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AHQ INSIDER Clarks Hill (GA/SC) Fall Fishing Report – Updated November 13

  • by Jay

November 13

Clarks Hill water levels are back above full pool at 330.27 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures still range from the upper 60s to low 70s. As expected the lake is getting dirtier and there is more trash floating around.   

On the catfish front, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that the fall bite for big blue cats continues to be good and they are also catching some impressive flatheads.  Both species are feeding well.  While ledges are still producing, anchoring cut bait on main lake points and humps in the 30-60 foot range is the best pattern right now for blues.  They will take cut gizzard shad, herring and sometimes bream, and the occasional flathead will also be caught this way.  However, to improve your chances of catching a flathead put out some live bream in the same areas.

A couple of grown-up fish caught this week with Captain Chris Simpson
A couple of grown-up fish caught this week with Captain Chris Simpson

November 12

Clarks Hill water levels are around full pool at 329.89 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures are fluctuating between about 68 and 72 degrees. The water was fairly clear but after this wind and rain it is getting more stained and there is floating trash. 

Water temperatures are warmer than normal on Clarks Hill for mid-November, and tournament angler Josh Rockefeller of Augusta reports that as a result the bait and bassare really spread out right now. It’s easy to catch numbers of fish but getting any size is tough, and 10 pounds is a good bag right now. 

With everything so scattered about anything could hold fish, from points to rock piles to brush.  There has also been a decent shallow bite with a buzzbait, and in ditches they are catching some fish on jerkbaits and crankbaits. There are also fish out on the main lake but they seem to be a lot of small spotted bass.  About the only clue as whether it’s worth fishing an area is the presence of shad flickering on the surface. 

Josh has found a little better quality up the rivers, where the fish stay shallow all year, on spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits.

When temperatures drop the fishing should get better with a crankbait in the ditches. 

On the striper and hybrid front, William Sasser Guide Service (706-589-5468) reports that most of the fish are back in the creeks about 20-30 feet deep along the edges of ditches. Some of the fish are suspended but most of them are on the bottom. A few anglers are pulling planer boards, but the fishing has been better on down-lines.

Outside of the lower lake, which is close to dead, there are fish in most of the creeks.  The South Carolina Little River and Baker Creek have both fished well.  The loons and gulls are just arriving, but they haven’t really gotten on the fish enough yet to be useful. 

The only thing schooling right now seems to be spotted bass.

The crappie fishing has gotten a little tougher, and William Sasser Guide Service reports that even though the population seems to be outstanding the fronts are apparently messing with the bite. Still, they are catching decent numbers of fish 13-18 feet down in the tops of brush in 25-30 feet on minnows. Hawe Creek and Lloyd’s Creek have been strong.

Expect the bite to improve again once conditions get more stable next week.

 

October 23

Clarks Hill water levels are back up to 330.43 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures remain about 72-74 degrees. 

The patterns for catching bass on Clarks Hill seem to be changing, and tournament angler Josh Rockefeller of Augusta reports that fish appear to be in a transition mode between the main lake and creeks. Probably because they are following bait – and since temperatures aren’t consistently dropping – their movements can be a little sporadic, and one day they will be found in the backs and then the next day they can be gone.

While Josh caught a nice 5-pound fish in about 11 feet of water cranking a bridge corner, the best action he has found recently has been shallow in the South Carolina Little River. He caught a bunch of 2 ½ to 5-pound fish pitching a shakey head and then throwing a spinnerbait around grass.

There is still a deep bite, and you can catch fish dropping soft plastics down on the tips of points that taper out to deep water. He has also seen fish schooling over about 20 feet of water in the same areas, but most of the deep fish Josh has seen lately have been smaller – whether schooling or on the bottom.   

Josh Rockefeller with a nice Clarks Hill bass caught this week
Josh Rockefeller with a nice Clarks Hill bass caught this week

Like the bass, William Sasser Guide Service (706-589-5468) reports that striped and hybrid bass are on the move right now and staying on top of them is frankly a lot of work. If they will stay in one place long enough then you can catch them on down lines, but a lot of people are mainly targeting them with planer boards. When they will stay in one spot they are often suspended 10 or so feet down in 20-25 feet of water in small flat pockets without a pronounced trough, and if you are pulling planer boards then following the edges and working the bank, ditches, points and humps is the best bet. Fish are moving up and out and they have been caught in the South Carolina Little River, around the 378 bridge, and towards Amity/ Germany Creek out the Georgia Little River. 

