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Catch of the Week: Joshua's black drum

Catch of the Week: Joshua's black drum

This week's Catch of the Week was sent to us by Mount Pleasant resident Richard Gillespie. The photo is of his son Joshua with his recent black drum catch.

If you have a photo you would like to submit in our Catch of the Week contest, CLICK HERE. The weekly winner received a $100 gift card to Seel's Outboard!

Saltwater Fishing Trends

Charleston (Updated September 1)

With recent clouds and rain inshore temperatures in the Charleston area have dropped from 87 to 81 in the last week.

Partly because of mild recent winters, this fall Captain Rob Bennett of Lowcountry Inshore Charters (843-367-3777) expects to see some of the best fall fishing in years. The creeks are so full of shrimp right now that you can practically walk on them, and in only a few casts during the period an hour or two each side of low tide you can usually catch all the shrimp you need for a day of fishing.

Rob has never seen this many puppy drum around before, and both the redfish and trout will take a shrimp fished under a popping cork with an 18-24 inch leader on a 1/0 kahle hook. There are also tons of ladyfish around, which in addition to acrobatic fights make a great bait for sharks off the beaches.

Flounder are also in the same area as the trout and redfish, particularly around white shell beds next to grass. For trout, reds and flounder Rob emphasizes the importance of keeping your bait near the grass where the shrimp live and other species follow them.

The tripletail bite has also been really good, and in the inlets, around the tidelines, and near crab pot floats they can be found lazing on the surface. Sight-fishing a live shrimp or DOA shrimp to these fish will usually draw a strike. These tripletail usually run 5-10 pounds and make for some excellent eating.

Tarpon are still around in good numbers, and with millions of mullet about to run down the beaches that bite should only get better. The tarpon and sharks should be going crazy under the mullet very soon.

Rob is also seeing a lot of small mangrove snapper and catching 2-5 per trip.

Spanish mackerel can still be found offshore and king mackerel can be caught trolling.

North Grand Strand (Updated August 31)

Inshore water temperatures on the north end of the Grand Strand are in the mid-80s, and water clarity is poor after a lot of recent rain.

It's starting to feel like fall, and Captain Patrick "Smiley" Kelly reports that right on cue the larger redfish are starting to school up in the Little River Inlet. Mullet are running up and down the beaches, and as a result there are plenty of reds ranging from the larger end of the slot up to about 36 inches. They will eat both mullet and menhaden. Inside the creeks the redfish have been tough to locate recently.

There is still a strong trout bite, and on the rising tide action has been pretty consistent with live shrimp fished under a popping cork. Fish are in 3-10 feet of water around points, drops and ledges. There are also a tremendous number of snapper bluefish in these same areas, and right now it's a pretty safe bet that if there are either trout or bluefish in an area the other species is also present.

Flounder fishing has been good on the outgoing tide with live mullet fished on the bottom. The fish have been in deeper holes with about 10 feet of water.

The black drum bite has also been strong, with fish caught around Tillman's Docks. Fish are biting live or fresh dead shrimp on the outgoing tide.

Cherry Grove Pier (843-249-1625) reports that whiting, croaker, a few pompano, a few black drum and some spadefish have been caught off the pier. There are some nice-sized Spanish mackerel around but kings have not returned since April.

Southern Grand Strand (Updated August 31)

Water temperatures in the Murrells Inlet area are in the low to mid-80s.

Fall is starting to arrive along the south end of the Grand Strand, and Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) reports that the bull red drum are just starting to show up. A few fish are already being caught around the tips of the jetties on cut or live mullet and menhaden, and as the season progresses more and more will arrive. Black drum are also biting well around the jetties on cut shrimp, and they also continue to be caught in the inlets.

Early in the morning there has been some good trout fishing on topwater lures, but the live bait fishermen are waiting for the pinfish to leave so that they can fish the way they want to.

Flounder fishing inside Murrells Inlet has picked up, especially at the top of the outgoing tide. However, all summer long the fish have been smaller than usual. There have been some really nice flatfish caught at the reefs, including a 27-inch, 7-pounder off Captain J's boat.

For the last couple of weeks there have been some big Spanish mackerel caught at the reefs. They have also been caught trolling live mullet, menhaden or artificial lures close to shore.

Tarpon reports have been strong.

On the offshore side, Georgetown Landing Marina (843-546-1776) reports that they have had some bottom fish hit the docks as well as good numbers of wahoo, some blackfin tuna and the occasional king mackerel.

