Lake Russell water levels are at 474.37 (full pool is 475.00), and water temperatures are in the low to mid-70s.
It’s a transition period on Lake Russell, and Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that bass are starting to pull out from the shallows and move towards deeper water. The herring spawn is pretty much if not completely over, but nonetheless early in the morning some fish can be caught on flukes fished around the banks. This is pretty much a main lake deal, and once the sun gets up it dies. Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) says he is most likely to try and catch fish shallow on topwater lures off long, sloping, main lake points – again early.
Once the sun gets up fishing gets a little tougher, but with a population of voracious spotted bass fish can be caught in 15-25 feet of water off main lake points and rounder, deep banks. As the summer progresses these fish will get into an even deeper range, but for now they are only in middle depths. Live bait is catching a lot of bass in these areas, but soft plastics presented on drop shot rigs, Carolina rigs, and Spot Removers will also catch fish.
Striped Bass: Good to very good. Guide Wendell Wilson reports that it’s been a strong couple of weeks for Lake Russell striped bass, and his boat has caught five or six fish 20 pounds or better in that time period. Fish have been stacked up in the same areas where there are lots of herring, and Coldwater has been good. Striper are not out over the deep trees and dragging free-lined herring in 20-25 feet of water has been the best pattern.
Catfish: Fair to good. Guide Jerry Kotal reports that prior to the recent cold snap last weekend catfish were biting very well, and as temperatures get hot again he expects the same to happen. The best pattern is fishing in the backs of cuts and pockets in 10-15 feet of water, with cut herring the most productive bait. The catch is mostly channels although Russell does have some blues and flatheads – which are more often caught bass fishing because of their fondness for moving baits.
Crappie: Fair to good. Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) reports that his boat has been catching some decent numbers of crappie off shallow brush in the creeks. Fish are holding 4-5 feet down in 10-15 feet of water and they will eat minnows as well as jigs. These fish have generally been on the small to medium side, and the bigger fish have mostly already headed out to deeper brush where everything will be in June and July. Fishing at night with lights around bridges is getting better and better.