Fortunately the crappie are a little easier to pin down, and William Sasser Guide Service reports that they are catching the fish on minnows fished 15-16 feet down over brush in about 27 feet. Amity, Big Hart and Wells Creek have all produced.

On the catfish front, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that the fishing is really good and should stay that way for at least another month. Anchoring on steep ledges that range anywhere from 20 feet on the top side to 80 feet on the bottom side and all in between has been working the best. Day-in and day-out 30-45 feet has been the most productive range, seemingly because that is the depth where a lot of the herring – and most aggressive fish – have been holding recently. Cut and live gizzard and herring are all working equally well for both big fish and numbers.

October 8

Clarks Hill water levels are down to 329.77 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures are about 72-74 degrees. While it was not obvious when it was apparently happening it appears that the lake has turned over.

No one would pretend that the bass fishing on Clarks Hill is easy right now, but Tyler Matthews of Evans, GA reports that the 2-day Mr. Clarks Hill tournament was won with almost 30 pounds. Still, only the top 10 or so anglers out of 215 managed to average more than 10 pounds and day, and the winner had a 10-pounder! Tyler finished 16th with almost 19 pounds.

It seems that most of the better fish were caught out of deep brush, including the 10-pounder which came in 25 feet. Tyler caught most of his fish in 18-30 feet on a Texas rig, but they would also take a jig. He also weighed one fish that came on a buzzbait.

While there are still some shallow fish, tournament angler Josh Rockefeller of Augusta reports that when the lake dropped it pulled most of the fish out of the grass and that bite really fell off. 

Everyone seems to agree that the fish they are seeing school right now are small.

Brad Collins with a Clarks Hill giant!  
Brad Collins with a Clarks Hill giant!

Even as the bass bite has gotten tougher, the fishing for striped and hybrid bass has gotten really good.  William Sasser Guide Service (706-589-5468) reports that from about 8:00 – 9:30 each morning there is schooling action in various areas around the lake. Mid-lake the Parksville area has been really good, and out the Georgia Little River fish have also been schooling in Cherokee. Some guides are fishing shallow down-lines or running free lines, and you can also pitch topwater baits like a Sammy or flukes to them. 

When the fish are not on top they coming through in suspended groups in the ditches at the mouths of coves or in creeks. They are generally 10-25 feet down over 40-60 feet of water, and there are large groups of fish on the move as they travel up the lake. There is little consistency to where they are holding but they are eating very well. 

The crappie that Captain Brad Sasser is targeting have finally moved deeper, and while his boat was catching them 8-10 feet down over brush in 17-20 feet now they are more like 12-15 feet down over brush in 25-30. Minnows are working the best. 

On the catfish front, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that the expected strong fall bite has gotten wide open. Anchoring on steep ledges that range anywhere from 20 feet on the top side to 80 feet on the bottom side and all in between has been working the best.  Day-in and day-out 30-45 feet has been the most productive range, seemingly because that is the depth where a lot of the herring – and most aggressive fish -  have been holding recently. Cut and live gizzard and herring are all working equally well for both big fish and numbers. 

September 22

Clarks Hill water levels are way above full pool at 331.37 (full pool is 330.00) while water temperatures have dropped all the way to 72-76 degrees. Up the lake is muddy. 

For the second straight week one of our regular Insider reports correspondents won big on Clarks Hill, and this weekend it was tournament angler Josh Rockefeller of Augusta who took first place in the 63-boat, 2-day BFL event on Clarks Hill. He had 21 pounds even worth over $4,500.00. On a tough Saturday of fishing he made the cut with four fish that went 7-11, but with first place only at 11 pounds he knew he was in striking distance. Then on the second day he managed a strong 13-5 bag to come from behind for the win. 

Before the tournament Josh had been flipping steep banks up the river, but the wind and rain made the river super muddy and so he decided to do something different after getting a couple of good blow-ups on a frog just above the 378 bridge.  While he only caught four fish on the frog Saturday he missed some very good ones, and so he decided to stick with the plan on Sunday and never put the frog down. Over the course of the weekend he discovered that the key was finding fishing points that had grass, and where there were open holes in the grass around points he would fish a hollow belly swimbait. In areas where there was grass nearby but where he was reeling over the point he would fish a Horny Toad. He was rarely in more than two feet of water.

