Lake Jocassee offers one of the most-unique fishing opportunities in South Carolina or any other state — mountain trout fishing in a reservoir — and April is one of the best months to land a trophy trout.
Anglers target trout using different tactics through April, but one of the most-effective and easiest to do without specialized trolling or downrigger equipment is jigging spoons or fishing live bait next to the intakes of the dam.
These intakes feed water to Lake Keowee, producing hydroelectric power for Duke Energy, and the water moving through the intakes creates current, which always turns fish on. But according to Keith Courtney of Blue Ridge Guide Service, the fishing is even better at night, when the power company back-pumps water from Keowee. This not only brings current, it also chums Lake Jocassee with baitfish that get chewed up in the back-pumping process.
“It’s just tough to beat the night-fishing here; it really gets the trout going. I like to troll for trout in the afternoons and evenings, but at night, these intakes are the place to be,” said Courtney (864-710-1376).
Using flood lights to attract baitfish, Courtney anchors up at the intakes and jigs for trout with night crawlers, minnows or herring. He uses light to medium-light rods and reels and relies on his depth finder to show him the depths where most of the fish are holding.
Sam Jones of Jocassee Charters also likes fishing around the intakes, but he takes a different approach. Jones said an underwater hump stands out a short distance away and between the two intakes, and that hump is a great spot for trout.
Jones (864-280-9056) trolls back and forth between the two intakes and varies his distance from the hump. Once he finds where the fish are holding, he trolls that line again.
Another tactic Jones finds effective is trolling along the edge of the lower Keowee River channel, which is as deep as 340 feet in some areas. He will begin trolling where the Toxaway and Whitewater rivers meet, becoming the Keowee River.
Most of Jones’ catches on this stretch come where the channel curves. He watches his depth finder closely and said no matter how deep the water is, fish will congregate above submerged points, even if the points are 300 feet below where the fish are holding. Jones will often troll back and forth, varying his distance from the bank until he finds the fish.