Our Lake Hartwell Fishing Report for September 09, 2020
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m never at a loss for words when it comes to fishing. There’s always something to talk about when the fishing is good and even during this week’s case when the fishing has really been bad. It’s been some time since I’ve seen it so bad that many of the best Lake Hartwell Fishermen have done one of two things, stopped fishing Lake Hartwell and gone to another lake or just put their boats away to wait for the fall and winter season bite. Luckily within driving distance of Lake Hartwell there are many other lakes that are producing well for this time of the year. So what’s up with Lake Hartwell, let me give you my opinion which might not hold much water but I’ve been fishing this lake for a long time and this may be the worst I’ve ever seen it and I have seen it bad before. Number one we need the lake down about four feet and that should happen soon as the Corp will drop the lake to the winter levels. Number two is stocking levels versus fishing pressure. If you do the math and count the number of guides who fish daily and then the number of Striper and Hybrid fishermen who fish every week and how many fish are actually removed or killed during each week the math shows that we are taking a huge number of fish and with much less fish being stocked than normal from past year’s this can be expected. I’m currently working with SCDNR to get an update of stocking levels for 2019, 2020 and future stocking in the coming years and to see if we can come up with a plan that works for us all. I will report this information as soon as I get it which should be in next week’s report. Keep in mind that we did have a fish kill and possibly two kills within the past few years and it takes the lake a great deal of time to recover from these situations especially when we are all still fishing hard. I can report that the parasite problems that we had with the fish over the last couple of years seems to have all but disappeared and the fish that are being caught are very healthy. Lake Hartwell at one time was the lake to fish if you wanted to catch good quality Stripers and lots of Hybrids and with some time working with SCDNR and GADNR and providing them accurate information we will all work hard to get the lake back into good shape. Remember when fishing take only what you plan to eat and responsibly release the other for future catches. Use the slow fishing conditions to overhaul your gear and get everything ready for the fall and winter bite that’s right around the corner. So as I tell my best fishing buddies my advice is let’s let, Humminbird Find Them, Minn Kota Sneaks up on Them, Stealth Rod Holders Hold Them, Captain Mack Products Fool into biting while Okuma Rods and Reels Puts Them in the Boat! So let’s go Fishing!
The Lake Hartwell bite has remained fair with the water conditions beginning to change for fishing. The levels at the time of this report are 660.23 which are.0.23 feet above the 660 full pool levels. This same time last year the lake was two feet below full pool. The current water temperature is into the mid to lower eighties and will begin to make more changes very soon. There have been some storms over Lake Hartwell over the last week with more forecast for this weekend from the hurricanes coming from the gulf so make sure you have plans to get off the water in a hurry if required. The Striper and Hybrid bite continues to be the best through the week when the dam is generating power.
STRIPED BASS & HYBRIDS
Striper and Hybrid fishing continues to be more miss than hit. Many of the best Striper and Hybrid fishermen I know are getting skunked after a full day of fishing and that can make for a tough day. Trolling lead core line and Captain Mack Umbrella Rigs seems to be the best way to land a fish as well as Power Reeling if you find a good school of fish bunched up. The fish are suspending deep and when you see this they are in the water that is providing them the most comfort and they will only come out when they decide to feed. This week every night the weather will be in the sixties and fall is coming fast which will help turn the bite around. September is a very tough month and my Log Books sure back that up! My main point is don’t get discouraged, it is fishing and there will be those tough days but it can be those days that you say what’s the use in going that you may just miss out. Cut bait fishing near the dam on humps and flats as well as night fishing under lights can be a good way to catch fish during September so even though it’s not my favorite way to fish it can work until the water turns over. I promised you a long time ago that I would give you a secret that I’ve learned over the years so here’s one for you, not all the fish stay at the dam when it gets hot. Many fish will move to other areas of the lake that provide them the comfort levels they are looking for, so don’t forget follow the bait, when you see pods of bait moving up the lake many of the fish will follow. We do teach the best way to locate and catch fish in our Lake Hartwell Instructional Classes as well as all the best method’s to catch Stripers and Hybrids during the fall and winter. Man I surely miss every second of the many hours and days that I have been off the water and I can promise you when I’m better you will see me almost every day. Now is still a good time of the year to climb into a boat that teaches all the different method’s that you can use to locate fish and catch Stripers and Hybrids while learning all the seasonal patterns that Stripers and Hybrids follow as well as the best ways to catch these fish during these different seasons. Now there are only a couple of professional Striper fishermen that will share everything that you need to know to catch Stripers and Hybrids but 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 and freelines. The bait shops are all suppling nice big quality bait. Be sure to add ice and O2 to your tank to keep this bait healthy during your trip.
- Captain Mack Chipmunk Jigs and Trailers in all colors available.
- 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. This rod and reel combo is the perfect tool and I would give this rod and reel an A++ for Striper Live Bait Fishing.
- 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.
- SteelShad are still working great for schooling or breaking fish. 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 – they will catch good fish if trolled or pulled behind your Perfect Planer Boards or while trolled behind lead core line.
- 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 trolling 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 trolling lead core 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 continues to be fair based on a few reports that I’m getting from those weekend Bass Club Teams. The BassMaster Opens will be fished on Lake Hartwell September 23rd – 25th for the Eastern Open. My grandsons are still catching resident Bass fishing from the dock using SteelShads and Weedless Wonders and Robo worms. As soon as I’m released back to Lake Hartwell I will give you an accurate report. 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. 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. This bait is catching some hogs while being fished off of deeper points or around bridges and docks.
- 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 in Green Pumpkin. Use the plastic of your choice. This 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 Shakey Head!
I will be back later in the year with an updated Lake Hartwell Crappie Report when it cools off and I start back Crappie fishing. I’m already starting to hear some good reports!
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 – 770-235-8135