Lake Hartwell Fishing Report August 7 2019
What can I say other than this past week was a homerun on Lake Hartwell. Not a single day on the lake that the fishing wasn’t absolutely great! You might say Rick its August so how long is this going to last? Not much longer but with the cooler weather that we’ve experienced over the last couple of weeks which has held the water temperatures at bay sure has been a tremendous help to the fishing on Lake Hartwell.
I know that there are going to be those that will say that they have had a tough week on Lake Hartwell but I assure you if you were in the right place at the right time during this past week you had rods bent under your boat. So, by the time you are reading this report the temperatures are scheduled to be back into the mid-nineties so I would expect to see some major changes take place almost immediately and those changes will be covered as soon as I get next week’s report written. This has been a tough week for me not because of the fishing conditions but because my main fishing buddies are all out west on a family vacation which started out in Colorado traveling through Wyoming and ending up in Montana.
I sure miss my three Grandsons that fish with me every other Saturday without exception and although I hope that they have a grand old time I’ll sure be happy to see them back in the boat again with rods tucked under their arms and drag screaming off of their reels. This week the air temperatures are forecast to be back up in the nineties once again so let’s just see how long it will be before the warmer days start to make a difference on Lake Hartwell. Enjoy the current good days of fishing because the tougher days might be right around the corner; in the meantime let’s go fishing! The Lake Hartwell bite has remained really 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 659.07 which are 0.93 feet below the 660 full pool levels. This same time last year the lake was over a foot and a half fuller than it is this year. The current water temperature have dropped into the mid- eighties and have been holding at these temperatures during the over cast days. With hotter days in the upcoming forecast I would expect that the water temperatures will rise again quickly back into the ninety degree levels. 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 been great this past week with most of the fish continuing to be caught from the middle of the lake and all the way to the dam as the fish continue to move into the deeper waters. For now the live bait bite is still really good if you are in the right spot with live bait under the boat right before sunrise. This bite continues to be a fast and hard bite but it can be over with about as fast as it starts. My best live bait bite has been from 5:30am until 7:30am. Keeping your bait alive is a key element to this early morning bite. I’m adding a five gallon bucket of ice to my bait tank as well as running O2 to keep my bait in great shape. I’ve been asked the question this week more than once, how are you keeping your bait in such good shape? It has everything to do with water temperatures, salt and good O2 levels. The bait will not scale as bad if you treat it kindly when dipping the bait and keep your water temperatures in the sixties and pump the oxygen to them while they are in your tank.
You have all heard the old phrase, “my daddy can beat up your daddy.” Well it’s the same thing with the bait, “my bait can beat your bait if I treat it right.” If you fail to treat your bait with extreme care they will scale easily and die quickly on the hook. I never dip more than one single bait at a time and I don’t let anyone else handle bait before I put it on a hook. I said it last week and I’ll say it again, I can’t express to you just how important the handling of live bait can be during the hottest months of the year, it can mean the difference in catching fish or getting skunked. If you have a rod that’s not getting bitten change the bait immediately, it’s usually dead if the rods not bent under the boat. I’ve found that over this past week that the bait will not live if fished on the bottom. I’m catching most of my fish suspending bait over the fish. As soon as the live bait bite is over with I start trolling my Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs and this will help me finish out my day. While trolling if you mark a large school of fish in the river channel suspended be sure to Power Reel these fish, they will bite almost every time.
This past week I have seen some really nice quality fish caught so the bigger Stripers and Hybrid are showing back up. If you don’t mind staying up late at night the night fishing will be good for the rest of this month. I have always enjoyed night fishing even though I don’t do it much anymore but now is the time to crank the generator and put your lights out to catch those nighttime fish, the Stripers don’t sleep at night and they will bite well once you get a massive school of bait under your boat. Now is the best time of the year to climb into a boat that teaches all the different method’s that you can use to locate fish and catch Stripers and Hybrids while learning all the seasonal patterns that Stripers and Hybrids follow as well as the best ways to catch these fish during these different seasons.
Now there are only a couple of professional Striper fishermen that will share everything that you need to know to catch Stripers and Hybrids but 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 nice big quality bait. Be sure to add ice and O2 to your tank to keep this bait healthy during your trip.
• This has been my first week to pair up the Okuma Live Bait Rods with the Okuma Cold Water CW203D reels. What 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.
• 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.
• SteelShad are still working great 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.
• 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/Hawg 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 continues to be good. Bass boats are still focused on shallow points and around underwater islands, shoals, ditches and old road beds. We are still catching a lot of quality Spotted Bass and Largemouth Bass on humps near the main river channels in forty plus feet of water. Don’t overlook the back of coves and places where there are a lot of docks. A Captain Mack Weedless Wonder rigged with a Zoom Pumpkinseed worm will still get the job done. We are still seeing a lot of one to two pound fish chasing bait along the shallow water banks early in the mornings. We have also seen some bigger fish schooling on live bait near the river channels very early right at daybreak every morning.
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 good and the fish are pulling up on the points and around dock lights. With the water temperatures beginning to warm back up the bass fishing will get 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.
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