The last couple of months have been tough on crappie fishermen at Lake Greenwood, thanks to rapidly and constantly changing water levels, temperatures and clarity. According to guide Rod Wall, however, things are settling down, and he believes the early fall pattern will be on fire.

“The water has been way up for most of the summer, which is good for crappie but not so good for the anglers,” said Wall. “It just provides that many more places for fish to hide. In addition, every time a rainstorm would come through, there goes the water color back to muddy, and there goes the stable water temperature. Crappie have just been hard to locate consistently.”

Wall believes the worst is behind and likes to see the cooler temperatures begin settling in. He believes it’s a precursor to an excellent fall bite.

“The water temperature up the Saluda has been about 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the lake, and that has moved a bunch of fish into that area,” said Wall. “Another plus is that the water color has begun to stabilize and has changed over from rolling mud like we’ve had pretty frequently to a good olive color – the color that fish bite the best in.”

While Wall favors long-lining to catch crappie for most of the year, he indicated that the combination of cooler water, current and better water color means more fish will be caught by anglers trolling from the front of the boat rather than the rear.

“The area up the Saluda is very shallow, and there’s not much in the way of cover, other than some boat docks and a few brush piles,” he said. “I’m sure the fish are up there following baitfish, so the best way to catch them is to slow troll minnows or minnow-jig combinations from the front of the boat.”

Some anglers refer to the tactic as “tight-lining” while others may call it “pushing” or “spider-rigging.” Either way, Wall suggests anglers put poles out at a variety of depths from three to 10 feet and slowly ease along the edges of the river channel, at least what remains of it after years of siltation.

“From what I’ve seen and heard, the fall bite has already started,” said Wall. “If it has, this is going to finish up as a really good year.”