Lake Hartwell: Lake Hartwell water levels are still well above full pool at 661.75 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures now range from the low to mid-50s. Water clarity ranges from chocolate milk in the backs of some creeks to typically clear on the main lake.
Despite some tough weather conditions catches have been fairly solid, and Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that on his last trip they managed 16 striped and hybrid bass. Fish have moved a bit shallower into 25-30 feet of water, but they are still related to points, ridges and humps in the rivers. With the backs getting very stained some of the fish have pulled out of the creeks, however. For now they are catching all of their fish on down-lines with small herring or medium minnows, and very small jigging spoons are also still working.
Recently Hartwell bass were moving shallower, and tournament angler Reid McGinn reports that with some warm water temperatures approaching 60 up the rivers he found fish moving up shallow into drains and around the weeds that grew up when the lake was down. The best action was fishing in less than 6 feet of water with spinnerbaits and chatterbaits. Down the lake there was apparently a good bite around docks in the clear water with shakey heads and Senkos. While Reid does not expect the cold snap to back the fish up very much, it will stall the forward progression. However, before too long fish should be on the banks spawning.
The catfish bite is still not fast and furious, but there continue to be some really good fish caught. Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) reports that he has caught several 20-30 pound fish anchoring cut bait in the Seneca River, with all the action coming in 28-35 feet of water.
On the crappie front, Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) reports little new information but the last successful reports came fishing minnows 30-35 feet deep on the bottom in creeks. Fish are still positioned beside brush but not on top of it. With cold water temperatures its often a soft bite where the fish will barely mouth the bait.