Lake Hartwell Fishing Report September 26 2019
Autumn finally arrived this past Monday but you wouldn’t know it based on today’s temperatures which are going to be in the nineties again on Lake Hartwell, now that’s sort of messed up largely because the forecast is calling for hot weather for the next ten days with not a speck of rain in the near future. We all know and hope that the cooler weather is coming very soon and we have already noticed that the leaves are changing color and many of them are falling off of the trees early due to the drought conditions that we have been subjected to during this summer. So as we wait on the calendar and the weather conditions to catch up with each other we will continue to fish the current weather conditions that we face.
Well, that’s enough with the things that we cannot change so we need to focus on the optimistic points of a helpful fishing report for this upcoming week. This past week the fishing has remained fair and these current conditions should remain consistent as long as the weather continues stay in this summer pattern. Fishing will continue to be challenging but if you get an early morning start you will be able to catch fish. All of the bass are beginning to school on top some just as soon as the sun starts to break behind the tree tops so a top water bait of your choice is a good idea to have on the ready. The fish are preparing for the fall transition so every day from now until the weather begins to cool off should get better each and every day, So Let’s 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. The Lake Hartwell water levels at the time of this report are 656.70 which are 3.30 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 84 degrees each day.
STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS
Striper and Hybrid fishing on Lake Hartwell continues to be tough due to the water conditions. At its best right now Lake Hartwell water conditions are fair with the water columns changing and the fish staying in 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 prepared for the early morning bite which can be over with as soon as the sun gets up over the tree tops. If you are a live bait fisherman I can tell you that the best bite is very early with live bait suspended over a school of fish right before the sun starts to come up. Just as soon as you start to see some sunlight glowing behind the tree tops start to lightly drum the fish under the boat and get ready for a quick bite that will be over with as soon as the sun breaks above the tree tops. After the live bait is over with trolling Lead core and pulling Umbrella Rigs will still work to catch fish so don’t hesitate to deploy these methods when the live bait bite is over.
My Golden Nugget for this week is to get your bait in the water before the sun comes up. The Lake Hartwell Striper and Hybrid bite is an early morning bite and can be over with as shortly after first light. Also don’t overlook the coves and deep water points early in the morning, this past week the fish would pull up in the mouth of the coves and on the deep water points to feed. Power reeling the fish that are under the boat will also work; you can drop your Captain Mack Chipmunk Jig right into the fish under your boat.
Also don’t hesitate to deploy your umbrella rigs; the magic number is 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. The Stripers and Hybrids will start to move soon and they will begin to school on top so stay tuned and as soon as this starts I will let you know.
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 can learn so much 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 a comprehensive lesson! 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 freel ines. 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 lead core 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 lead core line. It’s time to stock up as Power Reeling and lead core 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.
I can’t say too much about my new heart felt feeling for the sport of Bass Tournaments and what they provide and mean to our lakes. This past weekend I had the opportunity to captain my boat for one of my grandsons for a PBC High School Bass Tournaments on Lake Russell. Now this tournament brought nearly one hundred and fifty teams to the lake ready to fish and in my eyes this tournament was just as important to these young kids as any tournament that the Pro’s would fish. To see this many boats in the water before sun up and to see all these kids with their heads bowed in prayer and their hats held over their hearts during the singing of the National Anthem before blast off, well I just don’t have the words to tell you how proud I am of our younger generation that are going to help keep this great sport alive!
Fishing for Bass is alive and well and I don’t see any way that there will ever be a time when fishing won’t continue to be a huge sport to our future generations. Largemouth and Spotted Bass are still being caught on Weedless Wonders rigged with several different plastics, (during our tournament this past weekend the black headed Weedless Wonder rigged with a Robo six inch Morning Dawn was the key to catching Bass) 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 be on the lookout for schooling fish on point’s right before the sun tops the trees. The Spotted Bass are still schooling early off of points.
I’m seeing fish break on top every trip so it’s a good time to be sure that you have your best top water bait rigged and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Please wear your life jackets while fishing! We lost a well-respected Tournament Fisherman who also was the President of a Bass Anglers Association during a Bass Tournament on Lake Hartwell this past Saturday. It has been determined that he fell out of his boat while fishing and drown. Our hearts felt prayers go out to his family and friends.
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 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.
In just a few days 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