Capt. Steve Pietrykowski said that the colder and nastier
the weather gets on Lake Jocassee, the better the fish like
Jocassee was established back in the early 1970s as a trophy trout fishery.
Anglers fished for trout in the spring, then moved elsewhere to fish the rest of
the year. But over time, savvy trout fishermen discovered that trolling tactics
that were popular up in the northern states, using downrigger balls and flutter
spoons, also worked well on the deep mountain lake.
believe the only way to catch trout in this lake is by trolling a bunch of
hardware, using downriggers and spoons and heavy tackle,” said guide Steve
Pietrykowski of Fishki Business Charters in Seneca.
“That stuff works –
I do it all the time – but during the winter when the water temperatures are at
their coldest, trout don’t have to hold at 100 feet. We can catch them on live
bait, using light tackle, anywhere from 20 to 40 feet deep.”
Pietrykowski’s target area
during the winter is backwards from what most anglers look for. He heads to the
far end of a creek where the water depths rise from more than 100 feet up to
what is considered a shallow flat at Jocassee: 30 feet of water.
“The wind has been blowing
pretty steady into the backs of these rivers with that last front,” said
Pietrykowski (864-353-3438). “The baitfish are already back here, and the
weather has packed them into the ends of the creeks. I’m hoping we can catch us
a good trout right off the bat.”
Pietrykowski broke out
several light-action crappie rods outfitted with tiny No. 4 hooks and stinger
treble hooks. He opened the lid to his 40-gallon bait tank and scooped out a
small blueback herring, one of nearly 10 dozen he had netted earlier from nearby
Lake Keowee. He hooked the bait through the nose with the main hook and impaled
the tiny treble stinger near the tail. That done, he flipped the split-shot rig
25 feet beyond the moored boat, letting the bait sink slowly in the water.
Through the course of the
morning, the live bait accounted for more than two-dozen rainbow and brown
trout, stockers that were immediately released, plus a handful of fat spotted
and largemouth bass trying to push five pounds before spring arrives, and two
nice browns – one just over, the other just under 20 inches.