Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for April 08, 2020
Please note as you read the below report. SC Governor Henry McMaster has signed an Executive Order which has closed many boat ramps and access areas to the SC side of Lake Hartwell. There has also been a ban of Sporting Goods Stores being open so I would call your local bait shop before making a trip there as most of the bait shops are closed in South Carolina. At this point Lake Hartwell is not shutdown but many of the boat ramps are closed and DNR is enforcing the stay at home order from the Governor. With a shelter in place order issued in Georgia and a stay at home order and social distancing order issued in South Carolina I would make all the necessary phone calls before leaving the house to be sure that you can get bait and have a safe place to launch before ever leaving the house. At this time I will be off the water until further notice due to the issue of getting live bait and the current Executive Orders issued by South Carolina and Georgia Governor’s .As we all continue to work through this Coronavirus I will be sure to keep you informed of any future developments. I look forward to getting back on the water soon and continuing our Lake Hartwell Fishing Reports as soon as possible!
This past week even with all the situations that we all have faced has been a great week for fishing Lake Hartwell. Everyone that has fished an Instructional Trip over the last couple of years are providing good reports and proving that the Instructional Trips have paid off. The Stripers and Hybrids are doing just what we have expected and are making their run up the rivers to make their false Spawn and the Largemouth and Spots are spawning as well. These next few weeks will be the best weeks for fishing Lake Hartwell and catching some fish to be proud of! None of us know what tomorrow may bring but getting on the water is still some good medicine so if you need to fill that prescription just give us a call. This Sunday is Easter Sunday and many churches are closed for safeties sake during this pandemic. May each of you have a Blessed Easter and find some time to pray and worship the Lamb of God who will see us through this tough time. So as I tell my best fishing buddies my advice is this, Humminbird Finds Them, Minn Kota Sneaks up on Them, Stealth Rod Holders Holds Them, Captain Mack Products Fools Them and Okuma Rods and Reels Puts Them in the Boat! So let’s go Fishing!
The Lake Hartwell bite has been great overall the past seven days and if you have ever fished an Instructional Trip with is you know just where the fish are right now. The Striper and Hybrid are biting fast and furious in the early mornings and late evenings. The Lake Hartwell water levels at the time of this report are 660.41 which is.0.41 feet above the 660 full pool levels. The current water temperatures are sixty seven degrees. Even with a few cold fronts moving through this past week with little to no rain the water temperatures are getting warmer each and every day and you can bet with all the large amount of pollen on the water you will have to put a brush to the boat every week.
STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS
Striper and Hybrid fishing has been a blast this past week with a bunch of line stretchers being caught over the last several days. If you are looking to catch an ice chest full of Hybrids now is the time. If you like fish and want to put fish in your freezer the Hybrid bite is one of the best times to fill some freezer bags full of some of the best eating fillets that you will ever eat. It’s not taking long right now to fill a big old ice chest full of fish when you get these fish under your boat and it’s a fire drill just netting and rebaiting hooks when you have three or four rods three eyes deep under your boat. Drumming is working really well right now and is the perfect way to get the fish under your boat and start the rods bending. The Hybrid and Striper bite is excellent and should remain so for the next several weeks. If you want to book a fishing trip during this spring season on Lake Hartwell or get your Instructional Trip done before the spring bite is over with then now is the time to get these trips booked. I’ve been told that I give to many secrets away when it comes to Striper and Hybrid fishing, well I plead guilty but I want to be known as the Striper fisherman that shared his all. If you fished an Instructional Trip this past year you can use your Instructional Book to put yourselves in the right places to catch fish during the next month and don’t forget I’m just a phone call away. Be prepared to pull Umbrella Rigs, Mini Mack’s and big baits behind your Perfect Planer Boards, and check out the bottom of this report for my suggestions on gear to catch fish during the next few months. Tether a big Gizzard Shad to a Perfect Planer Boards and pull right up on the banks or in the backs of the creeks. When I move back out of the backs of the creeks I deploy two ultra-light freelines behind the boat rigged with live herring to catch the fish that are feeding on top and you