Beaufort (Updated September 1)

Inshore water temperatures in the Beaufort area are down from a high of 88 to around 80 or 81 degrees, and clarity is pretty tough right now. On the fly dark colors like black and purple have the best visibility.

The redfish bite in the Beaufort area has been good, and Captain Tuck Scott of Bay Street Outfitters (843-524-5250) reports that in particular the tailing action has been very strong. It should get better as temperatures drop.

As water temperatures drop he also expects the reds to get more and more oriented towards chasing shrimp, and on low tide fish can already be caught in small channels in the flats on shrimp and artificials that imitate them. On both the dropping tide and the incoming drum are sitting around shell bars in places they can ambush prey.

Trout have been feeding well, and fish are feeding around swift moving water where they have some sort of obstacle that creates an ambush point. 3-4 feet is a good depth range. In addition to live bait 1/4 ounce jigheads with paddletail grubs, Gulp! shrimp or swimming mullet are working well.

Trout are also biting well at light changes (particularly in the morning) on topwater lures. Ladyfish and jack crevalle can also be caught the same way.

There are also a fair number of tripletail around, and on the flats and even over deep water if you see a dark spot it is worth looking to see if it is a tripletail laying on the surface. On spinning tackle they will eat a finger mullet, mud minnow, or live shrimp, or a shallow suspended twitch bait. A dark baitfish pattern is best on the fly.

Tarpon are around and guides have seen them busting bait.

Edisto Island (Updated September 1)

Inshore water temperatures around Edisto Island are in the mid-80s, and water clarity varies depending on rain. Some of the best fishing of the year is right around the corner.

There are still tons of small redfish in the creeks and on the flats. Captain Ron Davis Jr. (843-513-0143) reports that numbers are very good but 9 out of 10 fish under 15 inches. On the flats a shrimp fished under a float is hard to beat, with the mid-tide period best when water is covering the oyster shells and about at the grass line. In the creeks a shrimp will get picked to death by croaker, pinfish and other bait stealers, and so live finger mullet on a Carolina rig is the best bet. Two hours either side of low tide is the best period for creek fishing, and fish are around deep structure such as old trees, docks and ripraps particularly where the creeks bend.

Trout fishing has been really good a few days after the rains when water clears again, but it seems to take 2-3 days to settle out a big rain event. When the water is muddy the bite gets tough. The best action is on main river points at the highest part of the tide when the water is clearest. Fish are around points and current rips created by shell bars that run perpendicular to the bank, and they will eat a live shrimp under a popping cork. Only about one out of five fish is a keeper but 40-50 fish days are common.

It's been an above-average year for flounder around Edisto, and Ron has been picking up a couple each trip while targeting other species. There are also a lot of flounder being gigged this year. In addition to inshore catches, there have been some big fish caught at the Edisto Nearshore and Edisto 40.

The sheepshead fishing has been great, and while it will peak in October the sizes are already improving and numbers are great. Fishing fiddler crabs around pilings that have 6-10 feet of water at low tide is the best pattern.

It's a great time for tarpon fishing, with the bite at its peak right now. Fishing live 6-8 inch mullet or hand-sized menhaden around the bars that line the North and South Edisto river is the best way to hook up with a silver king. Fish will be in the cuts in bars and areas where they drop off to deeper water. It's pretty much a wait-and-see game, and fishing 3 rods with one on the bottom, one free-lined and one on a float is the best way to hook up. The best time to catch fish is if you can get a high rising tide early in the morning. Calm conditions are also good for locating fish when you can see tarpon rolling on the surface to gulp air. There are plenty of menhaden at the mouths of the rivers – just look for pelicans diving.

Whiting are loaded up in the same areas as the tarpon, at the cuts in sand bars, and there are lots of big 10-12 inch whiting around. It's a good idea to put out a 2-hook bottom rig for whiting while tarpon fishing, and smaller ones make good tarpon bait, too. Inside the surf the action is slower.

The Spanish mackerel fishing has been the best it has been in ten years, with fish stacked up in 30-40 feet of water. Once you get into 30 feet just start looking for the birds. You can cover more water trolling, but sometimes you get more action following the birds and throwing spoons at the fish. Jack crevalle have been a surprise this year, and some nice 3-5 pound and even 8-10 pound fish are mixed in with the Spanish mackerel in the same areas. Just look for birds diving and fish busting.

