Clarks Hill: Level: 1.8 feet below full pool. Temp: Mid to high 60s. Clarity: Very clear.
Bass: Good, according to Clarks Hill guide William Sasser. “The Top Six tournament (on the lake April 24-25) should be hitting it just right,” he said. The largemouths are on the points and in the blow-throughs and hitting a variety of baits from spinnerbaits to flukes to crankbaits and topwater.
Stripers/Hybrids: Feast or famine, said William. On April 20, the stripers and hybrids turned on in the area in front of the dam with huge areas of schooling fish on top. “Everyone out there was limiting on live bait or things like a Gotcha Shad,” said William. “But a few days later it was hard to catch a fish.” That schooling activity down the lake should improve and become more consistent as the fish congregate. Live bluebacks on a downline and freelined live bait will catch fish, and have a fluke or other topwater ready to through to breaking fish. The fish that we mentioned last month rumored to be a new Clarks Hill lake-record hybrid at about 24 pounds proved to be a striped bass.
Crappie: Excellent. Catching crappie on minnows fished on brush and trees he has placed in the lake is William’s specialty, and he said that during 14 straight days fishing his worst trip was 55 fish and his best was more than 100 crappie — and some good ones. “We have caught seven crappie that weighed more than three pounds apiece in the last two weeks,” he said. “I had two brothers who caught two over three pounds one morning from a sunken tree in 30 feet of water. One weighed 3.8 pounds; the other one weighed 3.6 on digital scales.” The crappie spawn is over at Clarks Hill, and the fish are heading for deep structure in a hurry, said William. Normally in May and June William catches crappie from structure in 20 to 30 feet of water back in the creeks. This year already he has caught fish from brush in water as deep as 50 feet out in the main river runs.
Shellcracker: Clarks Hill is known for producing big shellcracker, and May is the month, says William. “If you can find them, this lake has some monster shellcracker,” he said. The best way to find them, he says, is to ride the lake at night with a Q-beam searching the shallows for the fish. When William finds fish on a bank, he will return and anchor in the area off the bank — then cast worms out on the bottom in the opposite direction. “You aren’t going to catch the biggest fish up on the bank,” he said. “You may see some beds up in the shallow water, but the bigger fish are going to be on beds in four to six feet of water.”