Last year, on the day before April Fool’s Day, Sam Jones of Greenville, S.C., netted a client’s monster brown trout on his Lake Jocassee guide boat — 9½ pounds.
“There are some big fish that show up that time of year,” Jones said. “April is a great time of year for catching some of Lake Jocassee’s trophy brown and rainbow trout.”
After following baitfish up the creeks and rivers in winter, trout are making their way back down to the main body of the lake, following the bait.
“The baitfish have been fairly shallow all winter, so the fish have been up closer to the banks, but the baitfish start going deeper in April and into May,” said Jones (864-280-9056). “This pattern will stay about the same until the surface temperature gets up to 70 degrees or so. When that happens, the fish will start going deep and get into as summer pattern.”
Some of the best spots to fish in April are the Whitewater, Horsepasture and Toxaway rivers, he said.
“Trolling 15 to 55 feet deep using downriggers is the most-common way, but you may also troll with leadcore line and planers like Dipsey Divers and Pink Ladies,” Jones said. “Some of the best lures to troll with are Sutton spoons, Apex lures, Michigan Stinger, Dreamweaver and Doctor spoons.”
The best colors, he said, are basic silvers or golds, but sometimes using some bright colors like orange, pink, red and purple really turns trout on.
“Also, like most times of the year, large minnows trolled or drifted the same depths will work great. We caught the 9½-pounder on a large shiner.”
Jones said when he is up in the rivers he follows the channels while trolling, just hitting the edges, especially the S-turns and big points that stick out.
“In April, we are catching fish from about 14 up to 20 inches. They have to be 15 inches to keep them,” he said. “But some bigger fish show up. You can say you have had a great half-day trip if you catch three or four good-sized fish — and there are quite a few days like that in April.”