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Lake Hartwell Fishing Forecast Mid-Summer through Fall

Report Date: July 6, 2012

As we enter the second week of July the lake is down about 10 feet and dropping. More underwater obstructions appear every day. Try to stay between the red and green buoys in the main rivers and go from white buoy to white buoy in the creeks. Do not count on the Core of Engineers to mark hazards.

The water will continue to get hotter and most fish will continue to go deeper. This is especially true for hybrids, stripers, and crappie. While crappie may only go down 20 to 30 feet; stripers move to the lower lake and go down as deep as 125 feet. Good electronics are essential to find these deep fish. Blueback herring are the primary forage at these depths. When fishing herring it is important to keep these baits cool by adding ice and conditioner to the bait tank. The conditioner removes the chlorine from the water. It is also important to lower the herring very quickly through the surface water down to the cooler water below 20 feet.

In addition to live herring a 1 ounce jighead and big swimbait will catch deep fish. Lower the jig below the fish and reel up fast through the fish on the graph. A big jigging spoon worked up and down through the fish will get bit.

By mid-September as the surface cools, look for hybrids to start schooling in the surface. Keep a top water plug ready to throw where the fish have been splashing. Fall fishing can be explosive and usually there are few boats out with football and hunting on most folks minds.

In November the lake begins to turn over and fishing can be tough until about Thanksgiving.

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Preston Harden
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