Lake Hartwell Fishing Report September 11 2019
Bright blue skies and it’s bone dry this September with very little rain in the forecast and absolutely no rain worth mentioning over the last few weeks means only one thing, it’s HOT on Lake Hartwell! The temperatures are reaching into the nineties almost every day and this has finally had a big impact on our fishing. It’s tough when you can’t find a cloud in the sky and with the temperatures dropping into the seventies each evening after dark but rising back into the nineties before lunchtime the following day the lake water conditions are becoming undesirable very fast.
Luckily our area was spared the catastrophic hurricane that nearly wiped out the Bahamas and battered our east coast but we surely will continue to keep those folks in our prayers as they try to put their lives back together again. On our worst day we are very blessed beyond words compared to so many, so we will not let a little tough water conditions fishing on Lake Hartwell hinder our ability to keep fishing and waiting on the day when we finally feel fall in the air.
It’s coming soon, So Let’s Go Fishing! The Lake Hartwell bite is good but with the water conditions’ changing daily it’s starting to become tougher for fishing.
The current Lake Hartwell water levels continue to drop with no rain worth mentioning for several weeks now. The levels at the time of this report are 657.80 which are 2.20 feet below the 660 full pool levels. This same time last year the lake was a foot above full pool.
The current water temperature continues to be around 85 degrees each day. The forecast for this coming week is for intense temperature swings to continue with evening being in the mid to low the seventies but back up into the nineties each day so the water surface temperatures should hold in the mid-eighties. The Army Corp of Engineers is continuing with their normal summertime generating schedules.
STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS
Striper and Hybrid fishing on Lake Hartwell has started to get really tough due to the water conditions, but if you know where to look and how to fish this late summer pattern you will catch fish. At its best right now Lake Hartwell water conditions are fair with the water columns changing and the fish moving into the main river channels while trying their best to find the best dissolved oxygen for their comfort levels. The key to catching these Stripers and Hybrids right now is locating the fish early and being patient with them when you find them. They will come out of favorable waters to eat so suspend your live bait above the fish you are marking. Don’t get discouraged, I can tell you that the best of the best Lake Hartwell guides are not getting off of the water before lunchtime so it’s tough for everyone right now unless you are know how to fish artificial bait.
There are still some Hybrids and smaller Stripers that can be caught in forty to fifty feet of water using live blueback herring if you know where to look for them. The key to catching these fish is finding them early and keeping live bait suspended over them as you drum them up under your boat. Trolling Lead core and pulling Umbrella Rigs is still working to catch fish so don’t hesitate to deploy these methods when the live bait bite is over. We have been lucky this year and the Lake Hartwell water levels have been maintained well with the Corp of Engineers working with SCDNR and GDNR to keep the levels from being dropped or pulled down so quickly that we have another fish kill. (Yes you did read this correctly there is a joint effort between the Corp and DNR to work and communicate together to help maintain our Striper and Hybrid fishery on Lake Hartwell.)
Keep in mind that this same time last year Lake Hartwell was over a foot above full pool with hurricanes that brought us rain last year that we have not seen this year so we are currently two feet below full pool right now so there will be no need to drop the lake levels. The GDNR is monitoring and tracking several large Stripers that have transmitters implanted in them to see where they go when the water conditions get poor. This information will be very valuable as all involved are working together to help bring our Lake Hartwell Striper Fishing back to where we all want to see it again. My Golden Nugget for this week is keep your live bait at thirty feet to keep the bait alive, the fish will come after the bait if you keep them drummed up under the boat. When the fishing conditions get tough it’s the best time to get out on the water for an Instructional Trip.
Difficult fishing conditions are the best time to learn all the techniques to catching Stripers and Hybrids. Our instructional trip will teach you a ton about catching Stripers and still have you home before your beloved collage team hits the field. So if you are interested in learning all the tricks to catching Stripers and Hybrid, give us a call to take advantage of this educational trip, we will do all we can to show you how to go to the lake and catch fish, in any season!
Now there are only a couple of professional Striper fishermen that will share everything that you need to know to catch Stripers and Hybrids so 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 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.
The Lake Hartwell Largemouth Bass as well as Spotted Bass bite is fair. There continues to be no shortage of bass boats fishing on the weekends and most are still focused on shallow points and around underwater islands, shoals, ditches and old road beds. The High School Tournament Trail will begin this month and I will have the privilege to Captain a boat for my grandson and his team mate. I look forward to this challenge as we fish several different lakes as well as my home lake. When fishing Lake Hartwell remember that it is a blueback herring lake so keep that in mind when selecting your jigs or plugs, don’t overlook fishing a fluke shallow or deep right now. You will want to pick up a few of the new Captain Mack under Spin Jigs and give them a try.
The report is that they are working great for bass fishing. Many bass are still in the back of coves and places where there are a lot of deep water docks. I’m seeing a lot of bass suspended in the trees on my Humminbird down imaging and these fish will charge a live bait if I drop one so I would have to believe that they would attack the right artificial bait if fished correctly.
The early morning bite is still the best bite 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 Crank baits, Spinner baits, Topwater baits, Jerk baits and swim baits. 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 fair and the fish are pulling up on the points and around dock lights after sunset. A golden nugget to share with you this week, we got on one of the biggest schools of Spotted Bass schooling in the middle of the day in twelve feet of water. This school of fish was over and acre of fish and they were on the attack. The bait of choice for this event was a Larry Dahlberg Whopper Plopper 90. This school of fish ate this bait on every cast!
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.
• Captain Mack under Spin Jig.
• Ned Rigs, 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 rigged with a Zoom U-VIBE Speed Worm in Green Pumpkin. 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.
Just a couple of weeks from now and I will be at the 2019 Crappie Expo! I can’t wait to see what’s new to the market and to get back to Crappie Fishing soon.
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 and will begin writing the Lake Hartwell Crappie Report soon after that.
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