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Lake Hartwell Fishing Report April 15, 2020

By Captain Mack's Blog, Captain Mack's Fishing Reports, Fishing Tips, Lake Hartwell Fishing Report

Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for April 15, 2020

Okay I said that due to most of the Lake Hartwell boat ramps being closed and with several of our bait shops closed as well that I would not provide a Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for a few weeks. I personally have not been able to fish because I chose this time when we are all under a bad situation to put my boat into the shop to have some repairs made to my fishing machine as well as some boat trailer repairs that always seemed to get put on the back burner while I’m busy fishing. So the phone is ringing off the hook with several fishing buddies and those who have done Instructional Trips over the last few years wanting to know what they do to do and where do they need to go to catch fish. That’s been an easy question to answer and now that we have a few bait shops opening to sell bait it has been easy to get back some really good reports at a time when I can’t personally get on the water. Striper and Hybrid fishing is excellent right now and it does not matter if you are pulling live bait behind your Perfect Planer Boards or fishing down rods under the boat the fishing has been GREAT! I have not sent anyone anywhere that I didn’t get back a good report. It’s not going to be much longer and my boat will be back on the water and when I’m back I will give you a firsthand report. Until then let me give you what I have which is straight from some really good fishermen who are out of work due to the C-19 Virus and are using this time to Striper and Hybrid fish. I’m sending a lot of folks up the river early in the mornings and they are catching a bunch of fish. This bite is aggressive from daylight until about 10 am. The dock lights are also proving to be a fun bite before daylight. After it gets daylight the free line and planer board bite is really good. If for any reason you can’t find a bait shop open the Umbrella Rig and Mini Mack Rig is doing the job right now. Finding and catching fish is not hard to do right now, and the lake is open if you are following the current social distancing laws and use every precaution to fish safely.  Hybrids are high on my lists of favorite things to eat so it may be hard to find hamburger or pork chops right now but taters and fried fish will sure make a great meal! I’ll be back on the water very soon as I’m one who believes that things will get better real soon and we will all find our lives returning back to normal, that’s my prayer anyway!  So as I tell my best fishing buddies my advice is let’s let, Humminbird Find Them, Minn Kota Sneak up on Them, Stealth Rod Holders Hold Them, Captain Mack Products Fools Them and Okuma Rods and Reels Puts Them in the Boat! So let’s go Fishing!  

The Lake Hartwell water levels at the time of this report are 661.49 which is.1.49 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 some seriously dangerous tornados and high winds along with a lot of rain this has helped wash some of the pollen away.


Striper and Hybrid fishing has been great this past week and the false spawn has the fish headed up the main rivers. Make a few phone calls and you will be able to find some live herring.  If you want to book a future 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. I would make a serious suggestion being if you are not prepared to pull Umbrella Rigs or Mini Mack’s and if you want to pull big baits on your Perfect Planer Boards you might want to look at the bottom of this report for my suggestions on gear to catch fish during the next few months. It’s time to pull some Perfect Planer Boards with gizzard shad close to the banks or in the backs of the creeks where the big fish roam. 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. I usually locate these fish one of two ways. I locate them on my Humminbird Side Imaging or Down Imaging and the minute that I get them under the boat I drop my live bait and Mini Mack’s into the schools of fish. If the fish decide not to eat my live bait then my Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs are my automatic tools for the guaranteed bite. The Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs work great now and will continue to work well throughout the Spring.  We cover the “how to fish umbrellas” question and other trolling and live bait techniques in each of our cover our Instructional Trips providing you a fun and successful way to catch more fish! We also devote some time to  locating fish throughout the year so you will be ready to go “catching” no matter what the season is!   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 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!
  • Captain Mack Super Spoons or Captain Mack Jig’N Shad spoons. These Jigs are great for fish that are bunched up and hugging the bottom. These Jigs are a must have for the winter months.
  • 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.

CRAPPIE / This report will be suspended due to the C-19 Virus until we are able to return to the lake.

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.