Reel in the big fish with one of our handpicked fishing reels. Shop by brand or reel type.

Shop our collection of fishing rods to find the one that best matches your needs.

AHQ INSIDER Lake Hartwell (GA/SC) Spring 2020 Fishing Report – Updated March 25

  • by Jay

March 25

Lake Hartwell water levels remain above full pool at 661.78 (full pool is 660.00) and surface water temperatures are around 59-63 at first light. The lakes have cleared substantially over the last two weeks.

March can be an unpredictable month for catching hybrid and striped bass, and Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that fishing right now is a bit of a mixed bag. Fish are moving up the rivers right now, and in the major creeks they are about halfway back. In the small creeks they are still out at the mouths.

When the fish are on the move like this they can be a little hard to catch, particularly in the mornings. However, for the last 2-3 hours of the days there can be a wide-open bite throwing a scrounger head/ fluke, L’il Fishie, or any other rubber shad imitator. At this time of day they will move up shallower and chase bait on main points. You can also fish free-lines in 5-10 feet of water. In the morning the fish can be caught on down-lines just off the bottom in 25-30 feet. 

A healthy hybrid caught this week with Chip Hamilton
A healthy hybrid caught this week with Chip Hamilton

While in the morning/ daytime striper and hybrids can be temperamental, the spotted bass have saved many a trip recently.  They are on the same points as the striper and feeding very well. Since the bait is relatively stationary, if you get near bait you will catch a ton of fish.  

Always his favorite way to fish, Captain Bill Plumley reports that pulling up on shallow points in the morning and casting live herring out the back is working very well. The catch is heavy on spots but there are also hybrids mixed in. 

Speaking of bass, Guide Brad Fowler reports that since water temperatures spiked most of the fish are pre-spawn with some already spawning. They just pulled up shallow, and it’s a pretty easy time to just go down the bank and blind cast spinnerbaits or soft plastics. Crankbaits will also work, although they usually fade as temperatures get into the 60s. There are also some spotted bass that will spawn on shoals, and some of them could even be post-spawn. 

While there is not much of a topwater bite yet, by this weekend there could be – and buzzbaits could also start to produce. There are already some fish starting to be caught off points, which will only get better and better.

On the crappie front, Captain Bill Plumley reports that crappie are staging at the mouths of creeks. When temperatures rise a couple more degrees they will go to the backs. For now the best bet is to long-line troll with jigs tipped with minnows or get over brush in 6-8 feet. Most of the crappie are already in less than 10 feet of water.

Catfish have not yet turned on but they should soon move into shallower water.

March 12

Lake Hartwell water levels are still above full pool at 661.41 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures have risen into the mid-50s.  All of the major creeks are still dirty but clarity is improving with no recent heavy rains.     

Finally there is improvement for hybrid and striped bass, and Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that they have been finding fish up the rivers in 30-38 feet of water near the bottom.  Fish are off long, tapering main points that drop gradually towards the creek channel, and they are usually about where the points plateau at that depth.  For right now fish are about halfway back in the rivers, but as temperatures warm up about 4 more degrees they should go further back.  The best pattern is down-lining with herring and reeling the bait a couple of cranks off the bottom. 

The forage population seems to be in excellent shape and the fish are fat and healthy-looking.  Bait is all over the place, and while fish will not be everywhere – if there is no bait it’s not worth fishing. 

It’s not ideal conditions for the way Guide Brad Fowler like to bass fish on Lake Hartwell, and high, dirty water means that the offshore bite in most of the deep places is pretty messed up.  Between water conditions and the upcoming spawn most of the fish are from 15 feet of water to the banks. 

Staging fish can be found on mid-depth spots in 5-15 feet of water, and they can be caught on jerkbaits, blade runners and crankbaits.  These fish are in the guts of creeks and they are relating to bait.  There are also birds there and everything is gorging.

There is also a shallow group of fish that is in 1-5 feet of water behind the old grown-up brush, and they will take Chatterbaits and spinnerbaits. 

