Lake Hartwell Fishing Report September 5 2019
As we prepare for the fall season after a history making and tough start for the month of September 2019 lets send our prayers out to all the Captains and people who make their living fishing off the east coast and the devastated and forever changed islands of the Bahamas. It’s easy to take for granted that we live in a relatively safe place compared to those who have suffered from this life changing hurricane Dorian. I personally have had the opportunity to visit the Bahamas on many occasions as well as fish there along with many trips on the east coast of the U.S. I know that there will be those who will recover from this hurricane and return to fishing once again, but I also know that there will be those in the Bahamas who may never recover after this catastrophic storm.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who have suffered this devastating and life changing event. I normally begin this report with “let’s go fishing,” but this week let’s begin with a short prayer for all of those affected by hurricane Dorian and wish all the boat Captains a safe and successful return to their normal fishing schedules and a special prayer for those in the Bahamas who lost everything including those families who lost their love ones to this storm. As this storm continues its path to the north we need to turn our attention in that direction with many thoughts and prayers! The Lake Hartwell bite has remained good with the water conditions still favorable for fishing. The current Lake Hartwell water levels continue to drop with no rain over this past week.
The levels at the time of this report are 658.07 which are 1.93 feet below the 660 full pool levels. This same time last year the lake was .25 feet above full pool. The current water temperature continues to be in the eighties each day. The forecast for this coming week is for temperatures to be in the sixties in the evening but in the high nineties each day so the water temperatures should hold in the 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 continued to be good even though I expect this to change very soon as the weather patterns begin to change which will affect the water conditions. The Hybrids and some of the smaller Stripers can still be caught in forty to fifty feet of water using live blueback herring. 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. Be careful to watch your side imaging when looking for these schools of fish so that you don’t bypass a school of fish that may be lurking close to your boat. Free lines over these fish continues to work well after you get them bunched up under your boat.
Be sure to keep your bait in the right depth of water so that it stays alive. If a rod is not getting the bite chances are the bait is dead so keep live bait under the boat or the fish will leave. As the fish move deeper when the sun gets up high you will not find a better way to catch some good quality fish until you drop your umbrella rigs and start trolling. Now I have been accused of being a cheerleader for umbrella rigs, I plead guilty as charged! After you learn how to pull umbrella rigs you will learn that the bite is not over with after the live bait bite is finished. In my case it proves to catch fish even when the live bait bite is slow and as the water temperatures begin to drop in late fall and into the early winter time pattern I will guarantee you that it will out fish live bait almost every trip. The “golden nugget for this week is,” pull your heaviest four arm nine bait rigs two hundred feet behind your boat on the edge of the river channels at 2.5 miles per hour and be prepared to catch some good quality Lake Hartwell Stripers and Hybrids.
I’m sure that it is going to be breezy on Lake Hartwell for a couple of days this week and U-Rigs will give you the opportunity to put fish in the boat when it’s hard to fish live bait. If you are interested in learning all the tricks to catching Stripers and Hybrid now is a great time to get in the boat for an Instructional Trip. 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 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.
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 Crankbaits, Spinner baits, Topwater baits, Jerkbaits and swimbaits. 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.
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 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!
One month from this weekend and I will be at the 2019 Crappie Expo!
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