Lake Hartwell Fishing Report – December 2018

GON Staff | November 28, 2018

Hartwell:Level: 0.5 feet low. Temp: 60 degrees. Clarity: Mostly clear with some stain in the creeks and rivers.

Bass: Tournament angler Kerry Partain reports, “This is one of my favorite seasons to fish because the bass fishing is starting to improve with the cooler water and the baitfish are bunching up in the creeks and ditches. This time of year, it’s all about finding the bait. Once you locate the bait, several lures will produce good numbers of bass. I like to start out throwing a Blade Runner rigged with a Zoom Fluke early in the morning as I search for active fish. If you find a big group of bass, you can catch them good on a jigging spoon and a drop shot. The key is to keep moving in the creeks and ditches until you locate schools of bait and active bass. This pattern will only continue to improve as we head into December, and the best part is you basically have the whole lake to yourself.”

Linesides: Guide Preston Harden reports, “December can be a great month to catch lots of fish. The fall turnover is complete. The water has cleared from a brownish color to a pretty green color. The seagulls have moved in to lead the way to active fish. Fish are feeding up preparing for a long winter. With El Niño, there are lots of cold fronts passing through. The best days to fish are the days before the fronts. The worst days to fish are right after the fronts pass. Usually the wind is calm before the front and strong after the front. Small jigs and soft plastics should catch hybrids, stripers and bass. Other artificials representing threadfin shad should work. I like to downsize in December. I use a 1/8-oz. Scrounger jig head and a Zoom Tiny Fluke. I use a color to match the threadfin shad. My favorite color is green albino or Arkansas shad. I throw this tiny jig on 15-lb. test braid. I like to use a spinning rod to throw such light jigs. It casts like 4-lb. test monofilament. I tie a fluorocarbon leader to the braid with a double-uni knot. My fluorocarbon leader is about 4 to 6 feet long. This bite will last until the water temperature drops into the upper 40s. This usually happens in early January. Once the water temperature drops into the mid-40s, most game fish shutdown. Crappie are the exception. They will bite no matter how cold it gets. Don’t forget to wear your life jacket when the water gets cold. Hypothermia happens fast. Pick a nice day before the front, and enjoy the lake with very few other people.”

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