South Carolina is not typically the first state fishermen think about when big trout are mentioned, but that's exactly what Capt. Steve Pietrykowski of Fishki Business has been catching the past couple of weeks on Lake Jocassee.

"The average size this year is much bigger than I've seen in the past three years," said Pietrykowski (864-353-3438). "We've caught multiple fish over five pounds and several 7-pounders. In years' past, if I caught one or two over six pounds, it was a good year. This year some really good fish have been caught – and lost – on Jocassee."

 

 Reasons behind the size increase could lie in the fact that the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources stocked triploid trout in 2010 that focus on feeding and not breeding since both the males and females are sterile. Given that their life is spent eating, they grow larger than the native species.

 

To catch the large fish, along with their not-so-genetically-enhanced brethren, Pietrykowski suggests trolling blue, silver or chartreuse spoons less than 3 inches long at a slow speed.

 

"Between one and two miles per hour is the right speed," Pietrykowski said. "The faster you go, the more apt you are to catch rainbow. The slower you troll, you typically catch more browns."

 

Pietrykowski keeps his baits anywhere from 25 to 60 feet deep as he trolls, although 35 to 50 feet has been the best lately, he said. To keep a consistent depth, most of the guides use downriggers.

 

"I use an Abu Garcia round reel loaded with 8-pound fluorocarbon and Apex downrigger rods for my setup," Pietrykowski said. "Using an actual downrigger rod seems to work out easier for me than trying to use a normal spinning reel setup, but I know guys who use spinning reels and are successful with it."