Finally, due to high water levels there are some fish on rocks that usually don’t have any water over them. 

Even as water temperatures gradually warm the catfish bite remains very tough, and Captain Bill Plumley reports that bites remain extremely hard to come by.

February 27

Lake Hartwell water levels are still a couple of feet above full pool at 662.21 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures are around 52-54 degrees.  All of the major creeks are muddy with trash and logs floating, but the main lake towards the dam is not as dirty. Some boat landings are closed and you still need rubber boats to walk on many stationary docks. 

High water yesterday on Lake Hartwell
Yesterday on Lake Hartwell

Conditions remains really tough for hybrid and striped bass, and Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that there are a few fish being caught in the cleaner water at the dam by anglers who are trolling. However, overall getting bites right now is very, very difficult. 

As we move into March the fishing should get better as the water hopefully clears and warms, and Chip looks for fish to move up the rivers. In the morning fish will be a bit deeper in 15-25 feet of water where they can be caught on down-lines, and if you get the fish activated then sometimes you can pitch free-lines around the boat.

Often the best bite will be in the afternoon, and on days when the shallows warm then fish will pull up into 3-8 feet of water. They can be caught throwing a scrounger head and fluke, or on swimbaits. If anglers are targeting large fish then planers boards can be effective, but with this method you are generally looking for more scattered ones and not getting numbers.   

Probably as a result of water conditions, Guide Brad Fowler reports that the bass bite on Lake Hartwell has been really tough. It only took about 15 pounds to win the BFL tournament on Saturday, and even if you find a few fish they are so scattered that there is not much of a pattern. Fish have been caught out in 40 feet of water on drop shots and spoons, and they have also been caught on crankbaits and spinnerbaits fished around the banks.  However, nothing is very strong.   

Catfish don’t always mind muddy water, but right now Captain Bill Plumley reports that the cold, muddy conditions on Lake Hartwell are not good for the fishing. Bites have been extremely hard to come by, and even though he has picked up a couple of good fish in the 20- and 30-pound class there have been days where he only got one bite. Cut bream has been the best bait even though nothing has been working even moderately well. 

A 33-pound catfish caught this week with Captain Bill Plumley
A 33-pound catfish caught this week with Captain Bill Plumley

Normally this is a peak time for trolling for crappie on Lake Hartwell, but some of the best anglers on the lake are only catching a couple of fish right now.  There is so much cold, muddy water that the fish are just not feeding like they should be as they do not want to fight the current.

February 14

Lake Hartwell water levels are more than three feet above full pool at 663.01 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures are around 50-52 degrees.  Much of the lake is very dirty, and all of the creeks and rivers are muddy – including in places that almost never get muddy.  

With very high water levels several boat ramps are closed to access, and there are reports that they will open the flood gates next week to try to drop water levels.  

A boat ramp on Hartwell this week
A boat ramp on Hartwell this week

It’s pretty awful conditions for hybrid and striped bass, and Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that fishing has gotten really tough. The water is so muddy/ stained that there is no consistent pattern, and with new rain events every couple of days there is no time for it to clear.  The mud line is also constantly on the move due to new rain. 

Fish still want to be staging in the creeks in the same areas that they have been, but since these areas have gotten dirty it’s hard to catch anything but small fish 2 pounds and under. It seems that these small fish can tolerate the mud better and continue to feed. Even though the water near the dam is relatively clear there do not seem to be a lot of fish in the lower lake. 

Eventually the fish should want to make a move shallower, and when temperatures start to rise into the upper 50s they should start to go. But for now cold, muddy conditions just mean the bite is close to shut down. 

Captain Bill Plumley concurs that fishing is tough and reports that bites have been very, very hard to come by. 

On some lakes Guide Brad Fowler reports that with all of this dirty water he would be thinking about fishing shallow, but on Hartwell he just does not believe there is enough of a warming trend yet to push substantial numbers of fish shallower. They just don’t live up there the way they might on a Greenwood or even Murray. 

