Lake Russell bass keying on blueback herring spawn

Bass, largemouths and spots, will be keying on the herring spawn at Lake Russell in May. Largemouths will be on long, sloping points, and spots are in deeper water off main-lake points.
Bass, largemouths and spots, will be keying on the herring spawn at Lake Russell in May. Largemouths will be on long, sloping points, and spots are in deeper water off main-lake points.

Bass feeding heavily on herring

Spawning dictates fishing for largemouth bass on South Carolina’s Lake Russell this month, according to guide Wendell Wilson of Elberton, Ga. With the spawn about finished, the bass are recovering and looking to fatten back up on blueback herring, which are in the midst of spawning.

Herring will be in shallow water early in the morning before the sun gets up and begins to warm the water. And the bass will be there, too, looking for an easy meal.

“The bass will be feeding on long, sloping points early in the morning, and you can catch them on topwater lures, jerkbaits and any kind of swimbait,” said Wilson (706-283-3336). “May is one of the best months to catch a good largemouth, over 5 pounds, in Lake Russell,”

It is also a good time to catch a big spotted bass, too, Wilson said, in deeper water off main-lake points.

“Swimbaits are the best for spotted bass, which can go up to 4 pounds,” he said.

Be prepared to get slammed by a striper

While hefty largemouths are the target on the long, sloping points, anglers should be prepared for a possible surprise, Wilson said.

“We have more stripers in the lake than we have ever had, a lot of 12- to 20-pound fish. They are feeding on the same points as the largemouths. And they will hit the same lures and also live baits,” he said.

If big largemouths, spotted bass and stripers are not enough and someone is just looking to fill a cooler with eating fish, crappie will fill the bill on Russell this time of year, Wilson said.

“May is not necessarily a time for size in crappie, but it is a really good time for numbers. They will be ganged up on shallow brush piles in the creeks in 10 to 15 feet of water all day long. Target them with minnows or jigs 4 to 6 feet down.”

It’s also a good time to catch a good mess of catfish, he said.

“The catfish are starting to bite good now and you can catch good numbers on cut herring on the shallow points.”