Lake Hartwell Fishing Report August 22 2019
If I hear the words “Heat Index” one more time this month I may have to write my weather man a short little note and ask him to let me know what his Webster’s Dictionary definition is for HOT! It sure seems that when the weather is going to be one hundred plus degrees in the shade you would just let folks know it’s going to be really hot but instead we have to guess just how hot it’s going to get on Lake Hartwell based on the heat index. By the time that you are reading this Lake Hartwell Fishing Report we will be right in the middle of the most predictable weather pattern for August weather and luckily we will have some scattered rain showers forecast almost every day this week.
Let’s all be happy about the rain because it does drop the air temperatures some and we need the rain and it will have no influence on the fishing conditions. It’s during the month of August that I’m thankful for the T-Top on my boat and those who fish with me will slip under this limited amount of real-estate quickly as they claim their fishing spot almost in a sneaky kind of way. One good thing about fishing in the last couple of weeks of August, you don’t get very many complaints when you tell a group that we are leaving the dock at five o’clock in the morning so that we have a good chance of catching fish and getting back off the water before we get hit with the “heat index” or ultimately before it gets HOT! The Lake Hartwell bite has remained good with the water conditions remaining favorable for fishing.
The current Lake Hartwell water levels continue to drop with only brief showers over the past week. The levels at the time of this report are 658.19 which are 1.81 feet below the 660 full pool levels. The current water temperature have started to rise again and are in the mid- eighties before sunrise and will be in the high eighties by noon. With cooler days in the upcoming forecast by the weekend I would expect that the water temperatures will remain in the high eighties over the rest of this week.
The Army Corp of Engineers will continue with their normal summertime generating schedules now that the summer demands are in full swing. The Striper and Hybrid bite continues to be the best through the week when the dam is generating power.
STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS
Striper and Hybrid fishing on Lake Hartwell has continued to be good. What I’m seeing right now is the average size fish that we are catching on Lake Hartwell ranges from two to six pounds as these fish can tolerate the warmer waters and are much easier to locate and catch early in the mornings and late in the afternoons right at sunset. My best live bait bite continues to be from 5:30am until 8:30am in the mornings and from 6:30 until dark in the afternoons. I’m catching all of my fish suspending bait over the fish or by pulling umbrella rigs into or over the schools when they bunch up over bait balls or on the edge of the river channels. For those who have never pulled a Captain Mack Umbrella Rig let me give you the results of this past Saturdays Georgia Appalachian Striper Club Tournament on Lake Hartwell.
First of all it was a night tournament and it started at six pm this past Friday night. After fishing all night the first place winners started pulling umbrella rigs before sun up. They caught their best fish pulling Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs starting at five o’clock Saturday morning, and yes they caught some good fish on their Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs in the dark! Congratulations to Team Harvey for their win and with their big fish weighing nearly nine pounds off
of a U-Rig. By the way, the two largest fish weighed in at the tournament came off of Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs. Now let me ask you a question, what’s keeping you from learning how to pull umbrella rigs when you can catch Stripers and Hybrids before the sun comes up and as the sun goes down or for that matter any time of the day? I started a few days ago trolling leadcore very near the dam and in the river channels where the larger Stripers will be staged in the cooler waters. I’m pulling my leadcore at eight colors with a twelve foot leader and the new one ounce Captain Mack under spin jig and Captain Mack Chipmunk Jigs with a white or chartreuse trailer. If you have not tried the new Captain Mack under Spin jig you might want to get you a supply right away as these jigs will catch fish.
The leadcore bite is slow right now on Lake Hartwell and the fish that are being caught are not the big Stripers that we will see later in the year. We know that last year’s fish kill killed a bunch of the bigger Stripers and this has had a huge impact on the size of the fish that are currently being caught on Lake Hartwell, but there are still some big fish to catch if you put the baits down deep in the river channels where they are hanging out. Personally I’m looking forward to the cooler weather to return when the big fish move back into the shallow waters in the backs of the creeks where I can catch them on live bait behind a planer board or flat line or while pulling my U-Rigs in the creeks. This is my favorite way to catch a big fish and it’s a guaranteed live fish release back into the cold water.
For now the live bait bite is still really good as well as the umbrella rig bite. The leadcore bite will get better before the end of the month and this bite can be good in the mornings, mid-day or late afternoon. Over the last few weeks we have had the opportunity to fish several Instructional Trips and those who have been in the boat have been able to go back out on their own and duplicate what they have learned about how to fish for Stripers and Hybrids. Even though the fishing is not at its best right now I believe that there is no better time of the year to learn all the details that will make you a better Striper and Hybrid fisherman all twelve months of the year. There are so many important facts that can be learned to make you successful during the year no matter the season and you will learn techniques that will put fish in the boat when others are not doing so well. Many of these techniques are as simple as changing the rods that you are using to match the fish that you are catching, or learning new techniques like Umbrella Rigs and leadcore. Here’s a free golden nugget of advice that has increased my ability to catch more fish on Lake Hartwell, change your live bait rods to a rod that has a very limber rod tip.
