The newest Lake Russell fishing report can be found at: http://www.anglersheadquarters.com/ahq-insider-lake-russell-gasc-summer-2019-fishing-report/
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.
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.
Lake Russell water levels are around 474.7 (full pool is 475.00), and water temperatures range from 79-82 (morning to afternoon) on the main lake to the mid-80s in the backs of creeks. The lake remains relatively clear.
Bassfishing remains pretty tough on Lake Russell, and Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that in a tournament this week he took third with 11 pounds, while it only took 13 to win. To get that weight Jerry had to run about 50 miles from end to end and back again, but pretty much everything he caught came on a drop shot rig beside brush in 20-25 feet. Both the main lake and creeks produced numbers of small fish.
While the pattern for spotted bass he is catching has not changed, Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) reports that he has discovered a new pattern for largemouth in the last week. They have seen a good number of largemouth up in the water willow that the Corp planted and which seems to have taken off, and in coves on the lower end of the lake fish are shallow in areas where they should be in April. They will take a topwater bait first thing, but during the day they will eat Shad Raps.
The down-line pattern for striper on the lower end is unchanged from last week, but Wendell reports that fish are just starting to be caught on free-lines at the upper end of the lake below the Hartwell dam.
Jerry reports that there has been a little improvement in the catfish bite, and both in the creeks and the main lake fish can be caught in the center of pockets in 15-20 feet of water on cut herring.
Crappieare still on the same brush pattern described in the last report.
Lake Russell water levels are around 474.6 (full pool is 475.00), and water temperatures are about 84 degrees. The lake is clear.
Mild temperatures have actually not been great for the bassfishing on Lake Russell, and Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that once it gets and stays warmer the fish will get in tighter schools and the action should improve. For now his boat is mainly fishing 20 feet down in 30 feet of water at the mouths of creeks and on the main lake, and they are having the most success with live bait. Using artificial lures they are mainly just catching small fish.
Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) has caught some largemouth in the evening on topwater lures fished around shallow coves, and during the day he says that spots can still be caught off main lake points in 15-20 feet of water with Spot Removers.
While the catfishbite has been a little hit-or-miss, Wendell’s boat has been catching some nice striped bass on down-lines in the lower end. The best bite has been in the morning 25-30 feet deep, and they have gotten fish over 20 pounds recently.
Crappiefishing has been pretty good, and fish have been caught 10-12 feet down on minnows around brush piles in 20 feet of water. The best action has been in the creeks, but some fish have also been in coves off the main channel.
Lake Russell water levels are around 474.6 (full pool is 475.00), and water temperatures are in the low to mid-80s. The lake is very clear.
The bassfishing is fairly steady on Lake Russell, and Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that he is catching fish about 20 feet down in 30 feet of water on the main lake and at the mouth of creeks. His boat is using live bait a lot of the time and also picking up striped bassin the same areas, but you can also fish with a drop shot rig.
While he has not spent much time doing it you can also catch a few bass on topwaters such as a buzzbait around the banks early.
Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) is fishing a little shallower off main lake points in 10-20 feet of water, and casting or pulling herring they are also catching a mixed bag of spotted bass and striper. The bite is very good early, but in the clear, sunny conditions it tapers off around 8:00 or 8:30. Lures that imitate herring will also get the job done, and after the sun gets up fishing a Spot Remover or a drop shot in 15-20 feet is the better pattern for bass.
Crappiehave still not moved very deep, and for now you can still catch some nice fish 5-12 feet down with both minnows and jigs around brush in 15-20 feet of water. For now fish are still in both the creeks and of course the main lake.
There are mixed reports on the catfish, and Wendell reports that his boat has been picking up a lot of them as a by-catch while fishing herring off the points. He thinks that if you fish cut bait in the same areas you could do well.
On the other hand Jerry is finding a slower bite, but the best area he has found is 20-30 feet. It got hot so quickly that the spawn has ended very early this year and he is finding that the fish have pulled deeper earlier than usual.