In addition to the points, the other key Josh discovered was location. He found that the 3-mile stretch of the lake above the 378 bridge was the most productive for him (also the same area where at least one of the Palmetto tournaments was won last weekend), and he wondered if the quality of the grass had something to do with it. In other areas of the lake he found grass that seemed to by dying, but in this section it was all nice, green grass.  The mouth of Murray Creek produced in particular. 

Josh Rockefeller and his proud family after the win
Josh Rockefeller and his proud family after the win

As water temperatures have dropped fish have continued to make a fall migration up the lake, but William Sasser Guide Service (706-589-5468) reports the pattern for striper and hybrids has changed a little and it’s not as important to fish at daybreak. The bite is now stretching a little further into the morning when fish are being caught on the bottom around humps in 32-33 feet, and the daytime bite has also improved.  Instead of running the channel fish are staying at the same depth during the day, albeit in smaller groups and feeding a little less. 

While Captain Brad Sasser has not seen any schooling it should not be far off if it is going to happen this year. Last fall the schooling bite never really materialized. 

On the crappie front, tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt and his partner won a 17-boat event on Clarks Hill Saturday with 7 good fish that went almost 10 pounds. They first found fish around a bridge, but then all of the fish they weighed came around natural timber in 30-35 feet of water. The fish they found all seemed to be holding very deep.

While Captain Brad Sasser has not been fishing for crappie this week, he has no reason to think there is not still another group of fish 8-12 feet down over brush piles in 20-25 feet in the mid-lake as well as the Georgia Little River in Lloyd Creek. Small minnows or vertical jigging should both still work. 

On the catfish front, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that, as predicted, the bite for big blue catfish is starting to get good over deep humps that top out in 30-45 feet. This bite will only get better in the coming weeks as there is usually an excellent fall bite on Clarks Hill. 

For numbers of 1-10 pound blue and channel cats anchoring on points and humps and fan-casting dip baits, cut herring or shrimp remains a good pattern.

September 15

Clarks Hill water levels are up even higher to 329.74 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures are around 82 degrees. 

It was a heck of a weekend for tournament partners Greg Glouse and Joe Anders of Easley, who finished 1st and 3rd in this weekend’s Palmetto Boat Center tournaments on Clarks Hill (held successively on Saturday and Sunday) with 18.33 and then 18.08 pounds.  Joe reports that they caught all their fish over a deep, wooded ledge on the main river channel that was loaded with bass. It dropped from about 25-42 feet and there was natural timber.   

There was schooling activity in the area but they were only able to catch one fish on top, and it didn’t even weigh.  The better fish were underneath the schools, and almost all of their weight came with a Spot Sticker Baits Mini-Me 1-ounce tungsten spinnerbait.  They could only get bit if it was bumping the tops of the trees about halfway down the water column.  A few also came on a flutter spoon.

Joe Anders and Greg Glouse with part of their winnings!
Joe Anders and Greg Glouse with part of their weekend winnings!

September 14

Clarks Hill water levels are still very high at 329.47 (full pool is 330.00), and water temperatures are around 82 degrees.   

While the fish continue to make a fall migration up the lake, William Sasser Guide Service (706-589-5468) reports that the early morning bite for striper and hybrids has turned back on again. In fact, in the mid-lake 6-8 is definitely the peak time to catch fish and after that it turns into a grind. First thing the fish are on mid-lake humps in 32-37 feet on the bottom, and after that when the fish are feeding less they head back out to 45-60 feet. They can be found running along the edge of the channel, but they aren’t really relating to points or ditches and so you have to really utilize electronics to find them. 

There were a couple of days of schooling a while back but that hasn’t started up again, although there are some reports of fish just below the Russell dam on top. If you aren’t casting at schooling fish up there pulling free-lines is the best bet. 

The bass fishing has not gotten wide open yet, but tournament angler Josh Rockefeller of Augusta reports that there are balls of shad and herring starting to show up in the creeks and some very early schooling activity is starting about half-way back. It will get better when the bait gets in giant groups and runs the deep creek channels, but you can tell it’s starting.  He is already seeing a lot of little ones schooling near bridges. 

