AHQ INSIDER Clarks Hill (GA/SC) Spring Fishing Report – Updated May 19
The newest Clarks Hill fishing report, updated June 9, can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-clarks-hill-gasc-summer-2017-fishing-report/
Clarks Hill water levels are at 322.41 (full pool is 330.00), and morning surface temperatures are up to the high 70s.
As surface temperatures start to brush the 80s on Clarks Hill, Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that the blueback herring spawn is mostly done – even though there are probably still a few isolated spots with spawning herring. With that the bass are schooling less, and even though they haven’t left the same points where they were ganged up shallow they are sliding out deeper into the 6-12 foot range. Mop jigs and Carolina rigs are a good way to target these fish. There will still be times when they will briefly come up to the surface, but it usually only lasts for 15-20 seconds, typically in the morning, and so you need to have a lure ready.
In addition to fishing points, there are also fish being caught off humps in the 10-20 foot range. Right now fish are on the top of the humps, and Spot Remover Magnums as well as jigs will catch them.
Finally, some better fish are starting to feed on bream in the shallows early and late. Double-bladed buzzbaits are working well.
On the striped bass front, Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that fish are in a pretty normal pattern – but they are several weeks ahead of schedule with the heat. They are catching numbers and big fish. It’s pretty much a down-line bite right now, and it’s been a few weeks since they were getting a lot of action on free-lines. At daylight fish can be caught in 30-50 feet of water on the bottom off main lake points, and as the sun gets up they move into the same depth over 60-70 feet. Plenty of fish are also being caught around the dam. A few fish can be found breaking the surface but it’s sporadic at best.
William advises that crappie have moved out of the backs, and his boat is catching them about 10 feet down over 15-20 feet of water in the Savannah River and the Georgia Little River. Fish are over brush.
Catfish are spawning around bridges and riprap, and shellcracker are bedding all over the lake.
Clarks Hill water levels are at 322.02 (full pool is 330.00).
It really is the best time of the year to fish for bass on Clarks Hill, and Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that the bite is wide open with it taking about 22-23 pounds to win every tournament. Fish are schooling everywhere, and pretty much any point, shallow hump, or other location where blueback herring spawn will hold fish. The best depth range is 2-5 feet most of the time, and fish are active all day long. Particularly on windy days flukes and Gunfish are hard to beat.
On very calm days fish will generally be in the same areas, but they will usually pull out a little deeper to 10-12 feet of water and wait for the bait to move through. The new “Balling Out” jig in 3/8 and ½ ounce sizes has been catching a lot of fish when the bass are a little deeper – particularly around rock.
Some fish are still spawning, but mostly the bass spawn is done. Buckeye has not received any reports of fish moving out to the deep humps yet.
Clarks Hill water levels are at 320.11 (full pool is 330.00), and water temperatures average about 65 first thing, rising to 68-70 in the afternoons. Clarity is good for Clarks Hill.
Right now is getting to be everyone’s favorite time to bass fish on Clarks Hill, and Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that the herring spawning is beginning to get underway on the lake. While the biggest wave of herring have not yet come up, more and more are arriving daily and plenty of small to medium sized bass are up there feeding on them. When the wind is blowing you can catch fish on topwater lures like Gunfish and flukes.
The larger bass do not seem to have come up on the points to feed on herring yet, and Buckeye has seen a lot of fish still on beds are well as some big females who don’t appear to have laid eggs yet cruising in pockets. Some bigger fish have been coming on a jig a bit deeper off points or a jerkbait, but it’s a mystery where bags like the 25-pound sack that won a local tournament Saturday are being caught.
Angler Cody Byers reports that bass can be found at all three stages of the spawn, and combined with the herring spawn he concurs that this makes for the best fishing of the year. In addition to flukes he suggests throwing spinnerbaits around the bank.
On the striped and hybrid bass front Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that just like the herring, striper are up on main lake points attempting to spawn. Watch for the birds early to locate the fish, and pull free lines and planer boards across them. There are also some fish 25-30 feet deep on the bottom off main lake points, and there are still hybrids and stripers being caught out in front of the dam late in the evening in 20-40 feet. William estimates that about 75% of the fish are on the lower end right now.
The crappie spawn is still very much underway, and William reports that on the lower lake up to the mid-lake fish can be caught beating the banks with little jigs or minnows. While most fish are spawning right now, he says that post-spawn fish can also be caught a little out from spawning areas 10 feet down over brush in 20 feet of water.
Clarks Hill water levels are at 319.81 (full pool is 330.00), and water temperatures are in the high 50s but dropping. Clarity is good for Clarks Hill.
As recently as this Saturday bass were up shallow spawning on Clarks Hill, although Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that it was mainly smaller fish. Nearly every piece of shallow wood seemed to have a little fish around it, and there were also some nice bass up shallow in the 2-5 foot range. There was nothing specific needed to catch fish, and by fishing in pockets with lures as varied as a jerkbait, The Sled, or a Spot Remover fish could be caught.
This cold weather is going to set the bite back a little, and Buckeye anticipates that fish will pull out a little to the points. Heavier Spot Removers, deeper diving crankbaits, and jigs should all work. However, they don’t anticipate that it will be a huge setback because fish seem so ready to go shallow and spawn. As soon as temperatures get back into the high 60s and 70s fish should start to move to the banks again.
In striped and hybrid bass news Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that numbers of fish are getting even better right out in front of the dam, and particularly after dark they have been catching good ones fishing vertically about 20-40 feet down. In the morning they are also catching fish on the bottom in 40-50 feet of water off main lake points on the lower end. There are also some fish in about 35 feet on the bottom. By now most of the striper seem to have made their way to the lower lake.
Before the cold front William’s boat was finding crappie against the banks spawning, and they were also catching pre-spawn fish 10 feet down over brush in 15-20 feet of water. It is expected that the cold should set things back and keep more fish around the brush until the next period of warm weather brings in another wave of fish.