AHQ INSIDER Lake Hartwell (GA/SC) Spring 2019 Fishing Report – Updated January 10 Reviewed by Momizat on . -- January 10 Lake Hartwell water levels have just dropped back below full pool at 659.87 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures are around 50 degrees.  -- January 10 Lake Hartwell water levels have just dropped back below full pool at 659.87 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures are around 50 degrees.  Rating: 0
You Are Here: Home » Species » Bass » GA Bass » Bass Lake Hartwell GA » AHQ INSIDER Lake Hartwell (GA/SC) Spring 2019 Fishing Report – Updated January 10

AHQ INSIDER Lake Hartwell (GA/SC) Spring 2019 Fishing Report – Updated January 10

January 10

Lake Hartwell water levels have just dropped back below full pool at 659.87 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures are around 50 degrees.  Creeks are muddy to blood red in places, while the main lake is pretty normal.

Back on the lake after the holidays, Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) reports that striper and hybrids can be caught several different ways.  One pattern is free-lining in the mouths of creeks, as his boat has found that with the rain and dirty water fish have moved out of the backs.  You can also free-line or pull umbrella rigs in the clearer water on the main lake, and if you mark fish you can sit on top of them with a jigging spoon.

You can also still fish down-lines, and Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that fish can still be found relating to points, ridges and humps in 35-45 feet of water in the rivers.

A healthy Lake Hartwell fish caught recently with Guide Chip Hamilton

A healthy Lake Hartwell fish caught recently with Guide Chip Hamilton

Winter bass fishing conditions remain atypical on Lake Hartwell with the lake high and dirty, and Guide Brad Fowler reports that in the muddy creeks there continues to be a shallow bite.  Fishing around rock, wood, or broom straw fishing crankbaits and spinnerbaits has been good.

In the creeks there isn’t much of a deeper bite, but with the main lake still clear there continues to be a good deep bite in 30-50 feet of water.  With water levels high for Hartwell in the winter a lot of the ditches that bass like to stay in are deeper than their ideal 35-45 foot range, and so more fish remain suspended right now than usual.  Spoons and drop shots are both working for deep fish. Brad advises looking for the birds to help locate fish on the main lake.

Captain Bill reports that the crappie bite has been good, and before the latest round of rain they were catching a lot of fish sitting over brush as well as trolling about 15 feet deep in 20-30 feet of water.  With the water getting muddier it’s a good bet that fish will have moved out towards the mouths of the creeks looking for cleaner water.

Catfish have been very difficult to catch in the last few days.

January 2

Lake Hartwell water levels are above full at 661.29 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures have dropped to 50 and even below in places.  The backs of creeks are dirty, with the mouths of creeks clearing and the main lake generally pretty normal.

It’s still a good time to catch striped bass including some big ones, but Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that with water temperatures dropping below 50 in places it does make the fishing tougher.  Still, up the rivers he has found some active schools of fish with birds working them.

Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) has been spending some time on Hartwell with his home lake Russell muddy, and just riding and looking he has found a bunch of 2-6 pound fish.  He has caught some of them on Alabama rigs, and some pulling bait. However, Jerry says that they are moving so fast that you generally just catch one or two before they are gone.  Jerry has found fish scattered out over the whole lake from the rivers to the dam.

When he isn’t chasing schools, Chip says that the fish are still relating to points, ridges and humps in 35-45 feet of water in the rivers.  If you sit over the top of these schools and put out some free-lines and down-lines you will pick up fish even when they are not actively feeding on the surface.

A good Hartwell striper caught yesterday

A good Hartwell striper caught yesterday

Winter bass fishing conditions are atypical on Lake Hartwell, with the lake flooded and the water dirtier than usual.  Guide Brad Fowler reports that in the muddy creeks there is a shallow bite, and fishing around rock, wood, or broom straw fishing crankbaits and spinnerbaits has been good.

In the creeks there isn’t much of a deeper bite, but with the main lake still clear there continues to be a good deep bite in 30-50 feet of water.  However, with water levels having gotten even higher for Hartwell in the winter a lot of the ditches that bass like to stay in are deeper than their ideal 35-45 foot range, and so more fish are suspended right now than usual. Spoons and drop shots are both working for deep fish.  Brad advises looking for the birds to help locate fish on the main lake.

December 19

Lake Hartwell water levels are above full at 660.33 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures have dropped into lower 50s. The backs of creeks are generally very muddy.

