There are probably times when spotted bass won’t eat, but right now is not one of those times on Lake Russell! Guide Wendell Wilson reports that even in the heat of summer his boat is catching good numbers of voracious spots fishing off the sides of long sloping points in 15-20 feet of water. He is concentrating on the main channel, and the best fishing is coming on days when there is current running. While Lake Russell is thick with spotted bass and they will be found off most long sloping points on the main channel at the right depth range, adding some brush to the point makes it as close to a sure thing as can be found in summer bass fishing.
There is probably no better bait right now for Lake Russell spotted bass than live herring, but artificial lure aficionados will have no trouble getting bites, either. A football-headed jig will catch fish but a drop shot rig with a plastic worm is tough to beat. Wendell suggests using a 6-inch worm instead of a 4-incher.
For anglers looking for a big bite who want to pursue largemouth bass instead of spotted bass, Wendell advises heading to the trees. He suggests targeting isolated cedar trees within large areas of standing timber and fishing a Texas rigged worm. Fish will be suspended in 25-40 feet of water and most of the bites will come on the fall.
When it comes to personal electronics Wendell would be the first to admit that he is pretty low tech, but while I wait for him to get some help downloading and emailing me photos from recent trips here is a nice warm weather largemouth caught on Lake Russell by fellow guide Jerry Kotal.
Overall, Lake Russell is at 474.42 and fishing is pretty good considering the time of year.
Striped bass: Good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that based on current catch rates they are expecting this to be their best summer ever for striped bass. Fish are scattered out across the lake and anglers are catching a variety of different sizes of fish all over the lake, from north to south. Pretty much every area of the lake is producing, but the best catches have been coming off main channel points on down-lines fished in 20-25 feet of water. Action is still picking up in the tailrace below the Hartwell dam and Lake Secession, and anglers who want to fish up there should pull free-lines.
Catfish: Good. Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that catfishing is pretty good on Lake Russell, and his boat is catching good numbers of channel cats in the 1-5 pound range. Fish are scattered out in the backs of coves, creek channels and off points, with 8-20 feet of water being the best depth range. His boat is also picking up occasional flatheads, and while blues can also be found in Lake Russell they aren’t getting many of those.
Crappie: Fair. Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) reports that crappie fishing has been decent around brushpiles in the creeks. Fishing minnows 10-12 feet down over brush in 20-25 feet of water has been the best pattern.
DHEC Fish Advisory: Only one meal per week of largemouth or spotted bass.