Josh is still having the best luck pitching a jig at steep banks up the river, and there are also some good fish being caught on buzzbaits even though they are few and far between. There are also some fish on deep brush but this bite is highly unpredictable. 

Even though the striper are biting very well Captain Brad Sasser has done a couple of crappie trips in the last three days, and he has found a very good bite fishing 8-12 feet down over brush piles in 20-25 feet. He found a bunch of fish in the mid-lake, and then was able to replicate the exact same pattern up the Georgia Little River in Lloyd’s Creek. Small minnows have been working very well but vertical jigging will also catch fish. 

A cooler-full caught this weekend with Captain Brad Sasser
A cooler-full caught this weekend with Captain Brad Sasser

On the catfish front, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that, as predicted, the bite for big blue catfish is starting to get good over deep humps that top out in 30-45 feet. This bite will only get better in the coming weeks as there is usually an excellent fall bite on Clarks Hill. 

For numbers of 1-10 pound blue and channel cats anchoring on points and humps and fan-casting dip baits, cut herring or shrimp remains a good pattern.

September 11

Clarks Hill water levels are still barely below full at 329.66 (full pool is 330.00), and water temperatures are in the mid to low-80s. 

The bass fishing is still tough on Clarks Hill, and tournament weights are pretty low, but there are some encouraging signs. In particular, tournament angler Tyler Matthews of Evans, GA reports that schooling activity is starting to fire up. While he was being interviewed for this report yesterday fish were hitting the surface all around Tyler, and typical for the season they were out in 30+ feet of water. While in the spring Clarks Hill bass typically school in 3-6 feet, in the fall Tyler says they are more likely to be in 10-40 or more. They are following the bait, and at this time of year they are typically on small bait.  Anything topwater will work, including flukes, Gunfish and Sebilles, but down-sizing your lures can be essential. 

Right now it may not be worth just riding and looking for schooling fish, but with a lot of the better fish still in brush piles or deep humps having a topwater handy while you are fishing a Texas rig, jig or drop shot deep is a good pattern.

With the water high there are also some good catches around laydowns and shallow bushes. A buzzbait has been about the best way to catch these fish. 

On the catfish front, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that, as predicted, the bite for big blue catfish is starting to get good over deep humps that top out in 30-45 feet. This bite will only get better in the coming weeks as there is usually an excellent fall bite on Clarks Hill. 

For numbers of 1-10 pound blue and channel cats anchoring on points and humps and fan-casting dip baits, cut herring or shrimp remains a good pattern. 

Striper and crappie update to follow.

A big one caught this week with Captain Chris Simpson
A big one caught this week with Captain Chris Simpson

August 27

Clarks Hill water levels are barely below full at 329.96 (full pool is 330.00), and water temperatures have dropped a few degrees into the mid-80s.

While there are other ways to catch bass right now on Clarks Hill, the best pattern that tournament angler Josh Rockefeller of Augusta has been able to find is heading up the Georgia Little River and fishing steep rocky walls. The water temperatures are a few degrees cooler up there, and pitching a Speed Craw on a shakey head around banks the fish have been taking the bait on the fall. They seem to be suspended on the vertical walls. 

While Josh has not had any luck on a buzzbait it is still worth trying to catch a big one. 

There have been some fish caught around deep brush, but most reports are that mainly little ones are being caught this way.

One encouraging sign is that there is starting to be a bit of schooling activity, usually in the middle of creek channels or over the top of high places. It should only get better over the next month. 

Even though it’s a little ahead of schedule, William Sasser Guide Service (706-589-5468) reports that striper and hybrids are starting an early migration from the lower end towards the mid-lake and into the Georgia Little River and Cherokee area. Meanwhile the early morning bite has disappeared down the lake, and fish are now being caught from about 7-10:30 on the side of the channel instead of stacked on points and humps. The fish are suspended along the edges of the ditches as they migrate away from the lower lake, and generally they are in 20-40 feet of water over 60-80 feet. The fish are moving quickly and so you need to stay near the bait schools to intercept them when they come through.
The pattern is about the same during the heat of the day, but expect smaller groups of fish and slower bites. 

