AHQ INSIDER Clarks Hill (GA/SC) Winter Fishing Report – Updated February 9
The newest Clarks Hill fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-clarks-hill-gasc-spring-2018-fishing-report/
Clarks Hill water levels are up to at 324.64 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures still range from about 49-52. The upper part of Clarks Hill is very muddy and has a lot of floating debris, while lower down the lake is still relatively clear.
In striped bass news Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that the pattern is relatively unchanged. They are still fishing mainly from the mid-lake to the dam, and off
secondary points in the mid-lake they are catching fish on down-lines 20 feet down over 30 feet of water. The only change is that they are also catching some good striper that way, and not just 3-5 pound hybrids. You can also still pull free lines with herring or small gizzard shad in the backs of coves in the major creeks to hook a big one.
William also reports that, even though water temperatures are still pretty cold, crappie have started to move up some. They are catching them in the backs of coves around Fishing Village about 10 feet deep around docks and other cover.
On the catfish front, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that lots of cold water dumping into the lake has kept the bait and catfish deep in the trees on the main lake flats near the river channel. Anchoring in about 40-50 feet at the mouth of major creeks is still the best pattern.
Augusta University bass team angler Josh Rockefeller reports that the bass pattern has not really changed on Clarks Hill, but recently bites have been a little harder to come by. It’s still worth fishing crankbaits in ditches.
Clarks Hill water levels are at 323.09 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures range from about 49-52. The lake is very clear.
The bass bite has changed a little on Clarks Hill, and Augusta University bass team angler Josh Rockefeller reports that they are not doing as well on the jigging blade. They are still picking up a few fish on it, but Bandit 200 series crankbaits in crawfish color have been a lot more effective. Fish are still being caught pretty shallow in the ditches, with the better fish coming from secondary points inside the ditches. Any sort of structure in the ditches such as a roadbed or wood is also a magnet for fish, and they seem to be biting better when you can find some stained water. Early and late fish are moving up shallower, and then in the middle of the day they are holding a little deeper in the ditches.
There have still been a few fish spotted rolling on herring, but that seems to have slowed down. And a deep bite has been really, really hard to find.
On the striped bass front, Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that a lot of fish seem to be moving back down the lake and his boats are now catching them mainly from the mid-lake to the dam. To target big fish the best bet is to pull free lines with herring or small gizzard shad in the backs of coves in the major creeks. For 3-5 pound hybrids look off secondary points in the mid-lake and fish down-lines 20 feet down over 25 feet of water.
Crappie continue to be caught in the same winter pattern, and William reports that he is catching them pulling small jigs 20 feet down near the bottom in the creek channels.
In catfish news, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that the bite for big blue catfish is fair because the fish are constantly moving with the baitfish. The larger concentrations of baitfish are holding in the trees on the main lake near the mouths of big feeder creeks in about 40-50 feet of water, at least in the upper half of the lake. Anchoring on humps at the edge of the timber and waiting for the fish is the key right now. Gizzard shad and white perch are the best baits if you want to target a big one, with herring leading to more bites from smaller fish.
Clarks Hill water levels are at 322.59 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures are in the low 50s, with some parts of the lake in the upper 40s.
It’s been a pretty good period for bass fishing on Clarks Hill, and tournament angler Josh Rockefeller reports that he recently won a club tournament with more than 22 pounds throwing a ¼ ounce Buckeye Lures jiggin’ blade in the backs of pockets along the edges of hydrilla. While there was deep water nearby, the fish were in only 3-5 feet of water. Look for areas that have 10-12 feet of water and fish at the point where it starts to break off into about 5 feet.
There has also been a pretty good bite on a 3/8 ounce Su-Spin blade in the same areas, and they have actually found some fish schooling in the backs of creeks. Bass aren’t busting the surface but instead rolling, where they are feeding on 2-3 inch young of the year blueback herring. Let the bait sink and then slow roll it back to the boat.
Some deeper fish can also be caught at the mouths of creeks in deeper water, and fishing parallel to steep rocky banks with the Su-Spin blade has been working. Fish might be in 20-30 feet of water but they seem to be suspended alongside the rock in 5-10 feet.