It’s cold, wintry conditions on Lake Hartwell, and as a result it’s no surprise that Guide Brad Fowler reports that there is a good deep bite in 30-50 feet of water.  However, with water levels very high for Hartwell in the winter a lot of the ditches that bass like to stay in are deeper than their ideal 35-45 foot range, and so more fish are suspended right now than usual.  Spoons and drop shots are both working for deep fish.

With water levels very high it’s also unsurprising that there is a shallow bite, and catching a lot of two pounders around the bank is very possible.  In a tournament last Saturday the winning team had about 13 pounds, but 9-10 pound sacks were common and most anglers had a limit.  Fishing around rock, wood, or broom straw fish can be caught on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and jigs.  In shallow areas with dirty water the crankbait and spinnerbait have been good.

There are a few different things going on with the striper and hybrids, and Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) reports that his boat is catching fish pulling umbrella rigs in areas where they see birds.  They are letting out two rigs 80-120 feet behind the boat, and by varying the length of line they are able to fish different depths. They are also catching some fish free-lining across points back in the creeks, and at times fish will be pushing up bait. Because it is so muddy in the very backs they are doing better closer to the mouths of creeks.  Finally, in areas where they find concentrations of fish dropping spoons in 30-40 feet has been productive.

Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) has been approaching the fish a little differently, and his boat is having success fishing down-lines in 35-45 feet of water around points, ridges and humps.  The fish have moved into the creeks, but he is also finding that muddy conditions have kept them out of the very backs.

Both guides report some random schooling activity, particularly late in the afternoon, but you can’t count on it.

Captain Bill reports that crappie have moved out to the mouths of creeks where they can be caught 18-20 feet down over 25-30 feet of water.  You need a minnow on your hook right now.

Captain Bill reports that the catfish bite has gotten very tough with so much rain and muddy water.

November 28

Lake Hartwell water levels are at 659.06 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures have dropped into the mid-50s. The rain has had relatively little effect on water clarity, except that some of the creeks are stained.  However, while the lake is not too dirty it’s been so windy that some areas which are usually clear are more off-color than usual.

Bass fishing is pretty tough on Lake Hartwell, and while Guide Brad Fowler reports that a nice 18-pound sack won a tournament last weekend weights dropped off sharply below that.  And 10-11 pounds has won other recent events.

With some dirty water and the lake at full pool there is definitely a shallow bite, and Brad reports that if you fish around rock, wood, or broom straw fish can be caught on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and jigs.  In shallow areas with dirty water the crankbait and spinnerbait have been good.

Some fish are also starting to get deep, too, into places over 30 feet.  Some of them are on the bottom, while others are suspending.  You can fish a drop shot, a jigging spoon, shakey head or drag a jig in these areas.

On the striped bass front Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports very little change, with fish continuing to get further back in the creeks.

The best catches have still come 35-45 feet deep around points and humps in areas with bait. Dropping down-lines has been the best pattern, but when fish come up to the surface then pitching a free-line is almost a certain way to get bit.  There has been some spotty schooling activity, but most of that is taking place in the afternoon right now.

Overall fishing remains good and they continue to be able to catch a solid 25-35 fish on each trip.

Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) is fishing a similar pattern, but he points out that with a lot of birds having arrived that is the best way to locate the fish.

A nice striper caught this week with Chip Hamilton

A healthy striper caught this week with Chip Hamilton

The blue catfish bite is improving, and Captain Bill reports that they are starting to move out of the deep timber and into the creeks in 30-40 feet of water where they will eat cut shad.  There are also still plenty of channels to be caught in 25-35 feet on cut herring.

Crappie remain in the creek channels in 25-30 feet of water, and Captain Bill reports that they have moved deeper and are now suspending in the 18-25 foot range.  Fish are following the creek channels and will be there regardless, but if you can find areas with some brush that is ideal.

November 14

Lake Hartwell water levels are at 658.97 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures have dropped into the lower 60s.

The cold rain over the last few days will undoubtedly affect the bass fishing, but Guide Brad Fowler reports that for a little while now it’s been easy to catch a lot of small fish offshore on drop shots rigs and the like.  However, to get a decent bite you’ve had to do something different.

The better fish have come shallow on spinnerbaits or crankbaits, and before the cold snap you could also catch some fish on a Spook.  However, now that it has gotten cold it will be very difficult to bring fish to the surface and so fish head spins and blade runners will work better for fish chasing bait.  There have also been some good fish caught on soft plastics and jigs fished around cover.

On the striped bass front Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that fish have made their annual fall migration into the creeks.  They started late this year, and so at this point they have made it about halfway back.

