If you’re a passionate angler looking for an untouched fishery, then Lake Hartwell in South Carolina should be on your radar. This massive reservoir offers an incredible fishing experience, especially during the month of December. Whether you’re after catfish, stripers, or crappie, this lake has it all.
A Hidden Gem
Bill Plumley, a seasoned angler and fishing guide, stumbled upon Lake Hartwell while searching for the perfect location to start his fishing guide service. What he discovered was a largely unexplored fishery with a thriving population of channel cats and an increasing number of blue catfish. The lake also boasts an abundance of flatheads. Plumley was hooked.
Fishing Opportunities Abound
December on Lake Hartwell presents excellent fishing opportunities for catfish, stripers, and crappie. The weather is cool but not too cold, providing the ideal conditions for these species to feed actively before the colder months.
To help you make the most of your fishing trip, Plumley has identified ten hotspots on Lake Hartwell that are sure to produce results.
Eighteen Mile S Curves
Located in 18 Mile Creek, this spot is a favorite for catfish. As the lake undergoes turnover, catfish are attracted to the fresh water flowing in. Plumley recommends using cut bait, such as blueback herring, white perch, or gizzard shad, on a Carolina rig with a suitable hook. Cover different depths to increase your chances of success.
Just outside the mouth of 18 Mile Creek, this hard bend in the Seneca River is a prime spot for striped bass in December and January. Live blueback herring is the bait of choice. Whether using freelines or downlines, be patient and let the fish hook themselves before jumping into action.
Oconee Point Timber
Head up the Seneca River to find this area with residual standing timber, a magnet for winter crappie. Drop your minnows straight down from your boat, targeting a depth of 12 to 18 feet. Light-action rods, 6-pound test line, and small hooks are recommended for this type of fishing.
Located in Coneross Creek, this brush pile on an old roadbed is an excellent crappie spot. The warmth from the asphalt on the roadbed attracts crappie during the winter months. You can use either minnows or jigs, depending on your preference.
This hump in Coneross Creek is a classic spot for striped bass that are hunting baitfish. Fish around the hump using free-lined herring or gizzard shad, or anchor down and use cut bait. The water depth is around 11 to 12 feet when the lake is at normal pool.
In a large tributary that forks off from Coneross Creek, Catfish Point is a favorite spot for catfish, especially big blue catfish. Use cut bait, such as white perch, to attract these monsters. The blue catfish population in Lake Hartwell has been steadily increasing, thanks to the abundance of baitfish in the lake.
With planted brush tops sticking out of the water, this area is perfect for crappie fishing. Fish in the 12- to 18-foot range around the brush piles. Use light tackle and your favorite jig colors to entice the crappie.
Launching from Broyles Landing provides easy access to various areas of the lake. This central location allows you to explore different spots without committing to just one. The center ramp has been extended to accommodate the lower water levels.
Navigating past shoals and sandbars off Apple Island, Little Beaver Creek is a renowned spot for striped bass in the winter. Free-line live herring or use planer boards with big gizzard shad for bigger fish. Search for fish ambushing bait by criss-crossing the area, focusing on humps, bumps, and points.
Between the Bridges
Primarily a striped bass venue, Little Beaver Creek also offers a crappie oasis between the bridges. Look for a brush pile in the mouth of the creek, around 15 feet deep. Start by fishing the edges and gradually move closer for a successful catch.
Explore Lake Hartwell’s vast waters and try your luck at these hotspots! For more information or to book a fishing adventure, contact Bill Plumley of Capt Bill’s Fishing Adventures at 864-287-2120 or visit Lake Hartwell Fishing.
Lake Hartwell is the perfect destination for anglers seeking a thrilling fishing experience. With its untouched fishery and diverse species, this South Carolina gem is sure to leave a lasting impression. So grab your gear, head to Lake Hartwell, and get ready for an unforgettable fishing adventure.