April on Lake Murray is the month of spawn. It is the time of year when the majority of the largemouth bass are in their spawn cycle and will be post-spawn by the end of the month. Fishing techniques for largemouth bass will differ depending on which end of the lake you are fishing. Lake wide, look for largemouth to be staging on secondary points or deeper banks outside of spawning areas, as well as moved up into spawning coves with sand or hard bottoms.
On the upper reaches of the lake, from Dreher Island up river, where the water has more color, look for fish to be further along in their spawn cycle and shallower. Techniques of choice are crankbaits that dive to the 2- to 4-foot range, such as an IMA square bill; Greenfish ½-ounce spinnerbait in Chartreuse and White; Greenfish ½-ounce Jigs in Green Pumpkin; soft plastics flipping baits, such as the Reins Punchin’ Predator and Ring Claw Daddy; Finesse worms in a Natural or Green Pumpkin color, or a Merthiolate- or White-colored Trick worm. Look for areas with a hard bottom and visible cover in the form of laydowns or docks. Be sure to make repeated casts with soft plastics to visible cover to entice spawning fish that may not be visible due to the water color. By the end of the month, look for fish to start chasing topwaters, such as a dark- colored ½-ounce Greenfish buzzbait, frog, prop bait, like the IMA Helips, or poppers as fish will be guarding fry.
On the lower end of the lake, from Dreher Island to the dam, focus on wakebaits such as an IMA Bone Floating Flit or Swimbaits like the Optimum Boom Boom Swimbait and Reins 4-inch Fat Rockvibe Shad to cover water and find areas of the most activity with cruisers or spawners that will track or follow these lures, slowing down in areas where fish are located with a jig, shaky head, dropshot or trick worm in a Watermelon or Green Pumpkin color. Look for fish to be staging more on secondary points around rock and docks with black floats, with fish spawning adjacent to these areas. In the clearer water, look for beds next to rocks, dock posts, laydowns or stumps. Be sure to look as deep as possible, as the biggest fish will spawn deeper. Deeper beds will be easier to catch, but can be more difficult to see.
April is the month when the fish move into spawning areas across the lake, which is a great time to pick up your favorite shallow water lure and just go fishing. Bass will be in the backs of creeks and pockets holding on the last deep-water areas around rocks and docks and spawning around shallow cover. In the river and in the backs of creeks and coves, where resident fish are more prevalent, fish could be as shallow as a couple feet in areas that hold heat. Be sure to focus on areas with bait, hard-bottom areas, and Northshore and West banks that receive the most sunlight. On the lower end of the lake, where bass are set up slightly deeper, focus on secondary points adjacent to spawning coves toward the beginning of the month and spawning more heavily by the middle of the month.
A great way to get out, enjoy the outdoors, and do a little fishing is to book a trip with one of the Lake Murray area guides. I am a certified Fisheries Biologist, Coast Guard Approved, a full-time largemouth bass guide, and have fished fulltime and competitively for the past 11 years across the country on both the BASS and FLW trails. I have a lifetime of fishing experience and offer a learning experience on multiple techniques of your choice, tournament preparation, and/or electronics education. I would love to share my knowledge with you on the water and enjoy a day of fishing.
USCG Approved Michael Murphy
Merchant Mariner Licensed