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Lake Hartwell Fishing News and Report (Updated October 22)

  • by Jay

We all know the fish aren’t biting all day every day, and if someone tells you that they can’t miss that’s probably not a fisherman worth trusting.  The report from Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) this week shows that he is someone worth trusting as Bill gives the honest appraisal that striped bass fishing has gotten a little slow on Lake Hartwell.  He believes this is because of water quality issues, and he believes the lake is on the verge of turning over.  Consequently the striper are hunting for quality water right now and not feeding very well.

That’s not to say that fish cannot be caught, and Bill’s boat has found some action fishing down-lines in the 35-55 foot range.  Striper are holding out in the trees then pushing bait up to feed, and anglers should look for deep, underwater points where a channel swings nearby.  There has also been some scattered schooling activity, mainly in the afternoon but occasionally in the morning.

A nice striper caught recently on Captain Bill Plumley's boat
A nice striper caught recently on Captain Bill Plumley’s boat

Overall, Lake Hartwell is at 657.48 and water levels are up a couple of feet from the recent rains.

Catfish: Good.  Captain Bill Plumley reports that the channel catfish bite continues to be pretty strong, although the fish have moved a bit deeper into the 15-40 foot range.  As with some other species fish are scattered, but unlike some other species they are feeding well across the lake.  Anglers can either drift or anchor, and dip bait (anchor fishing), night crawlers and cut herring are all working.  At night flathead catfish can be caught on live perch and bream, but the bigger blues are out in the deep timber and very difficult to target.  A few small blues continue to show up while fishing for channels.

Crappie: Fair.  Captain Bill Plumley reports that a few crappie have been caught over brush in the 25 foot range, but angling activity has been pretty light.  If anglers can find the right brush water temperatures are getting right where anglers should be able to load the boat using either jigs or minnows.

Stay tuned for a bass fishing report from Guide Brad Fowler (864-934-5813), who is today fishing the second day of the 350-plus boat American Bass Anglers Championship on Lake Hartwell.  Fishing is obviously tough with very low weights, but Brad is in second place with 11.07 pounds.  The leader had 12.71 on what was very clearly a very difficult day one, and catching 5 pounds was enough to put fisherman in the top 20%!  Fellow correspondent Andy Wicker is in 13th place with 8.94 pounds.  Good luck to our correspondent anglers who will be telling us about the conditions once the tournament is over.

DHEC Fish Advisories: Due to PCB advisories visit before consuming any Lake Hartwell fish.