Lake Hartwell Fishing Report July 2011

GON Staff | June 29, 2011

Hartwell: Level: 1.8 feet below full pool. Temp: Low 80s. Clarity: Clear.

Bass: Excellent, according to tournament pro Josh Fowler. “I expect the bite to stay strong as we get into early July. It’s taking weights in the upper teens to win the local tournaments, and these types of weights should continue to show up until we get into late July depending on how hot the weather gets. The bass are set up on points, humps and ledges all over the main part of the lake. The topwater run-and-gun bite is the key to catching the bigger weights, and you need a milk run of places so you can move around in search of an active school. When you hit the right spot, the action will happen fast, so don’t be surprised to get a bite on the first cast you make. A variety of topwater baits will work when you hit an active school, but it’s hard to beat a weightless Zoom Super Fluke and a Lucky Craft Sammy 100. Try to work these baits fast and erratic across the surface to draw the fish up. As you are fishing the offshore places, you need to keep a drop shot or a Spot Remover jig head rigged with a Zoom Swamp Crawler ready to drop straight down to any activity you see on the graph. As we move deeper into July and the water temp starts to creep toward 90 degrees, the drop shot and the jig-head worm will be critical to catching the offshore fish.”

Linesides: Fair. Guide Preston Harden said June was better than May as stripers began to move to deeper water. “Freelines with a split shot a few feet above the live herring works early in the morning. As the sun gets higher by mid morning, the downline Carolina-rigged herring works better. The surface activity has not been good. The fish are all over the lake. Look in cover and creeks in the back where the underwater trees end about 35 to 40 feet deep. A graph is the most important tool in this effort. A good bait tank is also important to keep live herring healthy. If you don’t use bait, try jigging spoons or big lead-head jigs with soft plastics bounced off the bottom or reeled up through the fish. Keep a topwater plug ready if fish start schooling on the surface. Fish will move deeper as the summer progresses. They will also be moving down the lake as the thermocline sets up in the creeks and main rivers.”

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