Clarks Hill slab crappie are on fall pattern

slabs
Crappie in South Carolina’s Clarks Hill Lake will be moving out of summer patterns into a fall pattern and toward their winter homes in October.

October is transition time for crappie on Clarks Hill

Crappie fishing on South Carolina’s Clarks Hill Lake this month depends on whether the month is a “summertime October” or a “fall October,” according to veteran guide Brad Sasser.

“October is kind of like a transition month,” Sasser said. “Typically, the crappie will be in 25 feet of water in the backs of the coves concentrating on brush piles, if the weather is warmer. The bait is back in the coves and the water quality is good there. So it is a perfect scenario for crappie.”

But, he said, if the weather turns really cold, the crappie will move out into deeper water near the channel. Most Octobers start out in more of a summer pattern, but as temperatures drop, the migration to deeper water may take place by late October. Then the fish will transition into more of a colder weather pattern.

“On Clarks Hill, when they move to the deeper water, they will still hold on or near protective structure,” said Sasser (706-589-5468). “Especially now that the spotted bass population is growing. Spotted bass will eat anything.”

Anglers catch most of the crappie by dropping live minnows down around the structure. And that’s true both back in the coves and out in the deeper water, he said.

Late October weather will push them deep for the next several months

“You can also catch them by dropping a small jig down into the treetops. Blue or chartreuse work really well for jigs on Clarks Hill.”

Once they establish in the deeper water, they will stay there until time to move back shallow to spawn in the spring, he said. Meantime, they are feeding and growing into slabs.

“You will see some of the better slabs from then all the way to the end of cold weather,” Sasser said. “Those fish are getting fat and their meat gets more firm that time of year.”

It is also a great time to fill a cooler for a fish fry, he said.

“October all through November are two of my favorite months of the year to fish for crappie, by far. I usually start no earlier than 8 o’clock and am wrapped up with limits by 11 o’clock or noon at the latest,” said Sasser. He is the third generation of his family to fish Clarks Hill. He guides for William Sasser Fishing Charters. Along with his father, William, they have a total of more than 80 years of fishing on the lake.

Click here for tips to finding fall crappie on the Santee Cooper lakes.

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