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Striper Seasons

Unusual Summer Pattern

Report Date: September 24, 2013

Water level is 1 feet below full pool
Water temperature is 79°

It has been a strange summer so far. During July and most of August, the fish were locked to the bottom with very few fish suspended and very little surface activity. By late August, most fish became suspended and would not bite good. The thermocline seems to have had a lot to do with the fish coming up in the water column. With all the runoff and particles washed into the Lake, the thermocline went all the way to the dam. This must be a bigger factor in forming the thermocline than the actual water temperature as the surface water never got above the low 80s. This is much lower than a normal summertime surface water temperature.

There was a fish kill in the lower Lake the first week of September after three days of nonstop water generation at Hartwell dam. The Lake dropped 2 1/2 feet in three days. I have never seen it drop so fast. Hopefully it was confined to the dam area.

With the water cooling and the letup of rain, the surface activity is getting better every day. The bass have been on fire for a few weeks. I have also seen a few stripers starting to chase bait on top. Hopefully ,the fish will go on a feeding binge till the water starts its turnover, usually in late October. My favorite way to catch them is with a lucky Kraft Sammy top water plug or a sebille swim bait in white. I will also have Herring ready to drop on schools marked on the graph. The next month is usually the best top water bite of the year.

Capt. Preston Harden
Lake Hartwell, GA

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