We are now a Rio Dealer. All Sci Angler & Cortland products 30% off in store only
July 27, 2021
Rain has been sporadic and so have the thunderstorms. Water clarity has suffered due to runoff, algae is still bad. The moisture has caused a lot of fog on the Saluda. Picked up 3 small stripers during the 35 minute window between 7:50 and 8:25. Two on articulated slumpbuster and one on black beastmaster. Glad I had my wading staff, since the fog made seeing anything difficult even with a headlamp.
July 26, 2021
Striper fishing is slow but steady in the Saluda with water holding 875-900 cfs. Black beastmaster is the best fly right now and activity is slow until the 30 minute window. When is the window - well that is the question isn't it? Could be any time from late afternoon until the early a.m. The trick is to be there and be ready when it comes. For me it has been between 7:30 and 9 and for about 20-30 minutes sometime during that span.
July 15, 2021
Water is holding around 875-930 cfs, water clarity is average, but there is still algae in the water. Landed a 23 inch striper with algae on his head, and algae on the leader knots. This is a good time to use a leader with as few knots as possible. Striper activity is still a little slow, and you have to watch for evening thunderstorms. The flies which are working are a size 6 gervais gray , a size 6 purple and white clouser and best of all a black beastmaster at dark.
July 10, 2021
Striper activity is picking up in the Saluda, even though most activity is in the lower parts of the river. Size 6 purple and white clouser, size 4 island girl clouser and size 4 black beastmaster are the most productive flies. Some insect activity and a few rising trout around dark.
July 1, 2021
Fished last night in between the rain and during the surreal fog. Striper activity has picked up a little but still is not up to the levels of past years. Size 2 Island Girl Clouser and size 4 black hairy legged blingmaster flies worked with the blingmaster getting the most action. Still having to put out a lot of line to get bites which makes it harder to get a good hook set. Algae has picked up significantly probably due to warmer weather and more fertilization of yards on Lake Murray. Dumbbell eyed patterns like Clousers and larger hooks pick up more algae than conehead flies and smaller hooks. Also if your flies have fragile materials like fine rubber legs of thin flash materials, it is easier to tear up those parts of the fly while removing the algae. Still a pain no matter what you use. Best action started around 8:45 to 9:10 p.m. A few more holdover trout are being taken during the day.
June 23, 2021
Water was around 1400 but later dropped to 950 where it has stayed. Water clarity is excellent. Striper and trout activity is still a little slow. Picked up 2 stripers 1 on white circus peanut and 1 on black blingmaster along with another hookup on the blingmaster. Only action was while line was going out or being held still and swinging
June 16, 2021
A little more trout and striper activity in the Saluda. Blue wing olives and black streamers are working on trout (a little) and White Circus pnut variation and chartreuse and white clousers are producing a little action on stripers.
June 1, 2021
People call, text and e mail asking where are the stripers in the Saluda? I was wondering the same and asked a DNR biologist. He said there are stripers spread out in the Saluda, but the water is still cold in the lower reaches of the Saluda and the Congaree, so there is not the same urgency for the stripers to move up from warmer water in the usual numbers yet. Take a look at the attached usgs temperature chart for April 15, 2020 - May 31, 2020 and the chart for the same period in 2021. In May 2020 the water was never below 55 and was as high as 58.9. In May 2021 water was often below 55 and no higher than 57. Maybe that is it. There are also a lot more boats on the Saluda - covid? Be patient, get your gear ready and pick up fish in the Saluda and the Congaree (until 6/15) and I will keep you posted.
May 27, 2021
Water is cold!! Picked up 3 small stripers on black beastmaster below zoo.
May 23, 2021
Saluda at 850 cfs. Water clarity has diminished a bit. Striper activity is abnormally slow in the Saluda for this time of year. Maybe low flows? Picked up 1 18 inch schoolie on olive articulated slumpbuster tied on saltwater hook.
May 18, 2021
Water dropped to 850 cfs on Saluda and water clarity is great. Picked up 2 stockers euro nymphing with sz 6 caddis larvae and the always reliable Higa's SOS. Still not many fishing rising to insects and not much striper activity in Saluda yet.