On the striped bass front, Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that they are catching fish mid-lake around the 378 bridge and up the Georgia Little River arm just below Raysville. To target fish in the five-pound range fish down-lines 20 feet down in 20-30 feet of water, but to go after larger fish pull free-lines and planer boards in the backs of the coves in 10-15 feet of water. Around 10 or 11 in the morning has been the most productive time to fish.
Crappie continue to be caught in a similar pattern, and William reports that he is catching them pulling small jigs 20 feet down near the bottom in the creek channels. They can also be caught around brush 15-20 feet deep over about 25 feet of water.
No new catfish report from Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352).
Clarks Hill water levels are at 320.91 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures are about 53-56 degrees. Clarity is normal.
The bass on Clarks Hill are starting to get into a winter pattern that is pretty typical on area lakes. This past weekend tournament angler and guide Brad Fowler of Pendleton fished Clarks Hill, and he found his fish relatively deep in about 25-35 feet. He found them offshore around drops, and the best group of fish he found offshore near a depth change that had some rock on it. A football jig and shakey head were the most productie, and he also picked up one better one and a few small fish on a drop shot. Reports also indicated that jigging spoons were working well.
That’s not to say that there is not a shallower bite for some anglers, and Brad saw fish up shallow around docks. They just wouldn’t bite for him.
Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports no change with striper or crappie.
Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports no change with catfish.
Clarks Hill water levels are at 321.37 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures are around 54 degrees. Clarity is normal.
On the striped bass front, Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that fish are in a typical winter pattern, except that they are usually fishing a lot higher up the lake at this time than they are right now. Right now they are staying in the mid-lake.
The pattern is fairly similar to a couple of weeks ago, and his boats are catching fish pulling free-lines back in the coves early in the morning, generally in 10-15 feet of water. Mid-morning they are finding striper and hybrids on down-lines 30 feet deep over 30-40 feet of water off main lake points.
The most significant change is that more birds have arrived, and while there has been no schooling to speak of they are generally helping to pinpoint the fish.
The cold weather is starting to move some Clarks Hill bass into the ditches, but Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that there are still a bunch of fish chasing bait off points in the late afternoon when the water warms. There have also been some fish caught on square-billed crankbaits around grass.
Crappie have been in a stable pattern for a while now, and William’s boat is finding them 15 feet down over 25 feet of water in the backs of coves over brush.
In catfish news, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that most of the big schools of baitfish are holding in the 30-45 foot range at the creek mouths to about halfway back into the creeks in the mid-lake. Anchoring on secondary points that intersect with the depth range of the baitfish is the best bet. When you locate fish the bite can be good, although finding fish that are not already gorged can be an issue when you are fishing around huge schools of baitfish. Accordingly, Chris rates the bite fair to good.
Clarks Hill water levels are at 321.1 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures are in the low 60s. Clarity is normal with very little rain.
It’s an in-between time for catching bass on Clarks Hill, and weights have been pretty low in recent tournaments. Lots of 8-9 pound bags are coming to the scales. With water temperatures still pretty warm fish haven’t stacked up in the ditches yet.
Early in the morning the best bet is to throw a square-billed crankbait or a floating worm around the grass. Crawfish, bream and sexy shad colors will all work, and a small 3 ½ – 4 ½ foot diver has been the best. There have also been some fish caught slow-rolling a white spinnerbait around the grass.
Once the air warms a little, if there is some wind then bass will be chasing blueback herring. A fluke or Gunfish is a good option, but if they are on very small bait then a small spoon may be the only way to get them to bite.
On the striped bass front, Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that mid-lake they are catching fish pulling free-lines back in the coves early in the morning, generally in 10-15 feet of water. Mid-morning they are finding striper and hybrids on down-lines 30 feet deep over 30-40 feet of water off main lake points in the same part of the lake. Birds are starting to show up and there is just beginning to be some winter schooling action.
Crappie are in a very similar pattern and William’s boat is finding them 15 feet down over 25 feet of water in the backs of coves over brush.
Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that the catfish pattern is unchanged, and while the bite is still strong he now only rates it as “good.” It’s unclear why the bite has slowed because that doesn’t usually happen at this time of year, but it’s possible lingering warm weather is responsible.