Lake Russell water levels are very full at around 474.8 (full pool is 475.00), and water temperatures are about 80 degrees but rising into the mid- to high 80s in the afternoon. The lake is very clear.
The bassfishing is getting tougher on Lake Russell, and Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that fish are starting to set up on ledges and humps in deep water. Already they are in 20-25 feet, and soon they will be as deep as 40 feet. On top of the humps you can catch fish on big crankbaits, and drop shot rigs are also a good way to fish the humps. Live bait is hard to beat if you are not tournament fishing.
If you just want to get your line pulled, Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) reports
that there are still lots of 12-13 inch bass around the banks, particularly shaded ones. They will take small swimbaits and topwaters.
Wendell’s boat is also catching some better fish off the sides of points in 12-20 feet of water with Carolina rigs and Spot Removers.
Wendell reports that striped bass and hybridsare being caught early in the middle and lower lake on free-lined herring pulled across main lake points. Pulling bait near the surface over 15-30 feet has been the best pattern, and soon fish will group up on both ends of the lake.
It’s not as good as the springtime bite, but Wendell’s boat has been catching crappieon shallow brush in the 12-15 foot range in the creeks. Fish have been 7-8 feet down, and jigs and minnows have both been working well.
It’s only going to get better, but Jerry reports that catfishare biting well on cut herring. Fish are biting well in both the creeks and the main channel, but right now the key is fishing in 5-10 feet.
Lake Russell water levels are above full pool at 475.26 (full pool is 475.00), and water temperatures are in the mid-70s. Most of the lake is clear with only a mild stain in some creeks.
The bassfishing is good on Lake Russell, and Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that the fish he is catching are related to both points and pockets. While the bass spawn is basically over the herring are spawning periodically, and throwing to points in 5-6 feet of water you can catch fish on topwaters or worms. You can also fish a floating worm or buzzbaits around the banks in pockets.
It seems to Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) that we are about in the middle of the herring spawn, and perhaps because of that he says that the shallow spotted bass fishing is wide open. Both males and females are around the bank on the main lake about as shallow as they ever come, and going down the bank and throwing a Gulp! swimming mullet on a 1/8 ounce jighead into 4-6 feet of water has been a really good pattern. Even though it’s thought of as a saltwater bait the spots have been tearing it up.
Early in the morning Wendell is also finding a very good bite for largemouth off shallow points with topwaters.
The striped bass and hybrids are also feeding around the banks and off points, and they will take the same swimbaits as well as free-lined live herring. However, Wendell reports that they have mainly been catching smaller fish up to about 5 pounds and so he worries that the population is way down due to gill maggots.
Crappiefishing has been good, and they are ganged up on shallow brush in 10-15 feet of water in the creeks. Wendell’s boat is fishing about halfway down the water column with minnows and jigs both working about the same.
It’s getting to be a really good time for catfishon Lake Russell, and Jerry suggests going into the backs of coves and pockets and fishing cut herring on the bottom. Aim for about 8-10 feet of water. It will not be very long before the fish are spawning.
Lake Russell water levels are around 474.1 (full pool is 475.00), and water temperatures have spiked into the upper 60s. The lake is getting very clear although the backs are still a little stained.
The bassare spawning hard on Lake Russell, and Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that – even though it’s hard to actually see the beds with a light stain to the water – they are all over the banks. His boat has been fishing 1-3 feet of water in the backs of creeks and catching lots of 2+ pound fish. There are probably still some fish out on main lake points, but throwing a buzzbait or Texas rig in the backs the action is so good that he has not fished anywhere else.
Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) has been fishing a similar pattern, and he has found the bass willing to eat just about any fast moving bait. He’s been having a lot of luck retrieving a jerkbait quickly. While the bass are definitely spawning Wendell has not seen any signs of a herring spawn yet, although it cannot be far off.
Like the bass, crappie are all over the banks on Lake Russell. Some of the fish have already spawned, while some have not. Jerry has found the most catchable fish in 1-3 feet of water, as the post-spawn fish that have pulled back out to brush usually don’t feed for a period after spawning.
