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AHQ INSIDER Clarks Hill (GA/SC) Fall Fishing Report – Updated December 2

  • by Jay

December 2

Clarks Hill water levels are down to 319.55 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures are in the mid-60s.

Bass fishing on Clarks Hill hasn’t changed a whole lot in the last few weeks, chiefly because water temperatures haven’t really dropped much.  Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that the buzzbait bite is still going on, and there has also been good schooling activity off points in the afternoon.

The biggest news is that a shallow flipping bite seems to have developed, and a ton of bass have been caught flipping jigs up under shallow docks.  20+ pound sacks have reportedly been caught this way in recent tournaments.

A full striped bassreport will follow, but Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) reports that he has been catching incredible numbers of small to medium striper and white perch jigging a spoon and fishing a minnow vertically on a drop shot rig.  In a few hours they caught about 300 fish recently, with about 65% white perch and 35% striper and hybrids.

November 8

Clarks Hill water levels are down to 320.72 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures are in the lower 70s.  Clarity is good.

Bass fishing on Clarks Hill continues to be pretty good, and fish are starting to move into a traditional mid-fall pattern.  Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that overall fish seem to be moving shallower and starting to make their way into the creeks and then towards the backs.  Later in the fall/ winter they will get into the ditches where they often spend the winter.

Early in the morning there is a decent buzzbait/ floating worm bite, and fish have been in the backs of pockets.  ¼ ounce double-bladed Buckeye buzzbaits in shad color are working well, and white floating worms have been the ticket.

With temperatures cooling off overnight a lot of days the water has to warm for schooling activity to get underway, but by 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon some of the same points where there wasn’t activity in the morning can come alive.  Super Spooks have been effective and some of the better fish have been caught this way late in the afternoon.

There may be some fish out deep but with water temperatures where they are more anglers on concentrating on shallow areas.

On the striped bassfront Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that overall fish are migrating up the lake, and there are a lot more fish in the mid-lake.  Right now they aren’t catching a lot of very large fish like they were a month or so ago, but soon those should show up in the catch again.  For now William’s boat is catching lots of 2-4 pound fish on the bottom in 30-40 feet of water at the mouths of tributaries up the Georgia Little River and the Savannah River in areas like Shriver Creek.  They aren’t pulling free lines or planer boards but that pattern is coming.

Another nice haul of striper and hybrids caught on William Sasser's boat
Another nice haul of striper and hybrids caught on William Sasser’s boat

The crappie pattern remains relatively unchanged, and they are catching some impressive numbers of solid fish.  On recent trips William’s boat has caught 40 or 50 nice one-pound fish in the backs of tributaries fishing 15-20 feet deep in 25-30 feet of water.  Fishing around brush next to the creek channel has been key, and minnows have been catching fish.

October 20

Clarks Hill water levels are down to 322.32 (full pool is 330.00) while water temperatures have risen back into the mid to upper 70s and even 80!

Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that bass fishing is still pretty good on Clarks Hill, and there are several different patterns going on.

First, while schooling action isn’t wide open right now it is certainly underway – albeit hit-or-miss.  At times bass will be found schooling around wind-blown, rocky points where they will eat a fluke, and chrome Gunfish also remain a good choice.  The best schooling activity has been over 5-10 feet of water.

Another strong pattern has been fishing a buzzbait around windblown areas.  Fish are very shallow, in 2 ½ – 4 feet of water, and at times the bass will be found around windblown banks.  They can also be in the very back of wind-blown pockets – including in water so shallow it’s almost inaccessible.  Again, finding areas where the wind is blowing is critical.

When the wind is not blowing it can be hard to get a good pattern going, but dropping back into 10-12 feet of water off the same points where fish could be found schooling can work.  Shakey head worms will catch fish in these areas, as may a jig.

Tyler Matthews of Buckeye Lures shows off a couple of Clarks Hill fish caught last week
Tyler Matthews of Buckeye Lures shows off a couple of Clarks Hill fish caught last week

Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports no change in the striped bass or crappie bite.

October 13

Clarks Hill water levels are down to 322.56 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures are in the low to mid-70s in the morning, rising to the high-70s on warm afternoons.  Overall the lake is still pretty clear, but moving up the lake it gets progressively more stained.

It’s not clear whether dropping lake levels or dropping water temperatures are responsible, but Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that bass fishing has gotten much better on Clarks Hill.  Instead of anglers struggling to get a bite or two 15-20 fish is now a good day.  It should stay good through at least mid-November.

When there isn’t much wind fishing a buzzbait early is probably the best way to get a big bite, and Buckeye’s double-bladed buzzbaits in shad color have been especially good.  When the wind gets up fishing around wind-blown points is the key, and bass are eating a chrome Gunfish very well.  Most of the bites are coming in the 5-10 foot range over points, but some fish can be found as shallow as 2-3 feet and there can also be fish over water in the 20s and deeper.  Stopping well out from a point and working your way in is the best bet.  There are probably some fish over humps, but the point fishing pattern has been pretty dominant.

