There’s much to be said about the rolling wilds of the great state of South Carolina. Many outdoor sportsmen enjoy the landscape and the different wildlife and game available to hunters and fishermen. One of the largest passions in the area during the colder, more temperate months is angling. Fishermen flock to the abundant lakes throughout South Carolina during the brisk early mornings or the cooler evenings to cast a line and enjoy the quiet of the world around them. 


With chilling winter temperatures on the horizon, fishing can become more challenging than in summer. However, winter fishing is not unheard of in South Carolina. One needs to know where to cast.


Lake Keowee, located in Oconee County, has an abundance of spotted bass. More aggressive than their large-mouthed cousins, the spotted bass tends to school around the “hot-spot” created by the Duke Power nuclear plant. There, much smaller baitfish swarm and attract the attention of the larger spotted bass. The discerning angler can cast long distance baits to catch this schooling fish.


Redfish in the coastal areas are also quite popular during the winter months. Though not widely publicized, Redfish will form tighter schools from December to January. Knowledge of tides will help an angler know where to search for Redfish. As the tide rolls out, draining the adjacent marshland, baitfish will travel with it. This brings the tighter schools of Redfish searching for food. Any standing structure near the drainage area will hold these fish, and using bait in brilliant shades will attract their attention.


The most popular winter fishing destinations would be the inland lakes of Greenwood and Murray. Here, there is an abundance of Crappie. As a deep-water fish, jigging or trolling around bridges and brush-piles yields better results. An angler can also find Crappie hiding around the mouth of tributaries feeding into the lakes, and submerged rock formations. Many anglers will use live minnows to attract the attention of the Crappie, the movement of the baitfish enticing them out of their hiding spaces. Since this fish tends to school in brush piles, trolling carefully and methodically will ease these fish out to the open.


While deer hunting is dominant for the outdoor sportsmen of South Carolina, it is evident that winter fishing holds merit. Enjoying the rough beauty of the winter months of the Carolina waterways and the thrill of catching those elusive fish are just a couple of reasons why anglers of all types flock to the water even in the winter.