In the mid-lake, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that the hybrid and striper bite is fair to good. In his area most fish seem to be moving deeper and the best action he has found is on main lake points and humps in 30-45 feet of water. In a sure sign the pattern is moving up the lake, the best way to fill a box of fish is to fish very early with down-lined herring, preferably before the sun is up. 

While there’s not too much fishing energy being focused on crappie right now, Will Hinson of Cassatt reports that in a tournament this past weekend they found good fish up to 2 pounds stacked up on the main river channel under the 378 bridge.  The fish were about 33 feet down in 60 feet of water, and they were able to catch them backing off and casting jigs to the fish.  Their best 7 went for more than 10 pounds.

On the catfish front, Captain Chris reports that the bite for numbers of 1-10 pound blue and channel cats remains good anchoring on points and humps and fan-casting dip baits, cut herring or shrimp. Big flatheads can be caught early and late in the day as well as through the night in the same areas with live bream, white perch and large gizzard shad. Big blues can also be caught right now but that bite will get really good in the next couple of weeks. 

A little fella with a nice blue caught this week with Captain Chris Simpson
A little fella with a nice blue caught this week with Captain Chris Simpson

July 30

Clarks Hill water levels are just below full at 329.81 (full pool is 330.00), and water temperatures remains in the high-80s. The lake is clear. 

Despite the hot water, William Sasser Guide Service (706-589-5468) reports that striper and hybrids are still biting extremely well with some very nice-sized fish. The key, however, is that you have to fish early, and in the heat of the day the bite really slows down.

Shortly after daybreak fish are being caught on the lower end around main channel humps in 30-40 feet of water. They are on the bottom and down-lines are the most effective way to target them. 

Once the sun gets up they can still be caught in the same depth range, but they scatter out around the edges of the main channel. In the evening they return to the same morning pattern and the bite gets better again. 

There is no schooling activity to report. 

In the mid-lake, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) is also finding a very good bite particularly between Dordon and Shriver Creek. The pattern is similar, but they are using down-lines with live herring off points 20-35 feet feet deep. Chris advises that fish will move up and down in that range and so you have to be prepared to go up or down the point as the fish change. 

They are also picking up catfish on downlines, but Chris says that cut bait on the same points and humps in 25-50 feet of water will also catch catfish (and some striper). However, catfish will also be found shallower in the 10-25 foot range.  

It continues to be pretty tough conditions for bass fishing, and tournament angler Tyler Matthews of Evans, GA reports that when you see 90 degree water at 4 a.m. it’s a good bet that you are in for a tough day of fishing! 12 pounds virtually guarantees a check in recent tournaments, an indicator of just how hard it has gotten. 

The most productive pattern still seems to be targeting deep brush in around 35 feet of water in the main lake or at least close to very deep water. Jigs or Texas rigs are both working about the same. There are also some fish on humps but they seem to be smaller. 

There’s no disputing it’s a grind, but tournament angler Josh Rockefeller of Augusta reports that with water levels so high it is still possible to pick up some fish targeting the bank with a buzzbait. While the numbers aren’t great, they have picked up some good ones this way. 

Tyler Matthews worked hard to catch this fish offshore
Tyler Matthews worked hard to catch this fish offshore

The crappie fishing has not changed too much, and Captain Brad Sasser reports that the fish are still holding 10-15 feet down over brush in 25-30 feet in the creeks.  They are targeting them fishing minnows vertically, and the Rousseau, Raysville, Soap Creek and Germany Creek areas have been good.

July 17

Clarks Hill water levels remain above full pool at 330.49 (full pool is 330.00), and water temperatures are in the high-80s. The lake is a bit stained but mostly clear. 

Even though water temperatures have finally gotten extremely hot, William Sasser Guide Service (706-589-5468) reports that striper and hybrids have not gone very deep. In fact they are much shallower than is normal in late middle of July, holding in the 25-30 foot range off of points.  In the morning they are on the bottom in that depth, while later in the day they can suspend at the same depth but run the edge of the channel in 50-60 feet.  In a week or two they may move to humps but they are not there yet.

Captain Brad Sasser is having the best success in the lower lake but doing a bit of fishing mid-lake around Soap Creek, but the key is fishing early. Right before and after daybreak the fishing is very good, but by about 8:00 it gets to be a grind. There is also a decent bite at sunset but it’s not great. 

