The striper bite heats up on Lake Murray during spring
April is the time when striped bass in Lake Murray move from winter to summer habits and habitat, according to veteran striper guide Terry Caulder (http://catch22striperguideservice.com/) of Little Mountain, S.C.
“During April you can have both patterns going on at the same time.” said Caulder who has been a guide on the lake for nearly three decades. “Everything hinges on the water temperature, which starts coming up in mid-March and stays up through the summer. The water temperature starts coming up good in April.”
By April the fish that migrated up the lake for the winter will begin their migration back down the lake to the main pool area. Not all stripers move up the lake for winter. Some stay all their lives down in the big pool, Caulder said.
The primary forage for the fish in winter is threadfin shad up to about 2 inches, which dominate in the upper lake at that time. But as the fish move to the lower lake they shift to the larger blueback herring, he said.
“As the fish migrate down they will move into creeks and channels for about a month and then they start out into the deeper water around the underwater humps. They will start in 40 feet of water and move to 60 to 80 feet by the end of the month.”
Quantity and quality
For Caulder, striper fishing is mostly a downline bite with blueback herring this time of year because he is targeting numbers of fish for his guide parties. As the water warms the fish begin to school up, he said, though not necessarily on top, and they will be associated with the baitfish. Good electronics are a necessity for this type of fishing, he noted.
“In deep water you are fishing off your electronics and the way electronics have got today it is pretty sophisticated,” he said.
He primarily targets numbers of fish. But April is also an excellent month to land a big striper in Lake Murray, especially the first part of the month, Caulder said.
“A lot of people are still pulling baits for big stripers and if I were not fishing for numbers, I would be pulling, too,” he said.
To contact Caulder’s Catch 22 Striper Guide Service, call him at (803) 600-8078 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check him out on Facebook with: Catch 22 Striper Guide Service Captain Terry Caulder.