no deterrent to hungry trout. We fished several trips in blizzard-like conditions during which we still caught a lot of really nice trout. Try fishing a little deeper than normal and be willing to snag the river bottom occasionally in order to be sure you’re getting down to the trout. Fish a double nymph rig with a large stonefly nymph and a smaller, flashier fly such as a lightning bug dropped about 18 inches below it.
Check-in station, 1408 Doug Barnard Parkway, Gene Kirkland, (706 722-8263) – Brickyard report: The Ditch has been producing some good crappie catches for Bubba Johnson (22 crappies on minnows), Lindsey Fielding (18), James Gilbert (26). Sammy Hogan caught six bass and nine crappies in the Expressway Pond.
Lock and dam: J.C. Skinner caught and released 22 bass and 14 yellow perch. Austin Hammett caught six bass, 11 crappies and 22 yellow perch. Willie James caught 28 yellow perch.
Miss Judy Charters, Capt. Judy Helmey, (912) 897-4921 (www.missjudycharters.com.) P.O. Box 30771, Savannah, Ga. 31410-0771 – Spotted sea trout, redfish (channel bass) and black drum are a few of the species being caught by my parties. Matt and Paige Mercer, of Savannah, hooked and landed a 60-pound black drum. This is the time of year when the trout will hit plastic grubs so there’s no worry about having the proper live baits.