Lake Hartwell Fishing Report July 11 2019 | Sponsored by Hayes Automotive
Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for July 11, 2019
I’m not sure that we really know how to appreciate air conditioning until you spend a day fishing Lake Hartwell especially during the last few days of this past week. I can assure you that my boat is back on the trailer before eleven o’clock each morning as the temperatures have reached into the high nineties each morning before noon. It’s not just the air temperature but the extreme humidity that gets the sweat rolling with the heat index reaching over one hundred plus degrees before the sun get up good which has everybody digging into the ice chest for that cold drink. The fishing has been an early morning bite and I’m sure glad for that, the late afternoon and evening bite has also been fair. The fishing will continue to change over the next few weeks and with the right information you should be able to fish early and hit the shade or take a quick dip in the water before having to put your batteries back on the charger. Keep in mind that this can be a dangerous time of the year with the heat and exhaustion that can go with it. You can’t have too much water or Gatorade to drink while you are on the lake during the summer and if you don’t have some type of cover to get under it’s a really good idea to use the sunscreen and dress accordingly. As a personal note I keep a couple of wet Frog Togg Chilly Pads in zip lock bags in my cooler for those who need cooling off quickly.
The Lake Hartwell bite has remained good and many changes will continue to take place as the water continues to heats up and the fish continue to move deeper into the main river channels. The current Lake Hartwell water levels remain above full pool and the current levels are at 660.11 which is.11 feet above the 660 full pool levels. The current water temperature is now in the high– eighties during the early mornings and will reach ninety degrees each day around noon. The water levels will continue to fall with little rain in the forecast with the exception of a few scattered afternoon thunderstorms. 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 is best through the week when the dam is generating power.
STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS
Striper and Hybrid fishing on Lake Hartwell is still good with most of the fish being caught from the middle of the lake past Portman Marina all the way to the dam on the Seneca River side and from Harbor Light Marina towards the dam on the Tugaloo River side of the lake. It’s during these hot summer days that you have to know where to fish and get in that spot as soon as possible. Now it’s not impossible to catch fish later in the day but the fishing can be much tougher on you than if you catch your fish early, I’m currently catching fish before daylight. The live bait bite is still the best way to catch a good box of fish. The Power Reeling bite has been the best way to get the live bait bite started especially in the river channels. If you find the Stripers be sure to drop your Chipmunk Jigs through the school of fish and Power Reel it back through them. Hang on for the hard hitting bite and keep an eye out for your down rods as there are usually fish chasing the jig up that will take your live bait. These fish bite good so be prepared for a fast hook up while Power Reeling as this is a quick way to catch a lot of fish fast! With the warmer water temperatures it’s important to keep a good look at your bait. If a rod is not getting the bite over fish chances are that your bait is dead. It’s during this time of the year I use a heavier sinker to get the bait down as quickly as possible so that it does not get shocked when it hits the surface water of the lake. If you are not using a Keep Alive O2 System you might want to make that investment now. This system helps keep your bait water cooler and the oxygen will jack your bait up and you will see a noticeable difference. Many more changes will take place over the next few weeks and you will have to continue to change your techniques to catch Stripers. If you can stand the hot afternoons the leadcore bite will begin and the umbrella rigs will continue to still be a good way to catch fish once they are located in the river channels. Don’t overlook the afternoon bite; if you find a school of fish in the morning the chances are they will be close by the same location in the late afternoon.
Go to baits for this week.
- Live Blueback Herring fished on down rods and freelines. The bait shops are all suppling nice big quality bait. Try rigging these bait on the new Okuma Striper Rods that Captain Mack Offers. I have tested these rods and the action they provide makes the live bait bite a lot of fun!
- Keep Alive Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait during the summer months.
- 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. The fish are still biting the Mini Mack behind planer boards and will do so until the water temperatures get above eighty five plus degrees.
- Perfect Planer Boards. The early morning free line bite behind Planer Boards is still working great before the fish move deep.
- Chipmunk Jigs for Power Reeling, it time to stock up as Power Reeling will soon take off. I suggest the 2oz with stinger hook rigged on a Captain Mack Power Reeling Mustard Stick Rod. You will not find another rod that will work better for Power Reeling.
- Parker Spoons also used to Power Reel. This bite will only get better as the bigger fish move into deeper water.
- Garden Hat and lots to drink, lol.
The Lake Hartwell Largemouth Bass as well as Spotted Bass bite continues to be good. Most of the bass boats are still focused on shallow points and around underwater islands, shoals, ditches and old road beds. The early morning bite is best before the sun gets up over the trees. Be sure to have a good top water bait rigged as the Spotted Bass are still schooling some early in the mornings. Don’t overlook the coves and flats near the river channels and near or over trees, the Largemouth and Spotted Bass are taking live bait deep while Striper fishing so they should take the bait of your choice in the deeper waters. 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. The evening bite is still good and the fish are pulling up on the points and around dock lights.
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!
- 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 has continued to be fair on Lake Hartwell shooting docks or fishing near bridges or structure. We will be back with an updated Crappie Report when it cools off and I start back Crappie fishing or when I hear something that needs to be shared.
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 – 1.888.989.8052