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AHQ INSIDER Lake Russell (GA/SC) Fall Fishing Report – Updated October 5

  • by Jay

The newest Lake Russell fishing report, updated October 20, can be found at:

October 5

Lake Russell water levels are ranging between about 474.0 and 475.0 (full pool is 475.00), and water temperatures have cooled off into the upper 70s.  With no rain in the area the lake is very clear, even way up the creeks.

It’s a fun time to bass fish on Lake Russell, and Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) reports that fish are schooling in the main channel.  He advises keeping a small topwater handy as they will be seen chasing bait on most calm days.

When they aren’t on top Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) says the fish are suspended, and he is finding them off main lake points 20-25 feet deep over 30-35 feet of water around the edge of timber.  Live herring is the best way to catch them, but artificial lure anglers can also catch them on drop shot rigs.  When it cools fish will move to the bottom.

A nice suspended spot caught today on Jerry's boat
A nice suspended spot caught today on Jerry’s boat

Wendell reports that crappie fishing is very good, and he is finding fish that are moving into the creeks in many of the same backwater areas where they are found in the spring.  Fishing minnows 5-8 feet down around brushpiles in 12-15 feet of water has been the best pattern, although Jerry has found them slightly deeper in the middle part of the creek suspended from 12 feet down to the bottom in 17-18 feet of water.  Catfishare being picked up on minnows at both of these depths, and Jerry suggests fishing cut bait on the bottom in 15-20 feet in the creeks.

Striped bassare moving down the lake from the Hartwell tailrace and scattering out, and Wendell reports that his boat has picked up some fish on down-lines 30 feet down in 40-50 feet of water.

Both species of perch are being caught very deep on minnows on a drop-shot rig.  Wendell says he is finding them 40-50 feet down in the main channel or on deep flats where there is bait.  A few channel catfish are also mixed in at this depth.

September 15

Lake Russell water levels are ranging between about 471.5 and 472.5 daily (full pool is 475.00), and water temperatures had fallen into the mid-70s after the storm.  Warm weather should raise them a few degrees again.  Clarity is not bad in the main lake, but some of the creeks are muddy after about 2 ½ inches of rain.

On the bass front, Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that there is not a lot of change in the pattern but with cooler temperatures the fishing is getting better.  There are more fish grouping up on the points.

Unlike Hartwell and other area lakes, the schooling activity on Russell has been insignificant.  That could change at any time so be sure to have a topwater lure tied on during this early fall period.

September 1

Lake Russell water levels are bouncing between 474 and 475 daily (full pool is 475.00), and in the last week water temperatures have fallen almost ten degrees into the lower 80s.  Clarity is pretty good on Russell.

On the bass front, Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that fishing is pretty fair and fish are starting to move up shallower.  There are now a lot of fish in 10-15 feet of water off of points, with the spots and largemouth mixed together.  Drop shotted worms and shakey heads are both working.

There is also starting to be some schooling activity, and it might be close to the bank or out over 100 feet of water.  Fish are roaming around chasing bait.

Jerry Kotal shows off a nice Lake Russell spot caught late this summer
Jerry Kotal shows off a nice Lake Russell spot caught late this summer

Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) is also seeing a lot of schooling activity in a variety of different places, and he suggests having a ¼ ounce lipless crankbait tied on and ready to go.

Both guides are finding a pretty good crappie bite, with Wendell’s boat catching some nice crappie 8-12 feet down over 17-18 feet of water.  He is catching the fish on minnows over brush on both ends of the main lake.

Jerry is fishing slightly deeper for fish suspended 15-18 feet down over 15-25 feet of water.  He is finding them in the main lake and creeks and catching them on jigs.

Striped bassfishing has been decent, and both the lower and upper ends are producing about the same.  A few days ago Wendell caught a ten-pounder up the lake, then ran to the lower end and caught an almost identical fish.  On the lower end of the lake he is fishing down-lines about 20 feet down over 80 feet of water, and on the upper end they are mainly pulling free-lines.

The catfishbite continues to be good on Lake Russell, and on the bottom in the main channel in about 40 feet of water Wendell’s boat is finding a good mix of white perch, yellow perch, and catfish.  The perch will eat minnows (as will the cats), but to target catfish use cut bait.   Jerry’s boat is still filling up coolers of catfish fishing off points and in the backs of pockets in 15-25 feet with cut herring.