Water up to 2,700 cfs - hard wading. Trout (including a few holdovers) being caught on tungsten flash nymphs and bwo emergers. While some fish are taking insects on top, no real dry fly action yet. If you want to try dries use a sz 14 light cahill or a size 18 parachute adams.
May 13, 2021
Water has been around 4,000 cfs since rain on Wednesday. Levels dropped rapidly this afternoon but it took a while for the water levels to drop downstream (a reading of 1,000 cfs at the usgs station below the dam does not mean it is 1,000 where you are fishing right away, so be careful). Water clarity good but water was 54 degrees and no wet wading going on. Fished with TFO Deer Creek 13'0 7 wt spey rod due to limited back cast room. Used intermediate mow tip. Started around 7 pm and tried blue and whiter beastmaster with mini gamechanger dropper, tried purple and white island girl clouser, tried white circus pnut. No hits. Switched to black non-articulated hairy legged blingmaster at around 8 and hooked fish at 8:32. Landed 27 inch striper (see pic) Stripers are in the Saluda even as high up as I-20 bridge but no large numbers yet. Stripers are still being caught in Congaree on tutti fruitti clousers.
April 23, 2021
Water back to wadeable levels and clarity is good. Very few holdover fish being caught or found during electroshock procedures. Tight line nymphing and streamers are producing stocked fish which are increasing in size at a good rate. Some sparse size 18 blue quill, caddis and size 14 light cahill hatches have been observed but no rising fish. Stripers are at least as high as Gervais Street, but still very little action in the Saluda for stripers. We have 8 weight rods, reels and fly lines in stock along with 0x leaders and tippet and striper flies so you can be ready.
April 8, 2021
Water level on Saluda is around 990 cfs and water clarity is good. Sparse blue quill and caddis hatches have been observed. Stockers are being taken on mini gamechangers (tm), soft hackle pheasant tails and hare's ear nymphs. Stripers are being taken on the Congaree below 77 bridge and have been seen above that. Lots of baitfish in the water.
March 24, 2021
Finally Saluda dropped over night. Water level is around 805 cfs (lower than it has been for a while) and water clarity is good if you ignore the pollen on the water. Stockers still constitute most of the action with holdovers being scarce. Best fly so far is a olive slumpbuster. If you catch one stocker try a few more casts before moving on. Also the takes are pretty subtle so be alert.
March 10, 2021
Water dropping from 1070 cfs to 890 cfs, water clarity is still good, perhaps due to lack of fertilization of lawns around houses on Lake Murray at this time of year. Olive slumpbuster still working on stockers but no holdover fish, and stockers are not stacked up in one spot like before.
March 9, 2021
Water holding around 1070 cfs. Water clarity is very good. A little bit of midge activity but no real dry fly rises. Stockers being taken on olive slumpbuster. Keep moving around until you locate fish and then see if there are other fish in the area. I took several fish while lifting the fly downstream in the current. The takes can be subtle, so using a stripping guard can be helpful to feel the fish bump the fly. Still no reports of holdover fish.
March 6, 2021
Water conditions remain unchanged. Stockers still being taken on black streamers
March 4, 2021
Water levels are holding 1100 cfs, a little high for wading but doable especially with a wading staff. Stockers are being taken on black streamers.
February 3, 2021
While the water levele holding around 930 cfs and stocking is taking place on the Saluda, water clarity is still poor, so be careful wading.
January 23, 2021
Well finally the Lake Murray drawdown is done, and the water level hovering around 980 cfs, still a little high for wading but doable. Water clarity is excellent for a change. Stockers are being taken on squirmy wormies, chartreuse and black streamers and other small to mid-size streamers. Some short and sparse blue quill hatches are occurring, and fish are being taken on a size 18 extended body parachute adams. Have fun while it lasts!