Even though the water is dirty Brad advises that he would be focused on a deeper bite with a spoon, blade runner or drop shot, perhaps in the most visible white colors. While he would not head for the clearest water by the dam he would also not want to be in the muddiest water, and so he would stay on the edge of the mud lines. 

If we do get a warming trend Brad points out that the muddy shallows should warm faster than clear water would, and so perhaps a shallow bite will come on.

January 24

Lake Hartwell water levels are above full pool at 660.12 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures are in the low 50s. Up rivers like the Seneca the water is dirty, while down the lake it clears.

Conditions for bass fishing have been pretty tough, but Guide Brad Fowler reports that in cleaner water out on the main lake there have been some good reports of a deep spoon bite. Blade runners and drop shots have also been working in the same areas. There have not been reports of much action in the cold, muddy areas. 

With water temperatures cold it will take longer for conditions to clear and so the bite may stay towards the main lake for a time.

Dropping temperatures have slowed down the hybrid and striped bass bite this week, and Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that dirty water also still has the bait downstream towards the lower ends of the creeks at the mouths. The best bet is to look off main points in those areas and to try to fish down-lines 30-40 feet deep close to the bottom. 

Birds are not very helpful right now since conditions are making it more difficult for them to use visual cues to feed, and anglers should make use of their electronics to make sure they are on top of the bait. At that time of year fish will generally not be in areas where there is no forage to feed on. 

Captain Bill reports that the best area to look for catchable crappie is still around deeper docks with 12-18 feet of water, and jigs tipped with minnows are the best bet.  While there may be a lot of fish in the deep timber, they are tough to target.

In February Bill expects fish to move towards creek ledges in 18-20 feet of water.

Captain Bill Plumley reports that the catfish bite remains very slow and he has had a tough time getting bites on recent trips.

January 15

Lake Hartwell water levels are bouncing either side of full pool and currently at 659.86 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures are around 51 degrees. The lake is uncharacteristically muddy in areas like the Seneca River as well as all the creeks, and there is trash floating everywhere. Anglers should take caution when navigating and look out for obstructions like logs. 

Even though water conditions are really tough, Guide Brad Fowler reports that if he had to be out on the lake bass fishing he would start in the normal winter places looking in 20-40 feet of water around the edges of the timber. He suggests fishing spoons, drop shots, football jigs, and blade runners, but if that does not work head shallower and look for a crankbait bite. 

Expect fishing to stay tough for a little while with so much cold, dirty water coming in that is unlikely to clear and warm anytime soon.  

The muddy water is also affect the hybrid and striped bass bite, and Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that conditions are pushing the bait downstream towards the lower ends of the creeks at the mouths. The best bet is to look off main points in those areas, and try to fish down-lines 30-40 feet deep close to the bottom. 

Birds are not very helpful right now since conditions are making it difficult for them to use visual cues to feed, and anglers should make use of their electronics to make sure they are on top of the bait. At that time of year fish will generally not be in areas where there is no forage to feed on. 

Captain Bill Plumley reports that the catfish bite has gotten very slow and he has had a tough time getting a single bite on recent trips.

Captain Bill reports that the best area to look for crappie is still around deeper docks with 12-18 feet of water.  Jigs tipped with minnows are the best bet.

December 24

Lake Hartwell water levels are at 656.25 (full pool is 660.00), and surface temperatures are around 54 degrees. The creeks are getting very muddy with the last few days of rain.

With a ton of rain and dirty water coming into Lake Hartwell, Guide Brad Fowler reports that a lot of the creeks are getting blown out and much harder to fish. While there will still be some fish back there, it is going to be a lot tougher to get bites in the creeks.

Brad suggests getting out of the backs and fishing the main lake, and if you can find it cleaner water in deeper creek channels and ditches. 20-40 feet of water is a good depth range to target, where fish should be around the edges of the timber. Spoons, drop shots, football jigs, and blade runners will all work. 

Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that there is not a lot of change in the overall pattern for hybrid and striped bass, but recent weather patterns have really hurt the bite. Still, fish are in the same areas in large schools in the creeks off main points. Fishing down-lines in 30-40 feet of water close to the bottom is the best pattern.

On warm afternoons some fish can be picked up on free-lines, but this pattern has not been very strong.

Some years the bird activity is more helpful than others, and for right now the gulls seem to generally be following loons. However, sometimes there are also striper around and so it is worth looking. 

The most important thing is being around bait, because at this time of year fish are focused almost entirely on bait. They are not thinking about spawning and water temperatures are not comfortable for them, and so they are either resting or eating. 

A nice striper caught with Chip Hamilton
A nice striper caught with Chip Hamilton

 

Crappie fishing remains pretty good, and the best place to catch fish has been around deeper docks with 12-18 feet of water. They will take minnows or jigs, but jigs tipped with minnows have been working the best. 

Captain Bill Plumley reports that the fishing for catfish is very slow right now.

December 13

Lake Hartwell water levels are down to 654.93 (full pool is 660.00), and surface temperatures are around 57-60 degrees.

The Bassmaster Team Championships are taking place on Lake Hartwell right now, and Guide Brad Fowler reports that they are catching a bunch of largemouth bass. The bite has been pretty good in the backs of creeks, and in 12 feet up to ankle deep water fish are biting crankbaits and other shad-imitating lures.  The fish are there following pods of bait.

There is also a pretty good bite in 25-35 feet of water in creek channels and ditches, and right now fish are around the edges of the timber on the inside (clean, shallow side). As it gets colder they will move deeper along the edges and back into the trees. Spoons are working well for these fish.

As with all year, there are also plenty of fish on the main lake. They will eat drop shots, blade runners and underspins. 

Water temperatures have not moved much, and as a result Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that hybrid and striped bass are still in similar areas about halfway back in the creeks. They are following the bait, and if you go into a creek and discover there is no bait you need to leave!

There are large schools of fish in the right creeks, and the best way to catch them has been down-lining in 30-40 feet of water close to the bottom.  The greatest concentrations of fish are still setting up on main points in the creeks. If you jump from point to point and give each one about ten to fifteen minutes you should find fish.

The best bite has been mid-morning when the sun gets up, but fish have been biting off-and-on all day. Right now the birds are more focused on loons feeding since striper are still feeding a bit deeper.

On the catfish front, Captain Bill Plumley reports that the blue catfish have finally moved up some, but they have not really gotten back into the shallower parts of creeks. For now anchor with cut bait in 30-40 feet of water.

Crappie fishing has been pretty good recently, and fish seem to be stacked up around deeper docks with 15-20 feet of water.  They will take minnows or jigs, but jigs tipped with minnows have been working the best.  There are also lots of spotted bass in this zone.

This Hartwell blue ate a bucktail (tipped with cut bait)

November 21

Lake Hartwell water levels are down to 655.61 (full pool is 660.00), and morning surface water temperatures are around 62 degrees on the main lake. With the lake at various stages of turning over the water is murky in places.

Even though water temperatures have dropped Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that hybrid and striped bass are still in similar areas about halfway back in the creeks. There are large schools of fish in those areas, and the best way to catch them has been down-lining in 35-40 feet of water close to the bottom.  The greatest concentrations of fish are still setting up on main points in the creeks. If you jump from point to point and give each one about ten to fifteen minutes you should find fish.

Until water temperatures drop into the mid to lower 50s the bite should not change very much. 

Chip Hamilton with a nice striper caught this week

By now bassare finally in a late fall/ early winter pattern, and Guide Brad Fowler reports that means that numbers of fish are in the creek channels in the 20-40 foot range. They can be caught on drop shot rigs, spoons and more.

However, with temperatures still pretty warm there is also bait in the creeks and bass can be caught that are chasing small bait. They will eat spinnberbaits, scrounger heads, and small crankbaits. 

As temperatures drop more fish will leave the shallow creeks and get out in the 20-50 foot range. Depending on the day they will suspend or relate to the bottom.