The best catches have come 35-45 feet deep around points and humps in areas with bait.  Dropping down-lines has been the best pattern, but when fish come up to the surface then pitching a free-line is almost a certain way to get bit.  There has been some spotty schooling activity.

Overall fishing is good and they have been able to catch a solid 25-35 fish on each trip.

A long skinny one caught this week with Chip Hamilton

A long skinny one caught this week with Chip Hamilton

Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) has been concentrating on the mid-lake area with 30-40 feet, and he has also seen some schooling activity.  His boat is fishing a mix of free-lines and down-lines.

The blue catfish bite should be right around the corner, but for now the fish are still out in deeper, often unfishable areas.  However, Captain Bill reports that there are plenty of channels to be caught in 25-35 feet on cut herring.  There have also been some nice flatheads caught recently.

Crappie are in the creek channels in 25-30 feet of water, and Captain Bill reports that anglers have been catching them fishing 10-15 feet deep.

October 19

Lake Hartwell water levels are at 658.55 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures are in the mid to upper-70s.

Now that Hartwell water temperatures have started to drop Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that a fall pattern is kicking in.  You can pretty much pick the area of the lake you want to fish, as there are still a lot of striper and hybrids in the big water but they have also started their migration up both the Seneca and Tugaloo rivers.  Fish aren’t yet in the backs of creeks, however.

Pretty much every day for the last week and a half there has been schooling activity.  Some days it is spotty, while other days it is constant.  There is no clear pattern to when the fish are on top.  When fish are not on the surface then fishing down-lines 30-40 feet deep over 40-130 feet of water is the best pattern.  Fish will be around main lake points or ridges, and when they are not there they will be out in the channel or on the edge of the creek or river channel.

Chip Hamilton shows off a nice one

Chip Hamilton shows off a nice one

Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) has also found schooling activity in the mid-lake as well as the lower lake, and for him the peak depth range has been 40-85 feet.  He is finding fish over humps mid-lake or on the lower end.

On the bass front, Guide Brad Fowler is at the tail end of an off-limits period before a championship tournament.  However, at this time of year he would look for a topwater bite at the mouths of major creeks where fish will be chasing small bait.  Also, now that water temperatures have finally dropped below 80 degrees there should be an improving buzzbait and Pop-R bite shallow around the banks.

Captain Bill reports that the channel catfish bite remains good on a variety of baits in 25-30 feet of water.

September 18

Lake Hartwell water levels are above full at 661.06 (full pool is 660.00), and even though water temperatures dropped a few degrees around the storm they are expected to quickly rebound to 84-85 with the hot weather.

It’s a tough bass bite on Lake Hartwell, and in the recent two-day BFL it only took about 23 pounds total for the win.  However, Guide Brad Fowler says that some good things are just starting to happen and schooling activity is picking up on the lake.  A lot of fish are out suspended in open water keying on very small bait, and to target them you need to fish something very small like a tiny Blade Runner or a 1/8 ounce bait.

Of course you can still catch a bunch of small fish on drop shots fished around offshore brush.

There has also been some very late bream bedding activity on local lakes which opens up a shallow bite, and Brad says that he has seen 3 or 4 pound spotted bass sitting off bream beds at local boat ramps.  He has seen bream bedding into August but September was new to him.

Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that water temperatures are several degrees warmer than typical for the time of year, and as a result striped and hybrid bass are still in a deep pattern.  His boat is chiefly catching fish early and late down near the dam and at the mouth of creeks.  One group of fish is flat on the bottom over humps in about the 60 foot range, although that bite has slowed a bit lately.  The better action is fishing 40-60 feet down for fish suspended over very deep water in the 100 plus range.  The oxygen levels aren’t great below about 40 feet and so fishing at the shallower end of that range has been better until the fish get really activated.

Some early schooling activity is just starting but temperatures really need to drop for it to take off.

A couple of late summer fish caught with Chip Hamilton

A couple of late summer fish caught with Chip Hamilton

Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) reports that he has found a better bite at night than during the day, and he has also started to see some smaller fish schooling around the dam in the afternoon.  Fish are moving around a lot but he has had the best success starting out looking along the river channel.

The catfish bite remains good for channels in 15-25 feet in the evenings, and Captain Bill suggests nightcrawlers, cut herring and dip baits.

Anglers who want to target flatheads should fish off main lake points and around islands and shoals in 15-35 feet at night with live bait on the bottom.

Crappie fishing is slow but the best pattern is to fish in 25-30 feet of water around standing timber or brush at the mouth of creeks.

Leave a Comment

© 2018 scfishingreport.com |

Scroll to top