December 15, 2020
People have been asking “What is up with the Saluda?” I presume they mean the consistently high water levels and the poor water clarity. A October 2, 2020 press release from Dominion Energy stated: “Dominion Energy has confirmed its Lake Murray water levels for the remainder of 2020. The company plans to maintain the lake close to its current 356-foot level through the peak of hurricane season in mid-October, then gradually lower the lake to a target elevation of 354 feet by the end of the year. Dominion Energy began lowering the lake on Sept. 15 in anticipation of heavy rainfall and higher-than-normal waterflow as the remnants of Hurricane Sally impacted South Carolina. The drawdown complied with guidance from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. “We took these precautionary measures to ensure operational preparedness for unusually high rains that were in the forecast,” Dominion Energy South Carolina vice president of Power Generation Jim Landreth said. ‘Fortunately, rainfall amounts were not excessive.’” From this link, you can view the lake levels in light of the full pool level of 360 feet msl. http://murray.uslakes.info/Level/
As to water clarity, who knows? Construction upstream from prime fishing areas is partially to blame but warmer weather and longer growing seasons (think more fertilizer running into Lake Murray and then the Saluda) may also be at play.
Another issue is low dissolved oxygen levels. Temperature levels are also important but that is for another day. Dissolved oxygen levels below 4 parts per million are stressful on trout. Based on USGS charts for USGS 02168504 SALUDA RIVER BELOW LK MURRAY DAM NR COLUMBIA, SC, starting late on September 15, 2020, until early on September 18, 2020, discharge was over 15,000 cubic feet per second and correspondingly dissolved oxygen levels dropped to almost 0 parts per million. Dissolved oxygen levels remained below 4 parts per million from late Sep. 15, 2020, (the same date referred to in the Dominion Energy press release above) until midday early on September 21, 2020. Dissolved oxygen levels rose to above 6 parts per million later on September 21, 2020 and fluctuated between 4 ppm and 7 ppm for the rest of the month. If you read on the internet, you will find that some measurements are in ppm (parts per million) and some are in mg/l (milligrams per liter). 1 ppm is roughly equivalent to 1 mg/l, so you get the picture. Now what does that mean for trout?
Salmonid mortality begins to occur when dissolved oxygen concentrations are below 3 mg/L for periods longer than 3.5 days (US EPA 1986). A summary of various field study results by WDOE (2002) reports that significant mortality occurs in natural waters when dissolved oxygen concentrations fluctuate the range of 2.5 - 3 mg/L. Long-term (20 - 30 days) constant exposure to mean dissolved oxygen concentrations below 3 - 3.3 mg/L is likely to result in 50% mortality of juvenile salmonids (WDOE, 2002). According to a short-term (1-4 hours) exposure study by Burdick et al. (1954, as cited by WDOE, 2002), in warm water (20 - 21 C) salmonids may require daily minimum oxygen levels to remain above 2.6 mg/L to avoid significant (50%) mortality. From these and other types of studies, WDOE (2002) concluded that juvenile salmonid mortality can be avoided if daily minimum dissolved oxygen concentration remain above 3.9 mg/L, and the monthly or weekly average of minimum concentrations remains above 4.6 mg/L.
Carter. K. “The Effects of Dissolved Oxygen on Steelhead Trout, Coho Salmon, and Chinook Salmon Biology and Function by Life Stage” August 2005. https://www.noaa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/07354626738.pdf
One of the most critical factors in determining trout survival is the level of dissolved oxygen in the water. For many species of salmonids, exposure to low levels of dissolved oxygen (less than approximately 5.0 - 6.0 mg.L-1) can result in mortality (Doudoroff and Shumway 1970, in Weithman and Haas 1984). Oxygen concentration has been identified as the critical factor for the survival of O.mykiss from spawning to hatching (Rubin 1998).
Molony, B. “Environmental requirements and tolerances of Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and Brown trout (Salmo trutta) with special reference to Western Australia: A review”
FISHERIES RESEARCH REPORT NO. 130, 2001
Well that is the bad news. The good news is that the Lake Murray thermocline is changing as it always does this time of year so that the colder, oxygenated water is where the turbines on Lake Murray will be drawing from (or if you are a grammarian, from which the turbines on Lake Murray will be drawing). For example, the dissolved oxygen levels on the Saluda varied from 4 parts per million to 10 parts per million between November 1, 2020 and December 9, 2020. When this happens, DNR will begin stocking again. Watch the river levels and maybe we'll start fishing again soon. For more on thermoclines, see
November 4, 2020
Water levels dropped below 1,000 cfs for about an hour, then Dominion, as usual, raised the water level. Water clarity is poor but a few rainbows are being taken on golden stones and squirmy wormies. Some browns on a Higa's SOS. There was a decent hatch of size 18-20 blue quills and size 12-14 light cahills but no rising fish. Remember the river seems to get muddy easier and stay muddy longer after a rain or after a flow increase.
