I’m guessing that fall has made it now since we received our first frost this week. I love this time of the year and while others take off to the mountains I just hit the water and it’s amazing to see the beauty in the islands and the backs of the creeks as the leaves change colors. Last year I had the greatest experience as I watched two big bucks fight for a doe that they had pinned on the bank of the lake and it was about this time of the year that it’s very common to see deer and turkey as you pull Planer Boards quietly in the backs of Lake Hartwell creeks. It’s not going to be long now with forecast of much cooler weather predicted this whole week that the schooling fish will be at their peak. I personally have decided to hit the water this November under protest from a few that have done a great job in helping me recover from my surgery in June. In my best opinion fishing is good medicine and I’m ready to hit the water in time to get in on some of the schooling activity that has already began. So as I tell my fishing buddies my advice is let’s let, Humminbird Find The fish, Minn Kota Sneaks up on Them, Stealth Rod Holders Hold Them, Captain Mack Products Fool them into biting while Okuma Rods and Reels Puts Them in the Boat! So let’s go Fishing!
This week’s picture is of a good friend of mine named Dale Gilbert who is one of the weathermen from New Channel 4 WYFF who loves to Striper fish. We already have trips planned for 2021These fish were caught during the spring spawn.
The Lake Hartwell bite still remains fair with the water conditions beginning to change quickly for fishing. The lake should turn over very soon and that will have a big effect in the fishing improving. The levels at the time of this report are 661.31 which are.1.31 feet above the 660 full pool levels. This same time last year the lake was nearly six feet below full pool and the fishing was much better. The current water temperature is holding in the low seventies and will continue dropping every few days during this month if the air temperatures continue to drop into the low forties each night.
Stripers and Hybrids
Schooling activity has picked up on Lake Hartwell and this begins at day break and last until the sun begins to come up and then again in the evenings as the sun goes down behind the tree lines. Many of the fish that are being caught are smaller with the largest being about a pound. Small Buck tail jigs, Steelshads, and the smaller Sebiles are all good options to cast to the schoolers. On these smaller fish, I know they can be fun to catch , but they represent our future and letting them go and grow may be beneficial to our fishery in the coming years. . I’m hoping the rain will hold off long enough for the lake levels to drop a couple of feet which would make the winter fishing conditions perfect. My personally advice is to pull your Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs over humps and into the coves where you see fish breaking. As a rule of thumb the bigger fish usually are only a few feet deeper than the small fish and the umbrellas are the best way to catch the bigger fish. I also have had a lot of luck pulling my lighter Captain Mack Mini Mack rigs over long points where the water is much shallower or across under water road beds or ditches where the bigger fish are hanging out. Now everything that you need to know to catch Stripers and Hybrids is here now while we begin our fall and winter Instructional Trips, so if you get a chance to get into a teaching boat, book and 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, Behind the Perfect Planer, and free lines. All three methods are producing and you you’ll do to be prepared to use them all.
- Okuma Cold Water CW203D reels. What 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. It is a versatile setup that will cover almost any type of live bait fishing you will do on Hartwell or other area lakes.
- Oxygen System. This system will make a huge difference in your bait. I personally believe that it will help keep your bait in perfect condition especially if you decide to pull Gizzard Shad this winter and you have them in your tank with your herring.
- SteelShad are still working great for schooling or breaking fish, and a must have for this time of year. This bait will catch all bass species when cast to points or fished in deep or shallow waters.
- Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs. I will not go to the lake without them!
- Captain Mack Mini Mack’s . These rigs offer incredible versatility. They are excellent to cast to surfacing fish or to points and humps and especially productive for Stealth trolling!
Lake Hartwell Largemouth Bass and Spotted Bass fishing has remained excellent with a lot of fish being caught off of Shakey Heads and Flukes as well as live bait while Striper fishing. It seems that every year we catch more and more Spotted Bass than the year before and right now top water baits will get the job done as the Spotted Bass are schooling somewhere on Lake Hartwell everyday. Drop shots around the brush and humps are also very effective, your favorite Roboworm in the 6 or 4.5 inch model will get the bite, and on the really tough days try the smaller Roboworm Alive Shad. Lake hartwell Fishing Marine carries a great selection of Robo’s so stop by and check them out!
- 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. Be prepared to throw this bait at schooling fish for a guaranteed hook up.
- Captain Mack Mini Mack’s with or without blades, both work great. Big Spots are crushing the MIni’s , cast them to the tops of humps, over brush, long tapering points or around the bridges.
- Ned Rigs, hard and soft Jerk Baits, and Sebile magic Swimmers.
- Flukes of several different sizes and colors.
It’s time to get those Crappie rigs all set up! I’m getting some good reports of Crappie being caught dock shooting and fishing old and new brush piles. It won’t be many more days and I will have some first-hand information as I’m ready to go!
Go to Baits.
- Blue Ice Jigs seem to be the go to color on Lake Hartwell right now. Dock Shooting has been very good, the Bobby Garland on a Jighead has been bring’em in! Heavier Jigheads may be a plus on the deeper docks or brush, and a minnow under a slip cork is a good choice over the brush piles.
- 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.
- Custom Jigs are working if you can find the right ones. It’s always a good idea to see what to check with your local retail outlet to find out what is the best bait or color! Use the SI on your Humminbird Solix or Helix graph to locate the fish on the docks. Ride until you se then usually a fish fry in quickly in the works!
- 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