Greater Murrells Inlet (Updated June 21)

Perry's Bait and Tackle in Murrells Inlet (843-651-2895) reports that they are still getting some good catches of flounder along the South Grand Strand, but they are receiving really strong reports on redfish and black drum. Captain J of Fishful Thinking Guide Service (843-902-0356) says that he is catching both species on pieces of shrimp fished over shell bottoms where there is some current. The shells can be live or dead, but the key is just not having a mud or sand bottom. The tide hasn't mattered much, and it will take some patience to weed through the pinfish but after a few minutes the drum show up and seem to run off the bait stealers.

Trout fishing has also been pretty good inshore, with plenty of 15-16 inch fish being caught on live shrimp and smaller live finger mullet.

At the jetties sheepshead fishing has been strong, and off the beaches there have been a lot of sharks, bluefish, ribbonfish, ladyfish and croakers caught. Before the storms pompano were doing well, but they have slowed down since the rain started.

Nearshore Perry's reports weakfish, gulf flounder and spadefish at the 3-Mile and 10-Mile reefs, although Captain J. says that at times it's been a little tough to catch spadefish with so much of their natural bait (small jellyfish) around.

Captain J. is having a lot of success trolling 16-18 miles offshore in 30-60 feet of water for king mackerel. Pulling live menhaden and cigar minnows over live bottom areas has been producing a good number of smaller 10-12 pound fish, while the artificial reefs have barracuda which often don't mix well with kings. Perry's has gotten good king reports at Belkie Bear.

Georgetown Landing Marina (843-546-1776) reports that they have had some bottom fish hit the docks, and the trolling trips have produced some spotty dolphin fishing. Blackfin tuna are in their traditional areas – the trick is just getting them to bite!

Hilton Head (Updated September 1)

Inshore water temperatures in the Hilton Head area are in the lower 80s, and with lots of rain the water is dirty.

Last week there were some very good tailing tides around Hilton Head, and Captain Dan "Fishin' Coach" Utley (843-368-2126) reports that with the high water in the morning the bite was very good first thing. There were lots of slot-sized redfish caught. There also continue to be tons of juvenile redfish around, and as predicted they are getting very close to reaching 15 inches. The best pattern for catching these has been to fish around docks, trees and other structure in the bends of creeks.

Probably the hottest bite right now is for 1-3 pound ladyfish, which despite their lack of food value put up a great fight with awesome aerial displays. They are busting glass minnows and especially on high water they can be caught on live shrimp or mud minnows under a rattling cork. Earlier in the summer they were off the beaches around the sandbars but now they have migrated inside.

With dirty water the trout bite has been tough.

Freshwater Fishing Report

Piedmont Area

Lake Russell (Updated September 1)

Lake Russell water levels are bouncing between 474 and 475 daily (full pool is 475.00), and in the last week water temperatures have fallen almost ten degrees into the lower 80s. Clarity is pretty good on Russell.

On the bass front, Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that fishing is pretty fair and fish are starting to move up shallower. There are now a lot of fish in 10-15 feet of water off of points, with the spots and largemouth mixed together. Drop shotted worms and shakey heads are both working.

There is also starting to be some schooling activity, and it might be close to the bank or out over 100 feet of water. Fish are roaming around chasing bait.

Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) is also seeing a lot of schooling activity in a variety of different places, and he suggests having a 1/4 ounce lipless crankbait tied on and ready to go.

Both guides are finding a pretty good crappie bite, with Wendell's boat catching some nice crappie 8-12 feet down over 17-18 feet of water. He is catching the fish on minnows over brush on both ends of the main lake.

Jerry is fishing slightly deeper for fish suspended 15-18 feet down over 15-25 feet of water. He is finding them in the main lake and creeks and catching them on jigs.

Striped bass fishing has been decent, and both the lower and upper ends are producing about the same. Wendell recently caught a ten-pounder up the lake, then ran to the lower end and caught an almost identical fish. On the lower end of the lake he is fishing down-lines about 20 feet down over 80 feet of water, and on the upper end they are mainly pulling free-lines.

The catfish bite continues to be good on Lake Russell, and on the bottom in the main channel in about 40 feet of water Wendell's boat is finding a good mix of white perch, yellow perch, and catfish. The perch will eat minnows (as will the cats), but to target catfish use cut bait. Jerry's boat is still filling up coolers of catfish fishing off points and in the backs of pockets in 15-25 feet with cut herring.

Lake Thurmond (Updated September 1)

Lake Thurmond water levels are at 322.66 (full pool is 330.00) and water temperatures have dropped into the lower 80s.

