Lake Hartwell Fishing Report March 2006

Hartwell: Level: Six inches below full pool. Temp: 50-52 degrees. Clarity: The main lake is clear, the backs of the creeks are stained.

Bass:
The bass are beginning to move up, staging ahead of the spawn. Lipless crankbaits, like a Rattlin’ Vibe or Rat-L-Trap, or jerkbaits like a Pointer 100 on secondary points have been catching fish. Guide and tournament pro Buster Green took third in the Tugaloo Fishing Hole tournament on February 26 by flipping a brown-on-brown jig ’n pig around shallow docks in the midlake area. “The shallower the dock, the better,” said Buster. “I caught one 3-pounder from a dock that didn’t have eight inches of water under it. The black, encapsulated Styrofoam warms the water, so the shallower the water, the warmer the water.”

Stripers/Hybrids:
Off and on, according to Buster, who said the fish are just a degree or two in water temperature away from making the move to the banks. “You can still find fish by following the gulls,” said Buster, who has been fishing near the river forks. “The fish are gradually progressing toward the banks, and a lot of bass fishermen are catching hybrids on crankbaits.” Buster has been catching hybrids freelining herring along the banks. When the water temperature hits the 56- 57-degree range, the fish should pull up on the banks. “If you can find a windblown pocket with bait pushed back in it, you are liable to catch 40 from one pocket.” Buster said to cast a 1/8-oz. Hal Fly or a Sassy Shad on a 1/4-oz. jig head. White always works, but Buster said solid orange has been productive. “If the water is a little dingy, they will jump on that orange jig,” he said.

Crappie:
Good catches of crappie are coming from back in the creeks by trollers pulling jigs over 12 to 15 feet of water. Buster says black/chartreuse or red/white jigs are good choice. If you are a minnow fisherman, find brush in the same depth and fish minnows eight- to 10-feet deep over the brush. Bridge pilings are also producing good catches.

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