AHQ INSIDER Lake Russell (GA/SC) Summer Fishing Report – Updated August 10
Lake Russell water levels are at 473.88 (full pool is 475.00) and water temperatures are in the low to mid-80s.
On the bass front, Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that fishing is still good off the ends of humps and points in 25-35 feet of water. He is primarily catching fish on drop shots, but live herring are tough to beat. He is picking up some occasional largemouth but the catch is pretty spot-heavy. If you want to increase your odds of tangling with a kicker largemouth maybe start out early in the creeks throwing a buzzbait around the banks.
The catfish bite is still red hot in 15-25 feet of water.
Lake Russell water levels are at 473.49 (full pool is 475.00) and water temperatures are in the mid to upper 80s.
With the summer heat the numbers of crappie being caught on Lake Russell have dropped slightly, but Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) reports that they continue to catch some really nice fish. The best pattern has been fishing around brush piles in the creeks or just off the main channel in smaller creeks, and fish have been from 10 feet down to the bottom in 15-20 feet of water. They are catching fish on minnows fished on a drop shot rig.
On the bass front, Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports there is not much change in the pattern. If he had to look for some big tournament fish right now he might start out throwing a buzzbait or topwater plug early in the backs of creeks, before getting on the deeper pattern.
Wendell reports that they have been catching a lot of bass even in the heat of the day by fishing around bridge pilings when some water is being pulled (most days). Fishing a Su-Spin blade with a fluke is a good way to catch them, and live bait will certainly also work. About 1 out of 20 fish is a largemouth with the rest spots.
In striped bass news Wendell reports that fish can still be found on both ends of the lake but that they are doing better fishing down-lines 25-40 feet down over 70-90 feet on the lower end.
The catfish pattern is unchanged and fish are still biting very well.
Finally, Jerry has found some very large white perch in the 1 ½ pound range out deep on the edge of timber along the main river channel. They are catching them on big baits such as herring as well as spoons.
Lake Russell water levels are at 474.53 (full pool is 475.00) and water temperatures are in the low-80s.
So far this summer has been unseasonably good for crappie fishing on Lake Russell, and Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) reports that over brush piles in about 15 feet of water they are catching lots of good fish. The best brush has been in the backs of coves and creek, which is not typical for the summer. Perhaps it is the result of recent rains or relatively mild temperatures. The best action is coming casting curly tail jigs on a 1/16 ounce jighead and swimming them about 6-7 feet down, or fishing minnows on a drop shot rig/ float rig about 6-10 feet down.
On the bass front, Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that the fish are starting to get very deep in 15-25-35 feet of water. They are out on the main lake way off the ends of points, particularly where there is brush around. Fishing plastic worms or minnows on a drop shot rig is usually the best way to target them.
Wendell has also been catching bass in the same areas on a Spot Remover, and he has also been having success swimming a worm past bridge pilings. If you want to catch largemouth perhaps fishing the timber is the best option.
As is typical in the summer Wendell says that striped bass are on both ends of the lake. On the upper end below the Hartwell Dam you will be fishing fairly shallow water in 15-20 feet and so pulling trout or large herring on free-lines or planer boards is the best bet. On the lower end the water is deeper, and so far this summer fishing down-lines 20-30 feet down over 70-100 feet of water has been the best pattern.
There have also been some really big white perch caught on the bottom, with some 13-inch fish finding their way into coolers. They are basically in the same areas as the crappie, but a little deeper. Fishing minnows on the bottom in about 25 feet of water in the coves has been the best way to catch them.
While there are tons of little bream around the banks, the better ones can be caught in 10-12 feet with crickets fished near the bottom.
Finally, perhaps the hottest bite on Lake Russell is for channel catfish. Jerry is filling up coolers fishing off points and in the backs of pockets, with 15-25 feet the most productive depth range. He is mostly using cut herring.
Lake Russell water levels are at 474.26 (full pool is 475.00) and water temperatures are 80 degrees and slightly above.
As is expected once water temperatures reach the 80s, Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that the Russell bass bite has gotten a little slow. You can still catch fish but they are getting deeper, and unlike in the winter when there is some of the best fishing of the year they are suspended – not relating to the bottom. Particularly with the Russell trees this makes them harder to catch.
The best ways to catch them are with a drop shot and worm (or live bait), or with a big crankbait. Most of the fish are in 20-25 feet so you need a deep diver. The main lake is the best area to fish, and Jerry doesn’t mess with the creeks much once it gets this hot.
You can also pick up some smaller spotted bass fishing a shakey head off points.
In contrast, the catfish bite is very good right now. Catfish are scattered across the lake in a variety of depths, and some of the fish are in 4-5 feet while others are in 10-20 feet. They could be off points, humps or in the backs of pockets, and you just have to keep moving until you find them. Cut bait and catalpa worms will both work well for channels.