October 18, 2020
Water is fluctuating between 1400 and 1700 cfs which is a little high for wading in many places. Water clarity is poor. Tried a couple of streamers without success.
September 3, 2020
Water clarity is much improved but river levels are fluctuating quickly so be careful. Flies which are working are black hairy legged blingmaster , black beastmaster, black circus peanut, and size 4 -6 purple and white clouser,
August 18, 2020
To quote Franki Valli "Oh What a Night." I really did not have high expectations when I went fishing. The water was a little higher than I like at 1790 cfs and a little off color after all the rain in the past days. Started around 6:45 p.m. (start earlier if it is overcast). I was using my TFO 10 foot 8 weight BVK rod, as I like the extra foot to keep the fly up high on my backcast and I like the extra punch the BVK gives me for larger flies. While I was letting my line out for my first cast, I caught my first schooiie on a black beastmaster. Remember if the water is off color, a black fly shows up better. Also remember what I have said before - be ready on that first cast; have the drag set, your gear ready and be prepared to set the hook. Well that was the first of 19 schoolies on a couple of variations of the black beastmaster (my favorite striper fly and a Fly South original). Two fish broke me off on my 15 pound test Rio Fluoroflex Plus 0x tippet right at the loop knot. Have to learn sometime not to horse stripers; it's hard to tell for a while if it is a good fish or another schoolie in the strong current. I moved up and down the stretch of water and tried different techniques such as casting across and letting the line form a belly downstream and making short strips while the line swings - the hits are vicious when you do this, so hold on. I also caught fish by making short casts straight downstream and stripping it back by letting out 90 feet of line straight downstream and stripping it back. I also caught fish by keeping a tight line while I was letting line out after a cast, since some fish hit the fly while it was drifting downstream and not while I was stripping the fly. I also caught fish by casting at a 45 degree angle and letting the fly swing while stripping it. Also remember when dark comes, the stripers may move into different types of water to feed. Just because a section of water does not produce fish earlier, don't give up on it - try a couple of casts back there. The action was fast and furious for 45 minutes and steady for 2 hours. No fish over 22 inches, who cares when there is that type of action. You can sit and wait for the trout bite to pick up as water temperature drops and dissolved oxygen increases or you can go out and catch stripers right now. I have the flies, the leaders, the tippet, and some tips if you want them. Why miss the fun?
August 11, 2020
Lot of rain and fluctuating water levels. Water clarity is not good. When water clarity is not good, you need to use a black fly preferably one with a cone head to create a push in the water. Lots of afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Despite all that, stripers are being caught on the Saluda along with an occasional trout. Productive flies include a size 6 purple and white clouser, an articulated purple and white beastmaster, a black circus peanut, a black articulated beastmaster and a black hairy legged articulated beastmaster. Fewer fish are being caught while stripping in the line. More are being caught while the fly is drifting downstream or when mending the line downstream to create a U and then making short strips and keeping the line tight while the fly swings downstream and across. When you do fish a tight line, hold on to the rod, the takes can be vicious!
July 21, 2020
Water staying around 850 cfs and water clarity has improved. Thunderstorms are popping up in the afternoon and evening, so be careful. Striper activity is picking up in the Saluda. Effective flies are a size 4 purple and white clouser, a size 4 or 6 blue and white clouser, a white circus peanut, a light olive circus peanut, a black circus peanut and a black articulated beastmaster.
