Lake Hartwell Fishing Report - April 1, 2021

After much consideration and thoughtful prayer, I have decided to give up fishing and take up Golf.... APRIL FOOLS!


The bite on the lake continues to improve each day as the spring patterns emerge. The only thing higher than the water level on Hartwell right now is the pollen count. The lake level is hovering around the 662 mark which is two feet over the full pool mark. For those of us with T-tops and towers, it can be difficult to get under many of the bridges with these levels. Be careful and check your clearances before plowing under some of the bridges. The big cold front that is blowing in today and through the weekend will definitely have some effect on the bite but it’s a toss-up as to how much or how little it will affect things. Those of you who decide to brave the cold and wind will either be rewarded or disappointed depending on how the fish react. It’s my experience that these fronts this time of year have less of an effect than those in the cooler winter and fall months.


The lake seems to be fishing equally well from the dam to the northern ends. The fish are feeding mostly shallow and seemed to have preferred freelines and planner boards to downlines most of this week. The south end has seen several larger schools of fish out feeding in open water. Even these fish out in 40-100ft of water still prefer baits presented shallow on freelines and boards. The Upper lake has seen bodies of fish more spread out than the south end and a little harder to find but more willing to feed when you do find them. Stripers have seemed to be concentrated in shallow feeding areas around channel flats and long tapering points in the back half of the creeks. Gizzard shad and herring have equally produced this week. You may sacrifice a bite or two with big baits over herring but the quality of fish is well worth the sacrifice.


The spots and largemouth have seemed to improve even over last week's reports. With this week's full moon, there has been plenty of fish pulling up to spawn. It’s been my experience the bigger fish usually pull up first, so now may be the time to catch that trophy you’ve been after. The stained watercolor may make sight fishing a bit difficult. Shallow search techniques and covering water would be my advice in stained areas. The spotted bass have been feeding on almost every shoal and point across the lake with some areas holding large schools.


Crappie have also pushed shallow with long lining in creek backs and shallow brush being the biggest producer. Most of the fish have seemed to be in 5-10ft of water. I would imagine this weekend's cooling trends may push some fish back out deeper but I wouldn’t imagine they’d go too deep. Brush in 10-20ft and docks would be a hard place to beat if the fish do push out deeper.


Good luck and Great Fishing

Capt. Nathan Key


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