On the catfish front, Captain Bill Plumley reports that fishing is pretty slow but a few channel cats are being picked up here and there on worms or cut herring. With persistent warm temperatures the big blues are still fairly deep, but as water temperatures drop they will come into the creeks. They will be caught in 15-50 feet, mostly anchoring with cut bait. 

The best way to catch crappie right now is around deep docks with at least 15 feet of water and some brush. Anglers are catching them casting jigs tipped with minnows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 31

Lake Hartwell water levels are down to 656.00 (full pool is 660.00), and morning surface water temperatures are 72-73 degrees on the main lake. Up the Seneca River it looks like the water has finished turning over, while the main lake has not yet turned over.

The bait and fish are finally really on the move on Lake Hartwell, and Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that hybrid and striped bass have made their way about halfway back into the creeks. There are still some fish out on the main lake, but in the very backs there are only very small fish. That will change as temperatures continue to drop.

The best pattern has been down-lining in 35-40 feet of water close to the bottom, and the greatest concentrations of fish are setting up on main points in the creeks. If you jump from point to point and give each one about ten to fifteen minutes you should find fish.

There is some schooling activity, but for about the last week it has been limited despite ideal conditions. It is unclear why. Accordingly, free-lines aren’t doing much. 

With persistently warm temperatures it is taking the lake a while to turn over, and since Guide Brad Fowler reports that bassget finicky around the turnover you want to stay ahead of it or get well behind it. Fish are moving into the creeks and so if you can find areas with good water quality in the creeks fish should be feeding. 

There are several different patterns that can produce right now, and up shallow a buzzbait is doing pretty well. If you can find some colored water a spinnerbait will work, but without much rain that’s hard to find. 

Deeper fish can also be caught on a drop shot or shakey head, and there is still some schooling. However, it has been tailing off in the past couple of weeks.

While fish are not really busting the surface, they can still be pretty high in the water column over 20-25 feet. This can be a good time for scrounger heads, spy baits and other lures that fish just below the surface but high in the water column. 

On the catfish front, Captain Bill Plumley reports that channel cats are still being caught in about 20 feet of water fishing worms, cut bait or dip baits on the bottom in the creeks or main lake. The big blues are still fairly deep, but as water temperatures drop they will come into the creeks hunting for fresh water as the lake turns over. They will be caught in 15-50 feet, mostly anchoring with cut bait. 

Crappie are moving shallower, and they are stacking up around deep docks with about 15-20 feet of water and some brush. The best way to fish these docks is with a long rod where you can drop a minnow vertically around the cover.

 

October 15

Lake Hartwell water levels are down to 655.75 (full pool is 660.00), and morning surface water temperatures are 76-79 on the main lake. Visibility remains clear.

The schooling action for hybrid and striped bass on Lake Hartwell is not as good as it was, but Guide Chip Hamilton(864-304-9011) reports that there is still some going on early. However, overall fish have been holding lower in the water column and down-lines fished around points and humps in 35-40 feet of water right on the bottom have been the most effective. Fish are still in the main lake, but they seem to be just beginning to go up the creeks and rivers. 

With the lake having been pulled hard and the shallow fish highly pressured recently, Guide Brad Fowler reports that he has mainly been bassfishing offshore. In the afternoon there is good schooling activity, typical for this time of year when afternoon breezes get up and activate the fish. Most of the schooling is over 15-25 feet of water, but there is also schooling over very deep areas.

When they are not schooling, fish can also be called up with topwater lures, and you can also catch fish with a scrounger head or drop shotting. Very good numbers can be caught on drop shot rigs. 

On the catfish front, Captain Bill Plumley reports that channel cats are still being caught in about 20 feet of water fishing worms, cut bait or dip baits on the bottom in the creeks or main lake. When using worms they are also catching lots of nice shellcrackersmixed in. Fishing for blues is still very slow as fish seem to be in the timber, but there are occasional big flatheads being caught at night.