In addition to casting jigs in shallow pockets, Wendell’s boat has caught fish trolling 1/32 ounce jigs in about 6-8 feet of water just outside spawning areas. From what he has seen the best females are on the banks right now.
There is not a lot of change in the striped basspattern on Lake Russell, and Wendell reports that fish still seem to be in all of the creeks and scattered from the north end to the south of the lake. The best pattern remains to cover a lot of water and pull herring on free-lines and planer boards across as many shallow points as possible. Most of the fish they have caught have come in 4-5 feet of water. Fishing shallow points is likely to remain the best pattern for some time as when the herring begin spawning that will keep the bass in the same areas.
Lake Russell water levels are around 474.3 (full pool is 475.00), and water temperatures are in the low 60s. The backs are stained but the main lake is clear.
The bassspawn is underway on Lake Russell, and Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that each day there are more fish on the beds. With the cool weather earlier this week he caught a lot of fish in 15-20 feet of water on brush piles with drop shot rigs, but as it has gotten warm again more and more fish are in less than 5 feet of water where they will take spinnerbaits and crankbaits.
Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) is also finding a lot of fish near the banks, and even though two days ago there were only a few fish bedding more come up each day. In addition to soft plastic, crankbaits, small swimbaits, and jerkbaits will all work. Even as it has gotten warm again there are still decent numbers of fish out in 18 feet, proving that not all the bass come shallow at once.
There have been some excellent crappiecatches over the past week, and Jerry’s boat in one day caught five over 2 pounds and one over 3 pounds. From what he has seen there is a mix of fish that have and have not spawned.
Wendell agrees and thinks more fish are spawning or about to spawn than have already spawned, and from what he has seen the best numbers of fish can be caught with a minnow 3 feet under a bobber fished around the bank. They are either in their spawning areas or very close to them. The bite dropped off at the last cold front but is picking up again as things stabilize.
The striped basspopulation on Lake Russell seems to be as healthy as it has been in a long time, and Wendell reports that fish seem to be in all of the creeks and scattered from the north end to the south of the lake. The best pattern is to cover a lot of water and pull herring on free-lines and planer boards across as many shallow points as possible. Most of the fish they have caught have come in 4-5 feet of water.
Lake Russell water levels are around 474.6 (full pool is 475.00), and water temperatures range from about 55 to 60 in the warmest pockets. The main lake is extremely clear because they are letting so much water out of the Hartwell dam, while the backs of creeks are muddy. Halfway backs in the creeks it is a very fishable dingy.
Bassare definitely moving shallower on Lake Russell, and Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that he is now finding a lot of fish in the 10-12 foot range on points. The fish are prespawn and full of eggs, and they are eating both shakey heads and drop shots. Live bait is also working very well.
Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) concurs that fish are heading towards the banks, and he has noticed a sharp decline in the number of fish that can be caught in 18-25 feet in the creeks. He is concentrating on the creeks because about halfway back there is a good, fishable tint to the water. At the same time he is not catching fish super shallow yet, and 5-10 feet off the sides of points has been the best depth range for him. Small, medium running crankbaits have been working well.
In the main lake, where the water is clear, he suggests fishing deeper with a drop shot or Spot Romover in 15-20 feet on points.
Catches of crappie have been pretty good, and Wendell reports that fish are staging but getting close to spawning. The big females are generally pretty full of eggs. While a few fish can be caught around the banks in the creeks, the best way to target them is trolling jigs 6-7 feet down in 12-20 feet of water in the creeks.
The creeks are also holding a lot of striped bass and hybrids, and Wendell reports that they are biting both herring (which are easier to get than a few weeks ago) and medium minnows. Fish are holding in deep water but coming up to the surface to feed, and free lining bait or pulling big minnows on jigheads behind the boat is working. They are also catching some striper on minnows fished on a drop shot rig.
