Clarks Hill water levels are at 329.61 and water temperatures have risen into the mid-70s.
It’s finally gotten to be “that time” of year for bass fishing on Clarks Hill – the period when everyone wants to be on the water and national tournament series want to come to the lake. Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that there are still some late spawners on the beds, and there are even a few fish being caught which are pre-spawn. Still, 90% of the fish have already spawned or are currently on beds.
However, it’s not the bass spawn which most anglers are thinking about right now. Blueback herring are up shallow on points spawning, and Buckeye reports that bass can be found around them on most any main lake point in 2-10 or even 15 feet of water. Most mornings the fish are up shallow chasing bluebacks, and if there is wind the herring and in turn bass will stay super shallow all day long. However, if there is no wind the fish don’t leave the areas but will pull out to the deeper part of the point – and then move back shallow in late afternoon.
Early in the morning, late (and on windy days) there is topwater schooling activity, and at times fish will eat Spooks, Sammies and other topwater lures. However, at times the fish have been a little funny recently and some days they don’t want to come up but will chase a fluke fished on a 5/0 offset hook about a foot behind a swivel. Pearl flukes are good and a lot of anglers are also throwing Tennessee Shad colors. When fish pull out deeper they will take The Sled fished with a green pumpkin Zoom Super Speed Craw, or Spot Removers.
A few small fish are being caught around humps on soft plastics but the better fish are up shallow chasing herring.
Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good to very good. Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that it’s all about the blueback herring spawn right now, and just like largemouth striper can be caught around main lake points. At daylight fish will be found in 3-5 feet of water or less, and as the sun gets up they will be caught high in the water column over 8-10 feet of water. Wind may keep them even shallower. Pulling free-lines is a good bet, and throwing flukes at points when they troll past them is also picking up fish. It is even possible to troll flukes with the outboard motor – the fish don’t seem very motor-shy. There have also been some fish caught on the bottom in about 27 feet of water on down-lines. Finally, this is peak season for cut bait fishing. Particularly on the upper end of the lake above the 378 Bridge anchoring in about 15 feet of water and throwing half the lines on the deeper side and half shallower is catching fish all day long.
Catfish: Good to very good. Captain William Sasser reports that this is the best month of the year for Clarks Hill catfishing, and right now both channel and flathead catfish can be found spawning in the rocks around the bridges. The best technique is to fish a piece of cut herring on a Carolina rig or a split shot rig, similar to how you would fish a plastic worm, by casting the rig up towards the bank and letting it fall in between the rocks as you work it back to the boat. Use your trolling motor to maneuver parallel to the rocks. Early morning is the best time, and a mixed bag of fish including very nice cats can be caught this way.
Shellcracker: Good. Captain William Sasser reports that shellcracker are spawning heavily on Clarks Hill. They can be found around blowthroughs and points and they will eat nightcrawlers fished on the bottom in 3-5 feet of water.
Crappie: Fair to good. Captain William Sasser reports that crappie can be found in the backs of creeks 10 feet down over 20 feet of water around brush. The Georgia Little River has been good and they will take minnows.