Lake Hartwell Fishing Report June 12 2019 | Sponsored by Hayes Automotive
Written by Rick Owen – Lake Hartwell Professional Fishing Guide
Well if you like to fish as much as I do it’s been very hard to get enthusiastic about all the rain that we have seen since last week’s report, I actually got wet again today! We knew it was coming and it seems that over the last few years these fronts have been the pattern for June. If you didn’t get wet over the past several days it was because you didn’t go fishing. On top of that we experienced a 2.3 magnitude earthquake three miles west of Reed Creek on Lake Hartwell Monday morning June 10th, maybe this June will be another one for the record books. This same time last year we experienced these same types of weather conditions that brought heavy rain and flooding to our area which played a part in holding Lake Hartwell over four feet above full pool this same time in 2018. I am happy to see the temperatures drop which will maintain the good fishing that we have experienced over the last several weeks. We have been lucky that we did not have a part in the severe weather that came through several states in the mid-west that brought over one hundred tornadoes and mass flooding to many areas that had never seen this type of devastation.
This same storm made its way into the southeast bringing huge amounts of rain into Georgia and South Carolina which will have an effect on Lake Hartwell as well as all the lakes on the Savannah River chain. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those in the mid-west who lost their homes and businesses due to these serious weather conditions. The Lake Hartwell bite has continued to be excellent for the weather to have made another drastic change. Our air temperatures have gone from the mid-eighties to the mid-sixties in the evening and not getting above the mid-seventies during the day with a few days that reached the high eighties during the late afternoons; this was a big change from the ninety degree days we experienced in the first week of June.
Many of those who would have filled Lake Hartwell during this past weekend decided to stay off the lake due to the heavy rain, thunder and lightning. It’s not normal for me to show up at the marina to unload the boat in June and no one else is there, much less than to see many campers packing up and leaving their prime campsites to get out of the hard hitting weather of this past weekend. The current Lake Hartwell water levels remain above full pool and the current levels are at 661.36 which is1.36 feet above the 660 full pool levels. The current water temperature is now in the high- seventies during the early mornings and has maintained this temperature throughout the day. The water levels and water temperatures should bounce back as the weather heats back up over the next week. 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 now is the best time to fish Lake Hartwell.
STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS
Striper and Hybrid fishing on Lake Hartwell continues to be great with fish still being caught all over the lake. Even with the stormy weather and major change in the water conditions the bite has remained strong. With the cooler water temperatures and with the amount of water that will continue to run into Lake Hartwell over the next few days I would suggest that the current fishing patterns will remain the same as last week’s report. Once the water begins to heat back up the fish will continue to move into deeper and cooler waters near the dam. As for the rest of this week I would follow the same fishing patterns that we covered in last week’s report. As a personal note I would like to take this moment to remember a special Lake Hartwell fishing guide and the previous owner of The Bait Shop in Anderson SC. Wayne White passed away Saturday June 8th after a long battle and fight for his life.
Wayne was the past owner of The Bait Shop and the owner of Fish Tales Guide Service before his health failed. He was a kind man and a good fisherman, if you bought bait from Wayne you already know how generous he was. I could always depend on Wayne to provide those who visited his Bait Shop a good fishing report when needed and a positive attitude along with his firm hand shake and his signature smile. I will always remember Wayne as a fisherman who always put his whole heart into living life to the fullest. Our prayers and thoughts go out to Professional Lake Hartwell Fishing Guide Wayne White and his family during their loss, Wayne White will be missed!
Go to baits for this week:
• SteelShad is my go to bait 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! They really payed off with the bad weather this past week.
• Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – they will catch good fish if trolled or pulled behind your Perfect Planer Boards. I’m using them as a search tool when looking for fish in deep water coves where I normally catch fish this time of the year.
• Perfect Planer Boards. The early morning free line bite behind Planer Boards is still working great.
• Chipmunk Jigs for Power Reeling, it time to stock up as Power Reeling will soon take off. I suggest the 2oz with stinger hook.
Lake Hartwell has always been known as a prime lake for Bass fishing! With 962 miles of shoreline you will have to fish more than I do to cover it all. We are still seeing some really nice catches of largemouth Bass as well as Spotted Bass every week! These bass can be found early in the mornings in shallow waters with some schooling activity on points and in many cases right in the middle of the river feeding on large schools of bait. Largemouth and Spotted Bass are still being caught on Weedless Wonders, SteelShads, Mini Mack’s as well as your various Crank baits, Spinner baits, Topwater baits, Jerk baits and swim baits. The evening bite has really picked up over this past week and several of the evening tournaments have produced some big bags of fish at their weigh in.
I’m still catching Large Mouth Bass, Spotted Bass, Stripers and Hybrids fishing with SteelShads. We have found that the Spotted Bass will attack this bait like no other. If you have not given this bait a try you are missing out on a great bite… Many of the larger Bass have moved back to their favorite docks and the Spotted Bass are starting to show up schooling on shallow points at day break early in the mornings as well as very late in the afternoons. With the cooler weather I would suggest that the Bass will stay shallow for another week.
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.
• 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 swim baits 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 will 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 continues to be excellent on Lake Hartwell! Now is the time to use your SI on your Humminbird Units. The Crappie are moving back into structure and using your side imaging will be your biggest help in locating these fish. The Crappie post Spawn bite usually is great on Lake Hartwell and if you identify where the fish are you will have no problem catching them. If you set your Humminbird up correctly you will just about be able to count the fish on your graph. Casting jigs instead of moving over structure may increase your bite by not spooking the Crappie. The live bait bite will continue to produce some good fish and is a good way to keep bait in the water while fishing jigs.
It’s still fun to watch your floats go under while casting jigs at the same time. These fish will continue to bite jigs and live bait throughout the next few weeks. If you love to fish for panfish now is a great time to get the red worms and crickets out and take a kid fishing. The bream bite has been great! If you have a group of kids that would be interested in taking a SCDNR Fishing Class at no cost to them and a fun day of catching Bream just let me know. I furnish everything that’s needed.
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.
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