As temperatures drop, bass fishing is starting to pick up on Clarks Hill, and Buckeye Lures in Augusta reports that first thing there is some pretty good schooling activity off deeper points and offshore humps. If there is wind then the schooling can last longer. They suggest making 5-6 casts with a fluke or topwater lure, and if there are no bites then switch over to a Carolina rig or jig before moving onto the next spot. Fish are grouped together and if you catch one you should be able to catch more.

Another pattern is fishing around shallower humps in about 12-18 feet of water, and as fish get more active with cooling temperatures they are eating deep diving crankbaits. Jigs will also still catch fish.

Fish can also be caught running the banks and throwing a buzzbait. Try to target banks that have as many laydowns as possible where bass are likely to be ambushing bream up shallow.

Striper and hybrids are grouped up together in the lower lake on Lake Thurmond, and Captain William Sasser (864-333-2000) reports that his boats are catching lots of nice fish in the 5-12 pound range between Modoc and the dam. Each morning they are catching 30-40 fish. The best pattern is fishing 50-60 feet deep with down-lines in about 100 feet of water, but the key is chumming with small pieces of cut herring. Without the chum William says you can forget it.

There are also tons of small fish in the 2-pound range off basically all the points in the lower lake.

Fishing has slowed down tied up to the cable at the dam, and they have not seen schooling activity.

On the catfish front, Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that the bite is still good with a mixed bag of blues, channels and flatheads along with some bonus hybrids and striper. Anchoring on points and humps and fan-casting cut herring is catching blues and channels, while live bream and white perch are catching flatheads. During the day target 20-40 feet and at night focus on 5-15 feet. Numbers of fish are being caught during the day but most of the bigger fish are coming at night. If you are focusing on numbers of fish moving every 30-45 minutes is the best way to target aggressive fish, but if you want to catch big ones mark them on your graph and sit on them for at least an hour and a half. Patience can pay off in a big way.

The crappie pattern remains unchanged, with excellent numbers coming fishing over brush in the backs of coves in the mid-lake area. Fishing about 20 feet down in 30 feet of water has been the best pattern. Fish can be caught on jigs but minnows have been working much better.

Lake Wylie (Updated August 31)

Lake Wylie is at 96.7 percent of full pool, and water temperatures have dropped from the low 90s into the mid-80s in the last few days. The water was clear before the latest round of rain came through.

On the bass front, guide and FLW fisherman Bryan New (704-421-5868) reports that fishing has gotten super tough – catching Lake Wylie bass is as difficult as Bryan has ever seen. The offshore pattern that was good earlier in the summer has really slowed down, likely in part because of heavy pressure on the fish all summer. You can still catch them but you have to really slow down and fish a shakey head or a Texas rig.

Probably the better pattern now is to fish in the 8-15 foot range off of points. Both creek and main lake points will hold fish, but the creek points should get better soon. Fall may be starting early this year and Bryan predicts that in the next week or so fish will start migrating into the creeks in significant numbers. A shakey head worm remains the bait of choice for these bass.

There has also been some random schooling activity, and while it is not a pattern you can count on yet it's worth having a topwater bait tied on. Most of the schooling action has come off creek channel points, mainly on the lower end of the lake.

Midlands Area

Lake Greenwood (Updated September 1)

Lake Greenwood water temperatures are in the lower 80s, and water levels are at 438.50 (full pool is 440.0).

Veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter reports that bass fishing on Lake Greenwood has gotten tougher again. Anglers are still fishing the tail end of the deep pattern pulling worms around brush, but as temperatures drop into the 70s shad will start to move into main lake pockets and creeks. Fishing a shakey head worm around docks is a good bet for now, but before long there should be a really good topwater bite on buzzbaits.

On the catfish front, Captain Chris Simpson says that reports indicate that anchoring on points and humps and fan-casting stinkbait is the best bet to get channel catfish of all sizes in the boat right now. 5-20 feet is typically the best depth at this time of year.

The night time flathead bite is also good, and live bream and white perch fan-casted in the same areas is a good bet.

Lake Monticello (Updated August 31)

Lake Monticello water temperatures have dropped several degrees from their highs in the 90s. Lake levels generally fluctuate daily.

Tournament angler Andy Wicker of Pomaria reports that towards the end of the summer lake Monticello bass fishing got tough, and whereas 20 pound sacks were winning night tournaments earlier in the season weights well under 10 pounds were good enough by the end. Most of the fish are still offshore, but the bite has really slowed.

