Although it is home for a large number of species, Lake Murray and surrounding rivers are best known for four types of fish including striped bass, largemouth bass, bream and crappie.
South Carolina has become famous for its striped bass program, which has annually released juvenile striped bass into the state’s Piedmont reservoirs. Stripers were first introduced into Lake Murray in 1961 and have since become a challenge for the dedicated fisherman. The record striped bass caught in Lake Murray weighed in at 53 pounds. The most productive techniques for catching stripers have been bait fishing, school fishing and bottom bumping with jigs.
The largemouth bass thrive in shallow, weedy lakes or in river backwaters. They are usually found in water less than 20 feet deep and rarely go beyond the area where vegetation grows. Largemouth bass are most comfortable at water temperatures ranging from 70 to 74 degrees. The bass is an insatiable eater and will feed on a wide variety of prey. They usually feed at dawn and dusk and take almost any kind of bait it considers to be alive.
The bream, also known as the bluegill, is the most popular and sought after panfish throughout the United States. South Carolina’s bream usually begin spawning in late April or May when water temperatures range from 70 to 80 degrees. Spawning continues through the summer into September. This long spawning season assures successful reproduction and provides the fisherman with continuous shallow water fishing over a long period of time. Almost any kind of rod will do while fishing for bream and remember they are good bait stealers.
The white crappie and black crappie co-exist in most of South Carolina’s major waters. In terms of the number caught, they represent the most important group of fresh water fish. Crappie have an affinity for a substantial amount of cover in the form of submerged brush, logs, stumps and aquatic vegetation. They are reasonably easy to catch and require no expensive gear. The most popular rig is a cane pole baited with a minnow. The most productive crappie fishing occurs during the spawning season, from late February through mid-May. It is at this time they move into shallow water and become more concentrated.