Lake Hartwell: Lake Hartwell water levels are up to 654.06 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures have shot from 76 degrees to around 80 or 81 in just a few days. Clarity is good.
Striped bass action has been very good on Lake Hartwell, and Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) reports that each trip his boat is catching 20-25 fish. Fish are moving back down the rivers into the mid-lake and lower lake, and he is finding the best numbers of fish 25-30 feet deep off long points. The most action is coming on down-lines, but they have also seen some schooling activity early and late.
Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) has been targeting big fish instead of catching numbers, and so he is targeting fish that are setting up in timber. They could be around creek channels, ridges, or a variety of other underwater structure. The water is 50-80 feet deep, but with trees topped off 30 feet below the surface of Hartwell (at full pool) he is putting out baits about 23 feet down so that they are just above the trees. You lose a lot of fish this way, but if you can find an opening in the trees you stand a better chance of staying hooked up.
On the bass front, Guide Brad Fowler reports that you can catch bass a lot of different ways right now. His tournament partner Brock Taylor won a 50- or 60-boat event with 19 pounds recently and caught two big ones off a bream bed and found one fish still on spawning on a bed! Overall with water levels rising a good number of fish have come up shallow, and there are also plenty of fish in the offshore topwater pattern suspended off long points. Another group of fish can be found drop-shotting around timber and brush.
Captain Bill reports that the catfish bite is very good for channel catfish, and he has been finding the best action in 25-30 feet of water on herring, red worms, night crawlers and dip baits. You can also find fish much shallower.
During the day you can pick up a flathead fishing for striper on herring, but if you really want to target flatheads the best bet is fish live bream or perch at night. Fish could be anywhere on the lake around brush or stick-ups in 5-25 feet of water.
Crappie action has been a little sporadic, but Captain Bill says that fish can be caught at night under the bridges. Additionally, some fish are being caught during the day 15-18 feet down beside and around brush along the edges of creek channels.