Lake Thurmond – or Clarks Hill, as the locals call it – is one of the premier spots in South Carolina to catch big stripers, but it's also a great lake for crappie fishing. Dredged in flour and fried to a golden brown, crappie are one of the best-eating fish found in any lake.

To catch the tasty morsels on Lake Thurmond right now, Capt. William Sasser of William Sasser Guide Service suggests fishing in deeper water.

"July and August seems to be the hardest time of the entire year to catch crappie," said Sasser (706-589-5468). "But it can also be one of the best times if you know where to fish."

Sasser said he sinks man-made structure to hold fish in deeper water specifically for mid-summer crappie fishing. The fish seem to be holding about 20 feet deep in 35 to 40 feet of water, he said.

"The fish are definitely in the main part of the lake," Sasser said. "Where we usually find them in the coves, they're just not biting. Back in the coves just seems to be stagnant."

For the best opportunity to catch crappie, Sasser suggests anchoring directly over a brushpile or other piece of structure and dropping a line down to about 20 feet. Using small minnows seems to be the trick, and the fish are biting all day long.

"I use small shiners on a No. 1 Aberdeen hook with a No. 7 split-shot for a little weight," Sasser said. "We drop the line straight down and usually don't jig. I do jig fish, but not right now. The fish seem to like the simple presentation this time of year."

Regardless of whether you jig or fish live bait, the key is finding the fish. Look for brushpiles in deeper water, and you should be set to catch a mess of crappie for a great meal.