One drawback to the fish being shallower is that bait life is lower in the very hot water, and so they are going through a ton of herring.

In the mid-lake, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) is also finding a very good bite particularly between Dordon and Shriver Creek. The pattern is very similar, and they are using down-lines with live herring off points 20-35 feet feet deep. Chris advises that fish will move up and down in that range and so you have to be prepared to go up or down the point as the fish change. 

A good morning haul with Captain Chris Simpson
A good morning haul with Captain Chris Simpson

They are also picking up catfish on downlines, but Chris says that cut bait on the same points and humps in 25-50 feet of water will also catch catfish (and some striper). However, catfish will also be found shallower in the 10-25 foot range.  

No one would have guessed that the bass would be deeper than the striper, but that seems to be exactly what is going on.  Tournament angler Tyler Matthews of Evans, GA is not saying that you can’t catch fish on a buzzbait beating the bank, but pretty much everyone who is catching bass seems to be targeting deep brush in around 35 feet of water in the main lake or at least close to very deep water. While jigs will work the fish are in such gnarly stuff that Tyler has switched over to a Texas rig because it’s more weedless and cheaper. 

There are some fish on humps but they seem to be smaller right now. 

The crappie fishing has not changed too much, and Captain Brad Sasser reports that the fish are holding 10-15 feet down over brush in 25-30 feet in the creeks.  They are targeting them fishing minnows vertically, and the Raysville and Germany Creek areas have been good.

June 26

Clarks Hill water levels are back above full pool at 330.08 (full pool is 330.00), and morning surface temperatures in the main lake are up to 80-81 degrees. While there is some debris floating from the rain yesterday it is not a significant, and the water is still very clear. 

On the bass front, there are a couple of different ways to target fish. The first is to fish the shallows, and tournament angler Josh Rockefeller of Augusta has been fishing dirty water up in the Georgia Little River around wood and laydowns. While the Pop-R bite has fizzled out for him they have had better luck on a buzzbait. 

When he is looking for a bigger bite tournament angler Tyler Matthews of Evans, GA will also throw a buzzbait in the summer, but on the buzzbait they have only caught 13-inchers recently. As a result Tyler has been concentrating his efforts on the other pattern, fishing out deep. They have found the most consistent bite offshore around humps and brush piles in 15-27 feet. He has been fishing The Sled with a crawfish body or a Carolina rig with a Zoom U-Tail worm. 

Finding better fish has been tough for almost everyone, and in recent tournaments most people are landing plenty of fish but only ending up with 7-8 pounds. One good kicker fish that is 4 pounds or more can make you very competitive and a 15-16 pound bag is huge right now. 

While water temperatures should be in the mid-80s by the end of June, William Sasser Guide Service (706-589-5468) reports that striper and hybrids are still doing what they should be. While there are still some smaller fish in pockets, the better numbers of fish are getting into the middle of the channel in 40-60 feet of water on the bottom off the side of humps and points in the lower lake. Fish can be a little shallow in the 35-40 foot range early, and yesterday a fellow guide found schools as deep as feet at Noon. They are exclusively down-line fishing.

In the mid-lake, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that fishing is starting to stabilize as we get into more normal summer conditions. His boat has found the best bite for big striper as well as catfish by anchoring on points and humps in 25-50 feet of water and using cut bait. However, sometimes the catfish can also be found shallower in the 10-25 foot range.  

The crappie fishing continues to be outstanding, and Captain Brad Sasser reports that the population of fish seems to be as good as he has seen it in decades. This is likely due in part to high water levels and good water quality which have allowed for good spawns recently and made for healthy fish. Cool temperatures are also giving the fish very good quality, firm meat. 

Crappie are still holding in the same spots 10-12 feet deep over brush and structure in 15-20 feet of water.  Fishing with small minnows is working very well.  Soap Creek, Raysville, Grays Creek, the Mistletoe area and Lloyds Creek have all been productive.

A nice crappie caught this week with William Sasser Guide Service
A nice crappie caught this week with William Sasser Guide Service

June 10

Clarks Hill water levels are down but still above full at 330.52 (full pool is 330.00), and morning surface temperatures in the main lake are up to 80-82 degrees. They are as high as 85 in the backs. Clarity is good.

