Hartwell: Level: 1 foot below full pool. Temp: Low 70s, some warmer water back in stained creeks. Clarity: Clear.
Bass: Hartwell’s famous Spooks & Flukes bite is under way. The run-and-gun pattern on main-lake points, humps and reef markers was made famous by Hartwell fishing guide Mark Waller — and he is still catching fish on the pattern. On April 23, it took 24 1/2-pounds to win the Fishing Hole tournament on Hartwell. Mark and his son weighed in 17 pounds. “We were running and gunning,” said Mark — hitting dozens of points, reefs and humps in the lower end of the lake. “We caught about 25 bass. The biggest was about four pounds. The spawn is pretty much over, and the fish are moving out to the points. Mark said the hybrids and stripers are in the same places, and if they blow up you had just as well wait until they get done before you will catch any largemouths. If he wasn’t throwing topwater on the points, Mark said that you can slow down with a Carolina-rigged green-pumpkin lizard on the same structure will catch fish.
Stripers/Hybrids: Excellent. On April 24, Hartwell fishing guide Steve Crenshaw was off the lake by 10 a.m. after catching 36 hybrids and stripers. “We have pretty well been tearing them up for the past three weeks,” he said. Steve has been fishing from the dam to the river split and pulling his boat on the bank before daylight to fish live herring in shallow water. The fish have also been schooling well just after daylight. “This morning we caught 25 before daylight and another 11 after the sun came up,” he said. The fish were mostly hybrids with a few stripers up to about eight pounds mixed in. The topwater fish have been hitting a downsized Sammy or a Spook. The bank bite will gradually fade in May, and the fish will move into the creeks and coves, said Steve. He will then switch to downlines and freelines with live bluebacks.
Crappie: According to Steve, look for crappie in brushpiles in 12 to 20 feet of water and fish minnows or jigs 10- or 12-feet deep over the brush. The fish are spawned out and pulling out to the brushpiles.