The period between Halloween and Thanksgiving is one of the favorite times of the year on Lake Keowee for guide Brad Fowler of Pendleton.
“November is a big transitional time on Keowee,” he said. “It is usually a month that kind of tips the fish from fall towards a winter pattern. I like it to get cold up there. Since the water has been warm so long, that gets them out to where I like to catch them.”
The movement from inshore and nearshore out to the lake’s deeper areas all depends on the weather, Fowler said. While spotted bass will make that migration along with some largemouths, the majority of largemouths and some spotted bass also will remain in shallower depths.
“Cold weather can get them out into their wintertime places, the 50- to 70-foot range, but even with the colder weather, there will still be some fish chasing bait in the backs of the major creeks,” said Fowler (864-934-5813), who points to water temperatures in the low- to mid-70s early in the month but in the 60s by Thanksgiving. The hot-water discharge in the middle of the lake keeps water temperatures higher a mile south and a mile north of the nuclear plant, he said.
“But usually, the lake fishes pretty consistent throughout,” he said. “Fishing won’t be favored at one end or the other like at some other times of the year. It fishes pretty even all across.”
The first part of the month, depending on how cold it gets, the water may still be warm or the fish may be in transition, he said, out in the 30- to 40-foot depth range on humps and points. By the end of the month, if the weather gets cold enough, the fish should be in their winter pattern.
If the weather is still fairly warm, the bass may still be chasing bait out on the main lake, but they won’t be knocking the bait on the surface, just rolling them. You can catch them on a jerkbait, Fish Head Spins and a little swimbait, he said.
“Thanksgiving is when they usually really start showing up good in the winter places,” Fowler said. “I’ve caught them early in November, but by the end of the month, the bigger schools will be out in the deep channels, ditches, depressions and places with drops. They go from hanging on the sides of stuff to places that give them little places to corner the bait on the bottom.”
By this time, Fowler said, he will be catching bass — mostly spotted bass — on deeper drops on drop shots, spoons and a Doodle Worm.
“The biggest concentration of largemouths will be up in the creeks, and there will be a good bit of activity until it gets really cold,” he said. “I usually target them in the creeks and coves and ditches in and out of the coves and creeks, in 20 feet of water or less. They will also be on shallow docks.”
Fowler likes to throw the same lures he does out on the main lake: a jerkbait, Fish Head Spin or small swimbait and soft plastics.
“If they are chasing bait, they will run it up on the surface, but you want to target them with a sub-surface lure, something that is going to get down to where they are suspended with the bait, like a shallow-diving Lucky Craft Pointer.”
His key is to mimic the bait: small shad 1½ to 2 inches long.