would be surprised at just how many fish I catch on these ultra-light rigs. If you want to catch fish during the next couple of months you should add Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs to your fishing gear for the guaranteed bite. Again we cover all these methods in our Instructional Trips and it’s a fun way to catch some good Stripers. One main item that we cover in our Instructional Fishing Trips is how to locate Stripers and Hybrids and then the best methods to catching them. There are many ways to catch Stripers and Hybrids on Lake Hartwell and our Instructional Trips cover all of these points. Now is one of the best times to fish one of our Instructional Trips, it’s also a great time to witness first-hand what a changing season and pattern does to the fish and how to adapt to new fishing patterns. 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 and you will be given the chance to ask all the questions that very few professional Striper fishermen will share, so if you are interested in learning all the different techniques to catching Stripers and Hybrid Bass now is one of the best times to get in a teaching boat for an Instructional Trip or it’s a good time to get your calendar out and go ahead and book a future trip as they book up quickly when the weather begins to warm back up. If you have ever wanted to be one of the boats that come to the dock with your limit after a good spring fishing trip you might want to book a trip really soon. A Striper Instructional Trip will 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 a future 2020 Instructional Trip or guide trip give Captain Mack a call at 770-235-8135.
Go to baits for this week.
- Live Blueback Herring or Gizzard Shad fished on down rods and freelines. The bait shops at least the ones that are open, are all suppling good quality bait and several have the Gizzard Shad that you will need for that big fish bite. Be sure to add O2 from your Keep Alive O2 system to keep this bait healthy during your trip. The live bait bite has been tough but should get better soon.
- 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 will be 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!
- Any top water bait of your choice; I prefer a spook or anything in a chrome color. Flukes and swim baits paired with one of Captain Mack’s trailers. The chartreuse trailer works the best for me.
- Keep Alive Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait. I know from experience that this system will help keep your bait in perfect condition during your day of fishing and increase your odds of catching fish with the best bait you can put in the water.
- Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs. I will never go to the lake without them! The Umbrella Rig bite is a guaranteed bite now and the four arm nine bait rigs are working the best. These rigs are best fished using the Okuma 303 Coldwater series on a Captain Mack Trolling Rod. They can be purchased at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine as well as Sportsman’s Warehouse and Academy Sports. If your favorites bait and tackle shop does not carry them you might want to ask for them. I like to get my tackle where I normally shop and I hate to go to the lake without everything that I need to catch a good box of fish.
- Captain Mack Mini Mack’s – they will catch good fish if trolled with your trolling motor at .08 mph or pulled behind your Perfect Planer Boards. Pulling this rig behind your planer boards is working great right now and gives you the ability to cover a lot of water! These rigs are hard to find right now as they sell out quickly. They can be found at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine and I personally would ask my favorite fishing store to purchase them so that you always have a good supply at your go to bait shop.
- Perfect Planer Boards. This is the best Planer Board I have ever used. The Planer Board bite can be an all-day bite right now as you cover a lot of water. It is working great right now and it gives you the ability to put more bait in the water which always increases your odds of catching more fish. I will fish Planer Boards every trip during the fall and winter months waiting for that big explosion that always seems to come behind a Planer Board.
- Stealth QR2 Quick Release Rod Holders. This is a NEW Technology Rod Holder and it is built for the fisherman that wants the best for their boats and the ability to fish at any angle that you would like to fish with a few simple adjustments that you can make without tools on the fly. Down rods, freelines or Umbrella Rigs these rod holders will get the job done and they come with a Lifetime Guarantee. The clients that I have fished since installing these new rod holders have already said that they are the BEST that they have ever used and are looking to install them on their boats. (If you are buying a new boat this year please check out the Stealth QR2. Do not scratch up your rails with other rod holders when you can install a Stealth QR2 that will leave no marks on your new rails and will do you an excellent job.)
