Lake Hartwell Fishing Report August 29 2019
Just a couple of days from today and this month will have gone out with a bang. This is Labor Day weekend which is always the last big weekend of the summer season and in most cases the last time you will see huge numbers of folks on the water as they cover their boats and campers up until next year. With this also being the first week that the kids have returned school, and college football blasting off, some of us are more excited about our home teams and a bucket of chicken wings than fishing. It’s easy to see how having time to get out on the water could now play second fiddle. If you are one of the many that find yourself getting off the water due to other activities let me provide you with some encouragement.
These next few months can provide you with some great fishing on Lake Hartwell and you don’t have to sit in line at the dock to load or unload your boat or battle a Lake Hartwell Heat Wave. As the summer season begins to come to an end the fishing continues to be good and it’s one of my preferred times to be on the water. So don’t cover the boat up just yet or put your sunglasses up, if you do you will surely be missing out on a great opportunity. So let’s go fishing! 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 this past week. The levels at the time of this report are 658.24 which are 1.76 feet below the 660 full pool levels.
The current water temperature seem to be hovering around eighty seven degrees about all day. With cooler evening in the upcoming forecast I would expect that the water temperatures will begin to fall during the week. The Army Corp of Engineers is continuing with their normal summertime generating schedules.
STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS
Striper and Hybrid fishing on Lake Hartwell has continued to be good. The fishing this past week has still been foreseeable with the only exception being that we are catching Stripers and Hybrids pulling free lines in shallower waters where we don’t normally catch fish during this time of the year. The Stripers and Hybrids are hanging out in thirty five feet of water before the sun comes up and right at sunrise. This is not typical but I have seen this before on Lake Hartwell and when the bait will only stay alive at thirty feet below the boat but dies on the bottom so guess where you are going to catch your fish before the sun get up above the tree line. We are catching a lot of fish on free lines which is not typical for this time of year, but again this information was pulled from past experiences and details in my log books. This is one of the main reasons that I stress in my Instructional Trips the importance of keeping a log book so that you will always have the ability to go back and check the conditions from previous years to help predict from one year or one season from another and locate fish based on past experiences. The Striper and Hybrid fishing will continue to be good especially now that the weather has cooled off some in the evenings.
I believe that the late summer pattern and the early fall patterns will make an easy transition if the weather continues to be stable. If this happens the fish will begin to school on top sooner than later. The golden nuggets of advice for this week are, the fish are coming to you if you drum them and fishing umbrella rigs will catch fish every time that you fish them when the fish are suspended in the shallower water. If you are interested in learning all the tricks to catching Stripers and Hybrid now is a great time to get in the boat on an Instructional Trip.
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. This is it, it’s one of the things that I was put here to do. 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 freelines. 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 lead core line. Pulling this rig behind your planer boards will work great right now!
• 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 lead core line. It’s time to stock up as Power Reeling and lead core 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 lead core 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 continues to be 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. Just about every weekend there is a bass tournament blasting off somewhere on Lake Hartwell. I have seen a bunch of boats fishing the shoals near the dam but I’m not seeing many fish being caught. We are still catching a lot of quality Spotted Bass and Largemouth Bass on humps or in ditches near the main river channels before the sun gets up above the tree lines but as soon as the sun gets up the Bass move deeper or into cover. Lake Hartwell is a Blueback Herring Lake so keep that in mind when selecting your jigs or plugs, don’t overlook fishing a fluke shallow or deep right now.
Bass are still in the back of coves and places where there are a lot of deep water docks. I’m seeing a lot of bass suspended 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. 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.
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. The sexy shad is working the best on Lake Hartwell.
• 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.
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.
• Humminbird Solix or Helix graph. These graphs have superior side imaging and down imaging and are worth every cent if you are looking to locate Crappie.
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