Striped bass fishing continues to be good on Clarks Hill, but Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that with dropping water temperatures the fishing has changed.  The deep stuff is over and the fish are now concentrated in 20-25 feet of water.  Shallow down-lines are working and there has also been a lot of schooling activity in the late afternoon out from Horseshoe and around Cherokee Creek.

A big striper caught this fall on Captain William Sasser's boat
A big striper caught this fall on Captain William Sasser’s boat

The crappie pattern remains pretty similar, and yesterday William’s boat found a good bite in the back of a creek fishing 15 feet deep over brush in about 25 feet of water.  Minnows continue to work well.

September 30

Clarks Hill water levels remain at 324.21 (full pool is 330.00), and water temperatures are in the low to mid-80s.  There has been almost no rain and so the lake is very clear.

Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that bass continue to school early in the morning off main lake points.  While action is sporadic fish can stay up as late as 9:30 or 10:00; hopefully cooler weather in the forecast will bring up more fish and keep them up longer.  Later in the day these fish pull out and suspend.

There has been a decent buzzbait bite first thing, and anglers are catching fish throwing a buzzbait around shallow cover and banks on the main lake.  Later in the day fishermen are turning to deeper humps and points and throwing Spot Removers and jigs.  In part because it’s the only place to find a good clean bottom, the main lake is the best area to fish this pattern.

Striped bass fishing has been good on Clarks Hill, and Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that the fish are still grouped up on the lower 4 miles of the lake.  They are biting in the middle of the day on down-lined herring fished 60 feet deep over 100 feet of water.  The fish should be schooling but the heat is keeping them from really getting into that pattern, and yesterday William only saw two fish jump.

A big striper caught this week on Captain William Sasser's boat
A big striper caught this week on Captain William Sasser’s boat

Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) reports that he is still catching good numbers of smaller hybrids and striper below the Russell Dam at the very top of Clarks Hill on topwater lures.

William reports that crappiehave made their way into the back of tributaries like Soap Creek, Dry Forks, Greys Creek and Lloyd Creek.  They are feeding well on minnows fished 15 feet down over brush in 25 feet of water.

September 20

Clarks Hill water levels have dropped to 324.21 (full pool is 330.00), and water temperatures are right at 80 degrees.  Clarity remains good.

Tournament angler Cody Byers of Graniteville reports some pretty solid bass fishing on Clarks Hill.  First thing in the morning he has found schooling activity on most of the main lake points.  He suggests starting with your boat in about 20 feet of water and working towards the point.  A buzzbait is good early morning bait, and a disco green fluke is a good option to throw at schooling fish.  Matching the forage is important.

After the morning bite slows down look for bass suspended between 10 and 15 feet.  Fish would rather feed up than down, and so throwing Shad Raps that run between 4 and 9 feet are a good option.

In the afternoon targeting secondary points, coves, pockets, etc. is a good bet.  The fall transition is starting to take place and so it can be hard to locate fish, but good electronics can be invaluable.  If you find the baitfish you should find bass.  Sporadic schooling activity is possible all day so stay ready, and remember that matching your lure selection to the forage is important all year long.

September 14

Clarks Hill water levels are at 324.53 (full pool is 330.00), and water temperatures have dropped into the lower 80s.  Clarity is very good.

Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that bass fishing has been a little slow on Clarks Hill, and instead of the upper teens winning recent tournaments it is only taking 9-11 pounds to win.

Early in the morning fishing a buzzbait or frog near the grass is a decent bet, and there is grass all over the lake right now.  When the sun gets up fishing Spot Removers or jigs in 15-20 feet of water over rocky points or main lake humps is a good pattern as the cleaner bottoms make it easier to fish.  Some good fish have also been caught off deeper docks flipping for fish that are seeking shade.

Early in the morning lots of smaller spotted bass can be found schooling offshore, but a lot of these fish are undersized.  Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) also reports seeing tons of 1 pound bass schooling in the middle of the day.  As temperatures drop more good fish should start schooling and moving shallower.

Buckeye's Tyler Matthews shows off a nice summer bass caught recently off a deep Clarks Hill dock
Buckeye’s Tyler Matthews shows off a nice summer bass caught recently off a deep Clarks Hill dock

On the striped bass front, Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) reports that he is catching good numbers of smaller hybrids and striper below the Russell Dam at the very top of Clarks Hill.  In the morning and evening fish are taking free-lined herring, and they are also biting topwater plugs.

On the other end of the lake Captain William Sasser reports that hybrids and striper are feeding very well on the bottom in about 50 feet of water.  In the lower lake fish can be caught with down-lined live herring off main lake points, and the bite has been wide open in the evenings from about 4:00 pm on.  There is also a secondary, good morning feed.  A few striper are schooling but not too many yet.

Crappiefishing is getting better, and crappie are feeding about 20 feet down over brush in roughly 25 feet of water.  They can be found in creek channels and in the backs of main lake coves.  Some very nice fish have been caught on minnows.

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