Lake Murray December Fishing Report

                  By December, the water temperatures are pretty well cooled off. Fishing has been slow, and the water has been slow to cool down this year, making migration a couple weeks behind schedule. However, that doesn’t mean fishing is bad. Typically, this is the time of year when fishing will pick up after being in a lull the past couple months. The length of day will be at its shortest, the lake will be finally recovered from turnover, and fish will be well into their fall areas and moving into their winter areas.  The lake should be at least 4 to 6 feet lower by the beginning of December and even lower by the end of the month. Focus on the main flow areas of the lake around the mouths of creek arms and on both primary and secondary points, as well as steep banks, particularly on rock and hard bottom areas. 

On the upper reaches of the lake, from Dreher Island up river, and in the backs of main lake coves, where the water has more color, look for fish to be positioned in the last deep water. This can be relative to the area, meaning it may be the last deep bank of a creek channel bend that is 3 to 6 feet surrounded by a 2-foot flat, or it can be the end of a point that drops into a ditch or creek channel in front of a spawning bay. Try using slower techniques with crayfish and shad mimicking baits. Choice lures are spinnerbaits, flat-sided crankbaits, jigs, soft plastics creature baits, tubes and beaver type baits and finesse worms in a natural or green pumpkin color. Target moving baits during cloudy or windy conditions, switching to slower moving baits as the day gets brighter and the wind decreases. Be sure to key on areas with rock or a hard bottom, as well as docks built on black floats.

            On the lower end of the lake, from Dreher Island to the Dam, focus on slower moving bottom baits, such as a jig, shakey head, or a dropshot in a watermelon or green pumpkin color, especially during times of little or no wind. During windy conditions, try using suspending and moving baits, like the IMA Flit and IMA Pinjack 200 on points, and jigging spoons on the sides and ends of points. Key areas are those holding blueback shad in shallower water and white perch deeper. Be sure to key on the sides of flatter points with hard bottoms where there may be a drop or an ambush area.  Points with these characteristics are typically marked with a hazard marker buoy warning boaters.

            In December, bass are in full swing of their fall patterns and starting to venture into their winter patterns. This is a great month to catch fish in predictable areas, as they can be easy to pattern with good electronics. Bass will be in the backs of creeks and pockets holding on the last deep water areas around rocks and docks, starting to set up in deeper 25- to 40-foot areas off of points toward the end of the month. Up 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, as long as there is a creek channel or deep water nearby. Work hard bottom areas and areas with bait. Down the lake where bass are setting up deep, they will either be feeding on blueback herring, white perch or crayfish, or they will typically be positioned on long tapering points adjacent to spawning coves.  This time of year is a great time to utilize your electronics and spend time idling looking for key sweet spots, such as rock or brush piles.   

            A great way to get instruction on electronics, 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, have fished fulltime and competitively for more than eight years across the country on both the BASS and FLW trails, and have a lifetime of fishing experience. I am well-versed in multiple techniques and would love to share my knowledge with you on the water and enjoy a day of fishing.

Michael Murphy