BASS / This report will be suspended until the C-19 Virus gets better and we are able to return to the lake.
This past week has remained great for Bass fishing. The Bass bite continues to be a shallow water bite which will last for a couple more weeks as the Bass begin the spawn. Not much has changed from last week’s report but that’s a good thing. Catching a lot of fish moving from long shallow points and red banks has been excellent and it’s been a great Spinnerbait, Crankbait and SteelShad bite. These last several days it seemed no matter what you were throwing the Bass were biting. It’s time to put some heavy fish in the boat with the fish soon pulling up on their beds. If you drop a lizard into one of these beds or any other favorite plastic you had better be sitting on ready as the Bass will not tolerate this at all. Currently Jerk baits and Ned Rigs as well as Carolina Rigs and the Weedless Wonder rigged with a Roboworm are working great to catch a limit of fish. A Captain Mack Mini Mack fished off of points will get the job done with the Spotted Bass jumping on this bait on every pass. Several Bass clubs are fishing tournaments every week so be prepared to jump into the wakes as these folks chase the bite.
- Crank baits and Jerk baits in the color of your choice, with all the rain I would suggest something in a shad or chartreuse color. Deeper diving crank baits are getting the job done in a shad or blueback color.
- Ned Rigs and hard and soft Jerk Baits of your preference, the Robo Worms are working best. We are catching some good fish on swim baits rigged with Captain Mack Trailers; again the chartreuse color is working the best.
- Captain Mack Weedless Wonder Shakey Head rigged with a Roboworm six inch Morning Dawn, Green Shiner, or Baby Bluegill worms as well as some new colors we are using. 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!
- Captain Mack Mini Mack’s. If you want to catch some big Spotted Bass this is a go to bait!
- Roboworms are working the best for us. There are several colors that work great!
- Steel Shads in various colors and sizes.
CRAPPIE / This report will be suspended due to the C-19 Virus until we are able to return to the lake.
The Crappie fishing is still great and there are a lot of folks taking advantage of some good fishing. Live minnows and jigs all work great this time of the year and I have had very good luck with the Crappie Country Jigs that I’m buying at Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine, don’t over-look changing up colors when you are marking fish and the bite is slow especially if the water is muddy. Chartreuse colored jigs works great in stained water on Lake Hartwell. Long lining for Crappie is working great right now and this gives you the ability to cover a lot of water. A trick to try that’s working for me, tie a minnow onto the bottom of your line and add a Crappie Jig about a foot above the minnow. The movement of the minnow is all the action you will need to get the bite on the jig. Don’t overlook a float as you fish over the tops of brush, this can be the best bite of the day.
Go to Baits for this week.
- Small minnows fished on four pound test line under small floats pitched under docks or over brush will get you the bite you’re looking for. Tipping a jig with a small minnow is working also.
- Popeye Jigs are doing the job right now and if fished slowly in deeper brush piles they will produce the bite you are looking for. I will share a secret to fishing this jig later in the year as the water gets much colder so stay tuned and I will let you know when this idea begins to work.
- Give Captain Mack a call and order you a good supply of Crappie Country Jigs or drop by Lake Hartwell Fish and Marine and pick out a good selection from their large collection of colors and sizes. They come in some Crappie killer colors and they will produce some good fish.
- Humminbird Solix or Helix graphs and Minn Koto Trolling Motors. These graphs have superior side imaging and down imaging and are worth every cent if you are looking to locate Crappie. You have to find them to catch them and Humminbird gives you that ability.
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 – 770-235-8135. Lake Hartwell crappie fishing has slowed down now that the fish are pulling off of the brush piles. The best crappie action seems to be in shallow water or on live minnows under bridges at night. To book your Lake Hartwell adventures please call Captain Mack Farr at – 1.888.989.8052