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Lake Hartwell Fishing Report - April 22, 2021

Lake Hartwell has seen a very up and down week of fishing this past week. Due mostly in part to the weather fluctuations and fish transitioning from their spawn run. The lake level is hovering around the 661 mark and this cold front blowing in will definitely affect the bite somewhat for the end of the week and weekend.

The next few weeks on Lake Hartwell can be a major transitional period seeing most of the fish finishing up their spawning effort and moving even more than normal in an effort to fill their tanks after the spawn. The next few weeks can be a difficult time to find fish and stay on them day after day. The majority of the fish will still remain shallow. As in shallow water depth and shallow in the water column while over deeper bottoms. Planner boards and free lines will continue to produce a few more quality bites over down rods for the next few weeks. While the heart of the herring spawn is still a bit ahead of us, I thought I’d touch a little on how we target these fish during this time. Herring spawn extremely shallow and mostly throughout the night and first thing in the morning. They prefer hard bottom areas with main lake points and shoals being prime areas. Points near creek mouths and main lake coves also produce well for this pattern. There are two ways to fish the stripers and hybrids that are keying in on the herring spawn. The first being beaching the boat on these points and fan casting around the boat with traditional down rod setups. This is the time of year I rely on my Minn Kotta Talons to keep from beating the boat up and to allow me to pick and choose how I set up on these shallow areas. The other being keeping the boat slightly off the point or shoal and fan-casting freelines around the boat. Usually, I like to start as shallow as possible and progress deeper on the points as the morning goes on. It pays dividends to get out early, well before sun up, and get started on these areas. The majority of the shallow bite will end by 9-9:30 am each morning. The herring bite is notorious for fish being loaded on an area one day and gone the next. So it’s important to give yourself as many options as you can during that prime time. My general rule of thumb is if I’m not getting bit in 10-15 minutes I’m moving to a different location.

We’ll continue to talk a little more about the herring spawn and tactics over the next few weeks.

Good Luck and Great Fishing!

Capt. Nathan Key


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