Lake Hartwell Fishing Report June 6 2019 | Sponsored by Hayes Automotive
Written by Rick Owen – Lake Hartwell Professional Fishing Guide
Who would ever guess it’s just over two weeks away until the official start of summer on Lake Hartwell! With the water temperatures holding at eight-five degrees about all day you will find that the lake is now alive with activity. Before weeks end we are forecast to see much cooler temperatures and a really good chance of rain that should help out a bunch with the pending drought in our area. I would suggest that the cooler weather will even bring more folks out to the lake. June is normally one of the busiest months on Lake Hartwell with most schools letting out for the summer and with many families all packed up for the camp grounds. Fishing or boating around one of these camp grounds can get very tough in the morning, especially if you like breakfast. The smell of bacon or sausage cooked at a camp site can sure travel a long way across the water when you’re hungry and it’s no easier in the evening with burgers, steaks and the smell of smoked chickens filling the air. I think I’m going to take a break from writing this article and make me a sandwich!
The Lake Hartwell bite is excellent for the weather to have made such a drastic change from spring to summer so fast. Catching fish has not been a problem early in the mornings or late in the afternoons. Most of our Lake Hartwell guides are catching nice boxes of fish and the fish have been good quality fish. I have even received some confirmed information that several large Stripers have been landed over this past week. That’s very encouraging information for those of us who feared the results of the Lake Hartwell Striper kill last summer. If you enjoy fishing this is most likely going to be the best month of this summer season. Every species will bite aggressively up until they move into the deeper waters of Lake Hartwell in the coming months. Please continue to practice safe boating during the remainder of this summer. Any accident no matter how big or how small can change lives forever and take the joy of Lake Hartwell away from you. Lake Hartwell is a place to make memories, let’s make them all great ones!
The current Lake Hartwell water levels remain above full pool and the current levels are at 660.41 which is.41 feet above the 660 full pool levels. The current water temperatures are now in the mid- eighties during the early mornings and has stayed this temperature throughout the day. The water levels and water temperatures are all subject to change with the front that is scheduled to move into the Lake Hartwell area starting today. We have much cooler temperatures and heavy rain forecast into early next week so we will see if this changes our fishing conditions. If you are interested in booking a fun day of fishing for Stripers or our hard fighting Hybrids on Lake Hartwell give Captain Mack a call. The fishing will be great and now is the best time to fish Lake Hartwell.
STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS
Striper and Hybrid fishing on Lake Hartwell continues to be great with fish still being caught all over the lake. For now it does not seem to matter if you run up the lake or if you head to the dam the fish have been fairly easy to locate. The shallow water bite is still good so it’s not too late in the season to pull up on a point before daylight. As soon as the sun starts to come up moving off of the points and pitching free lines out the back while dropping your down rods usually find these same fish very close to the point that you were fishing
I’ve found that once you find your school of fish you can hit your anchor lock and drop your down rods to the bottom and load up quickly. For those of you who know that drumming fish works great on Lake Hartwell don’t be surprised that when you get the right school of Stripers and Hybrids under the boat drumming will not be necessary, you won’t have time to drum with rods bent under the boat. We are still seeing large schools of small fish weighing less than a pound. If you find these fish or in many cases if they find you I would suggest that you leave them immediately as they will empty the bait tank and they are quick to swallow a hook which can be a bad thing for the survival of the fish.
Let’s give these fish another year or two and the Lake Hartwell Striper and Hybrid bite will be something that we all will enjoy for years to come. The pattern has not changed since last week with good fish being caught early morning and again in the late afternoon. Nighttime fish is still great fishing under boat lights or around dock lights. The umbrella rig bite has remained good and its makes for a fun way to locate new schools of fish as you knock along.
Go to baits for this week:
• SteelShad is my go to bait for schooling or breaking fish. This bait will catch all bass species when cast to points or fished in deep or shallow waters.
• Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs. I will not go to the lake without them!
• Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – they will catch good fish if trolled or pulled behind your Perfect Planer Boards. I’m using them as a search tool when looking for fish in deep water coves where I normally catch fish this time of the year.
• Perfect Planer Boards. The early morning free line bite behind Planer Boards is still working great.
• Chipmunk Jigs for Power Reeling, it time to stock up as Power Reeling will soon take off. I suggest the 2oz with stinger hook.
Bass fishing continues to be great and we are still seeing some really nice catches of largemouth Bass as well as Spotted Bass! These bass can be found early in the mornings in shallow waters with some schooling activity on points and in many cases right in the middle of the river feeding on large schools of bait. Largemouth and Spotted Bass are still being caught on Weedless Wonders, SteelShads, Mini Mack’s as well as your various Crank baits, Spinner baits, Topwater baits, Jerk baits and swim baits.
When it comes to Lake Hartwell Bass fishing it seems to me that whatever you have the most confidence in will be your go to bait. I’m positive that now is the time to try something new, for those who have not given the SteelShad a try; you are missing out on great bait! We have found that the Spotted Bass will attack this bait like no other. I always suggest that if you follow up your main baits with something new that you have always wanted to try you will find something that works great and gives you something new to your arsenal.
Many of the larger Bass have moved back to their favorite docks and the Spotted Bass are starting to show up schooling on shallow points at day break early in the mornings as well as very late in the afternoons.
Go to baits for this week:
• SteelShad in all sizes and colors are working great. The mini SteelShad is working the best on points in the mornings when the bait is shallow. The Heavy Series is working over schools of bait in the main lake.
• Captain Mack Mini Mack’s with or without blades, both work great. This bait is catching some hogs while being fished off of deeper points or around bridges and docks.
• Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference. We are catching some good fish on swim baits as well.
• Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head in Green Pumpkin. Use the plastic of your choice. This is the BEST Bass bait that I know of for Lake Hartwell and I will not go to the lake without rods rigged with the Weedless Wonder Shakey Head!
• Top Water Baits. There are too many types to mention but my two favorite are made by SteelShad and Sebile. Now that the fish are moving deeper the Heavy Series SteelShads will cover the deeper bite over schools of bait and fish.
The Crappie bite continues to be excellent on Lake Hartwell! Fishing under bridges in the late evening under lights has continued to produce some big slabs using small minnows or jigs. The Crappie are now in their summer transition and with the warm Lake Hartwell water temperatures being warmer than normal for early June you will surely want to move your fishing patterns to match this situation. You can bet that shooting jigs under deep water shaded docks will be a certain method to catch some good fish. I’m having a blast just fishing empty dock slips with live minnows under floats pitched under the docks while shooting jigs. The deeper stump beds and structures that you have marked on your graph are all key areas to check now as the fish move into their full summer pattern. Casting jigs instead of moving over structure may increase your bite by not spooking the Crappie. These fish will continue to bite jigs and live bait throughout the next few weeks.
Go to Baits:
• Blue Ice Jigs seem to be the go to color on Lake Hartwell right now. You may want to move up to bigger jig heads as the fish move deeper. When every other color fails on Lake Hartwell we find that chartreuse still will catch fish. Bobby Garland is my choice but many other brands also work great.
• Small Minnows under floats. This may not be your cup of tea but it still works and the bigger Crappie will take live bait when they won’t take anything else.
• Chartreuse and white jigs are working well when blue ice or blue grass colors fail.
• Custom Jigs are working if you can find the right ones. It’s still a good idea to see what is selling the best at your local bait shops. If the bait shop is out of certain bait you may want to see when they are scheduled to get their next shipment so that you can give it a try.
Wishing you all tight lines and good fishing! Rick Owen – Lake Hartwell Professional Fishing Guide (Ret.) Certified SCDNR Fishing Instructor
To book your next Lake Hartwell fishing adventure please call Captain Mack Farr