Lake Greenwood water levels are at 439.06 (full pool is 440.0) and water temperatures are in the mid to upper 70s. The lower end has cleared after the storm. Bass fishing on Lake Greenwood is by no means strong right now, but veteran tournament angler Stan Gunter of Saluda reports that some fish have been caught flipping docks in shallow water in the river area with big Ole Monster or Mag 2 worms. As water temperatures drop more fish will come to the banks, and soon a buzzbait should work well all day.
Lake Hartwell water levels are at 658.55 (full pool is 660.00), and water temperatures are in the mid to upper-70s. Now that Hartwell water temperatures have started to drop Guide Chip Hamilton (864-304-9011) reports that a fall pattern is kicking in. You can pretty much pick the area of the lake you want to fish, as there are still a lot of striper and hybrids in the big water but they have also started their migration up both the Seneca and Tugaloo rivers. Fish aren’t yet in the backs of creeks, however. Pretty much every day for the last week and a half there has been schooling activity. Some days it is spotty, while other days it is constant. There is no clear pattern to when the fish are on top. When fish are not on the surface then fishing down-lines 30-40 feet deep over 40-130 feet of water is the best pattern. Fish will be around main lake points or ridges, and when they are not there they will be out in the channel or on the edge of the creek or river channel. Captain Bill Plumley (864-287-2120) has also found schooling activity in the mid-lake as well as the lower lake, and for him the peak depth range has been 40-85 feet. He is finding fish over humps mid-lake or on the lower end. On the bass front, Guide Brad Fowler is at the tail end of an off-limits period before a championship tournament. However, at this time of year he would look for a topwater bite at the mouths of major creeks where fish will be chasing small bait. Also, now that water temperatures have finally dropped below 80 degrees there should be an improving buzzbait and Pop-R bite shallow around the banks. Captain Bill reports that the channel catfish bite remains good on a variety of baits in 25-30 feet of water.
Lake Russell water levels are around 473.8 (full pool is 475.00), and water temperatures are in the mid to upper-70s. Despite the storm clarity is still pretty good. Water temperatures are finally dropping on Lake Russell, but Guide Jerry Kotal (706-988-0860) reports that until now the bass fishing on Lake Russell has only been fair – probably because of the unseasonable warmth. We should already be in the 60s, but before the cold front water temperatures were still near 80. In a recent tournament a 9-pound bag was good enough for the win, and the winning angler had a 5-pounder!
For now fish are around brush piles in 25-30 feet of water in the main lake and some of the creeks, and what they really want to eat is live herring. However, they will take soft plastics fished on a drop shot. Jerry expects that in the next couple of weeks the fall bite should get wide open. If you want to tangle with a largemouth the best bet is to head into the backs of creeks and fish a buzzbait, or fish around blowdowns. Guide Wendell Wilson (706-283-3336) has started to see some schooling bass, and when it’s calm you can ride around and look for fish. He has seen schooling in a variety of different areas including over deep water out in the middle. You can throw a small Rattle Trap, but Wendell’s bait of choice is a Pop-R with a 1/16-ounce crappie jig 18-24 inches behind it. Almost all the fish take the jig.
After not pursuing them for over a month, Wendell has started targeted crappie again and found a good bite. He has found the fish willing to take minnows fished 6-8 feet deep over brush piles in 10-18 feet of water in the backs of creeks. On the last trip they caught more than 40 crappie including some very nice ones.
On the striper front, Wendell reports that they have found fish 25 feet down over 50-60 feet of water on the lower end around bait schools. Jerry has also found some mixed in with the spotted bass in about 30 feet, as well as some catfish.
Lake Thurmond water levels are at 326.63 (full pool is 330.00), and water temperatures are in the mid- to upper-70s. Bass fishing on Lake Thurmond isn’t easy, but Augusta University fishing team angler Josh Rockefeller reports that there are a few different ways you can catch fish. Early in the morning there is a pretty hot fluke bite for numbers of fish, but once the sun gets up it’s over. On cloudy days it can last until mid-morning.
You can also grind out some fish throwing a chrome Gunfish 115 or 135 for fish that occasionally come up over humps in 5-6 feet of water. Sun and a bit of wind help, but it’s not a numbers pattern like throwing the fluke in the right conditions. You can get some good ones, though. The best area for both of these patterns has been the main lake towards the dam. Some fish can also be caught on a drop shot, but 9/10 will be small. There is the rare good one mixed in, however. A few smaller fish are being caught cranking shallow water, but this should get better quickly with these cooler nights.
On the striper and hybrid front, William Sasser Guide Service (864-333-2000) reports that they are starting to see surface activity again. Before the storm it was starting, but now it is returning and there is a lot of bait running near the surface. When fish are not on the surface they are catching them on down-lines fished 12-25 deep for fish suspended along the edge of the channel or a creek in 40-50 feet of water. Fish are starting to push away from the lower pool into the arms of the lake, and the middle part of the lake on up to the Georgia Little River and near Cherokee has been productive. The fall catfish bite is starting to come on, but Captain Chris Simpson (864-992-2352) reports that once the fall turnover finishes up the bite for blues and flatheads should get much better. Anchoring on main lake points and humps that top out around 30-50 feet has been working well, but should get hot soon. Cut herring is catching coolers full of blues and channels in the 1- to 10-pound range while bigger baits like gizzard shad, white perch and bream are better for targeting bigger fish.