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Lake Hartwell Fishing Report - March 24, 2021

This past week has been a tough week of fishing with the conditions being less than favorable. Those of us who braved the wind and cooler weather this weekend and the first part of the week saw huge swings in the bites and fish activity. Saturday saw some fish being cooperative and fairly easy and Sunday saw a huge lockdown from the front pushing through. If it hadn’t been for spot lock on the Minn Kota Ulterra, it would have been a miserable weekend to fish. It amazes me how precise that machine is even dealing with a gusty north wind which is as unpredictable as the fish.

After the cold front pushed through and warmer weather followed, the last few days have really seen a big push of fish up shallow. Most of the creeks have some body of fish way in the back, or at least the back third. Some areas are holding fish in as little as five feet of water, way in the back. Some creeks hold more and some less, but you can bet each creek has some. The hard part about the fish being shallow, is it’s extremely hard to graph them to tell exactly how many are in an area. Your best way to locate fish now and for the next few weeks is to just fish. Give an area a short quick fish through and if you don’t get a bite, move on. With the rain, most creeks had a definitive mud line, which nine times out of ten holds bait and fish. While new fresh mud is usually a deterrent. I find that after an area has seen mud for a few days the fish will pull back into the mud following the bait. Dirty water warms quicker from the sun and bait will look for that thermal refuge from the cold this time of year. I usually like to pull planner boards and Mini Mack’s right through the mud line and pay attention if I’m getting bit on the clearer or dingier side. I’ve seen an equal willingness to eat herring or medium gizzards this week. We even caught a few on medium minnows while the funk from the cold front was at its worst.

The spotted bass and largemouth fishing have been excellent this past weekend. With wind blow main lake points and shallow spawning areas being equally productive. I’ve seen several big largemouths up shallow preparing for the spawn and caught three over five pounds just today off one big flat.

The crappie bite went from red hot last week to extremely tough over the weekend back to red hot the first part of this week. The fish definitely pulled up shallow with the warming water. With the fish pushing shallow and spreading out some, long lines or shallow blow downs have been the best producers early this week. Popping corks with jigs and minnows have also produced fish anywhere you can find them piled up over a tall brush pile or shallow flat.

Good Luck and Great Fishing!

Capt. Nathan Key


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