Lake Hartwell Fishing Report – July 2019

GON Staff | June 25, 2019

Hartwell: Level: 0.7 feet above full. Temp: 86 to 89 degrees. Clarity: 3 to 6 feet.

Bass: Tournament angler Matthew Justice reports, “The fishing has been better than expected. With the lake level around full pool, an abundance of shallow cover in both rivers has made the shallow bite good. Frogging and flipping bushes and grass is a good bet. Look for bream beds around the full moon to increase productivity. The deep bite is also starting to ramp up. Cane-piles in 15 to 30 feet of water are holding bass, and the fish can be called up with a variety of topwater baits and swimbaits. Drop-shotting brushpiles can produce numbers when the bite gets tough. Look for fishing to remain consistent through August.”

Guide Preston Harden reports, “Bass fishing will get better as most bass boats quit fishing. The bass get lots of pressure in the spring with the bass close to the bank. As the water warms, the bass move off the bank to deeper cover. This is usually brushpiles 15 to 30 feet deep around points and humps. This brush is put out by fishermen. Most good locations already have brushpiles, and they are yours to fish if you can locate them with your sonar. The spotted bass are taking over. We catch mostly spots now. They are more aggressive than the largemouth and are easier to catch. They are prolific spawners and out-compete the largemouth. They are here to stay. A 2-lb. spot will fight harder than a 6-lb. largemouth. They also taste like a crappie without the fishy taste of a largemouth. As the water gets warmer, they group up like stripers. If you find them, you can catch a bunch.”

Linesides: Guide Preston Harden reports, “July fishing is going to be hot. The hybrids and stripers are going to be grouped up and congregating in the lower lake. This is the year of big numbers. Lots of bigger fish died last fall. With all the rain last summer and fall, the oxygen got low, and most big fish died in the fall. The Georgia and South Carolina DNRs have stocked lots of hybrids and stripers. We are catching some 8- to 10-lb. stripers and lots of 3- to 5-lb. hybrids. And there are still some big fish in the lake. A friend of mine caught a 30-pounder last week. If I get on a school of small fish, I will move and look for bigger fish. Hybrids only live four to six years. So the 3- to 5-lb. hybrids are growing fast. In July, the hybrids and stripers go deeper. I look at least 30 to 40 feet deep. A good sonar unit is a big part of fishing in the summer. I am hunting until I find the school. Then I send a lively herring down to them on a Carolina rig. A swimbait on a 1-oz. jig head reeled through them works. A big teardrop spoon will also work.”

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