Unusual for this time of year Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) reports that striped bass fishing has been pretty tough, and while the causes are unclear it may be related to a lot of hot water having been pulled down deep as part of power generation. Whatever the cause, mornings have been relatively slow with the fishing a little better in the afternoons. The best pattern has been fishing 40-95 feet deep trolling lead core line with plugs or bucktails, and power reeling techniques have also been working in the same areas. Power reeling involve dropping the bait (live or artificial) down beneath a school and then pulling up through it. There has also been a little bit of schooling activity, predictably in the afternoons with the mornings slow in that respect, too.
Overall, Lake Hartwell is at 655.26 and seasonal changes are beginning to get underway.
Bass: Fair. Guide Brad Fowler (864-934-5813) reports that this is a transition period on Lake Hartwell and bass are fairly scattered. Good numbers of smaller fish can be caught at mid-depths on shakey heads, drop shots, and flukes, but catching bigger fish is a little tough. The topwater bite is still somewhat hit-or-miss, although in the last couple of weeks it has picked up somewhat. In recent tournaments it seems as if the best catches may be coming up shallow, and on certain days crankbaits off wind-blown points have produced. Before long bait should start migrating up the creeks.
Catfish: Good. Captain Bill Plumley reports that channel catfish are scattered across the lake in 15-35 feet of water, and they will take dip baits, cut bait and night crawlers. Fish are feeding well right now. A few small blues have been caught, but most of the better fish are still out in the trees and relatively uncatchable. Flathead fishing has been pretty good, and at night anglers have been catching flatheads on live bream or perch.
Crappie: Slow to fair. Captain Bill Plumley reports crappie fishing remains fairly slow, but there are some reports of crappie caught around bridge columns at night in 15-25 feet of water as well as over brush in 25-35 feet of water at night. For both patterns anglers are putting out lights and fishing minnows.
DHEC Fish Advisories: Due to PCB advisories visit http://www.scdhec.gov/environment/water/fish/Advisories/hartwell.htm before consuming any Lake Hartwell fish.