Lake Hartwell Fishing Report February 2012

GON Staff | February 1, 2012

Hartwell: Level: 7.1 feet below full pool. Temp: Low 50s. Clarity: Clear.

Excellent. Two primary patterns are working for quality fish. The first is the new Alabama Rig. Fish it rigged with swimbaits around main-lake reef markers over humps and points. The other technique is to sight fish with your electronics. Tournament angler Chris Baxter has had some great catches on the lower lake fishing in about 25 feet of water. “A variety of baits will work at Hartwell in February,” Chris said. He always has a drop-shot rig, a jig-head worm, a jig ’n pig, a spoon and a crankbait ready to use. Most of these baits can be fished vertically on the bass he finds with his Lowrance HDS depthfinders. For drop-shotting, Chris rigs a 1/4-oz. round lead about 18 inches below a Gamakatsu drop-shot No. 1 hook for nose hooking his 4-inch Meat Head worm, Swamp Crawler or Tiny Fluke. He also has another rig with an Owner Downshot hook for Texas rigging the same baits. The Texas rig is used around brush, and the nose-hooked bait is used on open bottoms. A Hopkins Shorty silver spoon is good, as are some of the locally made spoons that resemble blueback herring. A Mann’s Stretch 20 is a good crankbait for casting to suspended fish. He said the Stretch has a slow action and looks like a herring, perfect for the cold clear water. For shaky-head fishing, Chris rigs a Swamp Crawler or Magnum Shaky Head worm on a Buckeye Spot Remover or War Eagle ball-shaped head. The ball head comes through rocks better. He also has a Buckeye 5/16-oz. football-head jig rigged with a Zoom Ultravibe Craw. For a full feature including GPS locations for Hartwell bass in February, see the feature article on page 54.

Linesides: Good. Guide Preston Harden reports, “With the water temperature still above 50, the fish are active. Stripers, hybrids, largemouths and spots are schooling good on cloudy days. On sunny days they are suspended in the river channels and over trees up the major rivers. The migration into the major creeks should start soon with the warm weather. They will eat small flukes and small clouser flies cast into the schools of fish. The trollers are catching lots of fish pulling umbrella rigs with small bucktails and swimbaits. If we don’t get much cold weather, this pattern should continue. The period before a front is the best time to be looking. Look for seagulls to find baitfish and linesides.”

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