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AHQ INSIDER Lake Hartwell (GA/SC) Fall 2019 Fishing Report – Updated August 22

  • by Jay

The newest Lake Hartwell fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-lake-hartwell-gasc-fall-2019-fishing-report/

August 22

Lake Hartwell water levels are down to 658.23 (660.00), and morning surface water temperatures are around 88 degrees.  Conditions are clear.

The fishing for hybrid and striped bass remains strong, although Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that it is more of a steady bite than a fast one right now.  Fish are almost all in the main Savannah River channel from the meeting of the Seneca and Tugaloo Rivers to the dam, and they are around the edges of the river channel and at the mouth of the creeks.  Fish are mostly suspended 40-60 feet down over 90-175 feet of water.  Fishing is pretty steady throughout the day, although early morning and when they are pulling water can be the best.

A good catch last week with Guide Chip Hamilton
A good catch last week with Guide Chip Hamilton

Chip notes that spotted bass are schooling all over the shallow humps in 25-35 feet of water as well as around shoal markers, road signs and other depth changes.  He has seen some of the best schooling in areas that go from 160 to 22 feet of water quickly.  While many of the schooling fish are small he has caught some 3 pounders.

Outsides of schooling activity, Guide Brad Fowler reports that overall bass fishing is pretty tough right now. He also points out that a lot of the schooling fish are tiny, in the 8-inch range.  With the lake level having dropped about 2 feet there are less fish around the banks and most of the fish have gone deeper.  They will take a drop shot, but Brad has had trouble getting them to come up to eat a topwater.  Overall this is definitely the dog days of summer for bass.

On the catfish front, Captain Bill Plumley reports that channel cats are still being caught deep in 25-35 feet of water fishing worms, cut bait or dip baits on the bottom in the creeks or main lake.  Fishing for blues and flatheads is very slow.

Crappiereports are almost nonexistent right now.

July 31

Lake Hartwell water levels are down to 659.56 (660.00), and surface water temperatures are around 85 at daylight. Conditions are clear.

Hybrid and striped bass remain in a pretty typical summer pattern, and Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that before daylight there are a lot of hybrids being caught on humps and long points near deep water.  Fish have moved a bit deeper to 35-40 feet of water, and down-lining herring is catching them.

After daylight hybrids and stripers can be found together and they are holding in the bottom third of the rivers down to the dam.  (Only smaller fish are further up the rivers).  Fish are on the edge of the channel and they seem to be most comfortable in 40-50 feet of water.  Sometimes they are suspended at that depth over 60-90 feet of water, and sometimes they are right on the bottom in 45 or 50 feet.  The best bite is early, and after about 10 a.m. all you are getting is a sunburn.

There is no schooling, even though you often do see that this time of year.

A good morning with Guide Chip Hamilton
A good morning with Guide Chip Hamilton

In bass news, possibly because of the cooler conditions Guide Brad Fowler reports there has been some of the best fishing of the summer in shallow water.  They will take a Pop-R, buzzbait, or Senko, and the biggest fish may be shallow right now.

In addition to shallow fish, there is still a good population of bass out on the cane piles and around brush.  These fish can be caught on drop shots, but they will also come up to eat a topwater walking bait.

On the catfish front, Captain Bill Plumley reports that channel cats have gone deeper and he is catching most of his fish in 25-35 feet of water fishing worms on the bottom. While he has mainly been targeting coves off the main lake, fish are all over the creeks as well.

Crappiereports are still thin but Captain Bill says there have been some fish caught at night around lights and bridges in 18-20 feet of water.

July 19

Lake Hartwell water levels are at exactly full pool (660.00), and water temperatures are in the upper 80s. Conditions are clear.

Hybrid and striped bass have gotten into a pretty typical summer pattern, and Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that before daylight there are a lot of hybrids being caught on humps and long points near deep water.  Fish are on the bottom in 30-35 feet of water, and down-lining herring is catching them.