Lake Russell water levels are right around full pool (full pool is 475.00), and water temperatures have dropped about 8 degrees to 50-53 degrees in the last week. Despite all the rain the color is still pretty good and the main lake is very clear.
Unstable weather conditions have fish dispersed, and Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that as a result of temperatures getting warm then cold again basscan be found both shallow and deep on Lake Russell. Fish can still be caught shallow on a square-billed crankbait or a spinnerbait in the creeks, and there are also fish in 20-25 feet of water and even some in 30-40.
Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) agrees and reports that most of the bait seems to be deep on Lake Russell, while the shallower fish are certainly shallower than the bait. Shallow he is also using crankbaits and spinnerbaits, while in 20-25 feet of water he is catching fish on a drop shot.
Due to a bait shortage Wendell reports that minnows have been about the only bait they can get, and so they are pulling free-lines with the biggest minnows they can get their hands on for striped bass and hybrids. The best area to fish has been the mid-lake creeks about half-way back, and around 30 feet has been the best depth range. When fish are seen swirling or rolling they are throwing Alabama rigs at them.
It is worth noting that the fish are on tiny threadfin shad, and when they catch striper they will cough them up.
Crappie are staging a bit, and trolling curly tail grubs on 1/16th ounce jigheads in 25-30 feet of water in the creeks Wendell’s boat has been catching fish. Some of the fish are near the bottom, while others are suspended about halfway down. On warmer days Jerry has caught a few crappie shallow in pockets with about 3 feet of water.
Lake Russell water levels are around 474.75 (full pool is 475.00) and water temperatures are in the upper 50s. The main lake is pretty clear but the backs are stained.
This week Lake Russell bass fishing has not looked much like it has for the past month or more, and after the cold snap this weekend next week may not look a lot like this week. But for now Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that fish are very shallow, and he has been catching largemouth and spots in 2-3 feet of water on Carolina rigs, jigs and spinnerbaits. The backs of creeks have seen a lot of largemouth caught. Jerry notes that a few fish can still be caught deeper on drop shots in 20-25 feet of water, and more fish should be out there again next week.
Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) has also found good action relatively shallow, and on shallow points they have been catching fish on worms. Off the sides of points in 8-12 feet of water they have been catching fish on shakey heads, and then in 10-20 feet a drop shot rig has been working.
Wendell reports that in the mid-lake area they have been catching striped bass and hybridsthat are suspended about 20-30 feet down over timber in 50-60 feet of water. Free lines with herring and medium shiners, as well as Alabama rigs, are catching fish.
Crappie are on the move and staging up with the warm temperatures, and for most of the week they have been suspended about 6-8 feet down in the backs of creeks in about 20 feet of water. Long-line trolling with jigs has been working well for fish suspended high in the water column. Jerry thinks that by today there could even be some crappie on the banks, although the cold should push them deeper soon.
Lake Russell water levels are right around full pool (475.00) and water temperatures range from about 48-50. The backs of creeks are stained, with the front of creeks less stained, and the extreme lower lake is fairly clear.
Winter bass fishing on Lake Russell has been pretty good this week, and Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that his boat is catching fish in 30-57 feet of water with a jigging spoon and drop shot rig. They are mainly focusing on the main lake and mouth of creeks. Some fish are on the bottom and some are suspended.
Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) is still finding a mixed bag of species in about 38 feet of water, but this week they have mainly caught spotted bass and yellow perch.
It’s been a good week for striped bass and hybridson Lake Russell, and Jerry’s boat has been catching them with a jigging spoon as well as on Alabama rigs in the same areas where he is bass fishing. The best fishing is coming on the lower end of the lake, and the birds are not really helping point to the fish right now. Jerry has seen some fish swirling on the surface and is having success casting to them.
Anglers can also pull free lines in the same areas.
Lake Russell water levels have dropped a little below full pool to about 474.75 (full pool is 475.00) and water temperatures are down to about 51 degrees. As the lake has come down it is clearing, and the floating logs and other debris are gone. Although the main lower lake is not quite clear conditions are more normal, with the creeks more stained and the main lake clearing the closer you get to the dam.