Although September can still be a tough month, Andy expects the deep fish to bite better. He will be dragging a worm around deep spots including brush and drop-offs in 30-40 feet, and when water temperatures cool a few degrees there should also be a decent topwater bite early. Some fish are already being caught on a Pop-R first thing but the window should get longer.

As the fall progresses fish will be relating more to bait, and by late September or early October anglers will want to idle around and locate bait schools. By mid-October Andy will be fishing vertically with a spoon.

On another front, the free-lining catfish bite continues to be really good. Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that in addition to numbers of fish they are still catching some really nice ones free-lining pieces of cut herring. The depth varies from day to day but the best results have come recently over 100-plus feet of water, with the baits generally running 5-15 feet down. The hottest action has been close to the discharge where William speculates that the fish are eating cut bait that gets churned back up. Look for the big fish bite to come on once temperatures cool off.

Lake Murray (Updated September 1)

Lake Murray water levels are at 356.57 (full pool is 360.00), and water temperatures have dropped into the lower 80s. Clarity is still good.

After an extremely successful Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Murray, a parade of anglers rotated through offshore spots, often loaded up with cane piles, and throwing topwater baits including pencil poppers, Spooks, flukes and more to draw up suspended bass or target actively busting fish. Anglers new to this technique who followed the action online, or who followed in a boat and were actually able to mark waypoints, thought they would also be able to match the 20-pound sacks caught during the event.

In the weeks following the tournament it has become apparent that, while the offshore suspended pattern has now gone mainstream, Lake Murray in late summer is still tough. The FLW anglers (and locals fishing around the same time) hit a really good week for a variety of reasons, but weights have dropped significantly since then. Some of the best anglers on the lake fished a roughly 50-boat benefit tournament recently, and only about 20 anglers weighed in. The winning anglers were Andrew Allen and Chris Vickery from Greenwood, and they won the event with a weight in the 17s. They caught five fish all day on three cane piles, showing that the pattern is certainly still there, but don't expect to catch 20 pounds every time you do it.

One other pattern is about to come online. The shallow bite is still off, but as the fall progresses expect more fish to be caught on buzzbaits around the bank. In the Oakley Big Bass Tournament September 23-24 expect some of the better fish to be caught this way.

In striped bass news, Captain Brad Taylor (803-331-1354) reports that with cooling water temperatures the pattern has started to change a little. The bulk of the fish are still being caught on down rods fishing live herring, but the depth range is now 40-80 feet. The shallower end of that range has more small fish. There is also some schooling on the lower end, and locating these fish is simply a matter of keeping your eyes open. These same fish are also being caught on free-lines fished out over open water when they are not busting on the surface. Right now the bulk of the better fish are in the main water between Shull Island and the dam, and as you start to go back in the creeks you can locate plenty of smaller ones. Before long bigger fish will start to go into the creeks following threadfin shad schools.

On the crappie front, Brad reports that with cooling temperatures fish should be starting to turn back on. Like the striper they will be pushing back into creeks to eat small threadfin shad, and that means right now you should look in the mouths of creeks up the lake around brush. 10 feet down over about 15-20 feet is a good place to start. Fish will also be found around deeper docks in the 15-foot range.

In catfish news, Captain William Attaway (803-924-0857) reports that 30 feet continues to be a good depth range to target during the day, while at night 15-25 feet is a good range. Fish will be found off long points and humps, and fishing the deeper side of channel buoys on the lake is a good bet. Dip baits are hard to beat although the herring bite has also been picking up.

Lake Wateree (Updated August 31)

Lake Wateree is at 97.6 percent of full pool, and water temperatures have dropped 7-8 degrees in the last week into the lower 80s.

The results of the most recent CATT Open on Lake Wateree reflect that bass fishing on Lake Wateree is still really tough. The winning boat had less than 14 pounds, and only the top 20 percent of the field weighed double digits.

FLW angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden reports that he still isn't finding much of an offshore bite, and running over a ton of places that usually hold fish they could only find bass on a couple of them. And those fish were reluctant to bite. And with the topwater bite tough, the grass bite hard to get going, and the offshore bite non-existent there is little to do besides “fish and hope.” The fish Dearal has found have been in about 8-10 feet around brush, but even those have been few and far between. Throwing a worm has been the best bet.

If you just want to get your line pulled on Lake Wateree the better bet is to go after crappie, and veteran tournament angler Will Hinson of Cassatt says that with the cooler weather the bite has picked up. Fish are still mostly in the main lake on brush but they have moved shallower into the 14-18 foot range. Early in the morning they are suspending above the brush, but as the sun comes up they are sinking towards the bottom. In the middle of the day the best bet is fishing 1 ½ - 2 feet off the bottom.

