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    Crappie are on the move from the shallows back to deep water in May; find them and load the boat.

    Santee Cooper striped bass plan is prepared

    Restoring the striped bass fishery on the Santee Cooper lakes with the 26-inch size minimum,a three-fish creel limit, and closed summer season was the goal of a seven-year plan formulated by the Santee Cooper Striped Bass Stakeholders Committee and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. 

    May 15 at 9:00am
    Matthew Outlaw and Meagan Daughtery show off limits of bream and shellcracker from Lake Marion.

    Fishing’s tops, no fooling

    April is the month when almost every species of fish that spawns is in skinny water:  largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, stripers, shellcrackers and bream. Stripers are shallow in the sense they are running up the river to spawn and in fact, many are caught in the Pack’s and Elliott’s flats areas adjacent to the river.

    April 15 at 9:00am
    Kevin Davis of Black’s Camp shows off a nice blue catfish from Santee Cooper.

    Can’t go wrong in March - Blue cats, stripers, largemouth, crappie are hot

    Fishing is good year-round at Santee Cooper, but March is the one month where almost every popular species is on the move. 

    The big, blue catfish are moving to the shallows, as are hawg largemouth and slab crappie. Stripers are moving throughout both lakes, with two prime locations being the Diversion Canal and the upper end of Lake Marion. 

    March 15 at 9:00am
    According to Richie Wimmer of Cross, finding baitfish congregated in deep water will often lead anglers to plenty of nice blue cats.

    February is moving time - Most fish begin to head shallow or upriver

    Ol’ Man Winter may still have his icy hand on the weather on occasion, but by February, some fish species on Santee Cooper are a bit too shallow-minded to care. 

    February 15 at 9:00am
    Crappie and bream can often be caught together when fishing shallow cover in January.

    Don’t give up on January

    January may be the coldest month, but it does put some fish into definable patterns that enable anglers make the most of the cold weather that usually greets the new year. The best action actually begins in the upper end of Lake Marion.

    January 15 at 9:00am
    Slow down your retrieve and a hefty largemouth bass could be in your future this month on the Santee Cooper lakes.

    Don’t take the month off - Santee Cooper fish are on as holidays near

    December doldrums don’t exist at Santee Cooper in terms of good fishing opportunities. Hot action is the norm on both lakes for stripers, catfish, crappie and largemouth bass. The big question — as we learned in early October — is whether conditions such as rain and wind curtail typically great fishing in December.

    December 15, 2015 at 9:00am
    Slab crappie rule this month around deep brush piles on Lakes Marion and Moultrie.

    It’s big-fish season again at the Santee Cooper lakes

    November is an overlooked and underappreciated time at the Santee Cooper lakes. As good as October was in terms of catching fish and seeing a lot of deer, the action improves this month with larger fish getting on a strong bite and big deer moving during the rut. It’s “go” time.

    November 15, 2015 at 9:00am
    Retired guide Don Drose said cloudy fall days are best for striper schooling action.

    October is for everyone

    October gets a lot of love in the Santee Cooper area, and not all of it has to do with fishing. Deer season is open, and deer are being harvested, but the pre-rut and rut phases are about to rocket into overdrive and put bucks on the move. It’s a strong temptation for many to be in the woods with cooler weather and increased buck activity.

    October 15, 2015 at 9:00am
    In the fall, big stringers of bull bream can be caught around the same deep brush piles where crappie are lurking.

    September: a full plate

    Fish are biting in the Santee Cooper lakes, but we’re at the time of year when some of the best hunting in South Carolina takes place as well. The very popular alligator season will attract a lot of attention from those with alligator tags on and around the lakes, which are divided into two distinct areas, both known for producing huge alligators.

    September 17, 2015 at 9:00am
    The heat doesn’t seem to bother flathead catfish, which will bite as long as there’s a little current.

    Dog days can be for cats

    August may be known as the dog days, but it’s actually a great time for cats, too, especially the big blues and flatheads of the Santee Cooper. Excellent largemouth and bream action on both lakes also provide opportunities if you know where and how to find them.

    August 17, 2015 at 9:00am
    Shellcrackers are a great target fish in July, but you have to search a little to find them concentrated in relatively small areas.

    Deep thinking required

    Summer patterns have settled in on the Santee Cooper lakes, and that’s not a bad situation. When the water heats up and the sun bears down, some species will get into very reliable patterns in deeper water. 

    July 16, 2015 at 9:00am
    Slab crappie will start to show up this month around deep brush on both Santee Cooper lakes.

    Don’t put tackle away

    Striper season officially shuts down on the Santee Cooper lakes from June through September, so anglers will focus on other fish for the next four months. Striper fishermen had a strong spring, and prospects for a good return fall and winter are excellent.

    June 15, 2015 at 9:00am
    Fishermen can catch plenty of bream and shellcrackers this month in the upper end of Lake Marion.

    May is hard to beat

    If there’s one month when just about every angler with a piscatorial preference can find something he or she likes, it would be May. 

    May 14, 2015 at 9:00am
    Blue catfish in the Santee Cooper system will be managed with new creel and size limits beginning April 1.

    Not singing the blues yet

    he big news for April is that the South Carolina General Assembly passed a bill last fall changing how blue catfish will be managed in the Santee Cooper reservoirs, and the changes will take effect April 1.

    April 16, 2015 at 9:00am
    Chris Oswald of Summerton caught this keeper striper fishing with Andy Pack of Pack’s Landing.

    March is big-fish month

    If there is such a thing as a normal winter, March is the time when big fish of several species bite the best. Largemouth bass, crappie, catfish and often shellcrackers all get into the mix.

    March 18, 2015 at 9:00am