Lake Greenwood is a great place to fish this month for plenty of different species; guide Chris Simpson said stripers, catfish, white perch and white bass will all bite in December.
Except for the occasional flathead, channel catfish are pretty much the catfish of choice on Greenwood, according to Simpson (864-992-2352).
“Fishing for channel cats can be very good in December, depending on how cold it gets and how quick it gets cold,” Simpson said. “If the weather is pretty stable, fishing can be good, but if it is one of those Decembers with a lot of erratic cold fronts, that can mess with the channel catfish a good bit.”
Channel catfish will orient to the main-river channel this month, he said, either in the channel or very close to it.
“The best tactic is to drag Santee rigs with cut herring or cut shad on the bottom, setting up your drifts either going over the channel multiple times or drifting parallel to the channel and zig-zagging in and out of it,” he said.
Most successful drifts will be in depths from 15 to 35 feet, he said; when the weather turns cold, the maximum speed should be under .6 miles per hour.
“The bigger channel cats are starting to make a comeback after a ton of heavy fishing pressure the past seven or eight years,” Simpson said. “Most of the fish will run 3 to 7 pounds, but you have a good chance of catching double-digit sized channel cats now like it used to be. On slower days, you can expect maybe seven to 10 fish, but on better days, you might catch 15 to 20 nice channel cats.”
Greenwood is not that well-known for striper fishing, but December brings some pretty good fishing for them, he said.
“There are a couple of different ways to catch stripers this time of year,” Simpson said. “One of the most-popular ways is to chase the birds. Look for seagulls diving on baitfish, then run to the school and cast surface plugs like Striper Delights or bucktails tipped with Ice Flies or Flukes.”
Sometimes, the surface activity will just be loons running baitfish on which the gulls are diving, he said, but if the bait is there, fish will be in the area at lot of the time.
“I will let the bird activity be a starting point, then pull free-lines and planer boards with live herring or gizzard shad through the area. I’ll also pull the baits across points and over humps. Sometimes I will pull them in the backs of the creeks because the stripers will push them back into those areas.
Simpson said a slow day in December might produce seven to 10 stripers, but if you can get on a school and stay with it, you could have a 30-fish day.
“The majority will be 3 to 5 pounds, but every now and then you will hook at 12- to 15-pound fish and, although it does not happen very often, there are 18- to 20-pound stripers caught out of Greenwood.”
The bonus for December fishing is white perch and white bass, an easy way to fill a cooler for a fish fry, Simpson said.
“You might have to weed through the small ones to catch some decent white perch, but in the winter, it seems you catch more larger perch than during the warmer months,” Simpson said, noting that a good white perch at Greenwood will weigh a half-pound.
“White bass have made a really good comeback on Lake Greenwood and you catch catch them along with the white perch while jigging a ¼-ounce to ½-ounce Berry’s Spoon,” he said. “In fact, you can catch pretty much any predator fish in the lake while fishing for white perch, including largemouth bass, spotted bass, crappie, and channel catfish and flatheads.”