Lake Hartwell Fishing Report March 14 2019 | Sponsored by Hayes Automotive
Written by Rick Owen – Lake Hartwell Professional Fishing Guide
Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for March 14, 2019
Daylight saving time is finally here and that means I have much more time to fish! It’s finally getting the time of the year where all the stars and moons are lining up which means the fishing is going to be great again very soon.
Spring is officially here on March 20th and that’s like a blast off for fishing on Lake Hartwell. It has already begun to get better each and every day and as the weather begins to stabilize the fish will start to bite more aggressively. As you will read below the fishing is improving and will start to peak for all species as the spawning begins. I’m still a believer in following the bait to catch fish, so with Lake Hartwell being a Blue Back Herring lake just keep up with the bait as they get ready to spawn and I guarantee you that you will catch whatever fish you are focusing on.
The fishing for this past week has continued to improve. We still have had a lot of rain in the forecast over this past weekend but the temperatures have returned to normal for this time of the year. It seems like the fishing has been better during the week more so than the weekends. That may be because the weekends have brought rain and the weekdays have been sunny and warmer.
With spring only a week away I’ve already prepped my gear and I’m sitting on ready for the big bite! A good clue for me to move up the lake for pre-spawn fishing is pollen. When I see the trees in bloom and start to see pollen on my boat cover and truck I know that the fish will begin to move in large numbers up the main rivers and creeks. This indicator has started so you will begin to see a large number of fish begin to move quickly up the lake. The more pollen I see the quicker I’ve found the fish moving up the creeks.
We are still seeing a limited amount of quality blueback herring at the bait shops, but it is getting better. It is still a good idea to call and see if your favorite bait shop has what you’re looking for before you plan your trip. The bait catchers are doing their very best to supply the best bait that they can to their customers week and I would not expect to see the bait shops run out of bait anytime in the near future. The current water levels are 661.73, which is 1.73 feet above the 660 full pool levels. The current water temperatures remain in the fifties and should warm up much quicker as warmer days are in the current forecast.
STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS
Striper and Hybrid fishing on Lake Hartwell is getting better day by day. Stripers and Hybrids are bunching up into large schools and taking live bait on down rods and free lines. The Striper and Hybrid bite will get better every week from this point on. You should be able to find fish about anywhere you fish on Lake Hartwell right now as they are on the move. The Captain Mack’s Mini Mack continues to be a huge hit on Lake Hartwell and is still my bait of choice while looking for fish. It continues to be a guaranteed bite for me and my key to locating and catching fish on every trip. With Blueback herring still being limited to smaller baits on occasions the artificial bait can be your go to bait to guarantee you a successful day.
The smaller Blueback Herring can be a reminder to you that it’s always good to be prepared to have a backup plan with artificial bait even if you are a live bait fisherman. There’s nothings worse than getting to a bait shop to see little to no big bait left and to know that you left your U-rigs or Mini Mack’s back at the house.
I’m still catching good Stripers and Hybrids pulling the Mini Mack behind planer boards in my free line spread as well as some good catches while trolling the Mini Mack.
The Capt. Mack’s Mini Mack and full size umbrella rigs will be hot through the rest of the springtime bite. If
you run low or out of quality live bait, rig one up! I personally fish more with my umbrella rigs than I do with live bait because I find that it is my best way to locate fish. I locate and continue to catch fish faster using this pattern 9 times out of 10. If you have not had a chance to fish the Mini Mack rig behind planer boards you are missing out.
Bass fishing has continued to improve and the Bass Master Elite Pros are being seen prefishing for the upcoming Geico Bassmaster Elite Series starting April 4th on Lake Hartwell. You can’t miss these guys when you see them as their boats are moving billboards to their sponsors. It’s usually a treat to see one of the Pro’s on the water and its always a good idea to just watch them for a little while and see what their experience has them casting.
Largemouth and Spotted Bass are being caught on Captain Mack’s Super Spoons, Weedless Wonder‘s, SteelShad and Mini Mack’s. Crank baits and Jerk baits are also baits you should keep in your arsenal. The Captain Mack Mini Mack blade baits are in and you can get them now in limited quantities. Do not overlook this bait, it will catch quality fish and has been proven on Lake Hartwell as a go to bait!
The Largemouth and Spotted Bass are still pulling back up on docks and in shallower waters. They can also be located in creeks, ditches and road beds. The Bass bite is now beginning to lock into an early spring pattern. I’m sure that they will be on bed very soon. It’s time to set up a few rigs with your favorite critter baits for any bass that you may find on bed. I’m still a lizard man when it comes to fishing a bass bed but drop shots and your favorite Plastics will also do well. 8 to 12 for diving crank baits (Shad Raps are hard to beat right now) A-Rigs, and the Kietech Swim baits on your favorite lead head will produce as the fish move into shallow shallow water.
The Crappie bite is still excellent and has really turned on since last week. You would think with all the rain and the muddy creeks that the bite would be tough but it the opposite of what you would think. My sources continue to report that the crappie are still moving up into shallower waters and are being caught in twenty to twenty five feet of water using jigs and minnows. Flat lines and jigs are catching big slabs right now and the fish continue to move shallower. March is the beginning of the Crappie spawn on Lake Hartwell and the fishing will be great all month.
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