July 15, 2020
Took two friends fishing for stripers. The water was still around 850 cfs and decent clarity. Picked up several small stripers on modified olive slumpbuster on salt water hook, size 6 Gervais Gray and black beastmaster. One nice 6 pounder (see picture) was caught on modified black slumpbuster tied on salt water hook. The slumpbuster is a great fly, but trout hooks don't stand up to striper fishing.
July 14, 2020
Saluda dropped overnight to around 800 cfs. Water clarity is pretty good, but there is a lot of moss and algae on the rocks, so now is not a bad time for studded felt soles to cut through the vegetation. Took a friend fishing, and he used a spey rod for the first time. After about 20 minutes he was doing pretty well with my TFO 13'0" 7/8 Deer Creek Spey rod. While there were still some less than picture perfect casts, he was able to do some perry poke casts of 40-50 feet. He picked up 4 small stripers and a nice 20 incher and a small shellcracker (go figure). A size 6 purple and white clouser accounted for a couple, as did a small black articulated slumpbuster and a small black articulated beastmaster.
July 12, 2020
Water is steady around 2100 cfs. Trout fishing has slowed down. Black zonkers are working okay but the best fly right now is a Perdigon fly - the Navy Diver.
July 10, 2020
Water dropped from 2900 to about 2100 cfs which is still high for wading and requires greater care and a wading staff. Used my TFO 13'0" 7/8 Deer Creek Spey rod. Tried a couple of different flies with no success. Switched to a small articulated black beastmaster at around 7:15 and picked up 3 small stripers in about 15 minutes. Then things slowed down for about 30 minutes, so I switched to a small articulated black slumpbuster and picked up 4 more stripers. Tonight's lesson: while stripping in the fly, several times fish struck at it on the surface. The natural reaction is to set the hook hard. Fortunately, I was able to resist doing that, and instead I just kept stripping the fly until I felt the weight of the fish and then I did a strip strike to set the hook. It worked on at least 3 of the fish. I am guessing that they come up and hit their target to stun it and then come back to finish the meal. Not sure why but worked for me.
June 30, 2020
Take the Saluda Summer Shore Slam Challenge. While wading on the Saluda, catch a rainbow trout, brown trout, and striped bass on a fly with a fly rod in a 12 hour period and send me the pictures. I will post them in the fishing pictures section of the website and salute you as a Slammer (or a better name if you can think of one). If you can't get pictures of all 3 that is okay, I trust you, so send me the pictures you were able to get.
June 29, 2020
Water has risen to between 2200-3000 cfs. Algae is a little better but still a problem, especially for double hook patterns. I have been able to fish close to shore with my spey rod, as I do not have to have much back cast room. Casting does not equal catching. The higher water level has seemed to put the fish down. Got skunked 2 nights but did catch a nice 18 inch striper on a small articulated purple and white beastmaster, which is fun in the strong current. While I was bringing him in, one of the thunderstorms struck , and there were white caps on the river. Landed him, beat a quick retreat, and got soaked.
June 23, 2020
Saluda holding at 760 cfs. Algae is still bad, making it harder to fish anything other than dries which are not all that effective right now. If you are fishing streamers or striper fishing, flies with dumbbell eyes or cones pick up more algae than other flies. Started later last night. Fished with my TFO 13'0" 7/8 weight spey rod. Tried a tutti fruitti clouser which picked up so much algae that I switched to a purple and white sz 4 beastmaster and caught a schoolie right away. After my purple and white beastmaster got hung up on a cursed tree and broke off, I put on a size 2 black articulated beastmaster at around 8:30 and caught 2 schoolies. About 9:00, that beastmaster lived up to its name, and I landed a fat 27 inch striper which according to the weight chart would be about 10.5 pounds. Quite a tussle on a 13 foot rod. Hard to take a picture while holding a 10 pound fish in your hand. Should have beached it and laid it on the shore for a picture, but after a long fight, a great picture is not worth the life of a great fish. Tonight's lesson - if you are fishing a hole where you know there are fish and not catching anything, move around and stand in a different place. Sometimes after being skunked, you can use the same fly with the same stripping action and move a few feet and catch fish. I guess a few feet make a difference in the drift or the presentation. If what you're doing isn't working, move around, even just a little bit. What harm can it do, it might help.