After daylight hybrids and stripers can be found together and they are holding in the bottom third of the rivers down to the dam.  (Only smaller fish are further up the rivers).  Fish are on the edge of the channel and they seem to be most comfortable in 40-50 feet of water.  Sometimes they are suspended at that depth over 60-90 feet of water, and sometimes they are right on the bottom in 45 or 50 feet.  The best bite is early, and after about 10 a.m. all you are getting is a sunburn.

There is no schooling, even though you often do see that this time of year.

A good morning earlier this week with Guide Chip Hamilton
A good morning earlier this week with Guide Chip Hamilton

In bass news, in addition to high water levels a strong bream spawn earlier this week has pulled even more fish up shallow.  As a result Guide Brad Fowler reports that if anything the shallow bite has gotten a little stronger this week.  What the bass want to eat depends on the way they are set up around the bream, but they will variously take a Pop-R, buzzbait, or Senko.  The biggest fish may be shallow right now.

In addition to shallow fish, there is still a good population of bass out on the cane piles and around brush.  These fish can be caught on drop shots, but they will also come up to eat a topwater walking bait.

On the catfish front, Captain Bill Plumley reports that channel cats have gone deeper and he is catching most of his fish in 25-35 feet of water fishing worms on the bottom. While he has mainly been targeting coves off the main lake, fish are all over the creeks as well.

Crappiereports are still thin but Captain Bill says there have been some fish caught at night around lights and bridges in 18-20 feet of water.

June 24

Lake Hartwell water levels remain above full pool at 660.73 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures are around 82-83 degrees.  Conditions are clear.

There’s no change in the pattern for hybrid and striped bass according to Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011), and his boat is still finding very hot action each morning in the coves.

Captain Bill Plumley is also still finding the same excellent bite, but this morning he saw some early signs of fishing moving out of pockets into open water.  They are still in the 30-40 foot depth, and all over the lake.

Two of the fish Captain Bill caught this morning with his grandson
Two of the fish Captain Bill caught this morning with his grandson

With water levels still very high bass are shallower than usual on Lake Hartwell, and Guide Brad Fowler also points out that water temperatures are several degrees below normal for this time of year.  The topwater bite appears to be picking up, and there are also lots of fish starting to chase bait on the surface.

There is no change on the catfish front, and Captain Bill Plumley reports that channel catfish are still spread out in 5-15 feet of water where they will take a variety of baits at anchor.  You can also catch good numbers of fish dragging nightcrawlers in 10-12 feet of water. There have been some blue catfish picked up in about 30 feet of water on live bream before daylight, and flatheads can be caught at night around cover on live baits.

Crappiereports are still thin but Captain Bill says there have been some fish caught around lit docks at night or brush in 18-20 feet of water.

June 21

Lake Hartwell water levels remain above full pool at 660.65 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures have rebounded into the low 80s after dropping from the mid-80s to about 77 degrees.

It continues to be an excellent time to catch hybrid and striped bass on Lake Hartwell, and Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that in the last month or two his boat has only fished past 9:00 a.m. a couple of times.  Fish are still in the mouths of deep coves suspended 35-40 feet down in 40-60 feet of water.  A lot of the fish are over shallow tree tops, but they will also suspend over clean bottoms too.  Fish are all over the lake, in both the Seneca and the Tugaloo as well as around the dam.

A nice striper caught last week with Guide Chip Hamilton
A nice striper caught last week with Guide Chip Hamilton

While you can certainly catch bass on Hartwell fishing offshore with a fluke or drop shot rig, Guide Brad Fowler reports that these are mainly smaller fish right now.  With very high water levels the best fish seem to be up shallow, and there are lots of 2-5 pound fish cruising the banks in small wolf packs.  These fish are looking to eat, particularly on the prolific bream in the shallows, and as long as you don’t spook them they will take a Pop-R, Senko or frog.

On the catfish front, Captain Bill Plumley reports that channel catfish are spread out in 5-15 feet of water where they will take a variety of baits at anchor.  You can also catch good numbers of fish dragging nightcrawlers in 10-12 feet of water.  There have been some blue catfish picked up in about 30 feet of water on live bream before daylight, and flatheads can be caught at night around cover on live baits.

Crappiereports are thin but Captain Bill says there have been some fish caught around lit docks at night or brush in 18-20 feet of water.

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