Lake Hartwell Fishing Report January 2016

GON Staff | December 22, 2015

Hartwell: Level: 2.8 feet below full pool. Temp.: 58-60 degrees. Clarity: Clear with some stain in rivers and creeks.

Bass: Tournament angler Kerry Partain reports, “The weather has still been unseasonably warm, so the fish are not bunched up on their normal winter patterns yet. On cloudy and overcast days, the bass are roaming between the shallows and secondary points, and you can catch them on crankbaits and topwater. The water is beginning to drop now for the winter drawdown, so the bass should begin staging on the drops between 20 and 30 feet, and you can catch them on Carolina rigs and drop shots. The water has still not cooled off enough for the jigging spoon, but as it gets to 50 degrees, this should really pick up going into January. The birds are starting to show up more on the lake, so keep an eye out for this, and fish around that area until you find the bait and the bass.”

Linesides: Guide Preston Harden reports, “January usually starts with good fishing and slows by late month, but with unseasonably warm weather, the fishing should be good all month long. As long as the water stays above 48 degrees, fish will be active. When the water temperature gets below 48, most fish will shut down, except crappie. Crappie will eat all winter long. Look for hybrids and stripers to continue to move up the lake and into the creeks. Seagulls will help to locate active schools of fish. To get the fish to bite, be willing to downsize. Small threadfin shad imitations on light fluorocarbon line is necessary. Slower presentations are also necessary. If you fish with bait, consider medium shiners or threadfin shad instead of herring. Trolling umbrella rigs also works in cold water. If El Niño continues, fishing can stay good all winter long.”

Catfish: Guide Donnie Simpson reports, “January catfishing on Hartwell can be great, and it can also be tough. To catch the blues and flatheads, you will have to locate the bait and get around the stripers with cut bait and live bait. Look for the diving seagulls to find bait. You’ll have to get under the stripers to get to the catfish, but January can be the best month for trophy catfish. Bowfishing on Hartwell in January will be up and down, but fish can still be shot, even on the coldest of nights. You’ll need to go on nights where the day was sunny and clear so that the surface temp warmed some. Typically in January the bowfishing will be good for the first few hours of the night and fall off with the dropping temps as the night goes on.”

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