January and Lake Jocassee mean big trout

January is great for Jocassee

January is a great time for catching trophy brown and rainbow trout on South Carolina’s Lake Jocassee.  Sam Jones of Greenville, who operates Jocassee Charters said it’s the perfect temperature for these fish.

“The 55- to 60-degree water is right where those cold-water trout are the happiest,” he said.

Anglers have the opportunity to catch some big trout, with some of them measuring 20-plus inches. They will also catch some smaller trout that must be released, he added.

“You will catch a good amount of the trout from the recent stocking. These will be under the 15-inch size limit,” he said. “Be sure to be gentle with them. Get them back into the water as soon as you can.”

Jones (864-280-9056) has been fishing for trout on Lake Jocassee for more than 30 years. And he said trout can be just about anywhere on the lake in January.

“The area around the dam is a great year-round spot,” he said. “The rivers and creeks hold a lot of bait in the winter and are always producing some trophy fish.”

Jim Houlihan of Greenville, S.C., shows off two of the kind of trophy trout that Lake Jocassee produces during the winter.

Jones said his main winter technique is to troll 20 to 40 feet deep using downriggers with Sutton, Apex, Doctor and other brands of spoons that resemble an injured baitfish. They work well, he said, along with minnow-type lures like Rapalas and live minnows trolled at the same depths.

“I also like to put a rod or two out 100 feet or so behind the boat as a flat line with shallow-diving minnow lures on them,” Jones said. “Side planers also work great with the same lures.”




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