The current rods that I’m using for live bait fishing is an Okuma Classic Pro Striper Rod. This rod will increase your live bait fishing catch ratio tremendously. When a Striper or Hybrid takes the bait on this rod they never feel the rod tip until they are already hooked up. Trust me this makes a huge difference! Now there are only a couple of professional Striper fishermen that will share everything that you need to know to catch Stripers and Hybrids so if you get a chance to get into a teaching boat take that trip. This could be the best trip that you will ever take and it will increase your odds of catching fish tremendously on any Striper or Hybrid lake. If you are interested in booking an Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.
Go to baits for this week:
• Live Blueback Herring fished on down rods and free lines. The bait shops are all suppling quality bait. Be sure to add ice and O2 to your tank to keep this bait healthy during your trip.
• Okuma Classic Pro Striper Rods. This live Bait Rod paired with the Okuma Cold Water CW203D reel is a great match, this rod and reel combo is the perfect Striper and Hybrid combo and it is unmatched in its ability to handle a good fish while giving you all you need to enjoy the fight. This rod and reel combo is the perfect tool and I would give this rod and reel an A++ for Striper Live Bait Fishing. If you choose another reel that is up to you but try the Okuma Classic Striper Rod side by side with your other rods and I promise you that you will see the difference immediately.
• Captain Mack under Spin Jigs. This Jig is new to the market and you will be hearing a lot of good things about it as it puts fish in your boat.
• Keep Alive Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait during the summer months. I personally believe that it will help keep your bait in perfect condition during a hot day and increase your odds of catching fish.
• Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs. I will not go to the lake without them! The Umbrella Rig bite is a guaranteed bite right now.
• Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – they will catch good fish if trolled or pulled behind your Perfect Planer Boards or trolled behind leadcore line.
• Perfect Planer Boards. The early morning free line bite behind Planer Boards will return later in the fall so now is a good time to get your Planer Boards ready for the upcoming fall fishing patterns.
• Chipmunk Jigs for Power Reeling or while pulling leadcore line. It’s time to stock up as Power Reeling and leadcore pulling has now taken off. I suggest the 2oz with or without stinger hooks rigged on a Captain Mack Mustard Stick Rod. You will not find another rod that will work better for Power Reeling, pulling Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs or while pulling leadcore line.
• Parker Spoons also used to Power Reel. This bite will only get better as the bigger fish move into deeper water.
The Lake Hartwell Largemouth Bass as well as Spotted Bass bite is fair. There sure is no shortage of bass boats fishing on the weekends and most are still focused on shallow points and around underwater islands, shoals, ditches and old road beds. I’ve talked with several Bass fishermen that are struggling some during these
last few days and even a few that got skunked. The Bass fishing can be tough during the hotter months and the bite usually depends more on being in the right location very early when the fish are shallow. We are still catching a lot of quality Spotted Bass and Largemouth Bass on humps or in ditches near the main river channels in forty plus feet of water but after the sun gets up the Bass move deeper or into cover.
Don’t overlook the back of coves and places where there are a lot of deep water docks. I’m seeing a lot of bass in the trees on my Humminbird down imaging and these fish will charge a live bait if I drop one so I would have to believe that they would attack the right artificial bait if fished correctly. We are still seeing a lot of one to two pound fish chasing bait along the shallow water banks early in the mornings. Most of these fish are hanging out in the shadows of docks and trees that are providing them some shade. The early morning bite is best before the sun gets up over the trees. Largemouth and Spotted Bass are still being caught on Weedless Wonders rigged with several different plastics, SteelShads, Mini Mack’s as well as your various Crankbaits, Spinner baits, Topwater baits, Jerkbaits and swimbaits.My personal bait of choice is the Weedless Wonder rigged and fished off the bottom near docks or in the backs of coves.
The evening bite is still fair and the fish are pulling up on the points and around dock lights after sunset. With the water temperatures beginning to warm back up the bass fishing will get even tougher so the early morning bite may be your best bet for catching the five fish you need!
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. Be prepared to throw this bait at schooling fish for a guaranteed hook up.
• 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 swimbaits 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 recommend that you not go to the lake without rods rigged with the Weedless Wonder Shakey Head!
I will be back later in the year with an updated Lake Hartwell Crappie Report when it cools off and I start back Crappie fishing or when I hear something that needs to be shared. I have made my reservations to attend the 2019 Crappie Expo at Lake Hamilton, October 4-6 in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The Expo and Crappie Tournaments are going to be a BIG deal! With the 100,000 – square foot Expo Center already being filled with every Crappie related vender and companies motived and ready to support this first ever inaugural event. I will provide a report of what happens at this event when I return.
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 at – 770-235-813