Lake Hartwell Fishing Report March 2014

GON Staff | March 5, 2014

Hartwell: Level: 0.8 feet below full pool and trending down. Temp: 53 degrees. Clarity: The main lake is clear; stained in the creeks.

Bass: Good. Tournament pro Kerry Partain reports, “The bass fishing has really picked up the past two weeks and should only improve with the warming trend of spring. The largemouth are really biting now, and you can catch them on several different patterns and lures. We have been catching a lot of good largemouth on crankbaits in the creeks and ditches. There is also a good jerkbait bite early and late in the day. The spotted bass are still deeper on the main lake and in the creek mouths, and you can catch them on a drop shot using the Zoom Z-drop worm, especially around brush and rocks. As we head into March, the prespawn bite should be in full swing, and the spawn should begin. Once the spawn gets going good, look for the bass to be in the flooded grass all over the lake, but especially in the backs of creeks and pockets. If you see bass cruising shallow, I like to throw a Zoom Trick Worm and a jig. This month is shaping up to be one of the best largemouth months in a long time with the higher water levels and flooded grass.” Guide Preston Harden reports, “If you like to catch lots of fish on light spinning tackle, get some tiny jigs and small soft plastics and hit the major creeks. Fish till dark, and you will catch a variety of fish from bass to stripers. My best striper last year was caught in March on a 1/8-oz. jig head and a tiny Zoom Fluke. It was tied on 15-lb. test braid with a diameter of 4-lb. test. I put on a 6-foot leader of 10-lb. test fluorocarbon. The fish weighed 45 pounds and took 15 minutes to land.”

Good. “As we transition out of a cold winter, fishing will pick up as the water temperature rises,” Preston said. “As the temperature climbs above 50 degrees, the fish will become active. This is my favorite time of the year. I cannot get fish to eat herring until April, but the hybrids, stripers and bass will eat small artificials from midday till dark as long as the water is warming. There are exceptions. Big gizzard shad pulled on freelines and planer boards in the backs of major creeks will catch a few fish. These are usually very big fish, just not many. My favorite technique is to cast toward the banks in creeks that I know have fish. As the water warms during the day, the fish move shallow to the warmest water. Do not be in a hurry to start early. The best bite is late afternoon.

Crappie: According to Preston, “Crappie also move into the creeks and stage under docks, especially on sunny days. Tiny jigs and light line are a must. Cast to the dark side of the dock, and work the jig very slowly. As the month progresses, the crappie move farther into the creeks to shallower docks.”

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