Santee Cooper’s Diversion Canal can be a striper hot spot on bad-weather days

Diversion Canal

Diversion Canal is protected, easy to fish

The Santee Cooper lakes, Moultrie an Marion, span more than 170,000 surface acres of water. While they include many coves, blackwater ponds and creeks where anglers can hide on windy days when the surface gets rough, the best schooling action is usually in open water where there’s nowhere to hide. But the Diversion Canal connecting the two lakes is a place where the action remains good, even on the worst weather days.

Guide Leroy Suggs said the Diversion Canal is one of his go-to striper spots in the fall and spring. And that’s even when the weather is calm and the lakes’ surface slick as glass. In bad weather, it’s definitely the place to be

“The mouth of the Canal and the rock piles are great places to catch stripers,” said Suggs. “The Diversion Canal has current most of the time. And the cuts where you have flowing water pulls the bait in there and makes a great place for stripers to set up.”

Since the lakes are hydroelectric power-generation facilities, each has mechanisms to discharge large volumes of water. However, the Jefferies Generation Station at Pinopolis Dam on Lake Moultrie inputs a significant volume of flow into the Cooper River. As a result, the Diversion Canal carries a significant flow and is directly proportional to the volume of water passing through Pinopolis Dam.

The moving water attracts stripers

Striped bass are attracted to moving water, and they find places to set up and ambush bait. Baitfish swept into the canal are looking for places to get out of the current. And those happen to be the same places where stripers set up to feed.

The Canal has several places where cuts and structure creates significant ambush points that are perfect places to catch fall stripers. The pilings around the SC 45 bridge are productive, as is a rock pile near Hill’s landing, the Canal’s access to Black’s Camp and both ends of the Diversion Canal where rocks protect the entrance and exits. But any structure that creates an ambush point can hold fall stripers.

About Jeff Burleson 1312 Articles
Jeff Burleson is a native of Lumberton, N.C., who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences and is a certified biologist and professional forester for Southern Palmetto Environmental Consulting.

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