Lake Hartwell water levels have dropped to 649.96 (full pool is 660.00), while water temperatures are around 60 degrees. Clarity is very good.
Bassare slowly beginning to get into a winter pattern on Lake Hartwell according to Guide Brad Fowler. And on Lake Hartwell that means that fish can be caught about anywhere, from shallow in the creeks to deep on the main lake. With water temperatures starting to dip below 60 degrees the buzzbait bite is pretty much over, but fish can be caught shallow on Trick Worms, an assortment of soft plastics and jigs. There are also some fish being caught on crankbaits. More fish are being caught shallow in the creeks than on the main lake, but really fish can be found around the banks all over.
There is also a pretty strong mid-depth pattern in 15-20 feet, with fish being caught on drop shot rigs and shakey head worms around brush off points. For now the fish are suspended well off the bottom but as temperatures drop they will get closer to it. Eventually (usually by late January or so) they will get so tight that it is hard to mark them on a graph.
Finally there is a pretty strong deep pattern on Lake Hartwell, and the spoon bite in that range has been fairly good. Fish can also be caught on drop shots and jigs. Like the mid-depth fish these bass are hanging off points, and with the lake so far down they are even holding along the timber edge.
In striped bassnews fishing is improving, and Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) reports that water conditions are better as temperatures drop. A lot of fish are making their way into the backs of creeks looking for fresh water, and there has been some pretty good schooling activity. The best schooling has come around the dam and the mid-lake area, with some fish on the surface early but the best action found in the afternoon. Throwing topwater lures or live bait at these fish has been working, and they are moving around between shallow and deep water. When fish are not on the surface Bill has been using his graph to mark fish in the 20-35 foot range and then down-lining or dropping jigging spoons to the fish. He has also had some success pulling free-lines.
Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) has been concentrating on slightly deeper water, and he is catching fish in the 35-40 foot range. He reports that fish aren’t yet making a quick move up the rivers but he is catching them along the channel on humps, underwater islands, and long points that come out towards the channel and feature a clean bottom with no trees. Down-lining live herring has been the best pattern.
The catfish bite has been decent, and Captain Bill reports that channel catfish can be caught on worms and cut herring in 5-25 feet of water. They are scattered widely throughout the creeks. The blue catfish bite is on the verge of coming on and fish will soon be caught in 25-35 feet of water on cut herring.
Crappiefishing has been a little on the slow side, but Captain Bill reports that a few fish have been caught around boat docks and brush in 15-25 feet of water.
Lake Hartwell water levels have dropped to 651.05 (full pool is 660.00), while water temperatures are still around 70-71 degrees.
In the 185-boat three-day BFL Regional on Lake Hartwell a week and a half ago bassfishing was pretty tough, and it took only a little over 10 pounds a day for the win. Guide Brad Fowler finished in fifth place with a little over 28 pounds (good enough as one of the top 6 to qualify for the All-American next summer at Lake Pickwick). Pre-tournament he was on a shallow bite, but perhaps because of dropping water levels that dried up and he had to move out to brush piles. Luckily, since then Brad says that the fishing has gotten a little better.
In the afternoon Brad says that there is good topwater activity over deep water, and fish are schooling and chasing bait. The water seems to warm up as the day goes on after the cool nights we have been having, and then bait and fish move up to the surface. You can also catch some fish burning the banks with a buzzbait, but you have to cover a lot of water to do that. When fish aren’t on top the main pattern is fishing out on points with a drop shot or shakey head worm. It’s not uncommon for some fish to come up schooling while you are fishing this way, and Brad weighed in his best fish in the BFL this way.
In striped bass news Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) has found that fish are still in a transitional period as they start to make a move up the lake and out of their deep late summer/ early fall haunts. There is still sporadic schooling activity to report, but the best way to catch fish is probably still to target fish 40-60 feet down along the river channel and at the mouths of creeks. Free-lining is not a significant pattern yet, except for tossing free-lines at schooling fish.
Lake Hartwell water levels have dropped to 651.28 (full pool is 660.00), while water temperatures are still around 70 degrees.
Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) reports that the rain gauge in his yard indicates only 7/16 of an inch of rain in the last two months. Farmers are in crisis mood, oak trees as a big around as a basketball dying, and the lake is down more than 8 feet. Captain Bill says he’s never seen anything like this drought.
This is always a tough time of year for fishing, and with water temperatures still high it feels particularly prolonged this year. Nonetheless, in the morning and late afternoons striped bass have been schooling a little around the dam – a part of the lake that has not turned over yet. Fish can also be caught on down-lines fished in the 60-80 foot range out along the main channel, and trolling lead core lines can also catch some fish.
The catfish pattern remains unchanged.
New bass report to follow.
Lake Hartwell water levels have dropped to 653.01 (full pool is 660.00) as a result of less than an inch of rain over the past thirty days, and water temperatures remain in the mid-70s. Different parts of the lake have different conditions but the lake is turning over, and it will be a while until clarity is good again.
With Hartwell turning over Guide Brad Fowler reports that the bassfishing hasn’t really turned on, and things aren’t all that different from last week. Fishing is just not as good as it usually is at this time of year. With that said some fish can be caught on the surface chasing bait, and there is also a shallow and a deep bite. Nothing is hot.
On the striped bass front Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that fish are starting to make a move up the rivers, and in areas where they were seeing massive schools the groups are getting smaller. Finding the fish that are on the move can be a challenge, but when they feed on the surface they are obviously easier to find. Unfortunately schooling activity is still spotty.
While looking for schooling fish is one pattern, the best way to catch fish is probably still to target fish along the river channel and at the mouths of creeks which are 40-60 feet down over deep water. Free-lining is not a significant pattern yet, except for tossing free-lines at schooling fish.
Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) also reports some schooling activity early and late, and in addition to schooling in the mid-lake he has seen surface action near the dam. It is still quite sporadic.
Captain Bill reports that channel catfish can be caught with cut bait fished in 15-30 feet of water, while crappie action is still pretty slow.
Lake Hartwell water levels have dropped to 653.56 and water temperatures are down to the mid-70s. The lake is starting to turn over and up the rivers the lake is tea-colored and has foam and bubbles.
It’s been a strange early fall on Lake Hartwell, and Guide Brad Fowler reports that the bass just haven’t done what they typically do at this time of year. The water temperatures stayed so high for so long that when they finally started to drop the lake immediately began to turn over, which pretty much shut down the topwater bite – particularly up the rivers. There is still some topwater activity out on the main lake, but basically it seems that anglers have missed the really good fall bite that they look forward to each year. In the Federation tournament this past weekend a good bag was only 8 or 9 pounds per day. It is typical for feeding activity to really drop off when the lake begins to turn over.
The next stage should be that bait will head into the creeks, but for now the fish that are being caught are generally shallow. While nothing is hot they will take soft plastics, spinnerbaits and buzzbaits.
Bass fishing is slow, but striped bass fishing continues to improve. Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that the pattern is very similar with fish suspended along the river channel, but instead of catching 10-15 fish on trips they are catching 20-25 fish. There is also a little schooling activity to report.
Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) also reports some inconsistent schooling activity in the morning and afternoon around the dam, but overall he does not expect much change in the pattern until the lake completely turns over.
No change with crappie and catfish.
Lake Hartwell water levels have dropped to 654.39 and water temperatures are around 82 degrees.
Hartwell bass fishing is off-limits to regular correspondent Guide Brad Fowler with a Boating Atlanta tournament upcoming this weekend, but weights were relatively low in a 60-boat tournament this past weekend. It appears that fishing is still pretty tough. More information to follow after this weekend.
Luckily, striped bass fishing has picked up in the last week or so on Lake Hartwell, although Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that fish are still in similar areas – they are just biting a bit better. Fish are still holding along the deep edges of the river channel and at the mouth of big creeks, and most of the fish he is catching are coming on down-lines fished 30-40 feet deep over water anywhere from 60-160 feet deep.
There is also some schooling activity starting out on the main water, and riding the main lake in the evenings there is often some surface action to be seen. It’s not yet an every-night occurrence, and Chip says that the magic number is that when water temperatures dip below 80 schooling should get more widespread. At times when fish are feeding on or near the top they can be caught on free-lines even when striper aren’t actively schooling (when lures are generally the quickest way to get a bait to them).
No change on catfish and crappie.
Lake Hartwell water levels are down to 654.54, while water temperatures are still in the mid-80s and have not dropped very much. There has been no significant rain to cool things off in the Upstate.
Bass fishing is finally starting to pick up on Lake Hartwell, and while Guide Brad Fowler still doesn’t think the offshore topwater bite has gotten “good” he says that it is certainly improved. Fish can be caught on flukes, Spooks, Sammies and the usual range of weapons over deep structure.
Some schooling activity is also starting to develop, and at times Brad has seen some striper and hybrids schooled up with the bass. The fish are out in the middle over deep water, and Brad says the action has been sporadic throughout the day.
Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) reports that not much has changed on the striper, crappie and catfish front and fishing for those species is still well below average.
Lake Hartwell water levels have dropped to 655.18 and water temperatures have dropped into the low to mid-80s. Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) reports that water quality is poor (more below).
Bass fishing on Lake Hartwell has been pretty tough for a while, but Guide Brad Fowler reports that he has just started seeing some schooling activity (fish are on small bait) and seasonal improvements should be around the corner. Water temperatures dropped as air temperatures dropped, but with 90s predicted over the next few days he expects them to yoyo back up again – before a real fall cooling takes place.
For right now a few fish can be caught shallow, and a few fish can be caught deep. However, there is very little size to any of the catchable fish. Brad says that it’s no mystery where the bigger largemouth and spotted bass are holding, and they are suspended out in the timber over the river channels. Striper guides pick them up from time to time on live herring, but these fish are extremely difficult for an artificial lure bass fisherman to target. While plenty of 12-14 inch fish can be caught on topwaters or drop shots, the decent ones just haven’t come up yet.
Further complicating fishing is that right now bass are eating small bait, and when Brad saw early schooling action the fish were knocking small bait out of the water over the river channel.
On the striperfront, Captain Bill says that the water quality has been so bad for so long because of the extended heat and lack of rain that the bite has gotten very tough. It was hot for so long that the whole water column has heated up, and dropping a bait down to 40 feet it stays alive for only 3-5 minutes and then comes up warm. Bill says that the surface has a dingy, mucky look with some foam on it.
On Saturday he caught 6 fish on down-lines fishing herring 45 feet down over about 90 feet of water along the main channel around timber – and felt lucky to get those. There are some anglers catching fish trolling plugs on lead-core lines, and covering a lot of water they may be able to trigger a reaction strike – or “swat.”
Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) agrees that even though water temperatures have dropped fish have not started to turn on yet, and he has found that fish are holding along deep edges of the river channel and at the mouths of big creeks. He has found that more bites can be had power reeling a spoon, bucktail, or even live bait (hooked through the eye socket for durability) than on straight live bait. Jigging with spoons is also working at times.
Captain Bill reports that a few channel catfish can be caught in 20-30 feet of water on the usual assortment of baits, with most bites coming at night.
Crappiefishing has been very slow, and overall Captain Bill says things are as slow as he has seen them at this time of year.