There are no fresh crappie reports, but they should be moving shallower along the edge of the channel where they can be found about 10-12 feet down in 20 feet of water. Fish will be suspended around brush where there are schools of bait nearby, and minnows or jigs will work.

 

October 3

Lake Hartwell water levels are down to 656.32 (full pool is 660.00), and morning surface water temperatures are back in the mid-80s. Visibility remains clear.

The fishing for hybrid and striped bass on Lake Hartwell remains good, and Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that until water temperatures drop the pattern is unlikely to change. 

Fish are in the same locations where they have been, in the main Savannah River channel from the meeting of the Seneca and Tugaloo Rivers to the dam, and they are still around the edges of the river channel and at the mouth of the creeks over 90-175 feet of water. 

However, they have started coming up to feed and schooling on the surface regularly. In a mobile bass boat you can really have fun chasing the fish and picking off a couple each time they start to school. 

Chip’s boat is catching about 70% of the fish on free-lines when they let the bait swim down to about 10-12 feet, and 30% are coming on down-lines. Fish are still holding about 30-40 feet deep but coming up to eat.

It’s still hot on Lake Hartwell, but fresh off third place in last weekend’s BFL FLW angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that the bass are feeding very well on Lake Hartwell. The lake is fishing more like fall than summer and fish are schooling all over the place. The suspended bite is really good over brush or cane piles in 15-25 feet of water, but because there is so much deep timber fish could also be over very deep water. Topwater baits, flukes and swimbaits will all catch fish, and there can also be some good ones caught on drop shot rigs in the same areas. However, on the drop shot you have to weed through a ton of small fish.

There are still some nice fish shallow that can be caught with buzzbaits on Hartwell, but with water levels dropping that seems to be a fading bite.

On the catfish front, Captain Bill Plumley reports that channel cats are still being caught in 15-25 feet of water fishing worms, cut bait or dip baits on the bottom in the creeks or main lake. When using worms they are also catching lots of nice shellcrackersmixed in. Fishing for blues is still very slow as fish seem to be in the timber, but there are still some good flatheads being caught at night.

Crappieare moving shallower along the edge of the channel, and they can be found about 10-12 feet down in 20 feet of water. Fish will be suspended around brush where there are schools of bait nearby, and minnows or jigs will work.

 

September 19

Lake Hartwell water levels are at 657.37 (660.00), and morning surface water temperatures are around 83. Visibility remains clear.

There is finally some good news with the hybrid and striped bass fishing on Lake Hartwell, and Guide Chip Hamilton(864-304-9011) reports that fish have turned on in the last few days.  The bite changed around the weekend even before the water temperatures started to drop, so it is unclear exactly what made the difference.

Fish are in the same locations where they have been, in the main Savannah River channel from the meeting of the Seneca and Tugaloo Rivers to the dam, and they are still around the edges of the river channel and at the mouth of the creeks over 90-175 feet of water. 

However, they have started coming up to feed and schooling on the surface regularly. In a mobile bass boat you can really have fun chasing the fish and picking off a couple each time they start to school. 

Chip’s boat is catching about 70% of the fish on free-lines when they let the bait swim down to about 10-12 feet, and 30% are coming on down-lines. Fish are still holding about 30-40 feet deep but coming up to eat. 

In the two-day BFL tournament this weekend Guide Brad Fowler reports that he made the cut on the strength of a sack of largemouth the first day, with most of the fish he caught coming on buzzbaits fished shallow for wolf packs of fish that he could see. The second day those fish were not cooperative and so he had to move out deep, where he was able to catch all the spotted bass you could want to catch but had trouble finding better ones. Small fish are easy to catch offshore on topwater lures right now, and they will also take drop shots. 

There is still sporadic schooling offshore, including some big fish, but it is hard to know where they will come up. The bite should get better and more predictable in the coming weeks. 

The tournament was won with about 31 pounds for two days, and it seemed that a lot of the better fish were caught shallow.