Winter bass fishing patterns are also normalizing on Lake Russell, and Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that already he has started to catch fish deeper in as much as 50 feet of water. They are starting to get closer to the bottom, and he is optimistic that this next blast of cold air will put fish into even more of a traditional, deep winter pattern. Fishing drop shot rigs on the main lake has been the best bet.
They are also catching some fish throwing a shakey head worm around points.
Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) is still finding a mixed bag of species in about 38 feet of water, including schools of spotted bass, yellow perch, white perch,and the occasional crappie and hybrid bass. He is still targeting them with minnows on a drop shot rig, concentrating more on the creeks.
Striped bass have moved a little deeper in the last week, and the best pattern is looking for birds and then casting Alabama rigs although pulling herring will also work. Fish can be off the banks out to 40 or more feet of water.
Lake Russell water levels are right at full pool (full pool is 475.00) and the lake is even dirtier than last week. The main lake continues to be muddier than the creeks, and the lower end continues to be dirtier than the upper end, since so much water is getting pulled down the lake. There are trash and logs floating everywhere and lake can be perilous to run. Water temperatures range from the upper 40s to lower 50s.
More and more dirty water continues to flow into Lake Russell, but Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that his boat continues to plug along and catch fish in 25-30 feet of water on drop shots. In addition to being shallower than typically in winter, fish remain more scattered than usual and some are still suspended.
Jerry also reports that there continues to be bait in the backs of pockets, and in certain areas throwing a square-billed crankbait or spinnerbait around the banks will catch fish. They are also catching some fish throwing a shakey head worm around points.
Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) is also finding the bait and the predator fish far more scattered than usual, but in the last week he has found a slightly deeper bite. Maybe the fish are getting used to the mud, but he has started locating some schools of spotted bass and yellow perch in a more typical winter depth of around 38 feet. He is doing this in the clearest areas of the creeks and targeting them with minnows on a drop shot rig.
Wendell is also finding a relatively shallow bite off points in 12-15 feet of water fishing a Carolina rig or shakey head worm.
Striped bass remain more scattered than usual, and as is typical on Lake Russell on some of the rainy days in the past week they have found an above average bite. Generally you can still find the fish against the banks or in 30 feet of water. Wendell has found that the best pattern is looking for birds and then casting Alabama rigs near them, but pulling herring will also work. He is often holding the boat in about 25 feet of water but casting much shallower.
Lake Russell water levels are around 475.2 (full pool is 475.00) and the lake is very dirty. However, in the opposite of what is usually expected the lower end is generally muddier than the upper end and the main lake is generally muddier than the creeks. Water temperatures are in the lower 50s but will rise to the mid-50s on warmer afternoons.
More and more dirty water continues to flow into Lake Russell, and so it’s no surprise that bass fishing is still off for this time of year. However, Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) says they are still catching pretty good numbers of fish, just not the 100-fish days expected this time of year. Fish are still shallower than typical, and they are catching most of the fish in 25-30 feet of water. Fish are also more scattered than usual and some are still suspended.
Bait is so scattered out that Jerry reports that a shallow bite has also developed. Normally all the bait is in 50-60 feet of water, but right now there is bait in the backs of pockets. It won’t work everywhere, but throwing a square-billed crankbait or spinnerbait around the banks will catch fish in places. They are also catching some fish throwing a shakey head worm around points.
Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) is also finding the bait and the predator fish far more scattered than usual, which means that schools of bait as well as of the species he is chasing are smaller. He is mainly fishing the creeks where the water is often cleaner and targeting the 20-30 foot range with drop shots and live bait. In addition to spots they are catching a lot of yellow perch.
Striped bass are also more scattered out than usual, and you could find the fish against the banks or in 30 feet of water. Wendell has found that the best pattern is looking for birds and then pulling herring and casting Alabama rigs near them. He is often holding the boat in about 25 feet of water but casting much shallower.