As bass get further into a summer mode the usual deeper patterns are starting to pick up, and tournament angler Josh Rockefeller of Augusta reports that more fish are starting to be caught on offshore humps with big worms. Humps with rock are the best. He has also caught some good ones deep cranking around bridges.

However, the best action Josh has found is not deep but shallow around willow trees. In the dirty water up the river he has been able to fish a Pop-R in the spaces between trees and the fish have been crushing it. 

There is not a huge change in the pattern for striper and hybrids, but William Sasser Guide Service (706-589-5468) reports that the action has really picked up and fish are getting more predictable. Fish are sitting right off points in 25-30 feet of water on the bottom, and there are also some deeper fish along the edge of the main channel. They are in 60-65 feet of water on the bottom. 

The unexpected development this week is that more fish are being caught in pockets and coves, extremely unusual in recent years (although this used to be a productive pattern). After the early down-line bite off points it is becoming common for fish to group up in coves.

Captain Brad Sasser notes that the herring are very large and healthy this year. 

In the mid-lake, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that the down rod bite has been up and down. It can be easy to catch limits one day and tough the next. 

While the action is generally a little slower, his boat has found the best bite for big fish by anchoring on points and humps in 25-50 feet of water and using cut bait. 

A cooler of striper caught with Captain Chris Simpson this week
A cooler of striper caught with Captain Chris Simpson this week

Essentially the same pattern is working for catfish as well, although sometimes both blues and channels will be shallower in the 10-25 foot range. 

The crappie fishing continues to be very good, and William Sasser Guide Service reports that fish are still 10-12 feet deep over brush and structure in 15-20 feet of water.  Fishing with small minnows is working very well.  Soap Creek, Raysville and Grays Creek have all still been good but the Mistletoe area and Lloyds Creek have also been productive.

June 2

Clarks Hill water levels are still above full at 331.33 (full pool is 330.00), and morning surface temperatures in the big water are cool for June at 77 degrees. The lake had cleared up but with recent rain it is stained again. Due to rain as well as wind there is also a lot of debris in the water. 

Bass fishing has gotten tougher on Clarks Hill, but tournament angler Tyler Matthews of Evans, GA reports that in the early morning there is still some schooling action on main lake points where it appears that the tail end of the herring spawn is going on – or at least the fish are pulling up overnight. The schooling bite can last longer on cloudy days.

While bass have not gone very deep yet, after the early bite they are starting to pull out on main lake humps, deeper points and rock. They can be caught on Carolina rigs.

Right now big fish are a little tricky to find and weights are low. But soon there will be bigger fish caught deep and if you can get on the right bass five-fish limits in the mid-20s are very possible based on history in early June.

Conditions for striper and hybrid fishermen are extremely unpredictable, and William Sasser Guide Service (706-589-5468) reports that the joke among fishermen is that fish are so day-to-day that you are starting fresh easy day.  The only place you can be assured they will not be is where you caught them yesterday!

Fish are extremely scattered, and just yesterday they found them off a point in 50 feet but finished up in less than 16 feet. It really is a search. Overall, however, about 75% of the fish seem to be in 20-30 feet of water off points, and most catches are on down-lines. However, there have been some good ones caught in 60 feet as well as very shallow water.

Overall, Captain Brad Sasser believes that we will need stable weather conditions before the fish can get into a stable pattern. 

While striper are unpredictable, crappie fishing is much more steady and William Sasser Guide Service reports that fish are stacked up and feeding very well. The population of crappie is so strong that even the bait catchers are catching them in nets. 

Fish are still 10-12 feet down over brush and structure in 15-20 feet of water, and fishing with small minnows is working very well. Trolling is not doing much. Soap Creek, Raysville and Grays Creek have all still been good but the Mistletoe area and Lloyds Creek have also been productive.   

A nice catch this week with William Sasser Guide Service
A nice catch this week with William Sasser Guide Service

In catfish news, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that the big blue catfish bite is still good.  Fish are roaming around in the backs and so fishing flats towards the backs of coves and creeks is the best pattern.  Anchoring in 15 or less feet of water in the early morning, late evening and into the night is the best pattern.  Cut gizzard shad and live bream have been catching some big blues and flatheads.

 

 

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