Overall, Lake Hartwell is at 660.44 and water temperatures shot from the low 60s into the high 60s/ low 70s over the past week and a half.
In the four-day ABA Ray Scott Championship a couple of weeks ago on Lake Hartwell there were a good number of 20-pound sacks caught. The winning angler had three them including a monster Lake Hartwell 24.75 pound bag on the second of four days. Anglers reported that the herring spawn was getting underway in certain parts of the lake, and most of fish were being caught off shallow points on traditional baits (flukes, Spooks, etc.) for the season. In the BFL Savannah River Division tournament this past Saturday temperatures were up but weights were significantly down, and winning angler Troy Morrow of Eastanollee, GA won with 17-11. Out of 110+ boats there were only five bags over 15 pounds and a little over 12 pounds was enough to get a check!
While he nor tournament partner Brock Taylor fished the BFL on Saturday, Guide Brad Fowler reports that even though weights have dropped the pattern is still about the same as a couple of weeks ago. There are still bass spawning, in addition to plenty of post-spawn fish, and the herring spawn is now more widespread than a couple of weeks ago. However, there seems to be “no rhyme or reason” to the areas that herring are spawning in. Instead of starting in the creeks and then gradually moving towards the main lake (following water temperatures) in a conventional progression, the areas where herring can be found spawning are jumping around and some of the earliest spots were in the main lake.
Besides sight-fishing for spawning fish, the predominant pattern right now is fishing around herring off shallow, clay points in 1-3/4 feet of water. Fish can be caught from the top to the bottom, including on a chrome Super Spook, a pearl white fluke and a Keitech swimbait rigged on a JWill swimbait head. Swim jigs as well as shakey head worms will also catch fish.
Striped and Hybrid Bass: Good. Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) reports that now that the herring spawn is fully underway there is good striper activity fishing around points. Fish are around creek points as well as main lake points, and at this time of year Bill likes to pull his boat up on shallow points and cast out live baits on the bottom. He says that if you don’t get bit within about 30 minutes move onto the next point. Free-lining around the same areas will also catch fish, and down-lines fished in about 30 feet of water have been effective. There has been a little schooling activity on cloudy days, and striper can certainly be caught with largemouth bass fishing technique such as throwing flukes and Spooks around points.
Catfish: Good. Captain Bill Plumley reports that the catfish bite remains strong on Lake Hartwell, and now that water temperatures are rising channel catfish are starting to get on the move. They can be caught most anywhere in 2-15 feet of water on cut herring, worms, or dip baits. While blue catfish won’t be shallow too much longer, for now they are still back in the creeks in 2-20 feet of water. First target the inside bends, and if fish aren’t there switch over to the outside of bends. Cut herring, gizzard shad and white perch are all catching fish. Flathead catfish are starting to move around, too, and a 28-pounder was caught recently. They are mostly caught at night with live bait fished on the bottom.
Crappie: Slow. Captain Bill Plumley reports that it’s been a rough spring for crappie fishing, and when water temperatures hit 65 they pulled up shallow – but when they dropped fish moved back out deeper. With sporadic temperatures for the next month it was hard to pinpoint the exact spawn and fish didn’t make another clear, en masse move to the banks. By now some fish can be caught at night around bridges and brush in 15-20 feet of water on minnows.