On the catfish front, Captain Bill Plumley reports that channel cats are still being caught in 15-25 feet of water fishing worms, cut bait or dip baits on the bottom in the creeks or main lake. When using worms they are also catching lots of nice shellcrackersmixed in. Fishing for blues is still very slow as fish seem to be in the timber, but there are still some good flatheads being caught at night.

Crappiereports are still hard to find.

 

September 9

Lake Hartwell water levels are at 658.05 (660.00), and morning surface water temperatures are around 83-85 degrees. Visibility remains clear.

Bassfishing is still more exciting than striper fishing on Hartwell, and Guide Brad Fowler reports that he has seen fish on top all over the place - including some good ones. While depth changes like humps are the most fishable places to look, some of the biggest fish he has seen have been in random places right over the channel where it would be hard to predict that they will come up. For the most part fish are on very small bait, and they will be for a little while until it cools and they start feeding on blueback herring again. That means small topwater plugs, fish head spins and spy baits are good options.   

When offshore fish are not schooling they can be hard to call up with topwaters, but a drop shot or suspended bait can still work. Fish head spins or swimbaits are a good choice for subsurface fish, but again you need something small since they are on little bait. 

With lake levels down there may be less fish shallow than usual. However, Brad has still seen some wolf packs up shallow running bream. 

With the heat still punishing hybrid and striped bass fishing remains really tough on Lake Hartwell, and Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that fish still just are not biting very well. 

They remain in the main Savannah River channel from the meeting of the Seneca and Tugaloo Rivers to the dam, and they are still 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. There are also some hybrids on mid-lake humps in 45-60 feet of water that are holding on the bottom and will sometimes eat herring on a Carolina rig fished just off the bottom right at daylight. 

On the catfish front, Captain Bill Plumley reports that channel cats are still being caught in 15-25 feet of water fishing worms, cut bait or dip baits on the bottom in the creeks or main lake. When using worms they are also catching lots of nice shellcrackersmixed in. Fishing for blues is still very slow as fish seem to be in the timber.

But the catch of the week on Hartwell this week may have been a giant flathead. The 64-pound beast pictured below was caught on a live bream fished on the bottom in 25 feet of water.   

Crappiereports are still hard to find.

 

September 4

Lake Hartwell water levels are at 658.20 (660.00), and morning surface water temperatures are around 83 degrees. Visibility remains clear.

The fishing for hybrid and striped bass has gotten really tough, as Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that the cool front that dropped water temperatures 5 or 6 degrees really turned off the fish. Instead of catching 25-30 fish on a trip catching 5 became a good day. 

Fish remain in the main Savannah River channel from the meeting of the Seneca and Tugaloo Rivers to the dam, and they are still 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. There are also some hybrids on mid-lake humps in 45-60 feet of water that are holding on the bottom and will eat herring on a Carolina rig fished just off the bottom right at daylight. 

While the striper fishing has taken a nosedive, Chip points out that spotted bass seem relatively unaffected. They are still schooling all over the shallow humps in 25-35 feet of water as well as around shoal markers, road signs and other depth changes. Some of the best schooling in areas that go from very deep to less than 25 feet of water quickly. While many of the schooling fish are small there are still good ones mixed in. 

Guide Brad Fowler reports that he is not seeing a lot of change in the bass fishing either, but with lake levels dropped there may be less fish shallow than usual. He has still seen some wolf packs up shallow running bream, though. There are still a lot of smaller fish schooling offshore on humps, although at times there are some really good ones. You just have to hit the right area. 

When offshore fish are not schooling they can be hard to call up with topwaters, but a drop shot or suspended bait can still work. Fish head spins or swimbaits are a good choice, but you need something small since they are on little bait. 

On the catfish front, Captain Bill Plumley reports that channel cats are now being caught in 15-25 feet of water fishing worms, cut bait or dip baits on the bottom in the creeks or main lake. When using worms they are also catching lots of nice shellcrackersmixed in. Fishing for blues and flatheads is very slow and fish seem to be in the timber.   

Crappiereports are still hard to find.

Search