Lake Hartwell Fishing Report October 4 2019
Okay, it’s the first week of October and I’m really ready for some fall weather. I went by my local produce stand this week to pick up some fresh tomatoes, (I had a craving for a BLT) and they had boxes of pumpkins sitting everywhere in ninety five degree heat. Now you have to be kidding pumpkins and it’s still in the nineties every day maybe if they sit in the sun long enough we want have to cook one to get a pumpkin pie! It continues to be very hot on Lake Hartwell and the only thing dropping is the Lake Hartwell water levels with no rain over the past few weeks and nothing forecast in the near future. So this week I’m headed to Arkansas for the Crappie Expo and I’m driving my truck so I can drag back some cooler weather. I know that we all are ready to turn the air conditioners off and feel that morning chill sooner than later and I also know that we are all looking forward to seeing the fishing improve as it always does during the month of October.
It’s going to happen, the last time I looked we still have four seasons even though sometimes it seems like we miss spring and fall and go straight from summer to winter. This just has been one of those years when complaining is not going to change anything so I will do like I always do when something like this heat gets me aggravated, I Just Go Fishing!
The Lake Hartwell bite continues to be fair with the water conditions’ changing daily so it can still be tough for fishing. The current Lake Hartwell water levels continue to drop with now rain this past week and no rain in the forecast anytime soon. Even now that autumn is here we will see many more days in the nineties and we will need several cooler days to improve the fishing.
If nothing changes in the forecast we may see some cooler weather by this weekend so let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that the much needed cooler weather makes its way into our area.
The Lake Hartwell water levels at the time of this report are 656.24 which are 3.76 feet below the 660 full pool levels. The lake levels continue to drop with no rain falling into Lake Hartwell and with the Army Corp of Engineers following their normal summertime generating schedules. The current water temperature is holding around 83 degrees each day.
STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS
Striper and Hybrid fishing on Lake Hartwell continues to get tougher due to the water conditions and the high temperatures over this past week. The water temperatures are still above what we should be seeing during October and this one element alone will contribute to when the Striper fishing will improve. This past week we had a corporate trip out with fifteen boats with the best Striper/Hybrid guides on the lake and there were several that didn’t catch a single fish and all together there were just enough fish to fill up a big cooler. Now this was due to a later start than normal with most Stripers being caught on live bait before the sun gets above the tree line and with a departure around eight in the morning sure put us all behind the eight ball. I have seen some sporadic fish schooling but it has been hit and misses and this also will not improve until the water surface temperatures begin to drop.
It’s a good idea from this week on to keep some top water baits tied on and a few ultra-light freelines rigged so that as soon as the fish begin to school you are ready to catch them when they surface. This pattern could begin any day now so as a rule I’m prepared for this bite as you never know when it will start. My Golden Nuggets for this week is to continue to get your bait in the water before the sun comes up; this is the best way to get fish in the boat before the sun gets above the tree line. As you slowly move along over the schools of fish I have found that if you deploy a few of your Captain Mack Mini Mack’s behind planer boards you will pick up some fish along the sides of your boat. Power reeling the fish that are under the boat will also work; you can drop your Captain Mack Chipmunk Jig or your Parker Spoon right into the fish that are holding in deeper water right under your boat.
Also don’t hesitate to deploy your umbrella rigs; the magic number is still two hundred feet behind the boat at 2.5 miles an hour in or on the edge of the river channel. We continue to have the great opportunity to fish Instructional Trips and this gives us the opportunity to meet some really good fishermen while doing so. It is a pleasure to fish these folks and a fun way to teach Striper fishing while making new fishing friends. As we have said before when the fishing conditions get tough it’s the best time to get out on the water for an Instructional Trip. It’s during these times you can learn all the techniques to catching Stripers and Hybrids.
When you fish an Instructional Trip you will learn everything there is to know about catching Stripers and Hybrids on Lake Hartwell or your home lake, so if you are interested in learning all the tricks to catching Stripers and Hybrid now is one of the best times to get in a teaching boat for an Instructional 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 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 and the four arm nine bait rigs are working the best. The heavy rigs are getting deeper where the fish are hanging out.
• Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – they will catch good fish if trolled or pulled behind your Perfect Planer Boards or trolled behind leadcore line. Pulling this rig behind your planer boards early mornings 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 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 Spoons also used to Power Reel. This bite will only get better as the bigger fish move into deeper water.
Well we have been waiting for the Bass fishing to improve and it has finally happened. The Threadfin Shad have started to school on the surface early in the mornings and again in the late evenings and that’s all it has taken for the Spotted Bass to make their attack on the surface for some great top water action. The Spotted Bass are all over the lake so if you keep your eyes peeled and do your homework you will not have much trouble locating these feeding frenzies.
Largemouth and Spotted Bass are still being caught on Weedless Wonders rigged with several different plastics. You can’t fish to shallow to catch some good Largemouth Bass in the backs of coves. The resident Largemouth can be found packed up in the backs of many coves so when you find them you will boat some heavy fish. SteelShads, Mini Mack’s as well as your various Crankbaits, Spinner baits, Topwater baits, Jerkbaits and swimbaits are all working well. My golden nugget to share with you this week is to fish a Captain Mack Mini Mack on the schooling fish and you might just hook up on a couple of doubles which is a BLAST!
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. This bait produces a guaranteed bite when fished in schooling fish.
• Captain Mack under Spin Jig.
• 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 rigged with a Robo six inch Morning Dawn. Use the plastic of your choice. The Captain Mack Weedless Wonder 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!
• Larry Dahlberg 90 Whopper Plopper. A great bait for the Top Water bite.
By the time you read this report I will be at the 2019 Crappie Expo in Hot Springs Arkansas. I hope to be able to return early next week with some good information for the upcoming reports for this year’s fall and winter fishing on Lake Hartwell. Stay tune for the upcoming Crappie Reports.
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