The best part of the lake has been the middle of the lake up to the river run, probably because the shallower water above Colonel Creek has cooled off faster. You can go as far back in the creeks as the bridges but not much beyond that; again, the backs of creeks are too warm. Some fish have been caught around bridges. Both minnows and Fish Stalker jigs in Ugly Green, Army Green, yellow and pearl white are working well.

Santee Cooper System (Updated September 1)

Santee Cooper water levels are at 75.20 in Lake Marion (full pool is 76.8) and 75.10 in Lake Moultrie (full pool is 75.5). Surface temperatures are in the lower 80s.

After a really slow late summer, Captain Steve English (843-729-4044) reports the crappie bite is finally improving. In the upper lake they are catching some fish on brushpiles fishing about 10-18 feet deep over 17-25 feet of water. The bite in the lower lake has been slower but they are catching a few fish there, too.

Bream are being caught in both lakes around the same brush the crappie are on, but they have generally been small.

The catfish action has slowed down in the late summer, and although numbers have dropped way off they are still catching some big fish at night. The best action has been in 25-30 feet.

Mountains Area

Lake Jocassee (Updated September 1)

Lake Jocassee is down to 90.8 percent of full pool, and morning surface water temperatures range between 80 and 82 degrees, getting up to 84 on very hot days. Clarity is normal (very clear).

There is not too much change in the trout pattern on Lake Jocassee, but Guide Sam Jones (864-280-9056) reports that the fishing is getting a little tougher. Fish are still mainly in the 80-110 foot range, but he has caught some as deep as 115 or 120 feet. By this time of year he is pretty much only catching them at the dam on hardware (mainly Sutton and Apex spoons). Catfish are still aggravating on live bait, although one of his friends caught a 28-pounder in 100 feet on a Sutton 44. If they were all that size they wouldn't be a nuisance!

Some nice bass are also starting to show up in the very deep water, and on a recent trip Sam's boat caught a 4-pound spotted bass as well as a 2 1/2 pounder in more than 100 feet of water.

Lake Keowee (Updated August 16)

Veteran Lake Keowee fisherman Charles Townson of the Keowee Anglers reports that bass fishing is pretty tough right now. There were two daytime tournaments held recently, and anything over 12 pounds was a good bag. There were a lot of five fish limits that weighed six to nine pounds.

The early bite is not very strong but some fish can be caught on topwaters or crankbaits. Some fish can also be caught shallow on a shaky head early. There are also some schooling fish chasing bait between 7 and 9 a.m. on points and humps where bait is present. This tends to be happening more on the lower and upper ends of the lake and not in the middle section where the water is so warm.

Be on the lookout for schooling bass at any time and keep an eye on electronics for any areas where large amounts of bait can be found.

After the sun comes up the bite is very hard unless you can find deeper fish to use a drop shot on in 40+ feet of water.

Lake Hartwell (Updated August 31)

Lake Hartwell water levels are down almost eight feet to 652.06 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures have fallen into the lower to mid-80s. With dry conditions clarity is very good.

Late in the summer striped and hybrid bass fishing has gotten pretty tough on Lake Hartwell, and Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) reports that bait fishing isn't especially productive right now. The water is also so hot that bait is really stressed and only lives for about 5 minutes on a line now.

Fish are generally in about 35-45 feet of water along the river channel, although some are undoubtedly deeper in the timber. The best action is in the lower lake, and the most effective technique has been trolling lead core line with about 12-14 colors out. For some reason the afternoon has been better than the morning.

Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) also reports that not a lot of nice fish are being caught right now, but he looks for that to change in the next couple of weeks as water temperature drop into the 78-80 degree range and they start to move around more.

While striper fishing hasn't started to pick up yet this season, Guide Brad Fowler reports that as water temperatures have started to cool the bass fishing has already improved. There isn't much change in the pattern, and fishing deep for offshore fish with a drop shot is still the best way to catch them, but the fish are more active and they are biting better.

There has also started to be some sporadic schooling activity. A lot of the schooling is taking place off points, but fish will also pop up in random, odd-ball places.

Captain Bill reports that there is not much change in the catfish bite, which remains good, with channels eating about anything in 25-30 feet (cut herring, nightcrawlers, dip baits, etc.). Blues are out in the deep timber but you have a shot of catching them in 25-30 feet of water at night. Flatheads can be caught at night on live perch or bream around brush.


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