Lake Hartwell Fishing Report October 2013

GON Staff | September 25, 2013

Hartwell: Level: 0.2 feet above full pool. Temp: 75-78 degrees. Clarity: Clear.

Bass: Tournament angler Kerry Partain reports, “The bass fishing is really picking up, and you can catch them shallow or deep right now. There is still a lot of grass in the pockets and creeks, and the shad are moving back in them. You can catch the shallow fish on a buzzbait and a Zoom Horny Toad in the grass and a crankbait out deeper on the edges. We are starting to see some schooling activity on the deeper points and humps in the creek mouths and on the main lake, and they will start feeding up the next couple of months. If you see bass busting fish, that area will be productive with a topwater and a Zoom Super Fluke. If you find an area holding fish, keep an eye on your electronics when they’re not schooling. You can catch them on a drop shot or shaky head when you see them on the screen. With fall here, the baitfish will be moving constantly, so move around until you find them. It could be some of the best fishing of the year. As the weather continues to get cooler, the schooling activity should improve, and the shallow bite will get better. The best part is we will have very few boats on the lake.”

Linesides: Guide Preston Harden reports, “It has been a strange summer so far. During July and most of August, the fish were locked to the bottom with very few fish suspended and very little surface activity. By late August, most fish became suspended and would not bite good. The thermocline seems to have had a lot to do with the fish coming up in the water column. With all the run-off and particles washed into the lake, the thermocline went all the way to the dam. This must be a bigger factor in forming the thermocline than the actual water temperature as the surface water never got above the low 80s. This is much lower than a normal summertime surface water temperature. There was a fish kill in the lower lake the first week of September after three days of nonstop water generation at the Hartwell dam. The lake dropped 2 1/2 feet in three days. I have never seen it drop so fast. With the water cooling and less rain, the surface activity is getting better every day. I have also seen a few stripers starting to chase bait on top. Hopefully, the fish will go on a feeding binge until the water starts its turnover, which is usually in late October. My favorite way to catch them is with a topwater plug—like a Sammy—or a Sebile swimbait in white. I will also have herring ready to drop on schools marked on the graph. The next month is usually the best topwater bite of the year.”

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