Lake Hartwell Fishing Report April 17 2019 | Sponsored by Hayes Automotive
Written by Rick Owen – Lake Hartwell Professional Fishing Guide
Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report April 17 2019
What a week! Schools are out for spring break which means that I’m going to be spending every day that the weather permits on the water. My grandkids are always quick to remind me that if I do not have someone else scheduled to fish while they are out of school that the standing orders are Grandma is to cook breakfast very early while I load the boat to get them in line at the bait shop as early as possible. They believe that being the first in line to get bait brings them good luck and sometimes I think they may be right.
It’s always a treat to fish anyone who enjoys fishing as much as I do, but there’s always something special about taking a boat load of kids fishing. I’m quick to remember the times that I spent with those who introduced me to the sport of fishing and those memories that left a huge impression on my life so it’s a fact that the memories that I’m able to create with my Grandkids and others fishing will always be trips that I will always treasure.
Happy Easter to all the readers that read Captain Mack’s Fishing Reports. It’s a great time to reflect just how Blessed we all are! The fishing for this week will continue to be great. Almost all Lake Hartwell species are locking into the spawn which makes catching fish much easier than any other times of the year. The fish continue to be very predictable and if you follow their normal patterns for this time of the year it’s almost a guaranteed bite.
The Lake Hartwell water levels remain above full pool due to a few April storms that have brought rainfall which have the levels at 660.68, which is .68 feet above the 660 full pool levels. Be careful to plan any fishing trip around the weather forecast to be sure that you don’t get caught in any of the severe storms that we are starting to see which are normal for the early spring. The current water temperatures have reached the mid to high sixties which are prime water temperatures for fishing Lake Hartwell. 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 it’s a great time to fish Lake Hartwell.
STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS
Striper and Hybrid fishing on Lake Hartwell is awesome right now with the fish continuing to move up the lake and into shallower waters to follow through with their false spawn. Now that the water temperatures have reached into the sixties the fish metabolism is just right and the fish are preparing to dump their eggs and the Striper and Hybrid bite is fast and furious.
The Stripers and Hybrids are biting early morning before daylight as well as overnight for those who don’t mind spending a few hours after dark sitting on anchor to catch fish. Stripers and Hybrids are still scattered all over the lake but many schools are moving up the rivers for their false spawn. The live bait bite is great right now and if you like to catch fish on down rods and freel ines you won’t be disappointed. The point fishing is really good now so if you don’t have a problem beaching your boat on a red or sandy point give it a try. The fish are usually found on major points right off of a river or creek channel and if they are on a point you can usually catch them as soon as you get your bait in the water.
My favorite way to fish this method is to fish live or cut bait Carolina rigged off the bottom with bait thrown out around the back of the boat once you get beached. If you don’t catch fish right away you may want to move to
another point ASAP. Free ines with or without planer boards are catching a lot of fish after the sun starts to come up and they will usually bite up until lunch time. I’ve found that may times the larger fish come off the free ines even though we are not currently seeing many big Stripers on Lake Hartwell. We are catching fish off of down rods, free lines, U-Rigs and casting top water baits as well as swim baits like a SteelShad.
The Stripers are still experiencing some parasite problems but it does not seem that it has slowed their appetite any. The largest Striper that I have personally heard about over this past week weighed around ten pounds but according to SCDNR they have shocked up several big Stripers so hang in there and maybe a big fish will show when you are fishing up the river where the biggest fish should be right now.
Our two biggest Lake Hartwell Striper Clubs (Striper Kings and Appalachian Striper Club) fished tournaments this past Saturday with the largest fish being weighed in by Team Gettin Bent of Striper Kings winning their tournament with a big fish weighing 10.64 pounds. This was the biggest fish caught out of the two tournaments so with the best of the best fishing during this time of the year working hard to catch a big fish you can still see that catching a big Striper is going to be tough this year.
Bass fishing is as good as it’s going to get right now! If you see a bass boat on the water right now they will most likely be sight fishing really close to the banks. I believe that about every bass club around this area are fishing tournaments on Lake Hartwell every weekend. Largemouth and Spotted Bass are still being caught on Weedless Wonders, SteelShads, Mini Mack’s and various Crank baits, Spinner baits, Topwater baits, Spro McStiks and of course your favorite plastics. 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 during the Bass spawn.
The Crappie bite remains excellent and will continue to peak this month. I had the opportunity to fish my dad and a couple of friends over this past week one night under a bridge and we caught over a good hundred crappie off of minnows and we were back at home by 2am. After cleaning our fish we had twenty two quart bags of fillets. Now we are planning a fish fry and I’m looking forward to it as crappie are my favorite fish to eat.
Dock shooting after the sun comes up is still working as well as fishing blow downs and shallow brush piles.
For those who are diehard Crappie fishermen you may want to check out the first ever inaugural Crappie Expo, October 4-6 in Hot Springs Arkansas. This event will be free to the public and will host not only the Crappie Expo but also a Crappie Tournament with the best of the best Crappie Pro’s from around the country as well as the world’s largest Crappie fish fry, now that’s enough right there to make me want to go. I will provide more information in the upcoming reports but this Crappie Expo will be a great event for those of us who want to see the best that the industry has to offer while meeting and talking with many of the best Crappie fishermen in the world.
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