Lake Hartwell Fishing Report March 2016

Hartwell: Level: 1.6 feet below full. Temp: Low 50s. Clarity: Clear: Stained in the creeks and clear on the lower end.

Bass: Tournament angler Kerry Partain reports, “The weather is starting to warm up, and the bass are on the move and feeding up as they prepare for the spawn. March is an exciting time in fishing as the water begins to warm. You can catch some big females as they migrate shallow. The weather really dictates your fishing presentation this time a year, so plan accordingly.  On a warming trend, you can really catch them shallow in the creeks and rivers around rocks and wood on crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jigs or Texas-rigged creature baits. On colder days, you will have to slow down and fish deeper rocks and points close to deep water with jerkbaits, jigs and Carolina-rigged Zoom finesse worms or lizards. Later in the month as the water continues to warm into the 60s, the spawn will be in full swing, and you will have to fish shallow flats and pockets.”

Linesides: Guide Preston Harden reports, “March is when I striper fish like I bass fish. I am also catching hybrids, largemouth and spots. The fish follow the bait as the bait seeks the warmest water. The fish and bait move to the shallowest water. A small fluke or other shad-imitating artificial will catch an array of fish. I fish afternoons in March because the water warms and the fishing gets better later in the day. Wind-blown pockets and points hold more fish than the leeward banks. Look for fish up lake in the main rivers and creeks. Bait fishing is tough in March, unless you use medium shiners on light line. Some big fish will be caught pulling big gizzard shad in the backs of major creeks. Fishing with blueback herring turns on in April, but March is tops for artificial.”

Crappie: Preston reports, “Crappie fishing peaks in March as they move shallow in preparation to spawn. Work small crappie jigs around docks and bridges, trying to keep the jig in the dark. Look for crappie to migrate farther back into the major creeks as March progresses. I use 4-lb. test line and a 1/32-oz. jig head with a small soft plastic.”

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