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Lake Hartwell Fishing Report - March 17th, 2021

Anyone that fished this weekend undoubtedly noticed the bite improved with the warmer weather we had. The fish seemed to react quickly with a majority of the fish pushing shallow and actively feeding on the bait that was enjoying the warmed water. The lake level is holding steady at 659.02 with a chance for a bit of a rise after the heavy storms excepted Thursday. While the weather looks less favorable than last weekend, there still should be some good fishing to be had this weekend.

Stripers and hybrids are still fairly spread evenly through the lake. Due to the fish staying high in the water column they can be hard to mark with your sonar units. It can be difficult to determine where to fish when fish hold this way so oftentimes you have to fish an area to see what’s actually there. With the fish being spread out and on a relatively shallow pattern planner boards and freelines have been the most effective patterns this week. Herring and medium gizzard shad with a Mini Mack or two mixed in the spread is hard to beat this time of year. One big difference this past week has been an improvement in the afternoon bite over the mornings. Fish have been actively feeding most afternoons around points and shoals as well as creek flats and swings. It’s one of the rare times I’d say the afternoon is stronger than the mornings. Look for the fish to start pushing further up major creeks and river arms in preparation for the spawn run that is soon to come.

The crappie bite has been really strong with many fish pushing shallow in preparation for the spawn. There are still plenty of fish using brush piles and docks but a big improvement in the long line and shallow blow down bite being seen this past week. I typically like to target deeper brush and docks early in the day and transition to shallower structures and areas throughout the day as the water warms. The nighttime bite has also been red hot with a lot of fish traveling in preparation for the spawn.

Good luck and great fishing!

Capt. Nathan Key


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